Decree establishes Parish of St. Maximilian Kolbe

Bishop Joseph Galante formally announced today the establishment of the Parish of St. Maximilian Kolbe, formed through the consolidation of the Church of the Resurrection, Marmora, and St. Casimir, Woodbine, and its mission, St. Elizabeth, Goshen, effective Dec. 14.

The announcement establishing the new parish was made in a formal decree, which is published in this edition of the Catholic Star Herald (pages 18-19).

This is the 39th decree issued by Bishop Galante in a diocesan-wide reconfiguration of parishes to strengthen parishes and improve pastoral care to Catholics in the diocese. The reconfigurations are a result of more than a year of study by parish and deanery planners, who considered population and demographic trends, the number of diocesan priests available for ministry, Mass attendance and trends in religious practice.

Msgr. Peter Joyce has been named pastor of the Parish of St. Maximilian Kolbe for a six-year term.

Church of the Resurrection will be the seat of the new parish, serving the pastoral needs of 2,200 households in Cape May and Cumberland counties. St. Casimir and St. Elizabeth will be maintained as worship sites.

Expressing his “enthusiasm and excitement” for the merger, Msgr. Joyce said he is “grateful to the communities, for their patience and willingness to come together as one worshipping community.”

Mentioning that for the past few years the three church communities have shared liturgical and outreach programs together, in anticipation of the merger, the pastor said that his “vision, and hope (for the new parish) would be to nurture the charisms of the three distinctive communities, because they will enable a strong and vibrant parish, while at the same time fostering and augmenting the wonderful, rich diversity of the communities.”

“The three (communities) have a lot to offer each other,” said core team member Agnes Bross, from Church of the Resurrection, who worked with Msgr. Joyce and eight other parishioners from the three churches on the core team.

St. Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Conventual Franciscan Friar, who began the Immaculata Movement devoted to Our Lady, spreading the movement through Poland, Japan, and India.

In 1941, during the Nazi invasion, he was imprisoned in Auschwitz. On July 31 of that year, he offered himself in place of a young father and husband who was chosen to die by the Nazis. For two weeks, Maximilian Kolbe endured starvation, thirst and neglect.

Canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982, his feast day is Aug. 14, the day of his death.

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