Month of Mary

04-26-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Next weekend we enter the month of May, which is traditionally dedicated to our Blessed Mother, Mary. I spoke in this column about praying for Mary’s intercession as helper of the sick. Today I want to remind everyone to honor our Blessed Mother this month by praying her Rosary – daily if possible.

I often tell you that I keep all of you in my daily Rosary – which I do. I find that, as I pray the Rosary, thoughts of people who have asked for my prayers come to mind. For that reason, I have developed the habit of mentioning the many people who have asked my prayers before I begin the decades of the Rosary. During the current pandemic, I have been praying several Rosaries daily. Not only do I find that time spent with our Lord and His Blessed Mother very comforting, it also gives me lots of time to pray for everyone.


Divine Mercy

04-19-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It’s odd to write to you as I do today, the day after Easter, without having any family gatherings or things of that sort to speak of. My Easter was very different this year – as I suspect yours was, too! I did speak with my mother – and my sisters – over the phone.

After offering Holy Mass Easter morning, I spent some time praying in our Church. It was very quiet, and I couldn’t help thinking of how busy it would be at that time on a ‘normal’ Easter Sunday! Nonetheless, I said my Divine Office (prayers priests promise to pray each day for their parish, the universal church, and the whole world), followed by a couple of rosaries. I held all of you in prayer, especially those dealing with illness or special challenges at this time. I also prayed – as I’m sure you did – for an end to this pandemic!


Blessed and Happy Easter!

04-12-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I had the pleasure of speaking on the phone with my mom on Palm Sunday afternoon. We spoke – among other things – of how odd it was to celebrate Palm Sunday without visiting. We spoke as well about how different Easter will be this year.

The good news is that it was not a sad conversation – as we all understand that this is simply how it must be right now. I’m sure many of you feel the same way. Being with family and friends is a big part of our Easter celebration. But, if we have to stay home to keep our loved ones safe, it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make.


A Very Different Holy Week

04-05-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Anyone who knows me even a little bit, knows that Palm Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year! That being the case, I’m sure you can imagine how sad I am that we have to celebrate this Palm Sunday so differently than usual. The same, of course, is true of Holy Week and Easter. While we will most certainly post the Liturgies on our parish website – where I hope you will prayerfully watch them – it’s just not the same!

Perhaps we can take some comfort and hope from the example of some of our Catholic ancestors who likewise had to maintain their faith without being able to celebrate Mass or receive Holy Communion. One such group was the Catholics of Japan, who were without a priest for nearly 300 years! By the early 1600’s, the Japanese government had either killed or exiled every Catholic priest in the country – hoping to stamp out the Catholic faith.

But the good Catholics of that country maintained – and even passed on – their faith just the same! Parents taught the Gospel, catechism, and prayers to their children. While they could not have Mass or receive Holy Communion, they prayed and received Spiritual Communion by asking Jesus to come at least spiritually into their hearts.


Let's keep praying!

03-29-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last weekend was truly the most unusual weekend of my life. It truly broke my heart to offer Mass without all of you there. The weirdest part was how quiet it was around the Church and rectory last Saturday and Sunday! Fr. Wojciech and I both noticed it, and we assure all of you of our continued prayers and good wishes as we combat this dreadful pandemic.

On the bright side, some 863 people watched last Sunday’s Mass on our parish website. We will make sure that Mass is there every Sunday for everyone who wants to watch it. I am especially happy that some of you took the time to call and let me know it was helpful to you to hear and pray along with the Mass from our parish.

While our office must be closed at this time, please know that we are checking our phone messages and email several times a day. Fr. Wojciech and I are available for priestly emergencies such as Last Rites. You need only call 908-454- 0112 and follow the prompts to leave a message for either of us or the secretary. In an emergency, follow the directions to press 1 and it will forward your call to whichever priest is on call that day. We will be happy to do our best for you.


