Today, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, is often called Laetare Sunday. Laetare comes from the Latin words that mean rejoice. The priest often wears rose colored vestments on this Sunday, rather the usual Lenten violet, reminding us to rejoice in the Lord.
Lent is a penitential season and there is so much sorrow in the world that can make it hard to be joyful. But Laetare Sunday reminds us that Christians always have reason for a certain holy joy. We can be joyful that God loves us and sent Jesus to save us. We can rejoice that He hears our prayers and allows us to offer our sufferings to Him, as our share in the Cross of Christ, to help us on our way to Heaven.READ MORE
March 19th is the Solemn Feast of Saint Joseph. I think it’s great that we honor St. Joseph during Lent, because he is an example to us of what Lent is all about. When the Gospel first introduces us to Saint Joseph, it tells us that he is a ‘just man.’ In the Bible, a ‘just man’ is someone who is right with God and other people.
Saint Joseph was certainly right with God, so right that God chose him to be Jesus’ foster father. His willingness to take Mary into his home, and to raise her Son as his own, tells us that Joseph was right with the people around him.READ MORE
It’s good to see Lent get off to a good start in our parish. Seeing so many people in Church on Ash Wednesday really lifted my spirits. I pray that we all make a great Lent, so that we can celebrate Easter with our hearts renewed and our souls filled with God’s grace.
Speaking of souls filled with grace, we will have our Lenten Penance Service this Monday, March 14, at 7 PM in Church. About 10 priests will be there to hear Confessions. This will be a good time to make your Lenten Confession, and be sure that your soul is free from sin and filled with God’s grace for Easter.READ MORE
Today is the first Sunday of Lent. I always associate Lent with baseball’s Spring Training. Both happen at about the same time, and both have a similar purpose.
Ballplayers use Spring Training to get in shape for the upcoming baseball season. Catholics use Lent to get in shape spiritually.
As I write these words, I don’t know if baseball will even have a Spring Training this year. But, as Catholics, we need to get in spiritual shape just the same. Indeed, Lent is our yearly reminder to not be complacent about our relationship with Jesus.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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!READ MORE
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As we begin a new calendar year, we always make time to recognize our Catholic schools. Unfortunately, again this year we are challenged to celebrate Catholic Schools Week (Sun, Jan 30 –Fri, Feb 5) in the midst of rising COVID numbers and the disruption that has resulted.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
“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.READ MORE
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)READ MORE
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.READ MORE