December 2016 E-News

December 2016

In this issue:
  • Pictures
  • Advent
  • Christmas and the Christmas Season
  • Solemnity of Mary
  • Saint John and Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini
  • Epiphany and Baptism of Jesus
  • Upcoming Events

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Advent Little Blue Prayer Book Distribution

Selecting and Returning Advent Giving Tree Gifts

Boy Scout Wreath Sale

STA School Thanksgiving Photos

STA School Pictures

STA School Lego League


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.

Merry Christmas

Our Dear Parishioners and Friends,

At Christmas we celebrate, not only the birth of a child, but more importantly we rejoice in the “Incarnation.” In this birth God becomes human like us so that each of us could become more like God and share in the gift of eternal life. We celebrate this truth not just for one day but for the whole Christmas Season.

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

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

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

Christmas Liturgical Season

The Christmas Liturgical Season begins on Christmas Eve, include the Feast of the Holy Family the following Sunday, the Solemnity of Mary (January 1st), and the Solemnity of the Epiphany the following Sunday. The Christmas season continues through feast of the Baptism of Jesus.

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.

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, 2017

Masses on Saturday, December 31, 2016 at 5:00pm
and Sunday, January 1, 2017 at 7:30am, 9:00am, 10:30am and 12:00pm.

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.

The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord - January 9, 2017

The word "epiphany," which means a shining forth of light, has slipped from its religious use into secular usage to indicate any sudden flash of insight. First used in this sense by the writer James Joyce, the term has degenerated to the point where "Epiphany" is even the name for an integrated suite of customer relations management software. Presumably using this software will give on striking new insights into how to manage one's customer relations.

The distance between the secular usage of the term "epiphany" and what we celebrate on this feast can be seen in the fact that we do not celebrate a flash of insight, but the shining forth of God's light in our world through the person of Jesus. Pope Benedict XVI wrote that to be a Christian isn't merely an ethical choice or a noble idea, but the encounter with an event, a person who gives life a new horizon and a definitive direction. The Epiphany is not about an idea occurring to us but about an encounter with a person: Jesus Christ.

According to tradtion, St. Thomas traveled East after Jesus' Ressurection and encountered the three wise men. They were then baptized by St. Thomas.

The Baptism of the Lord - January 15, 2017

The Baptism of the Lord is yet another powerful revelation (manifestation or epiphany) of Christ's identity: God's beloved Son, on whom his favor rests. Like the visit of the Magi and the wedding feast of Cana, the baptism of Christ by John in the River Jordon is an experience of God's action and presence revealed in Christ.

All Baptized Christians share in the priestly, prophetic and kingly aspects of Jesus' ministry:
"These faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world." (Lumen Genitum 31).

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

Parish Events:

Santa Breakfast in Herron Hall
Saturday December 10 @ 9:00AM

Christmas Concert in the Church
Saturday December 10 @ 7:00PM

December Blood Pressure Screening
Sunday December 11 @ 8:00AM-12:00PM

December Hospitality
Sunday December 11 @ 9:30AM-12:00PM

Bloomfield Parishes Reconciliation Service at Saint Thomas
Monday December 12 @ 7:30PM

Simbang Gabi Celebration at Essex County Catholic Churches
December 15-December 23 - Click the link for the complete schedule

Simbang Gabi Celebration at Saint Thomas
Saturday December 17 @ 2:00PM

Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Hour
Monday December 19 @ 11:00 AM - 8:30PM

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

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

Solemnity of Mary Mother of God
Regular Weekend Mass Schedule
Vigil Mass - Saturday December 31 at 5:00PM
Masses on Sunday January 1 at 7:30AM, 9:00AM, 10:30AM and 12:00PM

Feast of the Epiphany
Sunday January 8

Epiphany Pageant
Sunday January 8 @ 1:00PM

Feast of the Baptism of Jesus
Sunday January 15

January Blood Pressure Screening
Sunday January 15 @ 8:00AM-12:00PM

January Hospitality
Sunday January 15 @ 9:30AM-12:00PM

Shawl Ministry
Sunday January 15 @ 11:30AM

Meeting Dates:

Shawl Ministry
Sunday December 11 @ 11:30AM

September Club Meeting
Monday December 12

Men's Scripture Reading and Reflection
Monday December 19 @ 7:30PM

September Club Meeting
Monday January 9

Rosary Society Meeting
Monday January 9 @ 7:00PM

Men's Scripture Reading and Reflection
Monday January 9 @ 7:30PM