N.J. priest laid to rest after 'life of devotion and service'

.- Fr. Edward Hinds, a New Jersey pastor who was stabbed to death last week, was laid to rest on Saturday in a Mass celebrated in St. Patrick's Church by Bishop Arthur Serratelli. Hinds was remembered as a "quiet voice of peaceful love," according to the Associated Press.

Hinds had chosen to be a parish priest. “Even though he had advanced degrees in canon law and was trained for administrative work, he wanted to directly work with people," retired Bishop Frank J. Rodimer told the Diocese of Patterson's newspaper, The Beacon.

His parishioners remembered Fr. Hinds as having been very concerned about the community. He also placed great emphasis on the family, always asking his parishioners how their families were doing, and telling those involved in ministry in his parish, “you got to take care of your family first. We are all called to ministry but also remember your sacrament of marriage first,” said John Polanin, a parish trustee at St. Patrick's. 

"There was nothing in his life that could have provoked such a violent attack," said Monsignor Kenneth Lasch, a retired priest who met monthly with Hinds. Hinds was found dead in the rectory of his parish on Oct. 23 after he failed to show up for daily Mass. He had been stabbed repeatedly with a kitchen knife.

The church janitor, Jose Feliciano, has been arrested for the murder, allegedly provoked by a discussion between Feliciano and Hinds regarding Feliciano's dismissal due to parish finances. Many members of the parish were shocked by the janitor's arrest, as he had been employed at the parish for 17 years.

In the end, said Bishop Serratelli, “a parish has been robbed of its pastor. Priests have been deprived of a brother. A bishop has lost a son. We mourn his passing, for we know that Fr. Hinds strove... to open for others the way to the heart of Christ. And so we pray for Fr. Hinds, May the Lord grant him the forgiveness of whatever sins he may have committed through human weakness and grant him everlasting peace.”

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