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!

Seeing a line of people stretching through Mercy Hall – all the way to the door – as they waited for First Blessings was overwhelming to me. People of all ages and backgrounds were excited and patient as they waited for a First Blessing from the newest priests of our diocese. What a testimony to the faith and devotion of the people of St. Philip and St. James Church.

Seeing the mothers of the new priests was another thing that brought me great joy. I can only imagine what was in their minds and hearts as they saw their sons offer Holy Mass for the first time. The same goes for the rest of their families, who were beaming to see their sons and brothers celebrating Holy Mass and imparting God’s blessing.

Fr. Boniface, OSB – a Benedictine monk who preached the homily at Fr. Matthew’s First Mass – spoke of how these young priests standing in the person of Christ, the Divine Bridegroom, make the Bride, which is the Church, feel younger and more alive. It was a very deep sentiment, one that was evident by the energy in our Church at both First Masses. Msgr. Joe Celano – who preached Fr. Joe’s First Mass – compared the new priests to the loaves and fish with which Christ fed the hungry crowd in the Gospel. Just as Christ brought great blessing to the crowd by using the loaves and fish that were given to Him, so He will use these young men who have given their lives to Him to bring great blessings to His people.

I cannot finish talking about our new priests without mentioning our wonderful Religious Education Director, Mrs. Jo Ann Scott. She was absolutely beaming with pride and joy as she waited to receive a First Blessing from Fr. Matthew Marinelli, whom she watched as he went all the way through our CCD program! Our Serra Club, who have prayed for, encouraged, and supported these vocations over the years, were also joyful and thankful.

Thanks – a very big thanks – to everyone who did so much to make the past weekend so meaningful and beautiful. The choir put in a lot of work! The Hospitality committee put on not one but two receptions in Mercy Hall, and both were fantastic! The Knights of Columbus were on hand for both Masses. They – and folks from all the other organizations in our parish – have done a great deal to support our new priests along the way.

Finally, I want to thank the families of Fr. Matthew and Fr. Joseph for sharing their sons with us so generously. God – Who is never outdone in generosity – is always pleased when we share His blessings generously. Remember that we will have a farewell for Fr. Leo on Sunday, July 7th in Mercy Hall following the 9AM Mass. I hope many of you will be there!

Have a great week!

Fr. John