Messages from Msgr. Roger
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1439 SPRINGDALE ROAD - CHERRY HILL, N.J. 08003

APRIL 26, 2020 - THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER

“He was made known to them in the breaking of bread.” -Luke 24:35 With those words, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus recounted to the other disciples their encounter with the risen Lord. They did not recognize him at first, even as he opened the Scriptures to them saying, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory.” It was only when he stayed with them and at dinner, said blessing over the bread, broke it, and gave it to them that their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.

For the early Christians, the words “Breaking of Bread” were a way of referring to the celebration of the Eucharist. For weeks now, we have been unable to gather and celebrate the Eucharist at Sunday Mass and we can expect to go several more weeks before we can do so again. Even knowing that our staying apart from each other continues to be both a public health necessity and a true act of sacrificial love, we still feel this void in our lives of not gathering to break bread together. We “miss “Mass” not in the sense of sinfully ignoring it, but in the empty feeling that something especially important is missing and that can make us sad. Our experience of this void testifies to the central place that the celebration of the Eucharist occupies in our lives. This will surely give us a far greater appreciation of the wonderful gift that we have in the Eucharist.

In the meantime, we can take advantage of the live streaming of our Sunday Mass at 11:00 AM on our parish website (stthomasmorenj.org) or, if we feel a need for variety, we can join Pope Francis, Bishop Sullivan or other parishes with their live streaming. In the absence of “breaking the bread” together, we can set aside some special time and place for prayer and the reading of the Bible. The readings for this Third Sunday of Easter are:

First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 22-33 Second Reading: I Peter 1:17-21 Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

Those who can gather as a family may want to join together at their dining table after viewing Mass and share their meal together. No matter how you keep the Lord’s Day holy, please know that you are missed, too.

May God bless you! Msgr. Roger

Message to Parishioners on Resumption of Public Masses
When Governor Murphy issues an executive order allowing places of worship to be open under certain conditions, we want to be prepared to do so. Bishop Sullivan has issued directives to pastors and parishes to prepare us to do so consistently throughout our diocese. I am writing to advise you as to what we may be expected to do when that time comes.

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MAY 17, 2020: 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
“I will Not Leave You Orphans.” - John 14:18 Jesus, with these words at the Last Supper in John’s Gospel, reassured his close disciples that he would not abandon them, an important message for them to remember when they would be faced with his suffering and death. I am sure that we at times during our “Stay at Home” protocol have begun to feel abandoned, wondering when we will ever be able to gather for Mass again. The State of New Jersey has been so very heavily hurt by this pandemic, leading us to pray for our fellow citizens. However, the important indicators of the disease are trending downward. This is heartening news for us, and we are beginning to see a gradual loosening of the restrictions.

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MAY 10, 2020 - FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” These words, from the beginning of this Sunday’s gospel are quite often heard at funeral Masses when the bereaved family selects this gospel reading for the funeral of their loved one. These words are so straight forward and consoling at the same time. No wonder we want to hear their reassurance when we experience great grief.

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MAY 3, 2020 - FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
This Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, because the Gospel reading presents the image of Christ as a shepherd, has come to be known as Good Shepherd Sunday. This focus draws our reflection to know and understand God’s love for us as found in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This is where it should be and not on seeing ourselves as sheep. Although lambs are unbelievably cute, and look sweet in holy pictures; unfortunately, sheep do not provide good role models for us members of the flock.

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APRIL 26, 2020 - THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
“He was made known to them in the breaking of bread.” -Luke 24:35 With those words, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus recounted to the other disciples their encounter with the risen Lord. They did not recognize him at first, even as he opened the Scriptures to them saying, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory.” It was only when he stayed with them and at dinner, said blessing over the bread, broke it, and gave it to them that their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.

Read more...

PEACE BE WITH YOU
With these words, Jesus greeted his disciples in the upper room on the evening of his Resurrection. May the Peace of Christ be with you and all your loved ones as we begin this Easter season. We do so amid all the concern and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. We can have peace in our hearts for we are buoyed up by the self-sacrificing love of so many.

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THE SACRED PASCHAL TRIDUUM
This Thursday we begin the Paschal Triduum, the most sacred celebrations of our Liturgical year culminating in the Joy of our Easter celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord. Of course, ideally, we would gather in church to observe these rites. However, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, we stay apart, staying home to mitigate it’s spread and to keep everyone safe and healthy. Let me share some suggestions on how you may observe these days at home.

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MONSIGNOR ROGER'S EASTER HOMILY
The ugliness of the crucifixion and the grief at the death of Jesus, give way to the unbounded joy of the Resurrection. The Lord is risen! “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!” Alleluia!
Click here for the full homily

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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
The last words of the Gospel of Matthew embody the final words of Jesus to his disciples. “And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world.” These words, spoken just before his Ascension to the right hand of the Father, reassured his disciples and reassure us that, although we cannot see or touch him, he is with us and we are connected. We are not alone. You are not alone.

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MARCH 29, 2020 THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
Usually around this time, we are remarking about how quickly (or slowly) Lent is passing by. “It will be Holy Week before we know it!” But this year is different. The demands of public health and of our love for our neighbor bid us NOT to gather for Sunday Mass. Rather, we will remain separated in order to stay healthy and to keep others from getting sick. This is our Lent of counter-intuitive fasting, staying home rather than going to Mass, which we do out of love for one another. What, then, are we to do? May I make two humble suggestions?

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MESSAGE FROM MONSIGNOR ROGER - MARCH 24, 2020
With our governor’s directive to stay home, we are entering a kind of time unlike anything we have experienced before. Be sure to take good care of yourself and your loved ones during the duration of this coronavirus pandemic. Good handwashing, maintaining social distance and care for your own physical and spiritual health are paramount. Please remember to eat nutritiously, exercise, get your rest and pray regularly. It would be wise to establish a daily pattern of activity to do this. For many of us, this staying at home may be a strange change from the business of our lives. Please see it as an opportunity to pay attention to and accomplish those things we have wanted to get around to doing. For example, if you have said that you wanted to read the Bible, why not set aside some time to do it now.

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NEW URGENT MESSAGE MARCH 21, 2020
This morning Governor Philip Murphy issued an executive order further restricting residents of New Jersey. In compliance with this directive that people are not to leave home except for essential business, our church and parish office are closed until further notice.

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