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  Appointment of New Director of Religious Education (DRE)   

 Thank You, Miss Katie...Welcome Mr. Dan! 

Although she will make occasional visits ‘back East,’ and will participate in a portion of this year’s cycle as we transition and make changes in our Faith Formation & Religious Education Program for Children, as some of you know, Katie Riley has relocated largely to California. As such, Mr. Dan Apadula will take over the important Parish role of Director of Religious Education (DRE), and has already begun preparations for this upcoming cycle. Dan is already familiar to many of you from his previous capacity of Campus Minister of the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry at Steven’s Institute of Technology, through which, among other things, he wonderfully accomplished the gathering and ‘attachment’ of Stevens’ students to our Parish. Dan is also newly joining the Theological Faculty of Saint Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. His own greeting and ‘bio’ follows this message. It is certainly with mixed emotions that we encounter this change which causes us to bid ‘farewell’ to Katie Riley after her many years of affiliation with the Parish in various roles: Music Ministry, Children’s Ministry, Religious Education, etc. Mixed emotions in the sadness of the loss of her regular presence among us, but happy and supportive emotions for Katie as she continues moving towards and embraces the fruits of her decision and change. Upon my arrival here, Katie was already fully engaged in the aforementioned various capacities for quite some time, having established wonderful relationships with our Parishioner Families and Children. Her creativity in previous Family Assemblies and the development of an entertaining and catechetical virtual program of Religious Education, which helped tremendously especially during the pandemic, are among a number of noteworthy accomplishments. So much so, that one of our major national Catholic educational and liturgical resources agencies, Our Sunday Visitor, approached and engaged Katie to partner with them on some of their catechetical initiatives, an affiliation which she continues. All of this while also working in her ‘normal’ secular job, and her own family and personal commitments! Rather than a farewell, let us as a Parish focus this as an opportunity given us to express our sincere ‘Thank You’ to Katie for all of that, and for her joyful presence among us these many years. We look forward to her future visits back, during her times of visitation to her Parents and Family yet here in NJ. Also, Katie’s participation in this ‘transitional year’ of catechesis, will allow her time to bid farewell over the course of this upcoming cycle. And so, this Faith Formation/Religious Education ‘year’, will be a ‘cycle of transition’ not only of Directors, but in the carrying out of the Parish Religious Education Program. Although, Mr. Apadula will give further details and schedule in subsequent communications directly with the Parent population who have Registered their Children for this year’s Program, there are some changes in approach that will take place. For this year those Children who seek to receive the Sacraments of First Holy Communion (2nd Grade) or Confirmation (8th Grade), will engage in a program of varied in-person/interactive gatherings and experiences that Dan will manage and accomplish with them. For this transitional cycle, Children Registered in all other Grades will continue their catechesis through the ‘virtual/homestudy’ approach of online videos and accompanying workbooks, as was the case in the recent past years. Miss Katie will continue remotely accompanying them for this cycle. Next year, the catechetical program for all Grades will be announced and carried out by Mr. Dan. This ‘split’ for this cycle allows two things: first and foremost - the extreme importance of ensuring that those who are in their ‘proximate’ time of learning to receive the Sacred Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation, are most fully and properly catechized, formed, and prepared to do so, as best possible, through in-person, interactive, and evaluative experiences; and the opportunity for Miss Katie to have a time of ‘phasing’ into her own transition, while continuing supplementing the important at Home on-going Religious Education and Faith Formation of the children in the other Grades. This approach recognizes and further emphasizes the Church’s consistent call and constant reminder that Parents/Guardians are “the first teachers of their children in matters of Faith.” To that end, I remind you Parents/Guardians, that includes the assurance of your and the children’s regular attendance and participation at Sunday Mass. This Sacred Obligation is not an option. The Mass provides the foundation of and is the result of all the Church’s Teachings. That foundation and obligation must be taken seriously, given priority, and be a part of your Being. Otherwise, the children will not be properly formed to receive the Sacraments of the Church, nor will they be able to be administered, unless all that is being heard and taught at Mass and in Religious Education is supported and lived out at Home, and in your own example of and seriousness of embracing and living out the Holy Obligations of our Catholic Faith. Thank you for your serious understanding and acceptance of this, not only on behalf of your Children, but for the Salvation of your own Souls. Again, join me in Thanking Miss Katie and Welcoming Mr. Dan! Prayerfully in Christ, Monsignor Andreano





Hello and Pax Christi, SPP!

For those of you who don’t know me already, my name is Dan Apadula, and I’m blessed to be starting as the new Director of Religious Education for the parish. You may recognize me from Sunday and daily Masses and other events with the community—for the last two years, I worked as the campus minister for the Newman Catholic organization at Stevens. As I transition to my new position in the Theology department at St. Peter’s Prep, I’m very grateful that I will have the opportunity as DRE to serve this community that I have quickly grown to cherish.

God has granted me a deep passion for ministry work; in addition to my position at Stevens, I worked in campus ministry at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, I have served as a youth minister at St. Thomas More in Fairfield, NJ, and immediately after graduating college, I entered the Jesuit novitiate to discern a vocation to the priesthood. I am always searching for the way that God wants me to serve His people and teach them about the love He has for us, and I’m thrilled that search has brought me here to prepare the youth of the parish to encounter Christ in the sacraments.

I’m looking forward to co-laboring with you all in proclaiming the Gospel!

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