27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Dear Friends,

What should be the first project/s to implement in our effort to renovate our Church? The result of the Parish Survey (which was published in the bulletin on September 4), showed that the top priorities are refurbishing pews and bathrooms, followed by deep cleaning, new floors, narthex and stained glass windows. Even before the survey, I had heard from many of you that the pews needed immediate attention and so arrangements were made for pew repairs. You can see that work is going on. I’m sure we all will gladly put up with the temporary inconvenience.

The Committee for the 60th Anniversary Fundraising conducted a consultation with the Ministry Heads of our parish and suggested that the right time for this fundraising for doing many of the proposed projects would be from January 2023. That is very understandable as we know of the demands made on all of us with the Christmas Tree sponsoring, Giving Tuesday, Raffle, Christmas contributions, etc. I am always in admiration of the sacrifices our parishioners are willing to make for the greater good of this wonderful community of St. Matthias.

We are in October, the Respect Life Month. We are a pro-life Church. Today, the pro-life people of Somerset County will again participate in the Annual National Life Chain, to give peaceful, prayerful witness to the sanctity of human life. It will be in Somerville, along Somerset St. and mountain Ave., from 2 – 3:30 pm. All are welcome to join our Pro-Life Ministry team to make Life Chain 2022 another memorable and blessed event.

We know that the Bible teaches that life is a gift from God, and, hence, we respect it from womb to tomb. But, where in the Bible do we see explicit support for this? The term “with child” (in reference to pregnant women) occurs twenty-six times in the Bible. The term “with fetus” never occurs. The Bible never uses anything less than human terms to describe the unborn (Exodus 21:22-23). In Luke (1:36 and 41), we are told that Elizabeth conceived a “son” and that the “babe” leaped in her womb. God does not say that a “fetus” leaped in her womb! Elizabeth greets Mary (in her early pregnancy) as “my Lord’s mother.” If God allows a child to be conceived, then God obviously has a plan for unborn children (Jer. 1:5; Lk. 1:13-17; Gen. 4:25; Jud. 13:3-5), and so to abort an unborn child is to stop a plan of God: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you… Psalm 139: 13: You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works!” Thus, based on the word of God, the Church teaches that an unborn child, from the moment of its conception in his or her mother’s womb, is precious because he or she carries an immortal soul.

Such Biblical insights are important. What about biblical understanding about other aspects of our life? The best way is the small groups that we are starting from next week. Pope St. John Paul II said, “Small Christian Communities are a tremendous source of bringing more life into our life and into a Parish.” Last Sunday you heard the testimonies of those who were in small groups. Why not be enriched the same way? For sign up info, please see page 8 of our bulletin.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

Join Us For St. Matthias School’s 2nd Annual Corn Hole Tournament!

Come Out and Play Some Cornhole !!!
Saturday, October 1st, 12:00-4:00 pm!!!
SPREAD THE WORD!!!

Join us in the Saint Matthias School Parking Lot for our school’s Second Annual Corn Hole Tournament!
Open to all SMS school families, parish families, and friends!!
Invite others, the more teams the better!

*ALL FAMILIES ARE WELCOME TO COME AND ENJOY THE DAY*

*CORNHOLE TOURNAMENT OPEN TO ALL CHILDREN 8 AND UP*

2 adults per team, double elimination.
$25.00 per adult team (21 & up)
$10.00 per children team (8-20)
2 children per team ( we can pair children up according to their age)
Grand Prize to be awarded to 1st place team 21-up
Prize to be awarded to 1st place team age 14-20
Dress Down Day Passes, free lunch & free lunchtime ice cream tickets awarded to 1st place children’s team age 8-1 3
Bring your own coolers with drinks...please no glass bottles.
Hot Dog Truck and ice cream truck will be on site!
To sign up please click here

Please use the QR code below to make a payment, or checks payable to Saint Matthias School HSA
*Cash accepted day of event.

ALL Proceeds will go directly to SMS!
Let’s have a few hours of fun while we support our wonderful school!!

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

A Message from Msgr. Brennan:

October, The Month of the Holy Rosary

Next Saturday is October first, the beginning of the Month of the Holy Rosary. And October seventh is the day the church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. As we begin this month I make a special appeal to all families and individuals to make an attempt to pray the rosary daily during this month or if that seems too much perhaps once or twice a week. Rediscover the power and peace this prayer can bring to your life and to your family.

