Farewell, Fr. Wojciech!

08-23-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This weekend we bid a fond farewell to our good friend Fr. Wojciech. He has been such a blessing to our parish since he arrived here last year. I will especially miss his help with so many things, and the fraternity we enjoyed in the rectory.

Please keep Fr. Wojciech in your prayers as he moves to his new assignment. I know he will be a source of many blessings to the people there as he has been for us. Let’s also pray that he continues along the road to incardination in our diocese, and to serving permanently among the priests of the Metuchen Diocese.

That fraternity of priests is being enriched this weekend with the ordination of new priests. Two of them spent time in our parish as seminarians–and I am so happy for them. Indeed, I am happy to have all of them as brother priests, and will pray daily that God grant them a long and blessed priestly ministry.

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with two men from our parish who are studying and preparing for the permanent diaconate. Paul Flore and Francisco Jaurides and their wives met with me and two deacons from the Deacon’s Office at the Diocese to discuss their progress. It was such an inspiration to me to hear these gentlemen talk about their growth–and to hear their wives perspective as well.

Both Paul and Francisco have about two more years or so of preparation before they can be ordained deacons. In the meantime, please keep them in your prayers. Each of them is an intelligent and faith-filled man who will bring many gifts to the diaconate, and be a real blessing to all of us.

Right now, I have to ask all of you for a little help! We have had a growing number of people show up at Sunday (and especially Saturday evening) Mass without calling ahead. While I am very glad so many people want to come to Mass, I am a bit worried, too. We have to make sure that we don’t overload the Church right now–for a couple of reasons.

The first and foremost is safety. Calling ahead to reserve a spot helps make sure we can spread everyone out safely at Mass. I know it’s a cross, but that means it’s something we can offer up to God as a sacrifice! To quote a recent homily by Pope Francis, “Embracing the difficulties of the times in which we live is one of the most important ways that we can carry the Cross with Christ.” If it bothers you to call ahead, think of it as a Cross and offer it to Jesus. He will appreciate the sacrifice and turn it into a blessing for you.

The second reason is that we want to keep having public Mass in our Church, and to do so we have to act prudently. If we can’t maintain safe spacing, we risk having to go back to private Mass. I don’t think any of us want that!

I know that most of you reading this are indeed calling ahead and reserving a spot, and apologize that you have to read this. But if you could help us out by spreading the word, that would be great! Thanks!

This leads me to a second kind of help we need right now. We need a bit more help cleaning up after the Masses at Church. It doesn’t take too long, but it is essential to our ability to celebrate public Masses safely! If you can help in this way–and, again, I know it’s a sacrifice–please call the parish office. Or, just go up to the cleaning crew after Mass and offer some help.

Please pray for me today–at least one Hail Mary. Pray for the new priest who has yet to be assigned. And, of course, please pray for peace, the sick, and all those who need and ask for our prayers.

Have a great week!

Fr. John