Lent 2022

02-27-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday – the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent. Masses will be offered in our Church that day at 6:45am and 8:00am and at 12:10pm, 4:00pm, and 7:00pm. Ashes will be blessed and distributed at all those Masses.

There are several ways of looking at Lent. Some people see it simply as a time of penance. We give up treats we like to show that we are sorry for our sins and want to do better in the future. This is a good way of looking at Lent.

Other people look at Lent as a time to do something extra for God. They go to Daily Mass or practice extra charity as a way of going the extra mile for God during this holy season. This is also a good way of looking at Lent.


How to Prepare for the Synod Listening Session

02-20-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Last Thursday, about 60 eighth grade members of our parish received the Sacrament of Confirmation. I want to thank them for being faithful to the process by which they prepared for Confirmation, which included classes, a retreat, and reflecting on the homilies they heard at Holy Mass. Please keep them in your prayers and that they strive to live by the Spirit Who strengthened them in this sacrament.

This coming Friday, February 25, our parish will host a Listening Session for the Synod called by Pope Francis. I devoted my column in the January 22 – 23 bulletin to explain what the Synod is. In short, Pope Francis’ hope is that it will be a time for Catholics around the world to prayerfully think about the Church, her mission in the world, and the part each of us plays in that mission.


Rest in Peace, Monsignor Michael Corona

02-13-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

By the time you read these words, we will have buried Monsignor Corona, who served our parish for 30 years, and was a priest for 54 years! May God reward him for answering the call to the priesthood so generously.

I first got to know Monsignor Corona nearly 35 years ago, when I was a newly ordained priest. As many of you know, my first assignment was in our neighboring parish, St. Mary’s in Alpha. Monsignor, then Father Corona, was always good to me. I remember several occasions on which he invited me to join him and the other priests of this parish for dinner. He always made me welcome, whether at Confirmation or the carnival.


Blessing to our Parish

02-06-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I want to begin by congratulating Michael Juliano, a member of our parish who received the St. Timothy Award from our Bishop last week. Most of you would know Michael if you saw him, for he is a very faithful acolyte who serves many Masses. The Saint Timothy Award is given to young men and women around the diocese who take initiative to live and share their Catholic Faith.

Our parish has been blessed to have several of our parishioners win this award over the past few years. This is a testimony to the families of our parish who first shared their faith with these fine young men and women. Such great families are one of our parish’s greatest blessings.


Catholic Schools Week

01-30-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I recently read a column in one of the New York newspapers about the state of history in some of our nation’s schools. The columnist had interviewed a number of parents who complained that their grade school children knew very little about history in general and US History in particular. One of them even said that his daughter knew about George Washington “only because she’s heard the soundtrack of the musical Hamilton.”

As I read, I was happy to know that the situation is very different in our parish elementary school. Every year, the eighth graders in our school participate in the National History Day competition. The students are asked to research and do a project on a specific topic. For the past several years some of our students went all the way to the state and National finals. This year’s topic is ‘Debate and Diplomacy in History’ – a good topic for our times!


The Synod – a call to pray, listen, and participate.

01-23-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Last week I told you that I would use this week’s column to explain the Synod which has been convoked by our Holy Father, Pope Francis. A synod is not something new. There have been many synods throughout Church history, some diocesan or regional, others involving the universal Church. The earliest synods were gatherings of Bishops, priests, and lay people to prayerfully discuss how the Church might best live the Gospel at that place and time in history.

Our own Diocese of Metuchen held a synod back in 2008– 2009, just before I came to this parish. Parishes around the diocese were asked to schedule times for prayer. People were asked to attend Listening Sessions in parishes. The results of those listening sessions were forwarded first to deanery then diocesan level sessions where representatives of the priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers, and lay people of the diocese prayerfully discussed them.


Pope Francis, the Synod, and the Dignity of Human Life

01-16-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

“No human being can ever be incompatible with life, not for his age, nor for his health conditions, nor for the quality of his existence.”

Pope Francis spoke those words not long ago. He was speaking of something that we, as Catholics, believe quite deeply – that every human being is sacred, created in the image and likeness of God, and has a God given right to life.

This coming Sat, Jan 22, will be 49th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion on demand in our country. The statistics since then are staggering, with well over 54 million abortions since that time. While the number of annual abortions has actually declined in recent years for a number of reasons, the lives of some three quarters of a million unborn babies are ended this way in our country each year. Add to that the fact that so many other lives are shattered by violence, hunger, and neglect and it is clear that we have much work to do.


The Baptism of the Lord

01-09-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

This weekend we bring the Christmas season to a close with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. While many of us remember when Epiphany marked the end of this season, the Church – since just after Vatican II – has extended her celebration of Christmas to today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Ending the Christmas Season with this celebration reminds us that the same Jesus Who was born as a Child in the manger chose to be baptized and to make baptism one of His holy sacraments.

That Jesus made Baptism one of the seven sacraments speaks to its importance. Indeed, the Church has always held that Baptism, received sacramentally, or by blood or desire, is necessary for salvation. As Jesus said: “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)



01-02-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Last week I told you that Christmas is so important that we celebrate it not just for a day but for a whole season. This season is filled with feasts (holy days) that help us celebrate and understand the meaning of Christmas more completely. We have already celebrated Christ’s birth on Christmas, the Feast of the Holy Family last Sunday, and the Feast of Mary, the Holy Mother of God on New Year’s Day.

Today we celebrate another great Feast of the Christmas Season, the Epiphany. The word Epiphany means to ‘reveal or make known something which was hidden.’ We call this feast Epiphany because the star revealed to the Magi, or Wise Men, that the baby lying in the manager was no ordinary baby. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Savior of the World.


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.