St. Thomas December 2014 E-News

December 2014

In this issue:
Religious Education, Photos, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, Christmas, St. John the Apostle, Mary Mother of God, Upcoming Events.

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Religious Education

Victor Rivera III studies the parts of the church

For the second graders preparing to make their First Penance and First Communion, weekly religious education class is "a place where you learn about Jesus" and where you can share your faith with children from your community. Students "feel good and happy" when they recognize fellow Catholics outside of CCD, because they know that they belong to a special 'God club' where "we all know the same prayers, stories about Jesus, and 'password' [the Sign of the Cross]." "It feels like I am special," said Ryan Kenny.

Grace Baur and Cameron Wright collaborate on an assignment

The children in the class discussed what it is like to have peers who have different religious beliefs than their own, or who do not yet practice any religion. The class agreed that all people can choose whether to believe in God or not, and that they themselves want to learn as much as they can about God and their Catholic religion so that they can understand their choice. The children said that when their families take them to Mass, the experience is enriched by their weekly CCD classes. As Lily Baur pointed out, "When they read the Gospel, sometimes it's the same story that we read in CCD." Victor Rivera III remarked that he is especially pleased when he sees his Catechist and fellow students at Mass, because this reminds him of the time that they spend together during the week. The children use an interactive diagram of the church sanctuary each week so that they become familiar with the parts of the church as they relate to the order of the Mass. As they prepare to become full participants in the Mass, they are becoming aware that the church is truly their church.

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Religious Education

Father Andrew meets with the Second Grade class

Father Andrew and Joseph Buset share a hearty handshake

Ryan Lukis and friends, hard at work

Lily Baur and Addison Schwindt study a diagram of the church

Attentive Listeners
Christmas Trees Being Put Up in the Church Over the Years

Epiphany Pageant Over the Years

Christmas Pictures of the Church
Image from Christmas when Herron Hall was the main church (before 1960)

Image from Christmas in 1989

Advent: November 30, 2014 - December 24, 2014

Advent marks the beginning of the new liturgical year. We prepare for the annual celebrations of Christ's incarnation at Christmas, his manifestation at Epiphany, and the beginning of his mission at the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Advent means "coming." We are to prepare for the coming of God among us as a child who is a King, as an infant who is a Savior, as one born at a given time and place yet who is a Messiah for all ages and people.

Advent has a two-fold character: as a season to prepare us for Christmas when Christ's first coming to us is remembered; as a season when that remembrance directs the mind and heart to await Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. Advent is thus a period for devout and joyful expectation.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Feast Day December 22nd

She took religious vows in 1877 and did so well at her work that when the orphanage closed in 1880, her bishop asked her to found the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for poor children in schools and hospitals. Pope Leo XIII then sent her to the United States to carry on this mission. She and six Sisters arrived in New York in 1889. They worked among immigrants, especially Italians. Mother Cabrini founded 67 institutions, including schools, hospitals, and orphanages in the United States, Europe and South America. Like many of the people she worked with, Mother became a United States citizen during her life, and after her death she was the first US citizen to be canonized.

Merry Christmas

Our Dear Parishioners and Friends,

It gives us great joy to wish you, your family, and your loved ones a very Blessed Christmas, and Peace and Happiness through the New Year. Thank you for the support you give to all the staff of St. Thomas the Apostle by your presence and the sharing of your time, talent and treasure.

In the Lord,

Father Charles Miller and Priests, Deacons, Sisters and Staff

St. John the Evangelist

Feast Day: December 27th

St. John was one of the twelve apostles and is referred to as the "disciple whom Jesus loved". Of all twelve apostles, St. John was the only one who accompanied Jesus all the way to the Cross. Besides his Gospel, St. John wrote several letters and the book of Revelations. According to tradition, St. John died at Ephesus when he was about 94 years old. St. Jerome tells us that as an old man, St. John was too weak to walk or to speak much. However, every day when the community met to share the Eucharist, St. John would insist that he be carried to the meeting place. Once there, he would always say the same thing , "Little children, love one another. " When someone asked him why he always said the same thing over and over he replied "Because it is the Lord's teaching and if you do this alone, it is enough."

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

January 1st, 2015

Masses on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 4:00pm
and Thursday, January 1, 2015 at 7:30am and 11:30am.

The church celebrates that Mary is the Mother of God (Theotokos or more specificly "Bearer of God"). One of the most outstanding characteristics of Mary is her willingness to know and do God's will. We seek to follow Mary's example more closely so we can be bearers of Christ to the world in the modern world.

Click on any of the links for more information and the option to download to your electronic calendar.

Parish Events:

St. Thomas Christmas Concert
Saturday December 13 at 7:00PM

Blood Pressure Screening in St. Peter's Room
Sunday November 14 @ 8:00AM to 12:00PM

Sunday Hospitality in St. Peter's Room
Sunday November 14 @ 9:00AM to 12:00PM

Advent Bloomfield Parishes Penance Service at Sacred Heart
Monday December 15 at 7:30PM at Sacred Heart

Simbang Gabi Schedule for Deanery 16
December 15th-23rd

Simbang Gabi Mass at St. Thomas
December 19 at 7:30PM

Shop Rite Gift Cards Available in the vestibule
Sunday December 21 @ 9:45AM-12:00PM

Christmas Eve Masses
Herron Hall - Wednesday December 24 @ 4:00PM
Church - Wednesday December 24 @ 4:00PM
Church - Wednesday December 24 @ 6:00PM
Church - Wednesday December 24 @ 10:30PM

Christmas Day Masses
Church - Thursday December 25 @ 8:00AM
Church - Thursday December 25 @ 10:00AM
Church - Thursday December 25 @ 12:00 Noon

Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Hour
Monday December 29 @ 11:00 AM - 8:30PM

Mary Mother of God
Mary, Mother of God, Vigil Mass - Wednesday December 31 at 4:00PM
Mary, Mother of God, Mass - Thursday January 1 at 7:30AM
Mary, Mother of God, Mass - Thursday January 1 at 11:30AM

Feast of the Epiphany - January 4, 2015 - Bells Sunday
Bring bells to rigng at all weekend masses.
Epiphany Pageant
Sunday January 4, 2015 after the 12:00 Noon Mass.

Meeting Dates:

Shawl Ministry
Sunday December 14 @ 11:30AM

Rosary Society Meeting
Monday January 5 @ 7:00PM

Men's Scripture
Monday December 22 @ 7:30PM

Bereavement Ministry
Sunday December 14, and Sunday December 21 at 11:45AM-1:00PM in the Parish Center.

Mass Times

Weekend Masses - Saturday 5:00p.m., Sunday 7:30a.m., 9:00a.m., 10:30a.m. and 12:00p.m.
Weekday Masses - Monday-Friday 7:30a.m. and 11:30a.m.; Saturday 8:30a.m.
Holy Day Masses - 7:30a.m., 11:30a.m. and 7:30p.m.
Holiday Masses - 8:30a.m. Only
Reconciliation - Saturday at 11:00a.m.