Back to School

08-25-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

It was really good to see so many people at Mass for the Holy Day last week. It was a real testimony to your love of our Blessed Mother and faith in her Son, Jesus. I really enjoyed the Masses I celebrated on the Assumption with each and every person who took the time to be there.

It was also good to see the wonderful response to the Sneakers for Small Souls program. I just walked into Mercy Hall and saw several tables full of sneakers, socks, crayon and other school supplies. These will be distributed to children who need them as the new school year begins. Thanks to everyone who took part – and to those who organized this wonderful event. It is a great act of charity.

Believe it or not, this will be the last weekend that Tim Eck, our summer seminarian, will be with us. He will take a little time to visit his family before returning to Rome the beginning of September. Please keep him in your prayers as he does so.

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We need what Jesus gives.

08-18-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend our parish is happy to welcome Pam DiMartile, who will speak at most of our Masses. She will give us more information about the Walking Pilgrimage that will take place on Saturday, September 21. The pilgrimage is part of the Year of Spiritual Awakening that is being observed throughout our diocese.

Bishop Checchio decreed this Year of Spiritual Awakening as a year of spiritual preparation for his consecration of our diocese to our Blessed Mother under her title of "Our Lady of Guadalupe." The Evening of Spiritual Awakening – which was so well attended in our Church – was one of the events in this year. So is the personal consecration to Our Lady of Guadalupe that so many of us did this past Lent.

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The Assumption

08-11-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I am happy to report that, as I write these words, workers are making repairs to the loose stone on our Church. Their work is part of the overall repairs that will be made to our steeple (and some roof areas of the Church.) It will be completed in stages and finished before winter.

I am also happy that the school’s parking lot was repaved last week, and it looks great! Like the repairs to the loose stone and steeple, this project was made possible by the generosity of each and every person who supported our parish campaign. Thanks to one and all!

Remember that this Thursday, August 15th, is the Solemn Feast of the Assumption. On that day we celebrate how, when her life on Earth was complete, our Blessed Mother Mary was taken, body and soul, to be with Jesus in Heaven. It is a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning that every Catholic who is able to do so has a serious obligation to worship God at Mass on that day.

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Who will be the next priest from our parish?

08-04-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend, a number of the Masses in our Church will be offered by priests who are natives of our parish. Fr. Matt Marinelli, who was ordained just over a month ago, and Fr. Pat Boyle, our weekend assistant for years, both grew up in P’burg and said their First Holy Masses in our Church. It is a blessing for our parish to enjoy their priestly ministry this weekend – and at any time.

Many of you are well aware that these two priests are part of a large number of men from our parish who answered the call to the priesthood. Fr. Joe Illes, who was ordained with Fr. Matt, Fr. Joe Sands, and Fr. Jim Duffy, both members of the Jesuit order, and Msgr. Lawler, pastor of St. Mary’s in Alpha, are just some of the others. St. Philip and James really has a long history of vocations to the priesthood.

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As summer rushes by

07-28-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

One of the things I enjoy in the summer months is having a seminarian in our parish. Believe it or not, Tim Eck is the tenth to spend a summer with us since I arrived in this wonderful parish. Getting to know these future priests gives me great hope for the future of our Church.

I have heard good things about the Bible Study that our seminarian is conducting on Wednesday evenings. People who spoke to me said they found it informative and helpful. If you haven’t yet attended, it will run on Wednesday evenings in the Parish Meeting Room beneath Mercy Hall (enter through the door by the parking lot and follow the signs) at 7 PM.

Beginning this week, Tim will also be leading the Miraculous Medal Novena in the chapel on Monday evenings at 7 PM. Each evening will include the praying of the novena prayers, a brief reflection by our seminarian, veneration of the relic of St. Catherine Laboure, and the Holy Rosary. I am very grateful that Tim will be doing this and hope many people will join these prayers each Monday.

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Our Journey to Jesus

07-21-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Ever since I was a child, I always associated summer with the outdoors. It always seemed like, once the weather got warmer, my family and friends did more outdoor things. I particularly remember things like swimming, picnics and going for long walks in the woods near my home as outdoor things I enjoyed doing with my friends.

