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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

As you can see from the front cover of today’s bulletin, Catholic Schools Week begins today. This is the week throughout the nation when we celebrate the history of, and continuing presence of the Catholic school as part of the American Catholic parish experience. There are a host of activities happening at our school, the Academy of Our Lady, which we support along with St. Catharine’s. At the conclusion of all the masses this weekend, both here and at St. Catharine’s, a student from the Academy, from his/her particular parish, will speak of their experience at the Academy. I know you will be impressed.

Many things have changed in and about the Catholic school over the decades, but one thing remains—the Catholic school is still the place where God and faith come first. This is true not only in religion as a classroom subject, but also in the way our faith permeates the whole atmosphere of the school. It starts at the very beginning of the day, when the school assembles in the church for prayer and carries through every day, most especially in the relationships that are developed, relationships based on Christ’s commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.” It is the atmosphere of faith that permeates the school that makes it special. To that end, I invite families and parents, especially parents with children of elementary school age, to attend one of the two Open Houses to be held at the school. The first is on Sunday, 1/29, from 11:00AM to 1:00PM. The second is on Wednesday, 2/1, from 10:00AM to 12:00 Noon. Please come and experience the vitality of Catholic education.

And still speaking of the school, tickets for the Calendar Raffle will be available at the doors of the church following this Sunday’s 9:30AM mass and at all masses the weekend of February, Feb. 25th and 26th. You can find information on the Raffle and its prizes elsewhere in this bulletin but basically tickets are drawn every day so there are multiple chances to win on the same ticket. I’ve actually won twice over the last three years. (Not really a great track record. Maybe this year I could win twice in one year. But I wouldn’t bet on it ). The important thing is that it’s a great way to support the continued presence of this vital apostolate—the apostolate of Catholic education and formation.

Next weekend is Pledge Weekend for the 2023 Annual Appeal for the Archdiocese of Newark. On the Homepage of the website you will find the message from Cardinal Tobin in reference to the Appeal and the work of the Church of Newark that’s funded by the Appeal. I will have more to say about it in next week’s bulletin. But I wanted to bring something to your attention that might help you decide whether or not to participate. St. Lucy’s parish in Jersey City closed over 40 years ago. When Catholic Charities first got involved with ministering to the homeless, the Archdiocese leased the premises to Catholic Charities for a homeless shelter for $1.00 a year. In fact, Catholic Charities eventually opened 3 shelters on the premises, a general shelter for walk-in homeless in the school, a shelter for men with AIDS in the former rectory and Transitional Housing units for those transitioning from homeless to their own apartments. Along with the shelters, Catholic Charities offers a variety of services including job training and job search, education and mental-health/ addiction programs and SSI and unemployment counselling. About five years ago, a developer approached the Archdiocese about the sale of the land which sits in downtown Jersey City. Rather than just telling Catholic Charities to find another site, the Archdiocese has been working with Catholic Charities, the developer, and the City of Jersey City for the construction of a new shelter for those same populations, passing all the proceeds of the sale to Catholic Charities. It could have taken those funds for itself, since it is the owner of the property, but it didn’t. This new shelter is about to open in the next two months or so. I pass along this information to you as a sign that the Archdiocese is faithful when it comes to the promise that all the funds raised through the Annual Appeal are used exclusively for their intended purposes. More next week.

God bless,
Fr. Ron



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