Let's keep praying!

03-29-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last weekend was truly the most unusual weekend of my life. It truly broke my heart to offer Mass without all of you there. The weirdest part was how quiet it was around the Church and rectory last Saturday and Sunday! Fr. Wojciech and I both noticed it, and we assure all of you of our continued prayers and good wishes as we combat this dreadful pandemic.

On the bright side, some 863 people watched last Sunday’s Mass on our parish website. We will make sure that Mass is there every Sunday for everyone who wants to watch it. I am especially happy that some of you took the time to call and let me know it was helpful to you to hear and pray along with the Mass from our parish.

While our office must be closed at this time, please know that we are checking our phone messages and email several times a day. Fr. Wojciech and I are available for priestly emergencies such as Last Rites. You need only call 908-454- 0112 and follow the prompts to leave a message for either of us or the secretary. In an emergency, follow the directions to press 1 and it will forward your call to whichever priest is on call that day. We will be happy to do our best for you.

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Holy Mary, Health of the Sick, Pray for Us

03-22-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

We are all well aware of the threat posed by the Coronavirus outbreak. In his concern for public health and the well-being of each of us, Bishop Checchio has temporarily suspended the public celebration of Holy Mass in the churches of our diocese. This means that Holy Mass will not be celebrated publicly in our church from Wednesday, March 18th until at least Friday, April 3rd. The Bishop will reconsider the situation, in consultation with public health officials, at that time.

During this time, all scheduled Masses will be celebrated privately by our priests. The intentions for each Mass will be honored and prayed for – as required by Canon Law.

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24 Hours for the Lord

03-15-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I am excited to announce that our parish will host 24 Hours for the Lord. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in our Church (rather than the chapel) from 8:30am Friday until 7:30am Saturday. People are invited to come and spend some quiet time with our Lord that day and night. You may come and stay for as long or as little as you like. It would be great if you could spend at least an hour with Jesus.

Confessions will be heard after the Stations of the Cross, Friday evening from 7:30-9:00pm and at 9am Saturday morning. Stations of the Cross will be prayed in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament at 3pm and 7pm Friday, and the Daily Masses will be offered as usual.

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As Lent continues...

03-08-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I want to start by thanking everyone who came to the Parish Meeting in Mercy Hall last Sunday. It was a pleasure for me to speak about our parish with everyone there. Our parish is blessed to have some very dedicated and supportive people who care deeply about it. They are an inspiration to me.

Remember that we will have fellowship in Mercy Hall following the 9 and 11am Masses next Sunday. It is good to share some time with other parishioners, and to enjoy a cup of coffee and some snacks with them. Such gatherings remind us that, as Catholics, we belong to a family of faith that extends beyond ourselves.

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What are you doing for Lent?

03-01-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Today is the First Sunday of Lent. I personally think of Lent as Catholic Spring Training! Baseball players head to Spring Training around the same time Lent begins, and spend several weeks getting into shape for the coming season.

In the same way, Catholics use Lent as a time to get in ‘spiritual shape.’ The traditional ways to do this are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We are encouraged to do a little more praying, fast as a penance for our sins, and be generous to the poor. What follows are some suggestions for doing this.

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Here Comes Lent!

02-23-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent. Masses will be offered in our Church that day at 6:45, 8:00am and at 12:10, 5:00 and 7:00pm. Ashes will be blessed and distributed at all those Masses.

There are several ways of looking at Lent. Some people see it simply as a time of penance. We give up treats we like to show that we are sorry for our sins and want to do better in the future. This is a good way of looking at Lent.

Other people look at Lent as a time to do something extra for God. They go to Daily Mass, or practice extra charity as a way of going the extra mile for God during this holy season. This is also a good way of looking at Lent.

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Fr. John's Column

02-16-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of spending some time with the RELIT group’s movie presentation in Mercy Hall. They, and some other parishioner’s, watched a movie about our Blessed Mother, Mary. For those who may not know, RELIT is a group of parishioner’s dedicated to growing their own faith, and helping others do the same. I appreciate their effort, and encourage everyone to join in some of their events.

