November 2017 E-Newsletter

November 2017


In this issue:

  • An All Souls’ Day Reflection
  • Confirmation at Saint Thomas
  • Pictures –
    • Saint Thomas the Apostle School
    • Be-Attitude Women’s Retreat
    • Refugee Resettlement Program at Saint Thomas – With Links to the Videos on YouTube
  • Veterans’ Day
  • Boy Scout Troop 22 Celebrates 75 Years at Saint Thomas
  • Advent 2017
  • Saint Francis Xavier Stained Glass Window
  • Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
  • Upcoming Events

 

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A Parting Gift for Those Who Die Alone
by: Angelique Butler Sharps

One of the saddest things people can hear is that someone died alone. It is a circumstance that touches most of us deeply and can be a source of great sorrow and distress, especially if we know someone personally who died in this manner. As Catholics, while there can be some solace in praying for the souls of the deceased, we can still experience great sadness or regret if no one was present when our loved ones breathed their last. Our Catholic faith teaches the tremendous value in praying and making sacrifices for the repose of all souls; but what if we could still impact the hour of death for someone who died alone?

To start, because God is eternal in nature, He is not bound by the restrictions of what humans define as space and time. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end—only, there is no physical or spiritual beginning or end to God. If we have faith, then we accept that He always was and always will be. As God said to Moses at the burning bush, ‘I am who I am…tell the Israelites I AM has sent me to you… .’ He is the God of yesterday and the God of today. The God that people prayed to in Jesus’ day is the same God we pray to now. God simply “IS”—which means He is ever present, existing at every moment of human history simultaneously.

Consequently, the totality of our lives on earth, our living and our dying, exists concurrently for God. All of human history—its past, present, and future—are simply “now” for Him. That’s because while He certainly acts within it, God encompasses and transcends time and is not bound by any of its laws or restrictions. If God transcends time, then there is one more gift we can give our deceased loved ones if we so choose and if God allows. We may not be able to bring them back to life, but the God who “IS” can still respond to our prayers for them regarding the hour of their deaths.

My father died alone in his bedroom at the veterans’ home where he had been living. The nurses had only stepped out for a moment when he quietly slipped away. I had always been distressed by this but later came to realize there was actually something I could still do to affect his final moments of life. In other words, today, at this very moment, I can pray to God regarding my father’s last hours on earth. I can do this because God is not restricted by what we humans consider to be the past. While God may not undo what has historically happened to my father (his death), because of my prayers, He could certainly respond to that same historical event so that there is a direct impact on the final manner in which my father died.

For instance, I can pray, “Please hear my prayers for my father at the hour of his death. I ask that he does not die in great distress. I pray that he is free from all fear and worry, is accepting of God’s will, and is sorry for his sins. I pray that he is accompanied by angels so that he does not feel abandoned or alone. I also pray that his last moments on earth are free from sin and that his transition is peaceful and full of grace.”

If God chooses to grant all or even some of my requests, then my prayers for my father in present day may produce the very outcome I had hoped for him no matter the time of his death. I will never know for sure, but I have faith that my prayers today can still influence my father’s final moments because God is “present” with my father as he lies dying at the same time He is “present” with me right now.

It is only we humans who experience time as linear and finite. My father had a physical end at a designated hour upon earth, but if we truly embrace God’s eternal nature, we could confidently pray for the deceased as they are dying, knowing that the God of always is not affected by the timeframe in which we are praying. God knows our intentions and our concerns. While our prayers will not prevent the deaths of our loved ones (for God chooses to operate within the nature He created), as long as we pray sincerely, our prayers will be heard.

We humans try to live in the present as best we can. Time is always moving for us, going forward, not backward; so this prayerful approach may seem out of sequence for some because it goes against our natural inclinations when we pray, especially when we pray for the dead. However, while some may feel more comfortable with standard, more conventional ways of praying, it may be good from time to time to communicate with God in new and more creative ways, as long as it is still in accordance with our faith principles and core Christian beliefs.

While new ways of praying may be acceptable, we can still pray for the souls of the faithful departed in the traditional manner if customary praying is preferred. We can continue to offer up sacrifices for the deceased and have masses said in their behalf. If, however, we have any lingering anxiety or sadness about someone dying alone, it is good to know (or have hope) that there is still something we could possibly do to affect the manner in which they died.

Being far from home, I have missed a lot of funerals over the years, but being able to pray in the present for the souls of the deceased and for their last hours on earth, has been a great comfort to me and hopefully, to them as well. As humans, we cannot go back in time and change what has already happened, but in the case of those who die alone, if God allows, we can certainly affect their final moments of life—for nothing is impossible with God.


Boy Scout Troop 22 Celebrates 75 Years at Saint Thomas


Boy Scout Troop 22 is celebrating its 75th anniversary at a special Court of Honor, November 12th at 12:00 p.m. in Herron Hall. Alumni and friends are invited to attend, share stories, and memorabilia. The cost is $12 for a light lunch. For more information, contact troop22bloomfield@gmail.com or 973-338-0097.



