Christmas is More Than a Day!

12-25-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I had to write this about a week before Christmas, so I can’t tell you how mine went! Instead, I’ll tell you a little bit about the Christmas Season.

As Catholics we believe that some things are so wonderful that it takes a lot more than a day to celebrate them. Christmas is certainly one of those things! That’s why, as Catholics, we celebrate Christmas for a season which began at Mass on Christmas Eve and will continue through the Feast ofthe Lord’s Baptism on the Sunday after Epiphany (January 9). While the rest of the world often takes down decorations the day after Christmas, we continue celebrating the birth of our Lord for nearly three weeks! Keeping your trees up and homes decorated is one way to celebrate this season of joy.


Merry Christmas!

12-19-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I want to begin by thanking all those who took tags and brought gifts for the Giving Tree. Your generosity provided gifts for many children and elderly parishioners and members of our local community. Thanks also to the Boy Scouts who helped us with carrying and moving the gifts. Like always, things work best when everybody works together, putting their faith into action!

It was great to see so many people at last Saturday’s special Mass for the protection of Human Life. After Mass we processed from the Church to the Life Choices Medical Clinic beyond the black bridge on South Main Street. Deacon Enock led us in the Rosary as we walked, while I carried the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance. Fr. Gilbert guided the altar server leading the procession, and it all went very well.


Gaudete Sunday

12-12-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent. It is often called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete basically means ‘be happy’ or ‘rejoice’. On the surface, we are rejoicing because Christmas is almost here.

On a deeper level, we are rejoicing because Jesus, Who came as our Savior long ago, is coming again to bring us to the fullness of His Kingdom. In spite of all the troubles in our world, we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Christ and His Eternal Kingdom of Peace and Justice.

The brightly colored rose candle we light today, like the rose-colored vestments the priest wears today, are a reflection of this joy. They are also a reminder that, as we wait for Christ and the joy of His Kingdom, we should bring joy to others by our works of charity and compassion. I want to thank all who did so by bringing gifts for the Giving Tree!


A Busy Advent

12-05-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I hope your Thanksgiving was as nice as mine! After watching the P’burg – Easton football game on TV, I headed over to my sister Natalie’s home in Hillsborough. My mother was there, along with some relatives we don’t see too often, my Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Jack, and some cousins from my father’s side of my family. After dinner, my cousin Catherine came over for dessert with some of her family. It was great to spend the day with them.

Next Sunday we will have special devotions to our Blessed Mother, under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the 11:00am and 1:00pm Masses. Everyone is invited to bring a rose (or other flower) for our Blessed Mother. These will be presented during Mass, after which we will pray the Litany of Our Lady of Guadalupe.



11-28-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Bulletin deadlines required me to write this column before Thanksgiving, so I can’t tell you how mine went. I can tell you that I was looking forward to it as I wrote these words!

Today we begin the holy season of Advent. While it’s easy to think of Advent as a time to prepare for Christmas, it’s really much more than that. The word Advent means ‘coming’ – and Advent is indeed a time to get ready for the coming of Christ.

As Catholics, Advent makes us think about not just one, but two, of Christ’s comings. While we are certainly getting ready to celebrate His first coming at Christmas, Advent also reminds us to get ready for His Second coming on Judgement Day.


The King of Charity

11-21-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this Thursday? Time really does fly these days.

Thanksgiving is a good time for us to take stock of the blessings God has given us, and be sure to thank Him. This, of course, is something we should do in our prayers each and every day. We should also remember that we thank God by remembering those who may not enjoy all the blessings that we do, and practicing Christian Charity towards them.

Today (Sunday) is the Solemn Feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe! It is a day to remember that, in addition to everything else He is for us, Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16). Christ the King Sunday is also a good time to remember that Jesus is very different from the Kings of this world.


Mother Cabrini

11-14-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of joining some of my family to celebrate my mother’s birthday. We had dinner and cake at my sister Natalie’s home in Hillsborough. It was so good to be with both of my sisters and their husbands, and some other family as well. I hope the coming holiday season affords everyone some time to be with family and friends.

