First Mass celebrated at new parish

First Mass celebrated at new parish

Photo by James A. McBride

frnewtonblessingsign-webFather Thomas Newton, pastor of the Catholic Community of Christ Our Light, Cherry Hill, blesses the sign outside the church July 28, following the first Mass since the new parish was established from the merger of St. Peter Celestine and Queen of Heaven.

CHERRY HILL — The faith communities of the former St. Peter Celestine and Queen of Heaven parishes came together Wednesday morning, July 29, to celebrate the first Mass at their new parish, The Catholic Community of Christ Our Light.

In April 2008, Bishop Joseph A. Galante announced the merger of St. Peter Celestine and Queen of Heaven parishes in Cherry Hill. The merger is part of a reconfiguration of parishes designed to address challenges in the Camden Diocese, and improve pastoral care to the faithful.

At the end of last month, Bishop Galante issued a decree establishing the new parish as The Catholic Community of Christ Our Light.

The final Masses for St. Peter Celestine and Queen of Heaven were held on Tuesday morning, and the following day, over 100 worshippers came to be a part of the new community at the 8 a.m. Mass.

In his homily, Father Thomas Newton, pastor of Christ Our Light, thanked the bishop, the diocesan leadership staff, and the core team members from St. Peter Celestine and Queen of Heaven who were instrumental in the creation of the new parish.

“They worked diligently, enthusiastically, sometimes with heavy hearts and sadness, but also with a spirit of joy, cooperation, and of what we can become,” he said.

He also recalled the past leaders of the former parishes, who laid the foundations for their respective faith communities.

“We stand after great visionaries who’ve come before us, and blazed a path.”

After the Mass, there was a procession to the front of the church building, where the new sign emblazoned with “The Catholic Community of Christ Our Light” is, a beacon to all traveling on the busy Kings Highway.

Blessing the sign, Father Newton called it “a symbol of our new life together. Let us together, as our mission boldly proclaims, embrace the Body of Christ and reflect his light to the world

“The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made,” he said.

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