May 2016 E-News

May 2016

In this issue:
  • Seminarians Speak at St. Thomas
  • Gifts from Bethlehem
  • Year of Mercy - Mercy in Scripture #4
  • 300 Club Raffle
  • Saint Thomas the Apostle School in the News
  • Pictures - First Communion/Seminarians/Gifts from Bethlehem
  • Pentecost
  • Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
  • Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
  • Stained Glass - Saint Anthony - Feast Day June 13th
  • Upcoming Events

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Seminarians Speak at St. Thomas

At all weekend Masses on April 16-17, seminarians and priest-faculty from Immaculate Conception Seminary visited the parish of St. Thomas, Bloomfield. At each Mass, after Communion, one of the seminarians spoke for a few minutes, sharing about his own vocation and explaining the training they receive at the seminary. Other seminarians and priest-faculty members were present at the entrances of the Church to talk with parishioners and to distribute informational materials. During the same weekend, other teams of faculty and seminarians also visited the parishes of Our Lady of Peace Church, New Providence, and St. Stephen, Kearny. The purpose of these Parish Visitations is to encourage vocations to the priesthood, ask for prayers, and raise awareness of the work of our local seminary. That particular weekend was chosen because it is "Good Shepherd" Sunday, a fitting time to pray to Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to raise up shepherds in his Church. Last fall, a different set of parishes was visited as part of another Parish Visitation weekend.

Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University has been training seminarians to serve as priests for more than 150 years (founded in 1861). Currently, the seminarians come from the Archdiocese of Newark and all the other dioceses in New Jersey: Camden, Metuchen, Paterson, and Trenton. For the academic part, the Seminary is the School of Theology of Seton Hall. The graduate program of studies, ranging from 4-6 years depending on prior preparation, consists of philosophy and theology courses aimed at preparing the seminarians for parish ministry. There are many courses in areas such as Scripture, liturgy, dogma, morals, Church history, and canon law. There are also practical courses in areas such as preaching. The academic part, however, is just one of four "pillars" of formation for the priesthood. The other three are the human, spiritual, and pastoral formation. The seminary life in community seeks to help the seminarians grow in human virtues. The daily spiritual life of the seminary—daily Mass and daily Morning & Evening Prayer in common—is aimed at fostering in the seminarians a greater love and commitment to Jesus Christ and his Church, as well as growth in their own personal lives of prayer. The pastoral training of the seminary includes field work in parishes, hospitals, and other settings, preparing the seminarians for the diverse pastoral situations where priests serve. Thank-you for welcoming us to your parish! Please pray for vocations and please also remember the current seminarians in your prayers, that they may persevere and become holy priests!

Father Pablo Gadenz
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

Gifts from Bethlehem, The people of the Holy Land

On Sunday, March, 13, "The People of the Holy Land" sold a beautiful assortment of hand crafted religious carvings.

The vocation and background behind these carvings was presented from the pulpit, and tables were set-up outside the side door of the church with hundreds of hand carved crosses, statues of Jesus, Mary, the Saints, the Nativity and other religious artifacts.

This indigenous Holy Land handicraft trade of carving statues out of olive wood began many centuries ago and has evolved as a cultural tradition and livelihood. It is now an industry of great importance to the people of the Holy Land. People of the 'Holy Land' respect the olive trees and never cut them down. In mid-October they pick the olive fruit and prune the branches. The pruned wood is kept in the sun to dry for a few years, and then then used for carving.

The olive tree was considered sacred by earlier Christians. In the old testament, olive oil was used to anoint prophets and kings and to light the lamps at the temples of Jerusalem. It was also used for nourishment, healing and cleansing. Later in the New Testament, Jesus was described as the 'anointed one' (based on being anointed with oil).

Many of our Saint Thomas parishioners who appreciate this ancient art purchased and are now enjoying these carvings.

Year of Mercy

December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016.

God's Mercy is Redeeming
"In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them; and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old."
Isaiah 63:9

God's Mercy is Comforting
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort;.... "
2 Corinthians 1:3
God's Mercy is: Faithful
"Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people."
Hebrews 2:17
Link to Pope Francis's "Face of Mercy" (Misericordiae Vultus)

Useful Links:
The Vatican's Year of Mercy Website
USCCB Year of Mercy Page

Outstanding Catholic School Graduate

We are always so proud of all of our students!! Congratulations Cayla Carino for being recognized by the entire Archdiocese as an Outstanding Catholic School Graduate! St. Thomas School, Parish, and Community are so proud of you!

Learning Through March Madness

Students in St. Thomas the Apostle School used March Madness tournament to complete math equations, scavenger hunts, online trivia, and geographic locations of teams using technology available in the class room. Fifth-grade teacher Michael Petrillo challenged his students with a blank map of the United States and asked the students to fill in the map with the names of the colleges that reside in the states. Colin Salandy and Pablo Baez, both of whom are Bloomfield residents, work on their geographic locations of colleges.

Young Gardeners

St. Thomas the Apostle School's kindergarten class created daisies in one of their recent classroom lessons. Above are students in the kindergarten of St. Thomas the Apostle School showing off their 'garden':Back Row Emily, Julia, Bea, Kennedy, Kaylee and Katherine. Front - Jayden, Daniel, Nicholas, Ravi and Jaedon.

St. Thomas 300 Club Raffle

St. Thomas the Apostle and your Finance Committee invite you and your friends to participate in our 300 Club.  Only 300 tickets available, each ticket costs $100.

