Corpus Christi

06-14-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Today we celebrate one of my favorite feasts of the entire Church year: Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi means ‘the Body of Christ’ – and today’s feast celebrates our Catholic Faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, under the appearance of bread and wine. This is – as the priest chants after the consecration at Holy Mass – ‘the Mystery of Faith.’

So many of you have told me how much you miss receiving Holy Communion during this pandemic. Although you make a Spiritual Communion – and ask Jesus to come spiritually into your heart – we know it’s not the same as truly receiving His precious Body and Blood in Holy Communion. That – I believe – is why so many of you have experienced a deep sense of loss at not being able to come to Mass and receive Holy Communion.

Of course, we are grateful to finally see that changing. Although we have to be careful – especially those of you who are older or have other conditions that put you more at risk – it’s nice to see light at the end of the tunnel. Please remember that, in these first weeks, our Church can be filled to only 30% of its capacity – no more than 200 people. For this reason, please call ahead (908–454– 112 ext. 3) to reserve a place at Holy Mass. This will enable us to make sure there is enough room – with proper social distancing – for you.

Those who come to Mass should expect some differences from normal. Please be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before coming and to sanitize them when you arrive. Please also be attentive for instructions from the ushers and priests – especially about things like Communion. There will not be a regular collection – so please place you offering in the basket near in the back when you arrive, or continue to send it in by mail as so many of you have done! I know this will be an adjustment – but it won’t be forever.

For those who cannot come to Mass, we are planning to record the 4:30 PM Saturday Mass each week. It will then be uploaded onto the parish website for those who wish to watch it later that evening or on Sunday. We will do this at least until the end of June – and take it from there.

I want to congratulate the eighth graders who graduated from our parish school – virtually – this past Monday. They were a great group to teach – and helped me learn how to teach online when we could no longer hold class together. They – and all those who graduated middle, high school, or college this year – certainly had a unique graduation year. Their accomplishments remain, however, and deserve our congratulations!

I want to thank everyone who donated a flower or plant for Cathy’s Garden. For those who may not know, we planted a garden in honor and memory of our Cathy Steigerwalt – our old secretary who passed away suddenly last year. It is in front of the parish office - to your left as you face the front doors. We would love to extend it to the other dirt area as well – and will do so if enough flowers are donated. A sign will also be erected. We hope the flowers brighten everyone’s day – and remind you of Cathy’s friendly smile.

Remember that I will be on my ‘virtual retreat’ this week – from Monday afternoon until Friday morning. I will say Mass every morning – usually the 6:45 AM – then spend some time in prayer, watch and reflect on the retreat master’s talks, and do some spiritual reading. Fr. Wojciech will be on duty each day except Wednesday – his day off – when I will fill in. Like I said, it won’t be the same as a real retreat – but will do just fine under the circumstances! You will be in my prayers each day.

Next Sunday is Father’s Day. The Father’s Day envelopes will be placed by the altar and held in prayer at all the Masses from that day till the end of June. Listing the names of our fathers and grandfathers – living and deceased – is a great way to hold them in prayer.

Please also say a Hail Mary for me today – and every day. Let’s keep praying for the healing of racial tensions in our country, for a complete end to this pandemic, and that every person on earth will open their minds and hearts to that peace which only God can give!

Have a great week!

Fr. John