Bishop Dennis Sullivan greets parishioners as they leave St. Lawrence Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lindenwold, after celebrating the Mass in Spanish there on Feb. 24.
Photo by James A. McBride
LINDENWOLD – Bishop Dennis Sullivan visited the Parish Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe here, celebrating the weekly 1 p.m. Spanish Mass and reminding the faithful of the significance of the season of Lent,
Trained in Spanish, with language immersion training during his seminary days in Puerto Rico, Bishop Sullivan spent many years in New York as a pastor working with immigrants, most of them Spanish-speaking.
Since his arrival in Camden, he made it clear that outreach to Hispanics, and a recognition of their gifts and customs, is a top priority to him.
Our Lady of Guadalupe was a natural setting for the new bishop to meet and pray with Spanish-speaking Catholics. It is one of the parishes of the Diocese of Camden to offer Mass in Spanish every week. In addition, it is home to the diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn and the Americas. The genesis of this popular Marian icon is Mary’s appearance to St. Juan Diego in 1531 in Mexico.
Local Hispanic Catholics, coming with their parents, children, sisters, and brothers, and traveling from as far away as Waterford, Hammonton and Camden, filled the pews and made the new bishop feel at home.
Father Joseph Capella, pastor, concelebrated the Mass.
Bishop Sullivan, giving his homily in fluent Spanish, recalled the New Testament narrative of the Transfiguration. While walking up a mountain with the apostles Peter, James and John, Jesus is “transfigured” before them, and reveals himself as the Son of God.
As the apostles did, today’s Catholics must “climb the mountain,” Bishop Sullivan urged, and understand Jesus – who revealed himself in the Transfiguration – through prayer, .
At the end of Mass, an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was brought to the front of the church, and Bishop Sullivan led the faithful in a prayer.
“It’s important for him to see how enthusiastic the faithful here are, and how much they love the Lord and Our Lady,” said Father Capella.