New Priests and Missionaries

06-27-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Last Saturday I had the blessed occasion to attend the ordination of four new priests, and one deacon, for our diocese. It was held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima (the Blue Army Shrine) in nearby Washington, New Jersey. The Mass was long, but beautiful.

Among those ordained to the priesthood was Fr. Timothy Eck. Many of you undoubtedly remember when, as a seminarian, he served the summer of 2019 in our parish. It was really a pleasure to see him ordained to the holy priesthood and to attend his First Holy Mass at St. Jude’s Church in Blairstown last Sunday afternoon.

Fr. Eck will celebrate the 11:00am today (Sunday) in our Church. Remember that you can obtain an indulgence by attending that Mass and/or receiving the new priest’s blessing. You can obtain a plenary indulgence by fulfilling the usual conditions (go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, and say a prayer for Pope Francis) within a few weeks of receiving the new priest’s blessing.

I made a point of praying for all of you during my retreat last week. I made a list of the special intentions that so many of you gave me, and mentioned them in my prayers every day, as well as at the Tomb of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Grotto of Lourdes at the seminary. As always, it was a pleasure to bring your prayers with me.

Our parish will host the annual Mission Co – op Appeal the weekend of July 17th and 18th. The Mission Co – op Appeal is a program in which every parish is visited by a missionary who preaches a homily or speaks at Mass. A collection is taken to support the work of that missionary and his/her order. It is a concrete way in which we support the missionary work of the Church, in accord with Jesus’ command to ‘go and teach all nations.’

Fr. Cesar Santa Cruz, F.M.M., will be our mission preacher that weekend. He is a member of the Missionary Fraternity of Mary and was ordained a priest in 2010. Father’s current assignment is in Guatemala. Please watch for more information about the upcoming Mission Co – op Appeal.

As you know, every Catholic is called to be a missionary in some way. By this we mean that each of us has a responsibility to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this world. So many of you do that by teaching your children, serving as CCD teachers, or supporting our Parish School and Religious Education Program. We also do it by supporting missionaries like Fr. Cruz, something our parish has always done very well.

I know that we will make Fr. Cruz welcome in our parish and support his work with our donations and, especially, our prayers.

Remember that another way to be a missionary is to invite people who are interested in becoming Catholic to the RCIA. The RCIA is the process by which adults learn about and, if they choose at the end of the process, convert to the Catholic Faith. It is also a good process for adults who were Baptized but never made their Frist Communion or Confirmation. If you know people like this, please suggest that they call me. I will be happy to answer their questions and help them along the way.

Finally, please keep me in your prayers, at least one Hail Mary a day. You are always in my prayers.

Have a great week!
Fr. John

P.S. Remember the Bible Study with our seminarian, Luis, on Wednesday evenings, at 7:00pm