The video for our CATHOLIC STRONG campaign is available at SouthJerseyCatholicStrong.org or click here to view. The viewer is treated to a five-minute journey around our South Jersey diocese — its people, churches, schools, parish buildings and programs. The pride of our priests and people in their Catholic faith is very evident by those featured and, I concur, WE CATHOLICS HAVE MUCH TO BE PROUD OF.
For the past 80 years, everyday Catholics have built a strong presence in the six counties of our diocese. Over the decades that presence has had different forms and emphases. When the first diocesan bishop was installed on May 4, 1938 he concluded his sermon with these words: “May Camden Flourish.” Thanks to the generous support of our Catholic people, that has happened.
This milestone 80th anniversary of the diocese calls us to strengthen that historic support in order to continue the flourishing of our Catholic faith and presence in South Jersey. We look forward to the future of our church as it is lived in our parishes, schools, programs, buildings and people. The foundation that has been handed on to us must be made firmer, cared for and brought up to date.
The vitality of parish life requires renewal so that our people grow stronger in their Catholic faith. Programs directed at children, youth and young adults need solid direction so that they are effectively preparing the future generations of South Jersey Catholics. New challenges that confront our parishes must be faced with the same determination and cooperation as in the past.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, encourages the church to move beyond the past to a new interaction with the world. In The Joy of the Gospel he writes, “Every Christian is challenged to be actively engaged in evangelization. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ or ‘missionaries’ but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples.’”
The CATHOLIC STRONG campaign is intended to provide our parishes and all the ministries they undertake with the tools needed to take up the challenge of missionary discipleship on behalf of our schools; religious formation programs; ministerial development; charitable service to the poor, senior citizens and needy; youth ministry; evangelization efforts; outreach to the addicted and the care of our properties.
Each time that I visit a parish or school in our diocese I witness great things. However, I know there is much more that can be done and must be done and will be done so that “CAMDEN MAY FLOURISH.”
I am confident that with your financial and prayerful support CAMDEN WILL CONTINUE TO FLOURISH because WE ARE CATHOLIC STRONG.
Most Reverend Dennis J. Sullivan, D.D.
Bishop of Camden
See related Catholic Strong stories in the Catholic Star Herald: