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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,
Happy Father’s Day to all our dads.

God bless all our dads on their special day and thank you for who you are. As a gift from the parish, please take a mini flashlight with you (if they've come in) and know how much the light of your faith contributes not only to your family but to the parish family as well.

Dear Friends,
Last weekend was about the busiest a parish can possibly be. Beginning Friday evening, and then twice on Saturday, Bishop Cruz confirmed 199 of our young people. I’ve already written about that but I want to take the time to thank all those involved in the preparation and celebrations themselves, the catechetical leaders (those who led the small groups), the service project leaders, the teenagers who were on the teams that ran the retreat weekends and the musicians who added so much to the confirmation liturgies. And all under the direction of our Director of Youth Ministry, Glen McCall. Thanks to all of you. But special thanks go to all those families, parents who still think it important enough to lead their children to a continued formation in their faith.

Dear Friends,
First, I want to thank all those who made the celebration of Fr. Jakov’s Mass of Thanksgiving such a memorable moment. The music at the Mass was wonderful, the food was great and the spirit was electric. I was a little worried because it was Memorial Day weekend and I was sure that many would be away. And that was true. But many did come, changing the time they usually attended Mass and the church was full. As I said at the Mass, Fr. Jakov was always available to take on additional responsibilities and to assist in any way he could. He has been assigned to Fr. Ivan’s parish, St. Peter’s in Belleville, and with that spirit of service, I know he will do well. Thanks to the servers, the readers, the music ministry and the women and men from the Cornerstone ministry who organized and served the reception downstairs. All the help was greatly appreciated.

As we said good-bye to Fr. Jakov last week, we say hello to Fr. Gino de la Rama, the former parochial vicar here and present Archdiocesan Director of Vocations who joins us this weekend. He will be preaching on vocations at all the Masses and we are certainly glad to see him again. It’s a little strange that when he was first assigned here he arrived on the Feast of Corpus Christi; he left on the Feast of Corpus Christi, and he returns as guest homilist on the Feast of Corpus Christi.

Dear Friends,
As we begin this week, several significant spiritual moments lay before us. The first is today’s celebration of Fr. Jakov’s Mass of Thanksgiving. As I have mentioned several times over the last weeks, Fr. Jakov was ordained a priest at the Cathedral Basilica in Newark yesterday. While I understand the special connection of being ordained in the Bishop’s church, sometimes I wish each deacon could be ordained in the parish where they served as a deacon, so people could experience the beautiful rite that is ordination. Two moments always stand out in my mind as special, the prostration after the call and the laying on of hands. The candidates are first called by name, for the service of the Church of Newark. Their response, “Present,” expresses their willingness to offer their lives in service to Christ and His Church, the People of God. After promises to the Bishop, they prostrate themselves, lying on the sanctuary floor, while the people ask God, Mary, all the angels and saints, in a long, sung litany, to intercede for them and those they serve, keeping them faithful to the call they just answered. The prostration is a reminder to the priest-to-be that he gives up his life, offered to Christ and His Church, for the sake of the Kingdom, and that he humbly puts aside all pride and places both strengths and weaknesses in the hands of God to share in the Priesthood of Christ, Who is, Himself, the High Priest.

Dear Friends,
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost, the gift from the Father and the Son of their Spirit to the disciples, gathered again in a room, which officially makes them the Church. And so, as we used to say in times past, today is the Feast of the birthday of the Church. We old timers remember the days when Pentecost would have been highlighted as the birthdate of the Church. And this is something that can’t be denied. As it is with all birthdays, so it is with the Church, born from the side of her crucified Lord, (as many great spiritual writers have reflected down through the ages), and brought to life by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so, Happy Birthday, Church! I repeat below some thoughts from years past because, I believe they help us reflect on the full reality of this great gift the Church receives from her Lord.

