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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

What a great weekend. It was the start of the Vine and the Branches-Reengaging CHRIST in Community, the campaign in every parish in the Archdiocese to stir up a new fervor to return to the Eucharist and the sacraments and presence in the community of faith. I think most of us experienced a greater number of our brothers and sisters at our Eucharistic celebrations. Perhaps this was because we announced the blessing of the "backpacks" of our children, which was really the blessing for the children themselves, as they began a new school year, the first full year of day to day in person learning since March of 2020. As I mentioned at the masses I celebrated, we were a little late with this blessing, since school opened over a month ago. And that's true. But, we wanted to tie it in with the Block Party and we decided to push the Block Party back a few weeks to see where things were at with the children after a few weeks of school. All seemed to go well and the children who came forward for the blessing seemed to really enjoy it.

Dear Friends,

Since July we have had the pleasure of Fr. Felix serving the needs of our community. His insightful homilies, and joy and exuberance of celebrations have lifted our spirits and given us new understanding of our faith. Fr. Felix will be going back to Nigeria at the end of the month. On the next page, Fr. Felix will share the work that he does in his homeland, especially for the youth of his country. When he first came, he asked if at the end of his time here, he could make an appeal on behalf of the work he does in Nigeria. Next weekend, Fr. Felix will preach at all the masses on behalf of that work. In gratitude for his work among us, I ask for your support of his ministry.

Next weekend, there will be a special in-pew collection for Fr. Felix's foundation. You know we have not yet returned to in-pew collections for the support of the parish. And we are not ready to do that yet. So there won't be two in-pew collections. We ask you to continue to use the boxes at the doors of the church for your regular parish support. The in- pew collection will only be for Fr. Felix's ministry in Nigeria.

Dear Friends,

Happy fall, and pumpkin and apple pickin' and Halloween and sparkling days and chilly nights and busy calendars, even in the pandemic. And, let's hope and pray, a decline in the delta variant and Covid in general, locally, in the US and around the world.

As I said, fall is the time for busy calendars. And here are some events of ours that I want to remind you about.

-This Sunday evening, 10/3, at 6:00PM at St. Luke's, Ho-Ho-Kus there will be a Special Eucharistic Prayer Service for the success of the Archdiocesan initiative, Vine & Branches, to lead us to a deeper appreciation of the Eucharist and our connection with one another. All are invited. For more information, see the blurb in today's bulletin.

Dear friends,

Recently, someone stopped me after Mass to say it was the first time back since the start of the pandemic, over a year and a half ago, and then added, "It was time to get off the couch." IS IT TIME YET FOR YOU TO GET OFF THE COUCH? IF NOT NOW, WHEN? You're as safe here as anywhere else!

There are three up-coming events that I want to remind everyone about. The first two are free, the third is not. The first is Angels in the Pews, on Wednesday, October 6th, from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM, in the church. With the on-going pandemic we sometimes forget about the crisis of addiction that has been, and continues to be its own epidemic in our society. Angels in the Pews is an awareness campaign, to remind us of those lives taken by addiction. As the flyer in today's bulletin states, come, "view the posters, look at the faces, look into their eyes, read their stories - as each will speak back.'" Bring your teenagers, or encourage them to come because they certainly are in a vulnerable age group. It can be a learning moment for us all.

Dear Friends,

Being an old timer, I get my news the old fashioned way- by watching the main stream media on something we used to call a TV. By main stream media, I mean one of the "big 3," CBS, NBC and ABC. And I usually watch between four and five, because that s kind of a quiet time before dinner. I was watching on Tuesday and a large segment of the hour was given over to the re-opening of Broadway. Five productions were all re-opening that evening. What struck me was the enthusiasm and excitement of those involved in the productions, performers, stage hands, etc. Early Wednesday morning, a segment aired on the audience reaction at the conclusion of one of those performances. It was marked by the same thing, excitement, enthusiasm and appreciation to be back, even as an audience fully masked. And in both instances it was contagious. Even through the TV screen, you could feel that excitement and enthusiasm and gratitude to be back.