Speaking of helping people grow their faith, our parish is blessed by the presence of some very special women who have truly dedicated their lives to this. They are the religious sisters who minister in our community: Sr. Clare, SJH, Sr. Ellen, SJH, and Sr. Michaelita, RSM.

Sr. Ellen and Sr. Clare are members of the Sisters of Jesus, Our Hope. They teach in our parish school and are a great witness to the students and faculty. Their community also hosts our faculty for annual Days of Recollection-which helps all our teachers to deepen and enrich their faith.

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Let your light shine in the darkness!

02-02-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Today (Sunday) is one of those special times when an important Feast of the Church falls on a Sunday. The Feast of the Presentation, which we celebrate on February 2nd, marks the 40th day since Christmas. This feast recalls how Mary and Joseph brought the infant Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord. While they were there, a holy man named Simeon-who had been promised by God that he would not die until he saw the Savior-and a holy woman named Anna both rejoiced and told all those present the Good News about Jesus.

We celebrate the Feast of the Presentation by blessing candles-and carrying them in procession at the major Masses that day. The candles remind us that Jesus is the Light of the World. We are also reminded that when we live by His teaching, we let His Light shine through us in this world. Our charity towards the poor, forgiveness of enemies, honesty and integrity should all shine against the darkness of sin.

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Treasuring and teaching the Word of God

01-26-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend we celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God for the first time. Pope Francis established this new feast day, which will henceforth be observed on the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time each year, to remind us of the importance that God’s Word should have in our lives. Family and personal Bibles will be blessed at all the Masses this weekend, to remind us to make good use of them!

There is an old saying that goes something like this: “People whose Bibles are tattered usually have lives that aren’t!” The point is that people who read their Bibles often, and allow the Word they read to guide them, usually have lives that are well directed. Even when such people encounter the troubles and trials that are part of every human life, they find comfort and strength in reading the Word of God.

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The Dignity of Life

01-19-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

“No human being can ever be incompatible with life, not for his age, nor for his health conditions, nor for the quality of his existence.”

Pope Francis spoke those words not long ago. He was speaking of something that we, as Catholics, believe quite deeply – that every human being is sacred, created in the image and likeness of God, and has a God given right to life.

This Wednesday will be the 47th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion on demand in our country. The statistics since then are staggering with well over 53 million abortions since that time. While the number of annual abortions has actually declined in recent years for a number of reason, the lives of nearly a million unborn babies are ended this way in our country each year. Add to that the fact that so many other lives are shattered by violence, hunger, and neglect and it is clear that we have much work to do.

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Baptism of the Lord

01-12-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend we finally bring the Christmas Season to a close as we remember the Baptism of Jesus. While many of us remember when Epiphany marked the end of this season, the Church – since Vatican II – has extended her celebration of Christmas to today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Ending the Christmas Season with this celebration reminds us that the same Jesus, who was born as a Child in the manger, chose to be baptized and to make baptism one of His holy sacraments.

Last Saturday evening, many members of my family came to the 4:30 Mass at our Church. Afterward, they visited with me in the rectory. I’ve told you before that my family enjoys coming to Mass at our Church – and I thank each of you for making them feel welcome. Gathering with my family made me think of how, at our own Baptism, we became part of Christ’s family – the Church. This is yet another aspect of today’s Feast of the Baptism of our Lord.

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Epiphany

01-05-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I hope everyone’s Christmas was as nice as mine! It was wonderful to see so many people at Mass – especially on Christmas Eve. Celebrating the Solemn Mass at Midnight was the highlight of my Christmas – and I want to thank all those who filled the Church for it! I particularly want to thank the choir for lending a great deal of solemnity to that Mass. It was a fitting celebration of our Savior’s birth.

I also want to make a special mention of the Children’s Nativity Pageant that preceded the packed Mass at 4PM on Christmas Eve. They did a great job telling and acting out the story of Jesus’ birth! Thanks also to all those grown-ups who worked behind the scenes to make the pageant so nice!

After Mass on Christmas I went to my sister Christine’s home for dinner. My mother was there – as were some of my nieces and my nephew. We were joined by some of my sisters in - laws and family friends – all of which made for a great time. I hope you had fun with those close to you this Christmas!

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