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Cardinal Tobin Town Hall Meeting
Cardinal Tobin opened the Town Hall with a warm welcome and he received a round of applause. He noted that we all did the really important stuff beforehand being nourished by His Word and His Sacrament.
The cardinal was clear that the Archdiocese is not the Joe Tobin Show or anyone’s show, but rather all of us answering the call of God. Where does God want us to be? Where is God opening a door for us?
He wanted us to reflect upon the challenges we face in the Church. The Cardinal commented that sometimes we ask the wrong questions – “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know what do you want to do?” “How much do we have?” The last question which drew a chuckle from the crowd.
He gave the example of the loaves and fishes. If we look to where Jesus is calling us, then we will have enough. He furthered the example by drawing upon a personal story about Mother Theresa who took a collection near where he was assigned. She knew how much she needed for a collection and received the exact amount. She recalled to Cardinal Tobin that “God never gives me too much for fear that I forget him.” God always gave her just enough.
He asked questions again. What is our Mission? What should we of the Archdiocese of Newark or your Parish or your Deanery be doing? Where is God opening a door for us? Where is God calling us?
He took questions for over ninety minutes and continued to meet with those gathered well past 11:30PM. Instead of describing the questions asked and his responses, this author thinks it is more important for each of us to reflect on the question the Cardinal was asking.
My personal impression of the Cardinal is that he handled the questions with grace, tact and sense of perspective. He is a man who knows he is reliant on God and also on all the people God has given him in the Archdiocese. He is encouraging us to be listeners and to struggle with what God is calling us as individuals and groups to do. Only when we are able to be listeners then we are able to truly go out and do the will of God. Cardinal Tobin also seemed to want everyone to evangelize through personal relationships and touching hearts and minds. By having the town hall he is giving us the example of being a listener and a healthy Catholicism is listening to God and our fellow humans. I am eager to hear more.
A Father’s Day Reflection. Originally printed in Heartwarmers in February 2000. Reprinted with permission
By Angelique Butler Sharps – A Saint Thomas the Apostle Parishioner
My father has always been a solemn man—a military veteran with a no-nonsense, serious, practical approach to life. Add to that the simple lifestyle of a hermit-like existence, it’s no wonder that his six children, all middle-aged adults, still pick and choose their words carefully in his presence, not wanting to offend or anger him.
Being the dutiful older daughter, I have always enjoyed a more casual relationship with him than have my brothers or my much younger sister. Casual does not necessarily mean cozy, however. Even in our closeness I must be careful not to overstep my boundaries, like when I once suggested that he watch an Eddie Murphy movie I thought he’d find funny. Big mistake. About halfway through the film he got up and politely walked out of the room. I think it was Eddie’s one too many curse words that ended the evening abruptly. Needless to say, Eddie didn’t seem so funny after that.
But something happened not too long ago that has made me question everything I ever thought I knew about my Dad. It started out innocently enough. During the course of a visit to our home in New Jersey, my husband and I decided to show my father around a local university campus. We pointed out various sites as he seemed to quietly tolerate our extensive tour—quiet, that is, until we came to a ladder that was leaning up against a building.
“That ladder reminds me of a joke I once read,” my father started.
“Oh?” I wondered aloud, surprised to hear my father broach a subject of some frivolity.
“Well,” he continued, “there was this guy up on a ladder doing some work and…”
My husband and I looked at my father intently. His eyes were twinkling as he seemed to reflect back on his amusing tale. But instead of continuing with the story, he began to chuckle ever so slightly.
At first it was actually sort of a pleasant surprise, my father telling a joke and getting tickled by it. This was the same man who usually wore a serious expression and did not laugh easily, let alone tell a joke. He had seen the horrors of war, lived through the Great Depression, and now eked out a quiet existence as a divorced man in relative isolation. What humor was there in that? Still, it was nice to see him make an effort to be sociable; so we encouraged him to continue his tale.
Making a second stab at it, my father began the joke again but never got past the part about the man on the ladder. Now I was really intrigued. My husband and I began to laugh too, more at his laughing than at the joke he was trying to tell.
Again and again he tried to finish his story, but every time he got to a certain point, he would break into laughter. It was amazing and comical all at the same time. He had always had a firm handle on things, and now, right before our eyes, he was basically losing it.
At one point my father leaned up against a wall to keep from doubling over. He had tears streaming down his face as he waved us on. It was like he was saying, just leave me here. There is no hope for me now. Save yourselves! Naturally, we laughed at that too. We walked slightly ahead of him, and all the while we could hear him behind us cracking himself up. After a while my husband and I decided we better get him to a safe place before he hurt himself. We led him back to the car but he was still laughing as we left the campus.
After that day I have never looked at my father in the same way again. I learned that my father is not this static, unchanging, one-dimensional individual we all thought we knew. Over the years he had always been the heavy, and while there are family issues that will not dissolve with laughter, I came to realize that if we could be wrong about his sense of humor, then what else might we have misunderstood.