Holy Mary, Health of the Sick, Pray for Us

03-22-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

We are all well aware of the threat posed by the Coronavirus outbreak. In his concern for public health and the well-being of each of us, Bishop Checchio has temporarily suspended the public celebration of Holy Mass in the churches of our diocese. This means that Holy Mass will not be celebrated publicly in our church from Wednesday, March 18th until at least Friday, April 3rd. The Bishop will reconsider the situation, in consultation with public health officials, at that time.

During this time, all scheduled Masses will be celebrated privately by our priests. The intentions for each Mass will be honored and prayed for – as required by Canon Law.


24 Hours for the Lord

03-15-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I am excited to announce that our parish will host 24 Hours for the Lord. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in our Church (rather than the chapel) from 8:30am Friday until 7:30am Saturday. People are invited to come and spend some quiet time with our Lord that day and night. You may come and stay for as long or as little as you like. It would be great if you could spend at least an hour with Jesus.

Confessions will be heard after the Stations of the Cross, Friday evening from 7:30-9:00pm and at 9am Saturday morning. Stations of the Cross will be prayed in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament at 3pm and 7pm Friday, and the Daily Masses will be offered as usual.


As Lent continues...

03-08-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I want to start by thanking everyone who came to the Parish Meeting in Mercy Hall last Sunday. It was a pleasure for me to speak about our parish with everyone there. Our parish is blessed to have some very dedicated and supportive people who care deeply about it. They are an inspiration to me.

Remember that we will have fellowship in Mercy Hall following the 9 and 11am Masses next Sunday. It is good to share some time with other parishioners, and to enjoy a cup of coffee and some snacks with them. Such gatherings remind us that, as Catholics, we belong to a family of faith that extends beyond ourselves.


What are you doing for Lent?

03-01-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Today is the First Sunday of Lent. I personally think of Lent as Catholic Spring Training! Baseball players head to Spring Training around the same time Lent begins, and spend several weeks getting into shape for the coming season.

In the same way, Catholics use Lent as a time to get in ‘spiritual shape.’ The traditional ways to do this are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We are encouraged to do a little more praying, fast as a penance for our sins, and be generous to the poor. What follows are some suggestions for doing this.


Here Comes Lent!

02-23-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent. Masses will be offered in our Church that day at 6:45, 8:00am and at 12:10, 5:00 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.


Fr. John's Column

02-16-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of spending some time with the RELIT group’s movie presentation in Mercy Hall. They, and some other parishioner’s, watched a movie about our Blessed Mother, Mary. For those who may not know, RELIT is a group of parishioner’s dedicated to growing their own faith, and helping others do the same. I appreciate their effort, and encourage everyone to join in some of their events.

Speaking of helping people grow their faith, our parish is blessed by the presence of some very special women who have truly dedicated their lives to this. They are the religious sisters who minister in our community: Sr. Clare, SJH, Sr. Ellen, SJH, and Sr. Michaelita, RSM.

Sr. Ellen and Sr. Clare are members of the Sisters of Jesus, Our Hope. They teach in our parish school and are a great witness to the students and faculty. Their community also hosts our faculty for annual Days of Recollection-which helps all our teachers to deepen and enrich their faith.


Let your light shine in the darkness!

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

Today (Sunday) is one of those special times when an important Feast of the Church falls on a Sunday. The Feast of the Presentation, which we celebrate on February 2nd, marks the 40th day since Christmas. This feast recalls how Mary and Joseph brought the infant Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord. While they were there, a holy man named Simeon-who had been promised by God that he would not die until he saw the Savior-and a holy woman named Anna both rejoiced and told all those present the Good News about Jesus.

We celebrate the Feast of the Presentation by blessing candles-and carrying them in procession at the major Masses that day. The candles remind us that Jesus is the Light of the World. We are also reminded that when we live by His teaching, we let His Light shine through us in this world. Our charity towards the poor, forgiveness of enemies, honesty and integrity should all shine against the darkness of sin.