Cardinal Celebrates Mass Marking 60th Anniversary of St. Mary’s School in Piscataway – Catholic Standard

According to Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory, he wears his red vestments – following the recommendation of Pope Francis – when he dresses for certain special events. On September 16, he donned his red robe for the 60th anniversary mass at St. Mary’s School in Piscataway and spoke to students about the importance for Catholics to remember the sacrifice the martyrs made for the faith .

About 200 students from kindergarten through eighth grade attended the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Gregory.

During September 16, 60e Anniversary Mass for St. Mary’s School in Piscataway, sixth grader Laylah Parker leads students in the Responsorial Psalm prayer. (Photo of St. Mary’s School in Piscataway by Maria Birmingham)

During his homily, the cardinal explained that he was dressed in red vestments to commemorate the feast of Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian.

“A pope and a bishop, [St. Cornelius and Cyprian] turned out to be friends,” Cardinal Gregory said. “I’m lucky to know Pope Francis, and I’d even be bold enough to say we’re friends, and when he made me cardinal, he told me I had to wear red when I dressed really, not just on martyrdom days.

Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian were third-century Christians who lived through Emperor Decius, whose orders were to have all Christians killed if they did not apostatize from their faith.

“Red is the color of martyrs, it is the color of blood, and St. Cornelius and St. Cyprian both shed their blood as martyrs of the faith,” Cardinal Gregory said.

The cardinal went on to explain how many Catholics are not required to put their lives on the line to demonstrate their faith in a life or death situation. He noted, “Our belief in Jesus Christ risen from the dead is so important that we would be willing to lay down our lives for that faith, but most of us have to live out our faith in ordinary ways, by being good students, by being good, dedicated teachers, by being good, dedicated parents and grandparents every day.

During his homily at Mass on September 16 for the 60e anniversary of St. Mary’s of Piscataway, Cardinal Gregory spoke to the students about the sacrifices made by the martyrs for the Church. (Photo of St. Mary’s School in Piscataway by Maria Birmingham)

Cardinal Gregory went on to explain how Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian were concerned with the unity of the Church and how the Church is most successful when presented as a united front.

After Communion, Cardinal Gregory blessed the students.

After celebrating a Mass on September 16 marking the 60e anniversary of St. Mary’s School in Piscataway, Cardinal Gregory blesses eighth grader Xavier Wolfolk. (Photo of St. Mary’s School in Piscataway by Maria Birmingham)

Lynsie Reavis, principal of St. Mary’s School in Piscataway, said there is much to look forward to in the school’s 60th year as it continues to grow and focus on expanding its programs.

“We split our pre-K this year, so now we have a pre-K3 room and a pre-K4 room, which is quite large, and it’s the largest we’ve been I think since I been here for the past 14 years,” Reavis said, noting that the school now has 204 students. “So just to see more smiling faces and more families coming to St. Mary’s, so that’s going to be our big stuff this year.”

Kameron Taamu and Brayden Harrison, sixth-grade students at St. Mary’s School in Piscataway, prepare to present offering gifts during a Sept. 16 Mass officiated by Cardinal Gregory marking the school’s 60e anniversary. (Photo of St. Mary’s School in Piscataway by Maria Birmingham)

Reavis said the school celebrates 60 years with one event per month. The Cardinal’s Mass was the September event, and in October they will host their annual Fall Family Festival.

“[St. Mary’s] is a family, it’s a home, so everyone knows each other, and I’m really excited for this year of growth,” said Reavis.

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