This October marks the 20th anniversary of pope Saint John Paul 11’s apostolic letter on the rosary entitled Rosarium Virginis Mariae. (RVM)  In the introduction the pope describes the rosary as follows; “Simple yet profound, it still remains at the dawn of this third millennium. A prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness”. Though clearly Marian in character, the rosary is at heart a Christocentric prayer. All of the 20 mysteries of the rosary are clearly scripture based and Christ centered, from the Annunciation to the birth of Christ, to the Transfiguration, Crucifixion and Resurrection. The letter proclaims, “With the rosary the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of His love”. Pope John Paul acknowledges, “The rosary is my favorite prayer. A marvelous prayer!  Marvelous in its simplicity and its depth “

For some time now the rosary has been devalued by some and has not been taught to children as in the past. In my home growing up the family rosary was prayed every day, no exception and still is prayed today. Pope John Paul asserts that praying the rosary enables us to enter more deeply into the celebration of the Eucharist and the great mysteries of our redemption.  “The rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation “(RVM #5)

The rosary is proposed as a prayer for peace and the family.” At the start of the millennium which began with the terrifying attacks of 11 September 2001, a millennium which witnesses every day in numerous parts of the world fresh scenes of bloodshed and violence, to rediscover the rosary means to immerse oneself in contemplation of the mystery of Christ who “is our peace”, since he made “the two of us one, and broke down the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14)   . Consequently, one cannot recite the rosary without feeling caught up in a clear commitment to advancing peace”. On several occasions in recent months Pope Francis ha appealed to Catholics to pray the rosary for peace in Ukraine.

Speaking of the family the letter reads  “ A similar need for commitment and prayer arises in relation to another  critical contemporary issue; the family, the primary cell of society , increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological  and practical  planes, so as to make us fear for the future of  this fundamental and indispensable institution and , with it , for the future of  society as a whole “ (RVM # 6). Since the pope wrote these words the disintegration and pressures on the family has greatly increased.

On October 7th 2020, the feast of the Holy Rosary, Pope Francis invited all Catholics to pray the rosary daily and to carry a rosary beads in their pockets. In part he said “I invite everyone to rediscover, especially during this month of October, the beauty of the prayer of the rosary, which has nourished the faith of the Christian people through the centuries”.

Consider praying the rosary this October as a regular part of your daily prayer. If you are not familiar with how to pray the rosary you will find a prayer card entitled How to pray the Rosary on the bookshelves in church.  Please take only one and share with other members of your family. Happy Month of the Holy Rosary and may your praying this powerful prayer bring you many divine blessings.

Msgr. Brennan

Volunteers Needed for the 60th Anniversary Picnic This Sunday!

COME CELEBRATE ST. MATTHIAS CHURCH’s 60TH ANNIVERSARY!

Sunday, September 18th, 2022

1 PM- 4 PM

Behind the School Building

Hamburgers and Hotdogs Provided

Bring your own drinks or other food items.

Bring an extra chair! 🙂

FUN FOR THE FAMILY!

FACE PAINTING, TATTOOS, GAMES, MUSIC, AND MORE!

If you are able to help volunteer please click here to sign up. 

Please Consider Joining a St. Matthias Small Faith Group This Fall

FALL INTO FAITH

Small groups, in fact, are where much of the theology taught in our pulpits begins to be fleshed out in conversation and action.

The implications of the Biblical passages come alive when we hear how each member of the group shares his/her story of struggling to make sense of God’s will in their own lives. The sharing of struggles and challenges, joys and triumphs provide great mutual spiritual support. Small faith-sharing groups also meet a very practical and human need: the need to belong.

We are communal creatures: we were made by a community of love called the Trinity and because community is our origin, we’ll always find life and direction within a community better than we will on our own. That means small groups deliver deeper friendships that double as accountability. When people know you, really know you, your life becomes far more transparent, including your shortcomings and imperfections. Others learn to read you and will call you out for those areas you wish to improve. Thus it creates opportunities to deal with real-life difficulties as they surface. This is part of what we should expect from good friends.
So, why not sign up if you have never tried this small group experience?  Visit “Small Groups”- www.stmatthias.net/faith-formation for details or click here to register.

Groups begin October 10.

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Dear Friends,

Just a week ago, we had the funeral of Marion Fischer who was the librarian for St. Matthias School for 45 years. She and her husband Francis “Frank” Fischer were among the founders of our parish. She passed on her faith to her children and grandchildren by her example of living the faith and participating both in the church ministries and community activities. Her family said that she would not be deterred by the most dire weather conditions from attending Sunday Mass! May she rest in peace. As we mourn the passing away of this vibrant disciple of Jesus, and become aware of the decreasing number of the founding members of our parish, we need to ask ourselves this important question: how seriously are we taking on the mantle of these pioneers in living and passing on our faith?

