September 2016 E-Newsletter

In this issue:

  • Pope Francis’ Homily at Mother Theresa of Calcutta’s Canonization
  • Pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the Jubilee Year of Mercy
  • Year of Mercy Prayer
  • Photos Holy Name Society Retreat and Saint Thomas Back to School
  • Saint Matthew, Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Francis Stained Glass Windows
  • Upcoming Events

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Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Saint Peter’s Square
Sunday, 4 September 2016
“Who can learn the counsel of God?” (Wis 9:13). This question from the Book of Wisdom that we have just heard in the first reading suggests that our life is a mystery and that we do not possess the key to understanding it. There are always two protagonists in history: God and man. Our task is to perceive the call of God and then to do his will. But in order to do his will, we must ask ourselves, “What is God’s will in my life?”

We find the answer in the same passage of the Book of Wisdom: “People were taught what pleases you” (Wis 9:18). In order to ascertain the call of God, we must ask ourselves and understand what pleases God. On many occasions the prophets proclaimed what was pleasing to God. Their message found a wonderful synthesis in the words “I want mercy, not sacrifice” (Hos 6:6; Mt 9:13). God is pleased by every act of mercy, because in the brother or sister that we assist, we recognize the face of God which no one can see (cf. Jn 1:18). Each time we bend down to the needs of our brothers and sisters, we give Jesus something to eat and drink; we clothe, we help, and we visit the Son of God (cf. Mt 25:40). In a word, we touch the flesh of Christ.

We are thus called to translate into concrete acts that which we invoke in prayer and profess in faith. There is no alternative to charity: those who put themselves at the service of others, even when they don’t know it, are those who love God (cf. 1 Jn 3:16-18; Jas 2:14-18). The Christian life, however, is not merely extending a hand in times of need. If it is just this, it can be, certainly, a lovely expression of human solidarity which offers immediate benefits, but it is sterile because it lacks roots. The task which the Lord gives us, on the contrary, is the vocation to charity in which each of Christ’s disciples puts his or her entire life at his service, so to grow each day in love.

We heard in the Gospel, “Large crowds were travelling with Jesus” (Lk 14:25). Today, this “large crowd” is seen in the great number of volunteers who have come together for the Jubilee of Mercy. You are that crowd who follows the Master and who makes visible his concrete love for each person. I repeat to you the words of the Apostle Paul: “I have indeed received much joy and comfort from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you” (Philem 1:7). How many hearts have been comforted by volunteers! How many hands they have held; how many tears they have wiped away; how much love has been poured out in hidden, humble and selfless service! This praiseworthy service gives voice to the faith – it gives voice to the faith! – and expresses the mercy of the Father, who draws near to those in need.

Following Jesus is a serious task, and, at the same time, one filled with joy; it takes a certain daring and courage to recognize the divine Master in the poorest of the poor and those who are cast aside, and to give oneself in their service. In order to do so, volunteers, who out of love of Jesus serve the poor and the needy, do not expect any thanks or recompense; rather they renounce all this because they have discovered true love. And each one of us can say: “Just as the Lord has come to meet me and has stooped down to my level in my hour of need, so too do I go to meet him, bending low before those who have lost faith or who live as though God did not exist, before young people without values or ideals, before families in crisis, before the ill and the imprisoned, before refugees and immigrants, before the weak and defenceless in body and spirit, before abandoned children, before the elderly who are on their own. Wherever someone is reaching out, asking for a helping hand in order to get up, this is where our presence – and the presence of the Church which sustains and offers hope – must be”. And I do this, keeping alive the memory of those times when the Lord’s hand reached out to me when I was in need.

Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defence of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded. She was committed to defending life, ceaselessly proclaiming that “the unborn are the weakest, the smallest, the most vulnerable”. She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity; she made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime – the crimes! – of poverty they created. For Mother Teresa, mercy was the “salt” which gave flavour to her work, it was the “light” which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering.

Her mission to the urban and existential peripheries remains for us today an eloquent witness to God’s closeness to the poorest of the poor. Today, I pass on this emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life to the whole world of volunteers: may she be your model of holiness! I think, perhaps, we may have some difficult in calling her “Saint Teresa”: her holiness is so near to us, so tender and so fruitful that we continual to spontaneously call her “Mother Teresa”. May this tireless worker of mercy help us increasingly to understand that our only criterion for action is gratuitous love, free from every ideology and all obligations, offered freely to everyone without distinction of language, culture, race or religion. Mother Teresa loved to say, “Perhaps I don’t speak their language, but I can smile”. Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer. In this way, we will open up opportunities of joy and hope for our many brothers and sisters who are discouraged and who stand in need of understanding and tenderness.

