Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Cardinal Tobin Urges Students to ‘Stay Connected’

Demarest, NJ: The February 1st Mass celebrated by Joseph William Cardinal Tobin, C. Ss.R, was the undeniable highlight of Catholic Schools Week at the Academy of the Holy Angels. During his homily, His Eminence underscored the importance of being connected to Jesus and the poor.

“I love being connected -- the feeling of being connected, connected in an incredible way with God but connected with others, not simply the 1.1 billion Catholics across the face of the earth, but really with every human being, because our faith demands it,” Cardinal Tobin told the Holy Angels community.

“I felt right at home when I came in this morning,” he added. “I had heard about your connection with Haiti, the poorest country in our hemisphere, among the poorest on the face of the earth, but rich with family, rich with faith.”

He used airline travel as an analogy for inequities in the world. Cardinal Tobin described his trip in cramped airline seat, and pointed out that those traveling first class are living well because others are “scrunched” in less desirable surroundings.

Cardinal Tobin noted that the connections AHA makes with places including Haiti and Puerto Rico mean the AHA community feels the connection that surpasses the barrier of first class.

He noted that one school can make a difference. He told a story about a girl who came across a mass of starfish that had washed up on a beach. She decided to place them back in the water one at a time. When asked how her effort could help when there were so many starfish on the beach, the girl held up one of the creatures, and responded, “It matters to this one.”

Cardinal Tobin shared Pope Francis’ sentiment that, without a connection to Jesus, the church is just another charitable non-governmental organization. With that connection, he said, we are the people of God.

He urged everyone at Mass to stay connected.

Much to the delight of the students, Cardinal Tobin, who is also the Archbishop of Newark, carried on a tradition when bishops visit AHA, and declared a “free day” for the school on March 28th.

Members of the school community were excited to meet and speak with Cardinal Tobin, who demonstrated his ability to make connections while chatting with the students, and as he spoke Spanish with Sister Carole Tabano, SSND; French with librarian Catherine Korvin; and Italian with Dean of Academics Francesca Tambone-Puzio.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

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