Pentecost

This year we will celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation on Pentecost. At the 9:00 A.M. mass Father Charles will confirm 3 of our parishioners: Jaimee Castles, Nicole Chakowski and Wendy Huelsenbeck. Please keep them in your prayers as they take this important step in their lives as followers of the Lord.

For the Jewish people, Pentecost was a feast of thanksgiving that marked the conclusion of the grain harvest; it was also a time to commemorate the giving of the law at Sinai. It was celebrated 50 days after Passover. For the first Christian believers, gathered to celebrate this feast in Jerusalem, the giving of the Holy Spirit reinvented Pentecost. It marked a new beginning: God would be present among his people not in words carved in stone, but in a whole new way, living in their hearts, and speaking through them. Just as the old feast was a time to celebrate the abundance of God's gifts by giving back to God the first fruits of the fields, so the new Pentecost celebrates the incredible abundance of God's giving, the many gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost is "the joyful conclusion of the Easter season" (Proclamation of the Dates of Easter on Epiphany). It ranks with Christmas, Epiphany, and the Ascension (see GNLYC,59). It is a day to pull out all the stops, a day for incense, processions, banners, for creative expression of the truth we celebrate: the gift of the Holy Spirit has been given to us. Jesus is here!

Pentecost is 50 Days after Easter and is known as the birthday of the Church. This year it is on May 24, 2015.

Click Here to read about Pentecost in the Bible (Acts 2)

The stained glass window is from St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Bloomfield, NJ.

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Ascension Thursday

40 Days after Easter
This year it is celebrated on Thursday, May 14, 2015
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.

Easter Sunday

Easter calls us to grasp, on a deeper and more profound level, what it means to be a follower of the crucified and risen Christ. In the prayers and readings of the season, we are led each Sunday to a deeper understanding, for our lives, of what it means to be baptized into the death and Resurrection of Christ. We are called to deeper conversion - deeper immersion - into the mystery of our participation in Christ's Passover from death to life. In our own experience of the sacraments of initiation, God's power and presence in Christ made us a new creation, his chosen sons and daughters, members of his eternal reign. Easter is the time to reflect on these mysteries of our faith and to meditate on their importance for our lives of faith in the world today. The liturgical life of the season - the readings, prayers, rites, devotions - allows us and calls us to this reality.



Holy Week

Come Celebrate Holy Week With Us!

Saturday March 28, 2015 - Palm Sunday Mass at 5:00pm

Sunday March 29, 2015 - Palm Sunday Masses at 7:30am, 9:00am, 10:30am and 12:00noon

Monday March 30, 2015 - Morning Mass at 7:30am and 11:30am

Tuesday March 31, 2015 - Morning Mass at 7:30am and 11:30am

Wednesday April 1, 2015 - Morning Mass at 7:30am and 11:30am

Thursday April  2, 2015 - Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30pm & Holy Thursday Night Prayer at 11:00pm

Friday April 3, 2015 - Good Friday Morning Prayer at 8:30am, Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00pm & Living Stations of the Cross at 7:30pm

Saturday April 4, 2015 - Holy Saturday Morning Prayer at 8:30am and The Great Easter Vigil at 8:15pm

Sunday April 5, 2015 - Easter Sunday Mass at 7:30am, 9:00am, 10:30am and 12:00noon

 

Holy Week is quiet week
No ministry events are scheduled and all are encouraged to attend Holy Week services. Schedule of Events at St. Thomas

 

Lent 2015: February 18th - April 2nd

Lent is a time of good resolutions and new beginnings. Lent is a season of repentance and a season of hope. In Lent we reconnect with our baptismal spirituality as the Lenten practices help us to prepare to renew our baptismal promises on Easter Sunday. The goal of Lent is Easter.

The word Lent means springtime. This word comes from the same root as lengthen. Daytime lengthens during Lent. The northern hemisphere turns toward the sun, the source of life, and winter turns into spring. In Hebrew, the word for repentance is the same as the word that means to turn, like the turning of the earth to the sun, like the turning of the soil before planting.

Calendar of Lenten Events at St. Thomas

Stations of the Cross on Fridays at 7:30PM

Reconciliation Wednesday during Lent at 7:30PM and all year round on Saturdays at 11:00AM.

Lenten Small Christian Communities

Pope Francis's 2015 Lenten Message

Pray the Stations at home the rest of the week with this video.

Prayer Life Resources on the STA website
Prayer Life Resources external to the STA website

TD Bank Signup Flyer

TD Bank will make an annual contribution to St. Thomas based on the activity of all participating members' TD Bank accounts.
Click Here for the TD Bank Signup Flyer and more details
You get $25 when opening a new non-interest bearing checking account.
St. Thomas will receive for Checking Accounts
• $50 for every new checking account
• $10 for every existing checking account
St. Thomas will receive for Savings Accounts or CDs
• 1/10 of 1% contribution based upon the participants' annual average balances