FR. JOHN’S RETIREMENT
Fr. John has written to Cardinal Tobin requesting retirement on June 30, 2023 and the Cardinal has granted his request. Please see the enclosed letter he wrote to the Cardinal explaining his reasons. Please click here for the letter in the three languages.
About St. Cecilia
“Behold the dwelling of God with men, and He will dwell with them. And they will be His people.”
St. Cecilia Catholic Church of Kearny was established by the late Bishop Wigger on September 1, 1893. He appointed Father Thomas J. Kernan as its first pastor.
St. Cecilia has a rich history which tells of Scotch and Irish immigrants who came to this area of New Jersey seeking work in the huge thread mills which laid their roots here in the late 1800’s. Its beginning started with the hard work of a courageous and determined priest, Fr. Kernan, who saw in his fledgling parish the seeds of a flourishing church.
At the time St. Cecilia was established, Kearny was little more than woodland and meadow farm with houses scattered all over its landscape. The few Catholics who lived in Kearny went by foot through fields and along woodpaths to hear Mass at Holy Cross Parish in nearby Harrison. After spending his first month of his pastorate taking a census of the new parish and studying the conditions of the people and the area, Fr. Kernan decided on an old Jeroloman House and an adjoining plot of ground bounded by Kearny Avenue and Chestnut and Hoyt Streets for the new Church.
Bishop Wigger laid the cornerstone for the new church, which was designed by the architect, Henry J. King, on October 29, 1893. On April 23, 1893 Bishop Wigger returned to dedicate the new religious ediface.
St. Cecilia, glorious Virgin and Martyr of Jesus Christ, I admire the courage with which you professed your faith in the face of severe persecution, and the generous love with which you offered your life in witness to your belief in the Blessed Trinity. I thank God with you for the wonderful graces He had bestowed upon you to make your life holy and pleasing to Him even in the midst of the wealth that was yours. I thank Him for the privilege offered to you of receiving the glorious crown of martyrdom..
Saint Cecilia, I also admire the purity of love that bound you to the Savior, which was greater in your eyes than any human affection, so that you declared yourself before the enemies of the Church, “I am the bride of my Lord Jesus Christ”. Pray for me that in imitation of you I may keep my body pure and my soul holy, and that I may love Jesus with all my heart.
In these times so full of pleasure seeking and so lacking in faith, teach us to profess our faith courageously and to be willing to sacrifice ourselves in practicing it, so that our good example may lead others closer to Christ and the Church He as founded. In thanksgiving to God for the graces he bestowed on St Cecilia: Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory be. St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr of Jesus Christ, pray for us.
St. Cecilia, I confide in your intercession because you generously offered your life as a sacrifice for the love of Jesus, to whom you were devoted with your whole heart and soul. Jesus will not refuse your prayers. Beg Jesus to grant me this favor: (Mention your request.)
For the sake of Jesus Christ, Who filled your heart with pure and heroic love, Who crowned you with the glorious crown of martyrdom, Who permitted your body to remain incorrupt through these many centuries, and Who willed that your memory be praised by the Church at every Holy Day Mass, I earnestly ask you to intercede for me. I resign myself entirely to the Holy Will of God. Help me to imitate your faith and love of God, that I may be ready to make any sacrifice for my Catholic faith. Through your prayers may I someday reach heaven and praise with you the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the loving Spouse of your soul and mine. Amen.