His laughter was more than just refreshing; it was full of hope and the promise that perhaps there could be forgiveness and reconciliation where it was thought there could be none. As for the content of the joke, not too long ago we spoke by phone and at the mere mention of the incident, my father began to chuckle. I quickly changed the subject for fear of a repeat performance. I decided right then and there that the joke wasn’t really that important.
What was important was that I already knew the punch line, and it had packed quite a wallop.
Summary of the Dearery Mass celebrated by Cardinal Tobin
Cardinal Tobin’s Introductory Comments prior to the Holy Water Sprinkling Rite:
“But because of our baptism when God sees us he says “I know these people because they look like my Son. We begin this celebration by reminding ourselves of the great unmeritable gift that each one of us has received of new life in Jesus Christ by recalling our Baptism.”
Cardinal Tobin’s Homily Key Points
The Cardinal then asked those gathered “What do we fear – Loss of material things, a job, freedom, others, person intimacy, life itself. We all have a primary or principal fear. What is it for you?” Once he gave us a moment to reflect on the question, he then asked us to reflect on what Jesus said in that day’s Gospel: “Peace I leave to you, my peace I gave to you.”
“We think that peace is an absence of tension. We need to think outside this static box about peace.” He gave the example of a car that the engine’s parts work in tension but it is a creative and productive tension. Tension in our muscles and bodies allows us to move. The Cardinal reminded us that as we sang together and responded to the Word of God because of the tension in our vocal cords.
In our spiritual life as we look for peace sometimes we avoid tension and conflict. However , God asks us to go out of ourselves, which is love….. And service to others is one of its forms. We can sometimes let our fears prevent us from what God is calling us to do.
The Cardinal concluded that as a parish, deanery or the Archdiocese of Newark we need to answer any fears by saying “Here I am Lord, Lead me, because I know you are leading me into life”
Archdiocese Celebrates a Mass to Honor Altar Servers
On May 20th, 2017, a Mass and reception was held to honor all altar servers in the Archdiocese of Newark at Our Lady of the Lake in Verona, New Jersey. A major theme throughout the mass was “Our Lady of Fatima” since the 100th anniversary of the vision was celebrated the week prior. The presider said “Mary still works with the Church, still leading us, still guiding us, and still bringing us closer to her son.” Speaking about the message of God’s great love and mercy from Fatima, he prefaced the penitential rite by asking everyone to “recall that we are blessed and that regardless of what we have done God brings us here for love, mercy, healing and renewal.”
Father used his homily to again welcome the altar servers and asked servers from the four counties of the Archdiocese of Newark – Essex, Bergen, Hudson, and Union – to raise their hands to identify themselves. Those gathered received a warm applause from all those at Mass. The introductory theme of Father’s message was “never judge a book by its cover.” When asking those altar servers present to define what the saying meant one young lady said we “do not make assumptions about someone based on what they look like on the outside.” Another server mentioned Autism Awareness and not to judge someone’s difficulties and challenges as they have potential for greatness.
The Father worked in prison ministry and admitted that sometimes people can judge others by their appearance without getting to know them or realize the positive things they are doing in the world today. He gave the example of one person in prison that sings like an angel and leads those gathered in song for Mass at the prison. This person also sets up for Mass in a common prison chapel to make it like it was the most beautiful Catholic Church in the world. This person was baptized in jail and he credits Mary as the one who led him to Jesus. This was all possible through the help of another prison inmate who introduced him to praying the Rosary. With the help of the Rosary he learned about Jesus and became Catholic.
God through Mary introduces the world to His Son Jesus. Recalling the 100th anniversary of Fatima, Father noted that the instruments of his message were three poor shepherd children – Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. The story of Our Lady of Fatima teaches us the importance and significance of what children offer the world community. Children can bring the world to faith in Jesus and do many great things.
At the conclusion of Mass two seminarians in the Archdiocese of Newark spoke to the altar servers. The first man said service is essential to our Catholic faith. By serving at the Mass we are able to transform people by allowing Jesus into their lives. Altar serving was a spring board for him to other ministries within the Church such as religious education and supporting the youth group. He was grateful for being an altar server since it was an important starting point on his journey in faith.
Marek was the second seminarian who spoke. Marek thanked all the parents who were present for their dedication to raising their children, being active in the Church and making sure they participate in the sacramental life. He addressed the children by encouraging them to think about what they want in life and listen to God to see if they are being called to the priesthood, religious life, married life or the single life.
The presiding priest then concluded by thanking the seminarians and encouraging those altar servers present to consider if God may be guiding them to the priesthood, religious life, or the permanent diaconate. Following the Mass all the altar servers and their families were invited to a reception in the school hall where each server received a certificate recognizing their service as an altar server the past year. This event was organized by the Serra Group and is an international organization promoting vocations within the Catholic Church. For more information about Serra, please visit https://serraus.org.
Pope Francis’ Beatitudes for the Modern World
During a homily in the fall of 2016, Pope Francis offered six blessings for those living in our modern world:
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Saint Thomas the Apostle School Pictures (Courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/STABloomfield)
See http://www.stachurchbloomfield.com/tobin201705mass for more pictures.
Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Sunday June 18, 2017
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.|
Feast of St. Thomas – July 3rd