Dear Friends,

In past years, I have alternately started this first column after Labor Day with phrases like Welcome Back, Welcome Home, Happy New Year. Those sentiments reflect a kind of universal attitude that sees the start of school as a new beginning. But I'm not sure that's the case this year. Oh, there are some new things, in-person learning (without the virtual option), masks in schools. But they're not really new. They are tweaks of something that has become very old-the pandemic. It's still with us, in its virulent Delta variant. And promises to be with us for longer than we all had hoped. As we begin this new program year, we try, as I am sure you all do, to figure out the best course of action. What we need to do; what we hope to do; what we would like to do and try to do, even with all the cautions we need to be aware of. In the parish, in our programs and activities, we will always follow the two guidelines we have tried to be faithful to in these past many months: (1) the safety of everyone who comes through the doors, for whatever purpose, liturgies, programs, activities, and (2) respect for the decisions every person and family makes for their own safety. And whatever comes, to always remember, as I say at the beginning of every weekend liturgy I celebrate, the God Who loves us, walks with us in our journey, to lift us, to encourage us, to give us hope.

Dear Friends,

I think I've been pretty faithful to my promise not to bother you through the summer (unless Covid forced me to). But I leave Thursday morning for a week or so in PA and I wanted to remind you of a couple of important things.

-Covid Developments. There has really been nothing new, relative to the way we celebrate liturgies in these last few weeks. I remind everyone the transepts continue to be roped to accommodate those who want to continue to practice social distancing. While not a rule, it is also a place of caution for those who feel safer wearing a mask, although everyone who is vaccinated, whether masked or unmasked, may sit anywhere in the church. Even if there is no Minister of Hospitality to direct it, please maintain social distancing during the communion procession. We are still trying to avoid a "communion line." To facilitate this, we ask that only one side of the Passaic Street transept enter the communion procession at a time. Above all, let's respect one another and the decisions and protocols each person has adopted to keep themselves and others safe until this Delta variant passes.

Dear Friends,

Hope, after this weekend, I will get back on track for not writing another column for the rest of the summer. And, hopefully, this column will be shorter than most. But I wanted to write for the last time about three activities, events that are either beginning of winding down.

The first is the planned re-opening of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. For almost 18 years Mount Carmel has been the only place in Bergen County where a person could go and pray, anytime, night or day, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. And I am convinced that we have stayed together as a community of faith and grown together, because of this extraordinary gift of faith. As we plan to re-open, we need to find people of prayer who are willing to spend time covering the hours needed to keep the Chapel open around the clock. Not only will you find it a time to deepen your personal relationship with the Lord, it will be a gift and grace you offer to others because the Chapel can only be open if someone is there. By your presence you make it possible for others to come, anytime they feel the desire or the need to be in touch with the Lord in His sacramental presence. What a grace you offer to others. Please check out the remaining hours (many have already responded), listed on the following page of this bulletin, and offer yourself for this deeply spiritual work.

Dear Friends,

I know I wrote that I would not write during the summer but sometimes things happen that should be shared. Both are in the nature of resumes. I doubt that this is really a word, but nothing captures in a single word experiences of this last week.

-Last Monday, for the first time since March 18, 2020, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament took place in the daily Mass chapel. Since June 2, 2002 anyone could come to Mount Carmel, any time of the day or night, to pray before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, enthroned on the altar of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel, off the front lobby of the church. Mount Carmel was open for prayer 2417, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. For almost 18 years, Mount Carmel offered this place of solitude, quiet and peace. As I am an early riser, it was always edifying to see the number of people in that chapel in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes, at all hours of the day and night, besides the scheduled adorer, the little chapel would be full, standing room only, with people who came to be with their Eucharistic Lord.

Dear Friends,

It's always been my practice, well-sometimes anyway, to cease and desist writing a column for the summer months, and spare you the ramblings of an idle mind. I hope to practice that strategy again this year. And so this will be, hopefully, my last column until September.

We have been through an extraordinary time these last sixteen months. The world has been through an extraordinary time these last sixteen months. I would bet that each of us has lost someone we personally knew, or, at least, the family of someone who succumbed to the corona virus. Our hearts still go out to all those who mourn. Besides the loss, they were deprived of the usual rituals of mourning and comfort, the gathering of friends to show respect and offer support, the spiritual rituals that remind us of the gift of eternal life.

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