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Fr. Ron's Blog

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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.

A second moving moment is the laying on of hands. This is an ancient rite by which an office or a charism is passed on from one person to another. The Acts of the Apostles mentions on numerous occasions this laying on of hands by the Apostles for special service. After the Bishop lays his hands on each candidate, the entire body of priests come and do the same. Often there may be 150 or so priests present at an ordination. It is moving to see all of them engage in this ritual, expressing their solidarity in service to the Church – and all done in silence. A very powerful moment.

May all of these new priests never forget the lessons of the rite itself, humble service, conformed to the image of Jesus, the Master.

And speaking of vocations, next weekend Fr. Gino, our own Fr. Gino who left us to become Archdiocesan Vocation’s Director, will be preaching at all the masses on vocations. We will be happy to have him back with us, even if it’s only as a visitor.

This coming Friday and Saturday, 199 of our young people will be confirmed in the Spirit by Bishop Manuel Cruz, Auxiliary Bishop of Newark. They come to this moment, presented by their families, having spent their last year in a program of preparation that included study (in their small group classes), prayer and reflection (especially during their retreats) and service (outreach to those in need). While I don’t sit in on their classes, I do spend a good deal of time with them during the retreats, and I attended the two sessions at which each group reported on their service projects. I have always been impressed by their honesty and sincerity, even their wonderings about God and His presence in their lives and I am always moved by their willingness to share with each other. I am equally impressed by their outreach to those in need in their service projects. Whether it was feeding the hungry at Eva’s Kitchen, filling shelves with food at the Fr. English Food Pantry, serving at the Family Promise Soup Kitchen in Hackensack or St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen in Paterson or helping the Emmanuel Cancer Center, Oasis in Paterson, Ridgewood Social Services and even the Ramapo Bergen Animal Shelter, these young men and women experienced what it is to give of themselves in service, and also learned the sadness and struggles that people deal with every day of their lives. Confirmation is about the empowering by the Spirit to live as witnesses to Jesus in the world and it was an inspiration to see the good works these teenagers are capable of. They fill me with great hope for the future of the Catholic faith community, but also with an anxiety that we, their families and the parish must find ways to continue to challenge them and help them grow and mature in their faith life.

Next weekend is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord, the old Feast of Corpus Christi and I will write more about it next week. But, for now, I remind everyone of the Procession with the Blessed Sacrament around the outside of the church after the 12:30 Mass. It is a time to give public witness to the faith of this Catholic community in the real presence of Jesus and the special gift He has given to His Church to sustain us, feed us and help us grow into that same image of Christ that I mentioned when reflecting on ordination. All of us can be conformed to the image in the power of the Eucharist. Come and join us in this act of public witness.

Finally, on a sacred, but maybe not spiritual note, Monday (5/28) is Memorial Day, the special day set aside by the nation to remember all those who gave of their lives for the cause of freedom, and the other precious gifts we enjoy as a free people. These men and women, from all the wars our nation fought, answered the call to look at life in a larger way, beyond their homes, families and work. They made the supreme sacrifice in giving their lives, sometimes in causes they may not have fully understood. But by their sacrifice they secured a way of life for us and we now reap the benefits of our national heritage because of them. And the call to serve, with the same risk, continues to be made and men and women continue to offer the same supreme sacrifice.

Take time on Monday to remember the dead, and those who continue to put their lives on the line, either at our special Memorial Day Mass at 8:30 AM, or at the program in Van Neste Square Park, or in some other way. Be inspired by them and learn from them that we do not live just for ourselves.

God Bless and a Happy Memorial Day Weekend,
Fr. Ron

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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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