the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Newark NJ, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced congregations to refrain from celebrating Christmas in-person last year, parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Newark are making plans to help ensure their parishioners enjoy a special Christmas holiday in 2021. Some examples of the many Christmastime initiatives taking place in churches throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties this season include the following:
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood
A magnificent creche at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood stands out for its sprawling, intricate design. Almost entirely handcrafted, the creche depicts the whole story of Christmas — from the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary, through Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus’ departure for Egypt. Visitors can spend hours admiring the scene’s many details, including a running waterfall and live goldfish.
Parishioner Lourdes Ordonez led the creche’s design process with the assistance of Fr. Anthony Palombo and numerous other parish community members. (Photo courtesy of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood)
St. Michael Church in Cranford
The families of St. Michael Church in Cranford decorated and hung ornaments bearing their names on several Christmas trees on display in the church lobby. This Parish Family Christmas Tree program originated in 2020 as a way of symbolically connecting parishioners while the pandemic kept them apart. This year, the parish is continuing the tradition to demonstrate its continued unity and caring community.
Parishioners placed their decorated ornaments on one of four Parish Family Christmas Trees. (Photo courtesy of St. Michael Church in Cranford)
Sacred Heart Church in Rochelle Park
The youth ministry of Rochelle Park’s Sacred Heart Church started their holiday season celebration with an ugly Christmas sweater party with pizza, hot cocoa, and a seminar on how to paint a portrait of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. While they enjoyed some Christmas fun, the teens also focused on a community service project, in which they filled stockings with gifts for St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Paterson. The project was later completed by the parish’s 8th grade Confirmation class.
Teens from the Youth Ministry show off their ugly Christmas sweaters. (Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart Church in Rochelle Park)
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Tenafly
Tenafly’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church fully embraced the holiday spirit by hosting a Christmas concert and setting up two Nativity scenes. Its giving tree also garnered numerous presents including many from a young parishioner named Charlie. That is because Charlie asked his friends to donate to the tree for his birthday this year, resulting in dozens of gifts being delivered.
Charlie collected dozens of presents for his parish’s giving tree after asking his friends to donate for his birthday. (Photo courtesy of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Tenafly)
For more information on the Archdiocese of Newark and its parishes, visit https://www.rcan.org/.
The Archdiocese of Newark, under the leadership of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., the sixth archbishop of Newark, serves approximately 1.3 million Catholics in 212 parishes throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union. The Archdiocese serves the northern New Jersey community through faith, education and social services. To learn more, visit www.rcan.org.