Ascension Thursday

40 Days after Easter
This year it is celebrated on Thursday, May 5, 2016
A Holy Day of Obligation

Masses 7:30am, 11:30am & 7:30pm

Great feast that Easter is, one day (not even three days!) is insufficient to celebrate the fullness of the mystery of the resurrection. So, as Christians, we keep a fifty-day-long festival, punctuated by the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord - the fortieth day of Easter. The feast of the Ascension, like a prism, helps us focus the wondrous colors of the Easter spectrum. These images from the Ascension liturgy give us a sense of the hope and joy that color this feast: “Christ’s ascension is our glory and hope." "The joy of the resurrection and the ascension renews the whole world." "Where Christ has gone, we hope to follow." "Christ has passed beyond our sight, not to abandon us, but to be our hope." "Christ was taken up to heaven to claim for us a share in his divine life." If we have been united with Christ through baptism in his death and resurrection, we are surely united with him in the transformation and redemption of his humanity. What we celebrate, however, is not only a past or future event. We are given glimpses of our glorious destiny even now. So, feet firmly planted on earth, the community gathers to rejoice in the life we share with the risen Lord.

Text: Copyright © 2001 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago IL Text by Gabe Huck. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Stained Glass Window from Saint Thomas the Apostle Church, Bloomfield New Jersey

EASTER - THE 50 DAY LONG FEAST

Alleluia! Alleluia! He is Risen!

The fifty-day feast of Easter developed from the harvest feast of ancient Israel known as "Shavuot," or the "Feast of Weeks." It was a period of seven weeks (a "week of weeks") plus one day, beginning with Passover and concluding with the fiftieth day, the day of Pentecost. The fiftieth day marked the end of the barley harvest and included an offering of the first fruits. By the time of Jesus, this festival also had become a celebration of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai.

The themes of harvest, Exodus and the Law also became part of the Christian celebration. Christians celebrated the Passover of Jesus through death to new life and the Covenant that was established in him. Images of Christ as paschal Lamb and as first fruits are the earliest Easter images used by St. Paul.

Easter was the first of our feasts to develop beyond the weekly Sunday celebration. This fifty-day period of rejoicing seems to have been adopted by all Christian communities by the second century. Within a few centuries, however, the unity of the feast began to weaken, and the resurrection, the ascension, and the descent of the Holy Spirit began to be celebrated separately. Easter and Pentecost became two separate days rather than the two names for the same fifty-day period. Only in our own time has the unity of this celebration been reestablished, at least in the liturgical books. The pastoral challenge is to reestablish it in the minds and hearts of the parish, and the best way to do that is by celebrating the whole feast well.

Mission Statement

The Roman Catholic Faith Community of St. Thomas the Apostle recognizes God's call to be a sign of His Kingdom in the communities we serve.
We respond to this call by:

  • Leading people to a deeper relationship with Christ by providing opportunities for spiritual growth, renewal, education, the celebration of the Sacraments, and the worship of God in the sacred liturgy;
  • Encouraging a commitment to justice and to service of those in need;
  • Promoting good stewardship of our time, talent and treasure;
  • Building a community of hospitality and support in the daily living out of Christian ideals by nourishing mutual respect and understanding within our Church, our families, our community, and other faith traditions.