2016 Holy Year of Mercy Pilgrimage

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has announced 2016 to be an Extraordinary Holy Year — a Jubilee of Mercy celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council.

To find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, the Archdiocese of Newark has designated its triennial pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, a major Archdiocesan Jubilee of Mercy observance.

The one-day Archdiocesan Pilgrimage will take place on: Saturday, October 22, 2016.

Click Here to Visit The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception’s website

Year of Mercy

December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016.

Prayer of His Holiness Pope Francis for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

Lord Jesus Christ,

You have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!”

You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.

We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.


The opening to Pope Francis’ “The Face of Mercy”:
Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him. The Father, “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4), after having revealed his name to Moses as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6), has never ceased to show, in various ways throughout history, his divine nature. In the “fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4), when everything had been arranged according to his plan of salvation, he sent his only Son into the world, born of the Virgin Mary, to reveal his love for us in a definitive way. Whoever sees Jesus sees the Father (cf. John 14:9). Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person reveals the mercy of God.

Link to the entire “Face of Mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus)

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

Corporal Works of MercyFeed the Hungry
Give Drink to the Thirsty
Shelter the Homeless
Visit the Sick
Bury the Dead
Visit the Prisoners
Give Alms to the Poor
Spiritual Works of MercyCounseling the Doubtful
Admonishing the Sinner
Comforting the Sorrowful
Forgiving Injuries
Bearing Wrongs Patiently
Praying for the Living and the Dead


Click/tap an image for a larger view

Saint Thomas Back to School


Holy Name Soceity Retreat

At the STA Holy Name Society annual retreat in July 2016 at the San Alfonso’s Retreat House, West Long Branch, N.J., Frank Helmstetter, a past president of the STA HSA, received the honor of having attended the retreat for 40 consecutive years! In addition, John Rennie received the honor for his 15 years of attendance.

St. Matthew – Feast Day September 21st
This Stained Glass Window is located in the Sanctuary.St. Matthew was an apostle and evangelist, a tax collector whom Jesus called to follow Him. As a tax collector, St. Matthew was a member of a hated and despised profession, known for unfairness and greed. By inviting St. Matthew to become an apostle, Jesus showed that God invites all people, even sinners and outcasts, to experience his healing friendship. St. Matthew eventually wrote down the stories and words of Jesus in Aramaic, the ancient language of Palestine. According to legend, St. Matthew spread the Good News in the East, where he was martyred in Ethiopia.

St. Michael the Archangel – Feast Day September 29th
This window is on the lower level in the Christ the King transept.

St. Michael’s name means “Who is like God?” He is the archangel who is the great prince, the guardian of God’s people. In the Book of Revelation, St. Michael is the protector of the Church and the angel who escorts the souls of the departed to heaven. St. Michael is usually depicted in art as an angel in soldier’s armor.

St. Gabriel the Archangel – Feast Day September 29th
This window is part of the Queen of the Universe window in the transept.

St. Gabriel is an Archangel and Messenger of God. One of the three angels mentioned by name in the Bible. Appeared to the prophet Daniel to explain the prophet’s visions relating to the Messiah. (Daniel 8:16-269:21) Appeared to Zachariah in the temple to announce the coming of Zachariah son, John the Baptist, and to strike Zachariah mute for his disbelief. (Luke 1:11-20) Appeared to Mary to let her know she’d been selected to bear the Savior. (Luke 1:25-38)

Saint Francis of Assisi – Feast Day October 4th
This window is part of the Christ the King window in the transept.

St. Francis Assisi if one of the most beloved Saints of all time. When he was young he was a wealthy soldier. Then he had a vision of Christ that radically changed his life. St. Francis was devoted to the poverty stricken and the care of the sick. He began religious orders of priests and brothers and with the help of St. Clare an order of nuns. St. Francis had a great love of earth and nature. He once said to a withering tree, “Sister tree, speak to me of God!” and the tree blossomed. Before he died St. Francis said, “Nothing comforts me so much to think of the life and passion of our Lord. Were I to live to the end of the world I would need no other book”.