God is so Good

06-30-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last weekend was one of the most inspiring of my life, and that is truly no exaggeration! I had the privilege of seeing two sons of our parish ordained to the sacred priesthood. As a parish, we have followed Fr. Matthew Marinelli and Fr. Joseph Illes through the years, and now we have the joy of seeing them ordained!

It was great to see so many of our people make the journey to the Cathedral in Metuchen for the Ordination Mass. Even better was the number of people who attended their First Masses in our Church last Sunday. Many people were at all three ceremonies, which speaks volumes about their faith!


Corpus Christi

06-23-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Today we celebrate Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. This celebration – one of the most solemn of the Church year – honors the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, under the appearance of bread and wine. This, indeed, is the Mystery of Faith – that what looks and tastes like bread and wine is really the Risen Jesus.

Speaking of the Eucharist, Jesus once said, “The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” In other words, receiving the Holy Communion establishes an abiding relationship between us and Jesus. It gives us a special closeness to Him.

In these days of electronic communication, we have many ways to keep in touch. E-mails, text messages, and skyping allow us to speak to friends and family members around the world at almost any time. But, actually sitting down with each other and enjoying each other’s company – simply being with each other – doesn’t happen as much as we’d like.


Fathers and Fathers

06-16-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers, grandfathers, and special men of our parish. Father’s Day always reminds of a nice thing my father did for me when I was probably only 4 or 5 years old. We were riding through town in our car – a black Rambler, as I recall. As we crossed some railroad tracks, he noticed that a freight train was approaching. We were already across when the flag man (Remember them!) began stopping traffic. But, my dad stopped the car anyway so I could watch the train go by through the rear window!

I’m sure my father had plenty of things to do, but he took those few extra minutes to let me watch the train! It was a little thing, but one I still remember after all these years. Moreover, it is indicative of the sacrifices that fathers – and all parents – make for their children. Today we thank them for it.


Pentacost Sunday

06-09-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Today is Pentecost Sunday – the day on which Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help His disciples spread the Gospel to many people and places. In Baptism – and especially Confirmation – Jesus sent that same Holy Spirit to help us spread the Gospel in the world today. Many of you do this by teaching your children about the Faith and sending them to Catholic School or CCD classes. Many also do it by supporting the missions. Still, others do it on a personal, one-to-one basis – sharing their faith with others in conversations and other ways.


Preparing for Pentacost Sunday

06-02-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I had a very relaxing Memorial Day. After celebrating Holy Masses that morning, I enjoyed watching the parade. The rectory’s front porch is the perfect seat for the parade, and it is nice to see it so easily. After that, I had a quiet day at the rectory, which was really very nice.

I am happy to announce that our parish will sponsor a bus trip to the Priesthood Ordinations in St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral on Saturday, June 22nd. The bus will leave the school parking lot on Roseberry Street at 8 AM that day and be back by 1:30 PM. There is no charge, but you must register ahead of time so we can make sure everyone has a seat. Call the parish office (908-454-0112) to reserve a space.


Memorial Day

05-26-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I want to start by wishing everyone – especially the veterans of our parish – a very Happy Memorial Day! We owe the freedom we enjoy – and often take for granted – to those who sacrificed so much to defend it over the years. On Memorial Day, take a moment to say a prayer for those who died defending our country, and thank the veterans you know.

Holy Mass will be offered in our Church on Memorial Day at 7, 8, and 9 AM. The 8 AM Mass will be offered for all those buried in our parish cemetery. Those who were buried there since last Memorial Day will be mentioned by name in the intentions of that Mass. Everyone is welcome to attend.


May is the Month of Mary

05-19-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

By now you have all heard the sad news that our long-time secretary, Cathy Steigerwalt, died suddenly last weekend. She will most certainly be missed by our parishespecially by those who have worked closely with her over the years. I can honestly say that working with Cathy was a pleasure, and I will miss her immensely.

As per her family’s request, the Funeral Services will be private. However, we will have a Memorial Service for her in our Church this Monday, May 20th, at 7 PM. Everyone is welcome to come and pray for Cathy. We will ask God to care for Cathy’s soul, give comfort to her family, and strengthen our faith in Jesus’ Good News about Heaven and Eternal Life. I hope many of you will be there.


Happy Mothers Day!

05-12-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, and spiritual mothers in our parish. Today we do well to think of and thank all the special women in our lives. Let’s also thank God for sending them to us.

