In this issue:
- St. Thomas Senior High Youth Group
- Saint Thomas the Apostle School in the News
- From NJ Catholic – “How Can I Be a Better Catholic?”
- Pictures – Pentecost/St. Thomas Choir sings at the Catheral / Joan Ferraer’s Retirement
- Pictures – St. Youth Group/St. Thomas Graduation / More First Communion Pictures
- Stained Glass – Saint Kateri Tekakwitha – Feast Day July 14
- Upcoming Events
Saint Thomas the Apostle Senior High Youth Group
The Saint Thomas the Apostle Youth Group, affectionately known by the members as STAY-G, has operated for the last ten years under the excellent leadership of long time parishioner Tim Dennin. Besides leading the Youth Group, Tim also serves as the parish Confirmation director. Over these last ten years, participation among the high school age parishioners has increased substantially, with anywhere from 30 to 60 participants in any given year. Assisting Tim with STAY-G is a group of young adults, most of whom came through the youth group themselves.
WHAT’S UP AT THE YOUTH GROUP?
STAY-G has become a vital ministry at our parish. A list of events throughout the year include, but are not limited to the following:
- once a week meetings throughout the school year
- two retreat weekends per year at various locations (each retreat is led by a group of students for the benefit of all the students. Every retreat may have a different theme, but all retreats center on bringing the candidates one step closer to God)
- STAY-G participates in various fund raisers, including entertainment from accomplished Christian-based Performers
- trips to Six Flags at least once a year
- Super Bowl Lock-in, which is an overnight funfest the night before the big game.
- Living Stations of the Cross, held on Good Friday at Saint Thomas church, where the youth group depicts the final hours of our Lord Jesus Christ in exquisite detail.
- STAY-G also teaches the confirmation candidates for their Big day.
Youth Group members come from all towns and schools in our parish, Including Bloomfield HS, Nutley HS, Glen Ridge HS, Clifton HS, Seton Hall Prep, St. Peters Prep, Queen of Peace, Paramus Catholic, Mount Saint Dominic Academy and many others in our area.
If you haven’t already, you should look into the Saint Thomas Apostle Youth Group. STAY-G offers much to the highschoolers in our area, including good clean fun and meeting like minded individuals.
Saint Thomas the Apostle School in the Catholic Advocate
The fifth grade students at Saint Thomas the Apostle School in Bloomfield recently learned about immigration and Ellis Island in their social studies class. Students were randomly assigned a country of origin by teacher Michael Petrillo, and completed the literacy test given to immigrants in the 1900’s. “The students were enthralled and excited during this lesson,” Petrillo noted. Students also gathered information from their own backgrounds.
How Can I Be a Better Catholic
First appeared in the June 2016 issue of New Jersey Catholic
Father Joe Krupp is a former comedy writer who is now a Catholic priest.
On Twitter at @Joeinblack
Question: DEAR FR. JOE: I came into the Church last year, and I really want to be the best Catholic I can. I read a lot and visit Catholic websites. But I’ve noticed that, on the internet and in my own parish, there are so many mixed messages. What’s the right way?
Answer: Great question – I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, especially in light of the Gospel about St. Thomas and his doubts. When I read this Gospel, I often wonder what those days right after the Resurrection were like. Here was St. Thomas the Apostle, the only guy not ruled by fear: His brothers stayed in the Upper Room, afraid – but not him, he was out and about. Either way, he’s out and Jesus comes. Jesus appears to the 10 remaining disciples who were present and speaks to them. Thomas comes home, perhaps with food, perhaps from talking to people about Jesus – who knows? Either way, he returns to find that his friends have lost their minds. They tell him that Jesus has risen from the dead. Now, during the next six days, there is no doubt the Upper Room got very small: arguments, recriminations, finger-pointing, yelling, questioning. Should Thomas have chosen to believe the ridiculous, he’d have to have wondered why Jesus didn’t appear while he was there.
It must have been a nasty six days. Whatever the case, somewhere in there, Thomas tells his brothers what it would take for him to believe: If he puts his finger in the nail marks and his hand in Jesus’ side, then he’ll believe.
Finally, Jesus comes again. He starts off by saying, “Peace be with you,” as he has three times before. He then speaks to Thomas and doesn’t chastise him or reprove him; instead, he meets his criterion – sort of a “This is what you need? Oh, then do it.”
Thomas probes the nail marks. He physically places his hand inside Jesus’ body and then proclaims him as God. As you may know, Thomas was faithful, even to the point of death. When you go home today, look at a map. See the distance between Israel and southern India. Tradition tells us that Thomas walked it and brought people there to Jesus. He preached and taught until he was tortured to death with spears. He held that faith so well. Back to the Upper Room now, Jesus says, “Peace be with you” three times. The Greek word Jesus uses for “peace” refers not to an inner contentment, but a communal relationship. He’s addressing the fights that have occurred among the disciples and the fights that will come. He’s declaring “peace” after what must have been six days of war. His very resurrection is such a colossal event that it changes all the rules – it unifies them in a way not many other things could. Wherever they go from that day forward, they are bound by the wonder and beauty of having seen Jesus risen from the dead. Their fight with each other is over. They are commissioned to go into the world in unity and forgive sins in his name, bringing people to God through their testimony.
This unity speaks to us today. We are here because of that moment. Look around your parish. Look at who is there. What would bring us all together on Sunday mornings other than our firm, heartfelt conviction that he is risen and that he calls to us? What a wonderful and amazing thing that is.
We believe something unbelievable: God took our sins and guilt upon himself and died, killing those things with him. He rose from that death and calls us to enter into a deep personal relationship with him, lived out in a Catholic community of believers. Within this community, we must be patient and loving with the process of conversion into which each one must enter.
Fear can never be a part of this process of conversion. We don’t need to be afraid of our doubts, or of other people’s doubts. Be confident enough in what we believe to hold it up to our intellect with humility and love. If someone comes to you with their doubts, don’t be angry with them. Instead, gently walk with them until they see the beauty and wonder of what Christ teaches. If you struggle with doubts, share them with a knowledgeable, patient and loving person within this community. Ask them to bring you to truth. Here is our chance to understand that God’s mercy is not just about what we’ve done wrong, but in how right God wants us to be in mind, soul and body. We can be confident in what Jesus teaches us – confident enough that we are patient with those who struggle, especially ourselves. Mercy requires that we understand that conversion is a process, a process that begins with our struggles and ends with our crying out to Jesus in wonder and awe, “My Lord and my God!”
What better thing can we say than that?
Enjoy another day in God’s presence.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha – Feast Day July 14
Her cause of canonization was started in 1884 by Pope Leo XIII. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 6/22/1980 and canonized on 10/21/2012 by Pope Benedict XVI
She is the patroness of ecology and the environment, people in exile and Native Americans.
The stained glass window is from the Mary Queen of the Universe Window at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Bloomfield, NJ.