Since the Second Vatican Council, there has been a different focus for this Feast, one that helps us get a greater grasp of the reality that we celebrate today, and it is not so much on the Church as it is on the Holy Spirit as the Divine presence that animates the Church. Of all the references to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, more than half are to be found in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. The Acts of the Apostles is often referred to as the Gospel of the Holy Spirit.

Dear Friends,
This being Mother’s Day, we offer this prayer:

God Our Creator, we pray:
For new mothers, coming to terms with
new responsibility;
For expectant mothers, wondering
and waiting;
For those who are tired, stressed or
depressed;
For those struggling to balance the tasks of work and family;
For those unable to feed their children due to poverty;
For those whose children have physical,
mental or emotional disabilities;
For those who have children they do
not want;
For those who raise children on their own;
For those who have lost a child;
For those who care for the children
of others;
For those whose children have left home;
And for those whose desire to be a mother
has not been fulfilled.
Bless all mothers, that their love may be deep and
tender, And that they may lead their children to know and do what is good, Living not for them-selves alone, but for God and for others.
Amen.

Dear Friends,
On a happy note, I share with you the great joy of the parish in welcoming to the Table of the Lord for the first time, the 165 children whose names are listed on the front of this bulletin. The last two celebrations were held yesterday. To be with them at all of these celebrations is a great privilege of being the pastor of this local Catholic community. They not only represent the future of the Church but also it’s present. They come from families who believe that faith is an important part of family living and that these children, themselves, contribute to the deepening of the faith life of our parish community. I congratulate all of them, their families, relatives and friends and pray that, together, we all will continue on the road of building the Kingdom of God’s love among us.

Dear Friends,
Thanks to all who wondered if I was OK because I didn’t write a column for last Sunday’s bulletin. I’m fine, just a little bout of mental laziness.

Speaking of last week, there may have been some confusion about the raffle for the Academy of Our Lady. In the past, raffle tickets cost $100 for the Grand Prize of $25,000. I think it’s been harder and harder to sell those $100 tickets so the Committee has replaced that raffle with this new one—A Calendar Raffle. I’ll admit, I never heard of this before. In the Calendar Raffle, a prize is drawn every day in June, July, August and the first five days of September, $100 on most Fridays with the last Friday of each month being $300, $50 on all the other days and $4,000 on the last day, September 5th. And even if you win, your ticket stays in the pot for the whole 97 days. That gives the ticket holder multiple chances to win. And the tickets cost only $20. All proceeds go for the benefit of the school. I hope and encourage everyone to take at least one ticket. It’s definitely worth it. Raffle tickets will not be available this weekend because of the “Shake the Can” drive of the Knights of Columbus, for the benefit of the developmentally disabled but tickets will be available on several weekends in May.

Dear Friends,
Random thoughts that run through an idle mind

My column on Easter Sunday began, “As I write this on the Monday of Holy Week, the temperature outside is only 36 but the sun is shining and the sky is a bright blue, and so, I can be hopeful we have actually seen the last of winter.”

How wrong I was. The day after that appeared, on Easter Monday, I was scheduled to leave for my first posthurricane Irma visit to the Missio in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I drove to Newark Airport that morning in a blinding snow storm. None of the roads, including the Turnpike, had been either plowed or salted. I can’t remember the last time I ventured out in a storm like that. And then a three and a half hour delay, but at least my flight got out, unlike many others that day.

Dear Friends,
Much like Easter Sunday, the 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, requires mentioning a few of the same things, year after year. First on the list is to say, “thank you.”

So, let me express my thanks to all those who helped make the Holy Week and Easter services so moving. A thank you to the people behind the scenes, Peggy and Patti in the office and, especially to Sal and Chris, from the maintenance staff, for weeks of hard work on the floors of the church, to make vanish the effects of the late-blooming winter. I want to especially say thanks to Fr. Robert and the liturgical ministers who planned and carried out some unique Masses/services which really happen only once a year. The servers seemed especially attentive and experienced in their tasks this year. The liturgies were so well done and, therefore, so spiritually moving.

weeklybulletin1

Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 

 

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Click Here for the Video in English and Spanish

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