Confirmation 2017

Bishop John Flesey began his homily describing Trappist Monk Thomas Merton and Merton’s book Seven Storey Mountain, which details his conversion story. Another of Merton’s books entitled Contemplation in a World of Action delves into the Gospel proclaimed at the Confirmation Mass — “You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”(Matthew 22:34-40)

Quoting from the book, Flesey said, “Our encounter with Jesus, our response to His Word, is the drawing forth and calling out of our deepest freedom, our truest identity of self.” Elaborating on that theme he also quoted, “we become ourselves when we find ourselves in Christ.” In so doing, we become that person who reaches out to their neighbor and is capable of bringing peace and love to others.

God has given us many gifts that we should be grateful for and Bishop Flesey encouraged everyone to express gratitude every day and to focus on the positive things in our lives.

The one question we may be asked in our lives is, “What did you do with your capacity to care?” Flesey urged the candidates to unwrap the gift given to them with the Sacrament of Confirmation so that they can say, “I found my Christ-Self and I shared it with others.” He closed by saying that if we all do that “together we will be filled with peace.”


Congratulations to the 70+ young people of our parish who
have just celebrated their Confirmation. They are now full
members of our parish family and we invite them to join us in
being a sign of God’s presence and kingdom for the
communities in which we live.

We offer a special word of gratitude to Mr. Tim Dennin and
those who assisted him on our Confirmation Team for using
their faith, time, and talent to help prepare those confirmed for
this important step in their lives.


Pray For Our Veterans, Their Families, and For Peace This Veterans’ Day – November 11th


We are grateful for and inspired by those veterans who have given their lives for our country. Thank you!

Loving God, we ask for blessings on all those who have served their country in the armed forces. We ask for healing for the Veterans who have been wounded, in body and soul and in conflicts around the globe. We pray especially for the young men and women, in the thousands, who are coming home with injured bodies and traumatized spirits. Bring solace to them, O Lord; may we pray for them when they cannot pray. We ask for, echoing John Paul II, an end to wars and the dawning of a new era of peace, as a way to honor all the veterans of past wars.

Have mercy on all our Veterans. Bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in. Bless all the soldiers who served in noncombative posts; may their calling to service continue in their lives in many positive ways.

Click here to visit the USCCB web page for prayers for peace, our troops and their families


Photos

Click/tap an image for a larger view


STA School Pictures

For more, visit the school at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.











Be-Attitude Women’s Retreat October 28, 2017











Photos from the Vatican Agency’s Work in Middle East & Other Regions & Cardinal’s Refugee Resettlement Initiative. October 12, 2017
To see and hear the presentations from October 12, please click the following links to the YouTube videos:
Introduction and Opening Prayer
Presentation by Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), a Vatican Agency
Presentation on Cardinal Joseph Tobin’s Refugee Resettlement Initiative in the Archdiocese of Newark













November – Remembering All Souls

As we remember our faithful departed in the month of November, we must remember that our prayers for the dead bind us to them in the communion of faith and life promised by Jesus to all who believe in Him. All Souls’ day is a commemoration of all those who have fallen asleep in Christ marked with the sign of faith and who, we pray, may one day join the saints around the great banquet table of the Lamb. We pray for the dead; we pray for the forgiveness of all their sins; and we pray that God, in his great mercy, will take them to himself.
Please pray for those deceased members of our parish family.

The following links are to the bulletins with the names of deceased parishioners from the previous years.
2017
2016
2015 2014 2013 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007


Feast of Christ the King – Sunday November 26, 2017

We celebrate the feast of Christ the King the last Sunday in Ordinary
Time. Its official name is the solemnity of Our Lord
Jesus Christ the King. This solemnity was established by
Pope Pius XI in 1925, an observance celebrating an
aspect of Jesus’ identity rather than of his life.
Conventional understandings of kingship and power are
transformed. Rather than calling up images of Jesus
Christ dressed in kingly robes, the Gospel proclaims him
as king by the sign over his head on the throne of a
wooden cross (I.N.R.I.: –IESUS NAZARENVS REX IVDAEORVM–
Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews). Paradoxically, it is the
thief who recognized in Christ the Lord and Messiah.

Through our baptism we share in Christ’s kingly office, exercising good stewardship for people and things over which we have charge. (Lumen Genitum 31).


Advent begins Sunday December 3, 2017


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 but 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 and 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.


Feast of St. Francis Xaiver. Sunday December 3, 2017


St. Francis Xavier was one of the founding Jesuits, and the first Jesuit missionary. He was a friend of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who convinced him to use his talents to spread the Gospel.

As a missionary for ten years in India, the East Indies, and Japan, St. Francis baptized more than 40,000 converts to the faith. He dined with head hunters, washed the sores of lepers in Venice, and taught catechism to Indian children, baptizing 10,000 in a single month.


Immaculate Conception of Mary – Friday December 8th, 2017


Holy Day Masses at 7:30AM, 11:30AM and 7:30PM.

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The photo (left) shows the stained glass window of “Mary Queen of the Universe” in the right transept of the church. Shown across from Mary are her parents, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim.