As Catholics, we have a tradition of religious ‘long walks’ called pilgrimages. From the time the Church began, Christian people would make pilgrimages, journeying to see and pray at the places where Jesus was born, preached and performed miracles, died, and rose from the dead. They did this in imitation of the Holy Family who used to make pilgrimages of their own, such as journeying to the Temple of Jerusalem to celebrate Holy Days. More than just a holy road trip, a pilgrimage reminds us that our whole life on earth is a journey towards Heaven.

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Summer Happenings

07-14-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I want to start by thanking everyone for their generous support of the Mission Co-op Collection last weekend. As usual, our parish responded generously to the call to "teach all nations" by supporting Franciscan Works in Liberia. Thanks again to one and all.

As I write these words, our historic pipe organ is being dismantled and carried from our Church. It will be transported to the workshop of the Peragallo Pipe Organ Company where it will be completely renovated and returned for service in a few months. Our music ministers will use a keyboard and other instruments in the meantime to support our singing and chanting.

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No Lazy Summer Here!

07-07-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Those who know me well know that winter is actually my favorite season of the year. Ever since I was a kid, the heat bothered me a lot more than the cold. Perhaps that’s why I always loved the winter.

But there have always been some things I love about the summer, too. The longer daylight, baseball, summer vacation (a bigger deal when I was a kid than now,) and the generally slower pace of things are a few things I love about summer.

That being said, this summer is not shaping up to be very slow at all. Instead, it’s looking like we will have a very busy summer here at St. Philip and St. James, which is certainly fine with me.

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God is so Good

06-30-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last weekend was one of the most inspiring of my life, and that is truly no exaggeration! I had the privilege of seeing two sons of our parish ordained to the sacred priesthood. As a parish, we have followed Fr. Matthew Marinelli and Fr. Joseph Illes through the years, and now we have the joy of seeing them ordained!

It was great to see so many of our people make the journey to the Cathedral in Metuchen for the Ordination Mass. Even better was the number of people who attended their First Masses in our Church last Sunday. Many people were at all three ceremonies, which speaks volumes about their faith!

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Corpus Christi

06-23-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Today we celebrate Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. This celebration – one of the most solemn of the Church year – honors the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, under the appearance of bread and wine. This, indeed, is the Mystery of Faith – that what looks and tastes like bread and wine is really the Risen Jesus.

Speaking of the Eucharist, Jesus once said, “The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” In other words, receiving the Holy Communion establishes an abiding relationship between us and Jesus. It gives us a special closeness to Him.

In these days of electronic communication, we have many ways to keep in touch. E-mails, text messages, and skyping allow us to speak to friends and family members around the world at almost any time. But, actually sitting down with each other and enjoying each other’s company – simply being with each other – doesn’t happen as much as we’d like.

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Fathers and Fathers

06-16-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers, grandfathers, and special men of our parish. Father’s Day always reminds of a nice thing my father did for me when I was probably only 4 or 5 years old. We were riding through town in our car – a black Rambler, as I recall. As we crossed some railroad tracks, he noticed that a freight train was approaching. We were already across when the flag man (Remember them!) began stopping traffic. But, my dad stopped the car anyway so I could watch the train go by through the rear window!

I’m sure my father had plenty of things to do, but he took those few extra minutes to let me watch the train! It was a little thing, but one I still remember after all these years. Moreover, it is indicative of the sacrifices that fathers – and all parents – make for their children. Today we thank them for it.

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Pentacost Sunday

06-09-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Today is Pentecost Sunday – the day on which Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help His disciples spread the Gospel to many people and places. In Baptism – and especially Confirmation – Jesus sent that same Holy Spirit to help us spread the Gospel in the world today. Many of you do this by teaching your children about the Faith and sending them to Catholic School or CCD classes. Many also do it by supporting the missions. Still, others do it on a personal, one-to-one basis – sharing their faith with others in conversations and other ways.

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Preparing for Pentacost Sunday

06-02-2019From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I had a very relaxing Memorial Day. After celebrating Holy Masses that morning, I enjoyed watching the parade. The rectory’s front porch is the perfect seat for the parade, and it is nice to see it so easily. After that, I had a quiet day at the rectory, which was really very nice.

I am happy to announce that our parish will sponsor a bus trip to the Priesthood Ordinations in St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral on Saturday, June 22nd. The bus will leave the school parking lot on Roseberry Street at 8 AM that day and be back by 1:30 PM. There is no charge, but you must register ahead of time so we can make sure everyone has a seat. Call the parish office (908-454-0112) to reserve a space.

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