My own mother means the world to me. I’m sure most of you feel the same way about your mothers. Thinking of my mother today brings so many memories and thoughts to mind. Some of those memories are fond ones – like her being one of the only moms in our neighborhood who liked having her children home for summer vacation. Others are serious – like her taking little part-time jobs to help make ends meet. Still others are funny – like the time my brother-in-law and I were doing horribly in a batting cage on a boardwalk in North Carolina. My mother picked up the bat and started hitting line drive after line drive – wowing a bunch of local kids! You can’t make this stuff up.


The Month of Mary

05-05-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

May is, of course, the Month of Mary. With that in mind, try to do some little things to honor Mary this month. If you don’t already pray the Rosary daily, this would be a good time to start. If you can’t pray a whole Rosary, why not pray at least a decade of it a day? It is a powerful prayer – one of my favorites – and is recommended by countless saints.

As a parish, we will honor Mary by setting up a special statue of her near the side Altar. This statue will be crowned by our First Communion children at the 11 AM Mass next Sunday. It will be left in place throughout the month of May. My hope is that it will inspire us to think of Mary’s good example and strive to follow it in our lives.


A Great Easter!

04-28-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I had an absolutely wonderful Easter – and hope that you did, too. First and foremost, I was happy to celebrate Easter Mass with so many of you. The Easter Vigil and my Mass on Easter morning were the very heart of my Easter celebration. Concelebrating with Fr. Leo – who offered such a beautiful Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday – was another highlight of this Holy Week.

For many years, I have had a special place in my heart for the Solemn Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion at 3 PM on Good Friday. This year – as always – I was deeply moved during that Liturgy. Watching so many people come forward to venerate the Cross was truly inspiring. I especially enjoyed watching so many parents, grandparents, and even big brothers and sisters showing little ones how to kiss the Cross. This is how we pass on our Faith – and I’m glad that so many of you do so!


Joy We Really Need

04-21-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I want to begin by wishing each and every one of you a blessed and happy Easter. The Resurrection of Jesus stands at the very heart of everything we believe as Catholics. It is my favorite day of the year, and I am always happy to celebrate it with you.

Easter is so important to us that we celebrate it not just for a day – but for a season of fifty days. The Easter Season is longer than Lent because the joy of the Resurrection is greater than penance of Lent. As part of our celebration of this joyful season, our Church will be decorated throughout the Easter Season. The new Paschal (Easter) Candle will stand near the pulpit, rising high into the air as a symbol of Christ's glorious Resurrection.

The Rite of Sprinkling with Holy Water will replace the Penitential Rite at most Sunday Masses during the Easter Season. This is to remind us that the New Life Christ gave us in Baptism has as its goal our Resurrection and Eternal Life in Heaven. Additionally, the Gloria will be sung as a joyful hymn. May these beautiful ceremonies fill us with the joy that the first disciples felt when they saw the Risen Lord on the first Easter Sunday.


2019 Holy Week

04-14-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Last Saturday evening I had the real pleasure of attending the parish Faith and Service Dinner at Flynn's. This dinner is held annually to celebrate our school, its alumni, and people who have made significant contributions to our parish and school community. This year's honorees were Mrs. Jo-Ann Scott, our long-time Religious Education Director, and Frank Stettner, a lifelong member of our parish and graduate of our parish school. I was especially moved to hear both of them speak about the role their family, parish, and community plays in their lives. A special thank you is owed to everyone who made this event such a good time and a success.

As we begin Holy Week, I want to encourage everyone to make a real effort to come to Church on both Holy Thursday (7 PM) and Good Friday (3 PM). Our church really should be filled on those most holy days. They are the days on which Jesus gave us His greatest gift – His Body and Blood, offered on the Cross to take away our sins so we can have eternal life in Heaven! Our presence in church on Holy Thursday and Good Friday are a token of our appreciation of all that He did.


Pope Francis on Confession

04-07-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

It was nice to see so many people take time to be with Jesus during last week's 24 Hours for the Lord. I made a holy hour between midnight and 1 AM – and counted about 15 other people who remained in the Church for that hour. Even more came in and out for brief visits with our precious Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Spending quiet time like that with Jesus is such a beautiful thing to do!

Believe it or not, next Sunday is Palm Sunday – which means that Lent is almost over! If you have not yet been to Confession this Lent, please do so this Saturday. Fr. Leo and I will be in the Confessionals this Saturday from 9:00-9:30 AM and 3:15 – 4:15 PM. If those times don't work, you can call one of us for an appointment.

Right now, I'd like to share some answers that Pope Francis gave to people who asked him questions about Confession.