Don’t worry, trust God, bishop tells students



Bishop Dennis Sullivan gives a birthday blessing to Newman Club president and Stockton senior Michelle Gracias during Mass at the school’s Catholic Campus Ministries Center on March 3. Right, the bishop and Father Tom Kiely, chaplain, speak with Dr. Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr. college president.

Photos by Peter G. Sanchez

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – Bishop Dennis Sullivan celebrated Mass here March 3 at Stockton College’s Catholic Campus Ministries Center and urged student members of the school’s Newman Club to remember the day’s Gospel, and “do not worry.”

“Worries are a part of my daily life,” Bishop Sullivan admitted to students, adding that “I expect that’s the case with (yourselves), in regards to grades, and relationships.”
But, everyday, we “have to learn to trust in the care of God, discover his presence and unencumber ourselves from worries,” he said.
He referenced Matthew’s Gospel, which four times uses the phrase “do not worry:” “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap … yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more important than they?”
On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season, the Camden leader urged students to take on a Lenten project of “getting rid of anxieties. Trust in his limitless, endless mercy. Trust in today.”
After the 6 p.m. Mass, Bishop Sullivan shared in the student’s weekly Sunday night meals. A Mass and dinner is a Sunday night ritual for students.
Newman Club leaders expressed excitement, and gratitude for the bishop’s visit.
“We’re so happy and excited. He had a beautiful message,” noted Michelle Gracias, Newman Club president and a senior at Stockton. “For this age group, worrying is a big thing. He gave us good reminders.”
Megan Pappan, vice-president of the Newman Club and Stockton senior, agreed with Gracias. “Bishop Sullivan can relate to college students and talk on our level.”
Lois Dark, director of the Catholic Campus Ministries Center, called the bishop’s homily a timely one that “students needed to hear, and to know that it’s all in God’s hands. His visit with the students was exciting for students. He showed them, that they are important to him.”
Before Mass, Bishop Sullivan met with Dark and Father Tom Kiely, chaplain, who gave him a tour of the center. The Camden leader then met with Stockton College president, Dr. Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr.. The bishop and school president toured the campus and discussed the importance of values and respect and supporting each other in their work.