A new priest for our parish!

08-30-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I am happy to report that, as we announced at the Masses last weekend, Bishop Checchio has assigned a newly ordained priest to our parish. His name is Fr. Gilbert Starcher, and his home parish is St. Ann’s in Hampton, New Jersey. He will begin his assignment at St. Philip and St. James on September 1st .

I was privileged to attend the Mass at which Fr. Gilbert was ordained last Saturday. It was a beautiful and uplifting Liturgy, held at the outdoor Blue Army Shrine in nearby Washington, NJ. I have always found that attending an ordination somehow rejuvenates my own priesthood–and this was no exception.

After the ordination, I was able to speak to our new priest for a few minutes. His joy and enthusiasm were palpable– which was wonderful to see. He told me he is very happy to be coming to our parish, and I assured him we will be happy to have him!


Farewell, Fr. Wojciech!

08-23-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend we bid a fond farewell to our good friend Fr. Wojciech. He has been such a blessing to our parish since he arrived here last year. I will especially miss his help with so many things, and the fraternity we enjoyed in the rectory.

Please keep Fr. Wojciech in your prayers as he moves to his new assignment. I know he will be a source of many blessings to the people there as he has been for us. Let’s also pray that he continues along the road to incardination in our diocese, and to serving permanently among the priests of the Metuchen Diocese.

That fraternity of priests is being enriched this weekend with the ordination of new priests. Two of them spent time in our parish as seminarians–and I am so happy for them. Indeed, I am happy to have all of them as brother priests, and will pray daily that God grant them a long and blessed priestly ministry.


Priests, Seminarians & Our Parish

08-16-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

This coming Saturday, our Bishop will ordain several young men to the priesthood. Two of them, Deacon Thomas Lanza and Deacon David Keyes, spent a summer in our parish as seminarians. I am happy to see them reach priestly ordination, and look forward to attending the ordination. Please keep them in your prayers.

Speaking of seminarians, I want to thank Joseph Ho for all he did in our parish this past summer. He arrived in our parish in the midst of the pandemic, and immediately went to work. Most of the things I ask seminarians to do, like helping at Vacation Bible School, was not possible this year, but that didn’t stop Joseph at all. He helped serve all our Masses, distribute Holy Communion (even in the parking lot before public Mass restarted) and was a big help in cleaning and sanitizing our Church. Joseph’s willingness to serve in many different ways will help him be a great priest!


The Year of Doing Things Differently!

08-09-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

In a year when it seems we have done just about everything differently than usual – for good reason–it makes sense that we had to do the Mission Co–op Appeal differently, too. As our priests mentioned at Mass last weekend, our scheduled missionary–Fr. John Tigatiga– could not be with us. He and I spoke early last week and decided it would be best if he did not travel to our parish at this time. I did invite him to come and visit us at some later date when things get back to normal.

That said, I want to thank everyone who supported this year’s Mission Co–op Appeal. Many of you sent in envelopes ahead of time or gave online–and many others took advantage of the boxes in the Church last Sunday. Thanks–one and all–for your usual generous support of the missions. The overall amount collected will be posted and updated elsewhere in the bulletin.


A crazy summer!

08-02-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Can you believe it’s already August? It’s been such an unusual summer. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s been such an unusual summer that–in so many ways–it seems like it wasn’t summer at all! I expect that’s true for many of you, too!

And now, with the arrival of August we get the news that our wonderful parochial vicar (associate pastor), Fr. Wojciech Kusek, is being transferred on September 1st . As I explained at Mass this weekend, while this is sad for us, it is part of the necessary process that has to happen for Fr. Wojciech to realize his dream of being incardinated into our diocese.

Incardination is the name the Church gives to the process by which a priest changes from one religious order or diocese to another. Fr. Wojciech, following what he believes to be God’s call for him, has asked to be incardinated from the Redemptorist Fathers to our own Diocese of Metuchen. For that to happen, he must first spend time in a couple of our parishes. This allows the diocese to get to know him better, and for him to earn the recommendation of several pastors in our diocese.