December 2020 E-Newsletter

December 2020

Published December 11, 2020

In this issue:
  • Pastor’s Message
  • Advent/Christmas Word Scramble
  • Christmas Tree Setup – Saturday December 19, 2020 at 9:00AM
  • Virtual Christmas Pageant December 23, 2020 at 7:30PM
  • Christmas
  • Christmas Season
  • Solemnity of Mary Mother of God
  • Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
  • Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord
  • Thank you Essential Workers
  • Prayer for Protection in Time of Pandemic
  • NJ Catholic Bishops’ Statement on Reproductive Freedom Act
  • Social Concerns
  • Information for Covid Relief for Homeowners and Tenants
  • Photos – Advent Giving Tree

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Pastor’s Message

Dear Members of the St. Thomas the Apostle Parish family,

Here is our December parish email filled with important updates.

We are quickly approaching Christmas. In order to “Make way for the Lord”, we will have 2 priests hearing confessions on Monday, December 14th at 7 pm in the church, as well as Saturday at 1 pm in the parking lot behind the church, weather-permitting. In case of inclement weather it will be in church – enter through the center front door.

Because of the COVID 19 restrictions we are limited to 150 people at each Mass Our Masses for Christmas will be:

Christmas Eve at 4:00 in church; 4:15 pm in Herron Hall (school); 6:00 pm in church; 10:00 pm in church.

On Christmas Day they will be: 8 am, 10 am, 12 noon (all in church).

All Masses will require pre-registration (see our website www.stachurchbloomfield.com). Please bring your email confirmation with you. If your plans change and you cannot attend the Mass that you have reserved please call the parish center by December 23rd so that the spot may be available for someone else. The link to reserve your spot at Mass will appear on our website on December 21st. Entrance for the church Masses will be through the Handicapped door only and will be opened one half hour before each Mass and closed when we reach our capacity of 150.

Our Giving Tree was very different this year. Although there was no physical tree in the church our parishioners were very generous. I thank all of you who donated and helped to brighten the Christmas season for so many people.

Our Christmas Pageant this year will be Virtual and will be able to be seen on our YouTube channel (be sure to subscribe) on December 23rd at 7 pm.

Our livestreamed Masses in December will be:

December 24th 4 pm (Church) and 10 pm Mass; 10 am Mass on Christmas Day.

December 31st the 5 pm Mass (Holy Day).

The Masses for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God (January 1st) will be: December 31st at 5 pm, and January 1st at 9:30 am and 11:30 am. Again our capacity is 150 per Mass and the Handicapped door will be opened one half hour before Mass and closed when we reach capacity.

Have a Blessed Advent, a very Merry Christmas and a Safe, Healthy, and Happy New Year!

Let’s continue to pray for one another.

Be well and stay safe!


Advent

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.

Christmas Tree Setup – Saturday Decemeber 19, 2020 at 9:00AM



For more info or to rsvp call
Jim Gasparini @ 973-338-9190 ext. 111
or email @ jwgasparini@aol.com

Virtual Christmas Pageant December 23, 2020 at 7:30PM

https://www.facebook.com/stachurchbloomfield

https://www.youtube.com/c/stabloomfieldnj/videos


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 Larry Fama and Priests, Deacons and Staff

All Masses will require pre-registration that will be available on our website starting Monday December 21, 2020.

Christmas Eve Masses
Church – Thursday December 24 @ 4:00PM and Livestreamed
Herron Hall – Thursday December 24 @ 4:15PM
Church – Thursday December 24 @ 6:00PM
Church – Thursday December 24 @ 10:00PM and Livestreamed

Christmas Day Masses
Church – Friday December 25 @ 8:00AM
Church – Friday December 25 @ 10:00AM and Livestreamed
Church – Friday December 25 @ 12:00 Noon

YouTube Live Stream Page


Christmas Liturgical Season

The Christmas Liturgical Season begins on Christmas Eve, including 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 the feast of the Baptism of Jesus.
Stained Glass Window is the Nativity and can be found in the Nave at Saint Thomas the Apostle.


Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God – Friday January 1st, 2021

Masses on Thursday, December 31, 2020 at 5:00pm – Livestreamed on YouTube
and Friday, January 1, 2021 at 9:30am and 11:30am.

YouTube Live Stream Page

The church celebrates that Mary is the Mother of God (Theotokos or more specifically “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.
Stained Glass Window is the Coronation of Mary and can be found in the Nave at Saint Thomas the Apostle.


The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – January 3, 2021

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 tradition, St. Thomas traveled East after Jesus’ Resurrection and encountered the three wise men. They were then baptized by St. Thomas.

The Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord – January 10, 2021

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 Jordan 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).

Thank you Essential Workers

To All Essential Workers

Medical, police, fire transportation, law, banking, clergy, retail, food, public service and all who serve others.

WE ARE SO GRATEFUL TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES


Prayer for Protection in Time of Pandemic

Taken from http://www.kofc.org/en/news-room/articles/novena-prayer-for-protection.html

O Mary, you always brighten our path as a sign of salvation and of hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who, at the Cross, took part in Jesus’ pain while remaining steadfast in faith. O loving Mother, you know what we need, and we are confident you will provide for us as at Cana in Galilee. Intercede for us with your Son Jesus, the Divine Physician, for those who have fallen ill, for those who are vulnerable, and for those who have died. Intercede also for those charged with protecting the health and safety of others and for those who are tending to the sick and seeking a cure.

Help us. O Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who took upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows, so as to lead us, through the Cross, to the glory of the Resurrection. Amen.

Under thy protection we seek refuge, O Holy Mother of God. In our needs, despise not our petitions, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.


NJ Catholic Bishops’ Statement on Reproductive Freedom Act

The Catholic Church believes and teaches that all human life is sacred from conception to natural death. For that reason, we, the Bishops of each of the dioceses in New Jersey, join in voicing the strongest possible opposition to the “Reproductive Freedom Act.” Please click the link below to read more and additional resources to contact state legislators. Please visit https://www.stachurchbloomfield.com/web/nj-catholic-bishops-statement-on-reproductive-freedom-act-2020/

Social Concerns

For information about Catholic Social Teaching and other areas of Social Justice, please visit https://www.stachurchbloomfield.com/web/social-concerns/

Information for Covid Relief for Homeowners and Tenants

Updated information for COVID support for homeowners and tenants. Also information on how to contact your government representative for COVID relief before Christmas. Please visit https://www.stachurchbloomfield.com/web/around-the-community/

Photos

Click/tap an image for a larger view

Advent Giving Tree Photos










The St. Thomas the Apostle Parishioners have done an amazing job participating in this year’s Annual Advent Giving Tree Program. We kept the faith that our parishioners would be as generous as always and you exceeded our expectations during this very chaotic time.

Everyone adapted to the new process seamlessly. Every gift was labeled with the organization and all gift cards had a dollar value. This was so appreciated when sorting and distributing.

Your generosity and continued support have not only made this program successful, but has brightened the Christmas season for many. We collected over $4,000 in ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Target & Kohl’s gift cards for our parish. There were 59 very large bags of gifts along with a microwave, 2 bikes and $520 in gift cards for the organizations listed below.

  • Family Promise –renamed from Interfaith Hospitality for the Homeless of Essex County – Montclair, NJ
  • Dr. Lena Edwards Charter School – Jersey City, NJ
  • RWJ Barnabas Health Center for Hemophilia – Newark NJ
  • St Rose of Lima Parish – Newark NJ
  • Mercy House – Newark NJ
  • St. Joseph’s Social Service Center, Elizabeth NJ
Special thanks to everyone who participated and assisted including:
  • The Confirmation Candidates
  • Prayer Shawl Ministry for making hats & gloves
The Organizations are very thankful to the St Thomas Community for their giving spirit and asked us to share their gratitude and prayers for all of us in the new year.