11-28-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Bulletin deadlines required me to write this column before Thanksgiving, so I can’t tell you how mine went. I can tell you that I was looking forward to it as I wrote these words!

Today we begin the holy season of Advent. While it’s easy to think of Advent as a time to prepare for Christmas, it’s really much more than that. The word Advent means ‘coming’ – and Advent is indeed a time to get ready for the coming of Christ.

As Catholics, Advent makes us think about not just one, but two, of Christ’s comings. While we are certainly getting ready to celebrate His first coming at Christmas, Advent also reminds us to get ready for His Second coming on Judgement Day.


The King of Charity

11-21-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this Thursday? Time really does fly these days.

Thanksgiving is a good time for us to take stock of the blessings God has given us, and be sure to thank Him. This, of course, is something we should do in our prayers each and every day. We should also remember that we thank God by remembering those who may not enjoy all the blessings that we do, and practicing Christian Charity towards them.

Today (Sunday) is the Solemn Feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe! It is a day to remember that, in addition to everything else He is for us, Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16). Christ the King Sunday is also a good time to remember that Jesus is very different from the Kings of this world.


Mother Cabrini

11-14-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of joining some of my family to celebrate my mother’s birthday. We had dinner and cake at my sister Natalie’s home in Hillsborough. It was so good to be with both of my sisters and their husbands, and some other family as well. I hope the coming holiday season affords everyone some time to be with family and friends.

By the time you read these words, we will have celebrated Veterans Day. I want to make a special point of thanking all the veterans in our parish. We owe you a debt we can never repay. Thanks for all that you’ve done to ensure our freedoms, especially our freedom of religion.


Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Diocese of Metuchen

11-06-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

This year our diocese will celebrate its 40th Anniversary. While there will be many celebrations and events during the year, I want to speak specifically about our parish celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast this year. We will celebrate Our Lady’s feast day, Sun, Dec 12, with special devotions at the 11:00am and 1:00pm Mass that day.

You may recall that our Bishop reconsecrated our diocese to Jesus through Our Lady of Guadalupe a few years ago. I had the blessed privilege of attending the Mass at which this happened. It was celebrated by Archbishop Christoph Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio (or pope’s representative) to the United States. This consecration established a special relationship between our diocese and Our Lady of Guadalupe. For this reason, I believe it is important for us to observe her Feast Day.


The Family of God

10-31-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

One common way to think about the Church is as a big spiritual family. God is our Father, and in Baptism we become his adopted children, and brothers and sisters to each other. This week we celebrate, with Catholics around the world, two holy days that help us think about the whole family of God.

November 1st is All Saints Day, a day to honor all the saints in heaven. I like to think of the saints as our older brothers and sisters in God’s family. We all know that you can learn a lot from watching and listening to your older brothers and sisters. That is especially true of our relationship with the saints. Their example and words teach us how to be good members of God’s family – just as they were when they walked this earth. Moreover, just as a good older brother or sister is always happy to help us, so the saints help us with their prayers before God’s throne.


What do Catholics Believe about Purgatory and Praying for the Dead?

10-29-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

There is a great story in the Second Book of Maccabees, Chapter 12, which tells how Judas Maccabee, the hero of the story, comes across some of his soldiers who were killed by the enemy.  These soldiers were fighting for Israel’s religious freedom against pagans who were persecuting and killing those who practiced their Faith in the One True God.  But they were wearing pagan amulets, a big sin against the First Commandment.  They were basically good men who had done something wrong.


The Importance of Funeral Masses

10-24-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

As All Souls Day (November 2) approaches, our thoughts naturally turn to our loved ones who died over the years, and to all the faithful departed. All Souls Day, and the whole month of November, is a special time for Catholics to pray for all those who have died. It is our firm belief that God can and does use our prayers to help our loved ones get to Heaven.

That said, I want to turn my attention to the most important prayer we can offer for someone who dies, the Funeral Mass. The Holy Mass is the most powerful prayer we have, thus the Funeral Mass is the most powerful prayer we can offer for a loved one who has died. While other prayers, such as those said at the Funeral Home during the Wake or at the graveside before burial, are also important, they pale in comparison to the Funeral Mass.


World Mission Sunday

10-17-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Next weekend we observe World Mission Sunday. It is a day to pray and support the work of missionaries around the world. Since our Lord first commanded His disciples to ‘teach all nations’, the Church has endeavored to do just that.

Among other things, there is a special collection on World Mission Sunday. Unlike the Mission Co–op Appeal which was held a few months ago to help support a specific mission, the collection on World Mission Sunday is used to support the missionary work of the universal Church. You may use the Mission Sunday envelope in your packet, or simply put your offering in an envelope marked “missions.”


A Thank You to All

10-10-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

It was nice to see so many people and animals at last Sunday’s Blessing of Animals in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Fr. Pat conducted a beautiful Prayer Service. It included some prayers, a Gospel Reading, and a really nice reading from the Life of St. Francis. There was even a song or two.

In addition to a lot of dogs, there was also a cat, a parrot, and even a chinchilla. While some of the animals got a bit restless, they were all good enough that I could hear the whole service! It was nice to gather and pray with so many people whose pets mean so much to them.


St. Francis of Assisi

09-25-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Many of you have kindly asked about my niece’s wedding, and I am happy to say it was beautiful. It was a great family gathering to celebrate a wonderful event. Thanks to all of you who were praying for my niece, Veronica, and her new husband, Stephen.

One of the things I most enjoyed about the wedding was seeing so many relatives I haven’t seen in a while. Between covid and other things, family gatherings have been more limited for the past year and a half. In fact, the wedding was the first time I saw all of my aunts and uncles at the same place in over two years! God willing, we will see more of each other in the coming months.


The Power of Prayer

09-19-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

This week Father Gilbert will make his annual priest retreat. In her wisdom, the Church requires every priest to make a five day retreat each year. Experience has taught the Church that doing so not only brings many blessings to her priests, but also to the people they serve.

Please pray for Father Gilbert as he makes his retreat. Having enjoyed the assistance of your prayers when I made my own retreat back in June. I know how powerful it is to have many people praying for you while on retreat. God grants so many blessings to us in answer to our prayers for each other, and we should always be grateful to Him for that.


A Very Busy Time of Year!

09-12-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I hope everyone had a good Labor Day weekend and is ready to get back into the swing of things! Our parish, which is always busy in some way or another, really seems to get busy this time of year. The beginning of school and CCD is a big reason for this, but there is much more happening.

One of those things is our annual Parish Communion Breakfast, which we had to cancel last year and are glad to have again. It will be held next Sunday (September 19th) following the 9 AM Mass. This year’s affair will consist of a Continental Breakfast. Many thanks are due the Knights of Columbus, who are providing the food for the breakfast.


Christians in the Land of Christ

09-05-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

This Monday is Labor Day, a day to honor all those who work for a living. As Catholics we believe that work is part of God’s plan for us. St. Paul, in one of his letters, tells us to ‘earn the food we eat by working quietly.’ He also admonishes those ‘who do not keep busy, but act like busybodies.’ He even goes so far as to say that ‘those who do not work should not eat.’

In this St. Paul is certainly not putting down those who cannot work due to age, disability, or circumstance. Neither is he, who constantly commands us to practice charity, discouraging us from helping those who truly are in need.
But St. Paul is reminding us that work has a place in God’s plan, and we do well to reflect prayerfully on the good we can do by working according to His will.