By the time you read these words, we will have celebrated Veterans Day. I want to make a special point of thanking all the veterans in our parish. We owe you a debt we can never repay. Thanks for all that you’ve done to ensure our freedoms, especially our freedom of religion.


Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Diocese of Metuchen

11-06-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

This year our diocese will celebrate its 40th Anniversary. While there will be many celebrations and events during the year, I want to speak specifically about our parish celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast this year. We will celebrate Our Lady’s feast day, Sun, Dec 12, with special devotions at the 11:00am and 1:00pm Mass that day.

You may recall that our Bishop reconsecrated our diocese to Jesus through Our Lady of Guadalupe a few years ago. I had the blessed privilege of attending the Mass at which this happened. It was celebrated by Archbishop Christoph Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio (or pope’s representative) to the United States. This consecration established a special relationship between our diocese and Our Lady of Guadalupe. For this reason, I believe it is important for us to observe her Feast Day.


The Family of God

10-31-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

One common way to think about the Church is as a big spiritual family. God is our Father, and in Baptism we become his adopted children, and brothers and sisters to each other. This week we celebrate, with Catholics around the world, two holy days that help us think about the whole family of God.

November 1st is All Saints Day, a day to honor all the saints in heaven. I like to think of the saints as our older brothers and sisters in God’s family. We all know that you can learn a lot from watching and listening to your older brothers and sisters. That is especially true of our relationship with the saints. Their example and words teach us how to be good members of God’s family – just as they were when they walked this earth. Moreover, just as a good older brother or sister is always happy to help us, so the saints help us with their prayers before God’s throne.


What do Catholics Believe about Purgatory and Praying for the Dead?

10-29-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

There is a great story in the Second Book of Maccabees, Chapter 12, which tells how Judas Maccabee, the hero of the story, comes across some of his soldiers who were killed by the enemy.  These soldiers were fighting for Israel’s religious freedom against pagans who were persecuting and killing those who practiced their Faith in the One True God.  But they were wearing pagan amulets, a big sin against the First Commandment.  They were basically good men who had done something wrong.


The Importance of Funeral Masses

10-24-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

As All Souls Day (November 2) approaches, our thoughts naturally turn to our loved ones who died over the years, and to all the faithful departed. All Souls Day, and the whole month of November, is a special time for Catholics to pray for all those who have died. It is our firm belief that God can and does use our prayers to help our loved ones get to Heaven.

That said, I want to turn my attention to the most important prayer we can offer for someone who dies, the Funeral Mass. The Holy Mass is the most powerful prayer we have, thus the Funeral Mass is the most powerful prayer we can offer for a loved one who has died. While other prayers, such as those said at the Funeral Home during the Wake or at the graveside before burial, are also important, they pale in comparison to the Funeral Mass.


World Mission Sunday

10-17-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Next weekend we observe World Mission Sunday. It is a day to pray and support the work of missionaries around the world. Since our Lord first commanded His disciples to ‘teach all nations’, the Church has endeavored to do just that.

Among other things, there is a special collection on World Mission Sunday. Unlike the Mission Co–op Appeal which was held a few months ago to help support a specific mission, the collection on World Mission Sunday is used to support the missionary work of the universal Church. You may use the Mission Sunday envelope in your packet, or simply put your offering in an envelope marked “missions.”


A Thank You to All

10-10-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

It was nice to see so many people and animals at last Sunday’s Blessing of Animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Fr. Pat conducted a beautiful Prayer Service. It included some prayers, a Gospel Reading, and a really nice reading from the Life of St. Francis. There was even a song or two.

In addition to a lot of dogs, there was also a cat, a parrot, and even a chinchilla. While some of the animals got a bit restless, they were all good enough that I could hear the whole service! It was nice to gather and pray with so many people whose pets mean so much to them.