The following open letter from Father Charlie Mitchell pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Parish was published in the Sunday Bulletin on 17 April 2011.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
“May the angels lead you into paradise; May the martyrs come to welcome you and take you to the holy city – the new and eternal Jerusalem.” —Sung during the Procession to the Place of Committal. Christian Rite of Funerals.
These are the words we sing at the Mass of the Resurrection, and these are words we offer to the Lord as we pray for the soul of Mrs. Mary Jo Nocero, our Steward for Marriage and Baptismal Preparation. This past Tuesday, April 12, at 8:15 a.m. she joined the saints and angels to be with our Lord. As many may know, she was undergoing treatment for cancer. It is with much sadness and disbelief I share this news with you.
Mary Jo and Mike are pillars in our community. She was the pulsating force in bringing Christ Renews Our Community (CROC) to our parish and transforming us in the process. She was a great advocate for Marriage and the Family. She helped us to focus on the importance of family and the vocation of marriage. It is so fitting that this year, as a national Church, we celebrate “Matrimony: Sacrament of Enduring Love” as our theme for our catechetical work. When Mary Jo decided to be engaged in anything, she gave it 10,000% – from preparing young couples for marriage, to enriching the lives and relationships of all our married couples. From preparing young families for the Sacrament of Baptism to developing the spiritual growth of the adults of our community through Christ Renews Our Community. She and Mike served as Chairs of our Family Life Commission and as members of our Pastoral Council.
Mary Jo was a long time member of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (NACFLM) and a fearless advocate for Family Life. She was serving as our first Family Life Minister when I arrived at St. Mary Magdalen. Her enthusiasm and passion inspired many. She was mentor and mother. She introduced many to the Domestic Church with her wonderful presentation on the Family Altar. She was strong and beautiful and Christ-Centered and will be missed by many.
Mary Jo was an essential fixture at the Easter Vigil and we will greatly miss her profound proclamation of the Easter Vigil readings. Our hearts and minds will be with her, especially next Saturday at the 8 p.m. Easter Vigit celebration. Mary Jo’s Mass of the Resurrection will be on Wednesday, April 20 at 4 p.m.
I know many of you have been praying for her and Mike, and their three daughters, Aimee, Meg and Mary. And for that, I thank you. I hope you will continue to pray for them during this most difficult time.
Mary Jo, as you enter the gates of Heaven, we know the Lord is saying: “Well done, Good and Faithful Steward.” (Matthew 25: 21,23)
In celebration of the gift of Life and Love,
Father Charlie (Mitchell)