Good Things Still Happening

05-03-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

One of the things that is helping me get through this current pandemic is noticing all the good things that are still happening. I thought I would spend some time in this week’s article sharing some of those good things with you.

The first is our parish soup kitchen – which is still operating on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. While we cannot host and feed people in Mercy Hall as we usually do, the Soup Kitchen’s dedicated volunteers have been distributing takeout food in the parking lot. As you can imagine, their efforts are very much appreciated by the local poor who rely on their services.

Catholic Charities – Diocese of Metuchen – also asked us to remind everyone that their local food pantry on South Main Street is still open. You can call ahead (908 – 859 – 5447) to check on hours. You can also make donations at their garage on Spruce Alley (#387).

Some of the Boy Scouts in our parish troop are working – online – to earn the Pope Pius XII Award. This is one of the harder Catholic Awards to earn in scouting, and I am very proud that a number of our boys are working on it. I will be meeting with them in a zoom meeting this week as part of their preparation.

Our parish prayer list is still active – and many people have added names to our list. Our secretary keeps the list up to date and makes sure I have it with me when I offer Mass privately and on line. I also make a point of including the intentions on our prayer list in my daily Rosary. Please include them in your prayers, too.

Last week I told you that May is the Month of Mary. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, issued a beautiful letter about this recently. He asked that families make a point of praying the Rosary together daily this month – or at least as often as they can. Pope Francis also asks that each family add a little prayer for the sick, those caring for them, and for an end to this pandemic to their daily prayers. Praying at home is all the more important this year, when we cannot gather for devotions like the May Crowning.

I’m sure most of you know the basics of praying the Rosary – or you can go on line and learn it quickly. It is a beautiful way to force yourself to spend time with our Lord and His Blessed Mother in prayer. On a personal note, I have found the Rosary to be very helpful to me during the current pandemic.

Also, we have begun posting the bulletin in both in English and Spanish on our website. Just go to the section marked EVENTS and scroll down to the bulletin and you can see the options. Also, when you click on any event listed in the events section, you will now have the choice of reading the information in either language. We are doing this to keep everyone in our parish as informed as possible during this time.

Those are some of the good things going on right now – things that give us hope and lift our spirits while we wait, pray, and do what we can to help get things back to normal.

Unfortunately, there are bad things, too! Many of you may have seen the message in last week’s bulletin about online scams and frauds – which have increased markedly at this time. Please be careful! Remember that I – and our parish – will never ask you for ‘a favor’ online or via a phone text. Any communication from us will come via the mail on regular parish stationary – or via the bulletin in Church or the parish website. If you have any doubt at all, give us a call. We take these things seriously and report any fishy stuff that comes to our attention.

Finally, one of the best things we can all do right now is pray! I continue to ask you to pray at least one Hail Mary for me each day – and thank all of those who do. I know many of you pray for me much more than that – and I appreciate it very much. Let’s all be sure to add a prayer for those who are suffering – and for the end of this pandemic – to our prayers each day.

Have a great week!

Fr. John