MERCHANTVILLE — With one push of a button, Bishop Dennis Sullivan lit up the 161 Christmas trees scattered on the Saint Peter Church grounds here on Dec. 12, illuminating their bright green and red lights during this Advent Season to reveal “the light of Christ in a world that can sometimes be very dark.”
“May these trees arrayed in splendor remind us of the life-giving cross of Christ, that we may rejoice always in the new life that shines in our hearts,” the bishop said.
Joining Bishop Sullivan were Father Anthony Manuppella, pastor of Saint Peter; Father Lawrence Polansky, parochial vicar; and parishioners standing next to their own, personal trees. With a donation to the church, faithful could sponsor a tree in remembrance of their loved ones.
The “emotional, moving and beautiful” ceremony allows them to “include their deceased loved one in this season,” said Father Manuppella, adding that during last Saturday’s event, and after, families have visited their tree to remember in whose honor it is, place ornaments, or wrap it in garland.
After Bishop Sullivan’s blessing, the parish choir warmed hearts with Christmas carols, while hot chocolate and cookies warmed their bellies.