By Jackie Fletcher, Features Editor
Bishop David O’Connell’s first visit to Trinity Hall fittingly occurred during the Advent season, as the community felt great anticipation about his arrival. O’Connell, the bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, delivered a special Christmas Mass to the Trinity Hall community on Dec. 20, the last school day before Christmas break.
“I thought it would be nice [to celebrate Mass], especially a Christmas Mass, and that now would be the perfect time to come,” O’Connell said.
“We wanted to come and show our support,” added Rev. Michael Wallack of the Diocese of Trenton who accompanied the Bishop. “I know that the Bishop wanted to come to see all of you and be with you.”
The Mass was celebrated in the commons by students, board members, faculty and parents. It was truly unprecedented in terms of its scope, participation and sentiment. The sheer presence of the Bishop and the well wishes he expressed during the homily and throughout his visit resonated with all who attended. The emotive liturgical music, sung by both the choir and the entire congregation, accompanied his special blessings to produce a meaningful and memorable Mass.
“Our community was truly blessed to gather for Mass before parting ways for the Christmas break,” said Campus minister Sister Mariann Mahon, who organized the Mass. “It was a joyful and inspiring celebration…I am delighted that Bishop O’Connell was able to join us and experience the faith so alive at Trinity Hall.”
In addition, Bishop O’Connell’s visit was significant in Trinity Hall’s establishment as an educational institution and served as a reminder of the importance of faith and education, and the intersection of the two. “Education is so important, and it has never been as important as it is today; especially [an education] grounded in faith, as you all have, is so important,” Bishop O’Connell said.
Following the service, Bishop O’Connell took a tour of the campus. While roaming the school, he visited classrooms and stopped to speak and joke with students about current projects and other school happenings.
At the conclusion of his visit, Bishop O’Connell said, “I WAS THRILLED TO BE HERE,” specifically requesting that his comment be written in capital letters. Apparently, Bishop O’Connell enjoyed meeting the Trinity Hall community as much as the community enjoyed meeting him.