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.

Speaking of fathers, two of our parish’s sons will become spiritual fathers next Saturday morning. Deacon Matthew Marinelli and Deacon Joseph Illes will be ordained to the sacred priesthood by Bishop Checchio in St. Francis Cathedral in Metuchen during a 10:30am Mass. Everyone is welcome to attend this beautiful and inspiring celebration.

Each of the new ‘fathers’ will offer a Holy Mass in our Church next Sunday, June 23rd. Fr. Matthew Marinelli will offer his First Mass at 9 AM, while Fr. Joseph Illes will offer his first Mass at 11 AM. I would encourage everyone to attend one – or even both – of these First Masses. Doing so is a good way to thank God for the gift of these new priests, and ask His blessing upon them as they begin their priestly work. Participating in a new priest’s First Mass also allows one to gain an Indulgence (which helps a soul pass more quickly through purgatory.) To gain the Indulgence, you need only participate in the First Mass, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and say a prayer for the Pope within a reasonable amount of time.

After Fr. Matthew’s 9 AM Mass, there will be a continental breakfast and First Priestly Blessings in Mercy Hall. Fr. Joseph’s 11 AM Mass will conclude with a Corpus Christi Procession, followed by a light luncheon and First Priestly Blessings in Mercy Hall. All are welcome at all of these events!

Be sure to come over to Mercy Hall for a ‘First Blessing’ after the new priests’ Mass. Seeking a First Blessing from a newly ordained priest is a longstanding tradition in the Catholic Church. Doing so is popularly believed to be a source of many graces.

Like my father, whose sacrifice of time was just one of many much bigger sacrifices he made out of love for me, our new priests will undoubtedly make many sacrifices for their spiritual children over the years. Let us pray that God, Who called them to the spiritual fatherhood that is part of the Catholic priesthood, will fill their hearts with the love from which these sacrifices must flow.

I will be praying for all of you on my annual retreat this week. Of course, I will be home in time for the ordinations and First Masses next weekend. Indeed, I would not miss them for all the world! It’s not every day that a parish is blessed to see two of her sons ordained priests. May this holy occasion inspire more of our young men to hear and answer God’s Call.

Have a great week!

Fr. John