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The Diocese of Trenton:

This is Our Story

An Exhibit:

November 10th to December 7th

At the Aquinas Institute, 24 Charlton St, Princeton, NJ 08540

The Aquinas Institute is proud to present its third exhibit, which explore the question, “What is the church?”

This presentation hopes to represent the diverse community that has made up the Diocese of Trenton since it’s inception in the 1800’s and chronicle their struggle for wholeness and holiness, maximizing the promise of God to live lives full of grace and freedom.

The exhibit is an exploration of diocesan history, starting in 1881 through the lens of the Diocese first historians, such as John D. McCormick, who recorded the history of the diocese through out the 19th century. John Baptist Satori, one of the earliest Catholic leaders in the area, is featured in the exhibit. Information is also provided about how different bishops through out our history have shepherded the flock. The exhibit also includes stories about the lay men and women who have served and continue to serve Christ today in the section called “Living Stones”.

You will discover the earliest missionaries, the Jesuits, who worked with the Lenni Lanape natives. You will learn about the beginnings of Catholicism in both West and East Jersey, along with the stories of the German immigrants who worked for the Quakers, making glass, in the iron works, and in printing.

“One who visits will see items brought by the earliest missionaries, trinkets they gave the Native Americans bearing the Jesuit identification mark, the name of Jesus. They will see examples of glass made by our earliest forefathers and mothers, they will see plague bundles brought by the early Catholic colonists to ward off illness while on board ship and while venturing through our early wilderness,” described Father Zeis.

Items on display in the exhibit are on loan from the archives of Seton Hall University, South Orange; Georgetown University, Washington, and various archives of religious communities, while others have been contributed by private collectors, parishes in the diocese, such as Sacred Heart, Trenton, and St. Mary, Bordentown, which is now part of Mary, Mother of the Church Parish.

“Some private collectors have also contributed items, such as one man who happens to study the Leni Lenape extensively and has found Jesuit artifacts among his other discoveries. We have also been blessed to have access to the Diocese of Trenton’s archive. This was due to the generosity and support of Bishop David O’Connell,” said Father Zeis. 

In the end their stories and their courage will allow visitors to remember that this meaningful history of holy men and women, struggling to live their faith in a new land, to experience the beauty, and sooth the souls of those who are harboring some negativity toward the Church as an institution today.

The Aquinas Institute is the Catholic mission to Princeton University. Directed by the Diocese of Trenton, It is a place and a community. It is the Catholic intellectual tradition alive on the campus of Princeton University.

In order to view the exhibit, please call (814) 381-9322 to make an appointment.

Quotes from Father Gabe Zeis taken from an interview with the Trenton Monitor. Click here to read the article.