Messages from Msgr. Roger
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Pentecost - May 31, 2020

“There are different gifts but the same Spirit.” I Corinthians 12:4

Here it is Pentecost already! (Fifty days since Easter!) Can you believe that, liturgically, the Easter Season comes to an end with our celebration of Pentecost? It has been since before Palm Sunday that we last gathered to celebrate Mass together. How have we been able to do this? No doubt we are beginning to raise even other questions such as: How much longer must this last? When will we be able to gather again? And, I would not doubt that at some time the question arises: Where is God in all this? Has not the Lord promised to be with us until the end of the age? Where do we find the presence of God in this present moment? I would like to suggest that the answer to that question may be found in our thoughtful reflection on another question: namely, “Where did that come from?”

Try to imagine the reaction of the disciples when they found themselves speaking in languages not their own and being understood by those who heard them, thinking to themselves: Where did that come from?”

To be honest, I have never heard anyone speak like that and I suspect you have not either. But I have heard people ask the question; “Where did that come from?”, sometimes about something they saw in someone else and even, at times, in something they saw in themselves. Parents wondering when they hear their children say something amazingly wise at an incredibly young age! Could it be that there is far greater capacity in us to do things than we realized? In this present moment, could it be that people’s capacity for empathy, care, patience, perseverance, courage, yes, even heroism, is much more that we knew. We can and we do things we did not envision ourselves capable of doing when we stop trying to do it all by ourselves but become open to one another, especially “the Other” we call God’s Spirit, we draw upon the power of God’s presence dwelling within us.

Some examples:

Why would nurses, doctors and technicians from all over our country flock to New York City? They responded to a call for help and by doing so, saved lives, and for some gave their lives.

Why would an entire nursing home staff in Ohio live in the facility 24/7 for more than two months? They prevented anyone from contracting COVID -19.

Why does a 13-year-old Boy Scout play Taps outside a Veterans’ Home every evening? He felt they deserved the honor and it was something he could do.

Why do housekeeping staffs clean and disinfect the hospital rooms of COVID – 19 patients, putting themselves at risk? They know their efforts protect others.

We see them as heroes. They see themselves the same way fire fighters describe why they go into a burning building to save a trapped child: “This is my job; this is what I do.” In awe, we still ask: “Where did that come from?” I think that the human capacity for caring, even for the stranger, is far greater than any of us realize and it is in times of crises that it blossoms forth. Is this not the divine power dwelling within us, which we call the Holy Spirit?

Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says: There are different gifts but the same Spirit; there are different ministries but the same Lord; there are different works but the same God who accomplishes all of them in everyone. To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

It is our faith that we are Temples of the Holy Spirit. The power of the Spirit within us enables us to seek, not what is in it for us, but what we can and will do for another. We can unleash that power when we seek the good of others over our preferences for ourselves. Let us open our minds and hearts to God’s Spirit and see what God does through us! It will be awesome! And we will overflow with humble gratitude. May the Spirit of God set you afire with love of others!

Please patiently observe all the protocols that express our care for others and, when we feel the frustration of confinement, draw strength from the Spirit of God within you.

My prayer is that you all stay well,
Msgr. Roger

Pentecost - May 31, 2020
“There are different gifts but the same Spirit.” I Corinthians 12:4 Here it is Pentecost already! (Fifty days since Easter!) Can you believe that, liturgically, the Easter Season comes to an end with our celebration of Pentecost? It has been since before Palm Sunday that we last gathered to celebrate Mass together. How have we been able to do this? No doubt we are beginning to raise even other questions such as: How much longer must this last? When will we be able to gather again? And, I would not doubt that at some time the question arises: Where is God in all this?Has not the Lord promised to be with us until the end of the age? Where do we find the presence of God in this present moment? I would like to suggest that the answer to that question may be found in our thoughtful reflection on another question: namely, “Where did that come from?”

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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.

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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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