The Raffle will be held Wednesday May 25, 2016
Prizes are as follows:
1st Prize - $10,500 or 35% of tickets sold
2nd Prize - $3,000 or 10% of tickets sold
3rd Prize - $1,500 or 5% of tickets sold
Click here for the STA 300 Club 2016 form


Click/tap an image for a larger view

First Communion
Congratulations to the First Communicants and their families. Please keep them in your prayers as they continue to grow in faith, hope and love.
Thank you to the parents for providing the E-Newsletter with pictures.

May Crowning

Seminarians at St. Thomas

Gifts From Bethlehem

Girl Scout Cookie Sale

School Photos

In Memoriam - Sister Joan
Sister Joan Moore passed away on March 31st.
Sister Joan arrived in our parish over 40 years ago and cared lovingly for the young children in our school entrusted to her care.
She taught our children with enthusiasm, humor, and love and the children through the decades responded to her.
Keep Sister Joan, her family, friends and the Sisters of Charity in your thoughts and prayers.
We thank God for blessing our parish and school with her presence for so many years.

Some pictures from Sister's Retirement Celebration in 2014.
Sister Joan's Obituary on the Sisters of Charity Website.

Solemnity of Pentecost - Sunday May 15, 2016

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 General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar,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 15, 2016.

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.

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity - Sunday May 22, 2016

The solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is ancient. The origins of the solemnity can be traced to the seventh century. It has been on the Church's universal calendar for nearly seven hundred years. "The central mystery of Christian faith and life" is the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity (CCC, 234 - Click Here to read more). This solemnity offers us time to meditate upon this defining mystery of our faith.

This is also the first of the three doctrinal feasts celebrated after Pentecost, which commemorate not a person but a theological tenet, doctrine, or devotion. Today's solemnity celebrates the doctrine of the Triune God, one God in three divine persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In the fourth century, the Church underwent a serious crisis when Arius, a priest of Alexandria, denied the divinity of Christ, and as a consequence, faith in the Trinity and the equality of the three divine Persons. The heresy, called Arianism, was condemned by the councils of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381). The result was the formulation of the Creed that we recite at Mass today.

In celebration of the Eucharist, notice how frequently we articulate our belief in the Trinity: with the sign of the Cross, the Doxology at the end of the presidential prayers, the Gloria, the Profession of Faith, and the Eucharistic Prayer culminating in the Great Doxology above, and finally with the Solemn Blessing at the end of Mass.

This year it is on May 22, 2016.
The stained glass window is from St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Bloomfield, NJ.

Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ - Sunday May 29, 2016

Measured by Church time, the solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is quite young dating from the mid-thirteenth-century. For hundreds of years, in fact, it was commonly referred to as nova sollemnitas, "the new solemnity" (The Liturgy and Time, 104). This celebration has been given many names over the centuries: feast of the Eucharist, feast of the Most Precious Sacrament, even feast of God. In France it is still commonly known as the Fete-Dieu. The solemnity developed at about the same time as the elevations of the consecrated elements during Mass, and it arose out of the desire of the faithful to see the Blessed Sacrament at a time when they did not often receive it. The solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is an expression of our Catholic faith in the real presence of the risen Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Yet, this celebration is also outward-looking, carrying the liturgy out of the Church and into the streets.

The stained glass window is found in the parish center at Saint Thomas the Apostle, Bloomfield, NJ.

Saint Anthony of Padua, Missionary & Doctor - Feast Day June 13th

St. Anthony began as a missionary to Muslims but poor health resigned him to monastery work where he realized his great gift of preaching and biblical knowledge. Through his eloquent words many notorious sinners, heretics and careless people were brought to conversion. He was given the title, "Doctor of the Church" in 1946 by Pope Pius XII because of his orthodox preaching and teaching. He died of frail health when he was only thirty-six. Although pictured with lily and Child Jesus, Anthony was known as the "Hammer of Heretics" for his fearless and strong opposition to oppression, clerical abuses and the laity's half-hearted dedication to their faith.

Prayer to Saint Anthony

O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and Charity for His creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me (request). O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours. Amen.

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

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

Parish Events:

Pentecost Sunday
May 15

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

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

Shop Rite Gift Card Sale to Support STA Home & School
Sunday May 15 @ 10:00AM-12:00PM

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
May 22

Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Hour
Monday May 23 @ 11:00 AM - 8:30PM

Saint Thomas 300 Raffle
Wednesday May 25

September Club Trip - Jersey Dreamers Joe Zisa at the Brownstone
Wednesday May 25 @ 11:00 AM

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
May 29

Memorial Day
May 30 - Mass at 8:30AM and the Parish Center is closed.

Shop Rite Gift Card Sale to Support STA Home & School
Sunday June 12 @ 10:00AM-12:00PM

Ms. Ferraer’s Retirement Celebration Reception
Sunday June 12 @ 1:00PM

June Blood Pressure Screening
Sunday June 19 @ 8:00AM-12:00PM

June Hospitality
Sunday June 19 @ 9:30AM-12:00PM

Father's Day
June 19

Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Hour
Monday June 27 @ 11:00 AM - 8:30PM

Meeting Dates:

Shawl Ministry
Sunday May 15 @ 11:30AM

September Club Meeting
Monday May 16

September Club Meeting
Monday May 23

Men's Scripture Reading and Reflection
Monday May 23 @ 7:30PM

September Club Meeting
Monday June 6

Rosary Society Meeting
Monday June 6 @ 7:00PM

Men's Scripture Reading and Reflection
Monday June 6 @ 7:30PM

September Club Meeting
Monday June 13

Shawl Ministry
Sunday June 19 @ 11:30AM

Men's Scripture Reading and Reflection
Monday June 20 @ 7:30PM

September Club Meeting
Monday June 20