The stain glass is from the “Mary Queen of the Universe” Window in the right transept.

According to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, Mary was conceived free from original sin and all its penalties.
This privilege was granted to Mary because she was to give birth to Jesus, the Savior.
Mary was the first to benefit from the saving passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Mary was conceived and born without sin because of the merits of her Son, Jesus.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception always occurs during Advent.
Under the title of the Immaculate Conception, Mary is the patroness of the United States.
This special feast of Mary is a holy day of obligation in the United States.


For more information on these events
please visit our online calendar or the bulletin online.
Click here for the Saint Thomas Online Calendar
Click here for the Saint Thomas Online Bulletin

Parish Events:

Veterans’ Day
Saturday, November 11

Blood Pressure Screening
Sunday, November 12 from 8:30am – 12:00pm

Hospitality in Saint Peter’s Room
Sunday, November 12 at 9:45am-12:00pm

ShopRite and Stop & Shop Gift Card Sale to Support STA Home & School
Sunday, November 12 at 10:00am – 12:00pm

Troop 22 75th Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, November 12 at 12:00pm

Young Adult Eucharistic Adoration
Thursday, November 16 at 7:00pm

Advent Giving Tree Weekend – Trees are up in the Church
Saturday & Sunday November 18-19 at all masses

Thanksgiving Day Mass
Thursday, November 23 9:00am

Thanksgiving Break – Parish Center Closed
Thursday & Friday, November 23-24

Advent Giving Tree – Return Items
Saturday & Sunday November 25-26 at all masses

Boy Scout Wreath Sale
Sunday November 26 at all masses

Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Hour
Monday, November 27 from 11:00am – 8:30pm

Boy Scout Wreath Sale
Saturday & Sunday December 2-3 at all masses

Advent Giving Tree – Final Weekend
Saturday & Sunday December 2-3 at all masses

ShopRite and Stop & Shop Gift Card Sale to Support STA Home & School
Sunday, December 3 at 10:00am – 12:00pm

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Masses
Friday December 8 at 7:30am
Friday December 8 at 11:30am
Friday December 8 at 7:30pm

Boy Scout Wreath Sale
Saturday & Sunday December 9-10 at all masses

Blood Pressure Screening
Sunday, December 10 from 8:30am – 12:00pm

Hospitality in Saint Peter’s Room
Sunday, December 10 at 9:45am-12:00pm

Bloomfield Parishes’ Reconciliation Service at Sacred Heart Church
Monday, December 11 at 7:30pm

Santa Breakfast in Herron Hall
Saturday, December 16 at 9:00am

ShopRite and Stop & Shop Gift Card Sale to Support STA Home & School
Sunday, December 17 at 10:00am – 12:00pm

Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Hour
Monday, December 18 from 11:00am – 8:30pm

Christmas Eve Masses
Herron Hall – Sunday December 24 at 4:00pm
Church – Sunday December 24 at 4:00pm
Church – Sunday December 24 at 6:00pm
Church – Sunday December 24 at 10:30pm

Christmas Day Masses
Church – Monday December 25 at 8:00am
Church – Monday December 25 at 10:00am
Church – Monday December 25 at 12:00 Noon


Ministry Meeting Dates:

If you are not part of a ministry but are interested in the group, please feel free to stop by for more information.

Children’s Liturgy of the Word at 10:30am Mass
Sunday, November 12 at 10:30am

Prayer Shawl Meeting
Sunday, November 12 from 11:30am – 12:00pm

Support Group For Those Grieving the Death of a Loved One
Sunday, November 12 at 12:00pm

September Club Meeting
Monday, November 13

Friday Night Small Christian Community
Friday, November 17 at 7:00pm

Children’s Liturgy of the Word at 10:30am Mass
Sunday, November 19 at 10:30am

Support Group for Those Grieving the Death of a Loved One
Sunday, November 19 at 12:00pm

September Club Meeting
Monday, November 20

Men’s Scripture Reading & Reflection
Monday, November 20 7:30pm

Children’s Liturgy of the Word at 10:30am Mass
Sunday, November 26 at 10:30am

September Club Meeting
Monday, November 27

Friday Night Small Christian Community
Friday, December 1 at 7:00pm

September Club Meeting
Monday, December 4

Rosary Society Meeting
Monday, December 4 7:00pm

Men’s Scripture Reading & Reflection
Monday, December 4 7:30pm

Care for Our Common Home Discussion Group
Thursday, November 7 7:00pm

Friday Night Small Christian Community
Friday, December 8 at 7:00pm

Children’s Liturgy of the Word at 10:30am Mass
Sunday, December 10 at 10:30am

Prayer Shawl Meeting
Sunday, December 10 from 11:30am – 12:00pm

September Club Meeting
Monday, December 11

Children’s Liturgy of the Word at 10:30am Mass
Sunday, December 17 at 10:30am

September Club Meeting
Monday, December 18

Men’s Scripture Reading & Reflection
Monday, December 18 7:30pm