Today is national Catechetical Sunday – a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel. This year’s theme for the Catechetical Sunday is: “This is my body given for you” (Luke 22:19). We have heard so many times that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The term “Eucharist” originates from the Greek word eucharistia, meaning thanksgiving. In the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest. The whole Christ is truly present — body, blood, soul, and divinity — under the appearances of bread and wine, the glorified Christ who rose from the dead. This is what the Church means when she speaks of the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist.

Catechists are the ones who are teaching this and other truths about our faith to our children who attend our religious education/GIFT and sacramental preparation programs. We, here at St. Matthias, are blessed with wonderful women and men who give their time and energy as Catechists. We are very grateful to them. Today at all the Masses you will hear some of them speak to us about their passion as Catechists. I hope their testimony will inspire some of you to volunteer as Catechists. Being part of St. Matthias is life-giving as is the experience of so many – including Marion Fischer who, in the words of her children, “found her strength in her work among the children.”

Learning of our faith is not to be relegated only to children. We all need this learning. Don’t we all have many doubts about what we believe and practice? That is why we all need to choose something intentionally from the opportunities our parish offers. We are preparing to begin the RCIA sessions and the Fall Into Faith small faith sharing groups. These are excellent ways to learn more about the Word of God and our faith in a setting where we have ample time and freedom to clarify many of our questions on faith matters. I invite us all to consider this seriously and make a decision in the coming weeks as you will be hearing more about these two programs.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Dear Friends,

Today is the 21st anniversary of 9/11. We are grateful that our annual tradition of the 9/11 Service will be held today at 4 pm, here at St. Matthias. The Fire Companies of Franklin Fire District # 1 are hosting this service to honor the emergency service members who were killed on September 11, 2001, including our parishioner FDNY Firefighter John M. Collins, who graduated from St. Matthias School and Immaculata High School. Yes, we will never forget.

I’m sure you must have heard about the “Pay it forward 9/11” project. Their website: www.payitforward911.org says that this 20 year tradition was begun by American Kevin Tuerff, so we never forget the tragedy, and also to pay tribute to the heroes of Newfoundland, Canada, who showed him and the world their kindness in 2001. The town of Gander, population 9,000, took care of him and nearly 7,000 other stranded airline passengers from 90 countries for five days when US airspace was closed. Here’s how they explain their current goal: “This year, our aim is to restore the kindness and unity the world witnessed in 2002. Last year, we launched the “11 Days of Kindness and Unity” campaign and we need your help to repeat it again. Encourage houses of worship, schools and business to join “11 Days of Kindness and Unity” (Sept 1-11).” Practicing kindness and unity is an ongoing process. Hence we can be consciously doing acts of kindness and unity even after the date this project had proposed is over.

One area that will help us in this project is the way we think of and treat grandparents and elderly. Today is ‘National Grandparents Day’ – a time to honor grandparents and grand-friends for their contributions to our families, neighborhoods and communities. Pope Francis has been an avid advocate for grandparents and the elderly. He established the 4th Sunday in July as the Day for the Catholic world to celebrate Grandparents and the elderly.
Presenting the Pope’s special message to the world months in advance, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, observed: “The Pope’s message is the alternative to the culture of rejection: it helps all of us, and the elderly themselves, to understand that – far from being material to be thrown away – they have a precise vocation within our communities. In this time that yearns for peace, the Church has a great need for elders, who have the ‘gift’ of tenderness, who are able to protect and intercede.” It is good for us to read the short and beautiful letter of the Pope, available from the Vatican site at: https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/nonni/documents/20220503-messaggio-nonni-anziani.html

Our Diocese of Metuchen will have the official closing and Mass of thanksgiving for the 40th anniversary of the diocese.  On Saturday, September 24, 2022, Bishop Checchio will be leading a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He will be the principal celebrant of the Pilgrimage Mass. Many busloads of parishioners from various parishes will attend this event, accompanied by many priests, deacons and religious. I’m happy that our Msgr. Brennan will be attending this pilgrimage. If any of you wish to join, it is not too late. Please contact Angela Marshall at amarshall@diometuchen.org for more information or transportation.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Dear Friends,

Happy Labor Day weekend! Then, Back to school week! Sincere appreciation for all parents who are excited as well as possibly stressed about the back to school preparations. The school administration, led by Principal Mary Lynch, is all set for the school reopening. The maintenance team has done an excellent job of cleaning, waxing, painting etc. that has made the classrooms, bathrooms, hallways, cafeteria – in fact the whole school building look very inviting.  Hearty welcome to all our students and all the staff and faculty! More school news can be read in this bulletin. I wish to share some church news:

RCIA: we have been blessed with a very vibrant RCIA ministry because of which a significant number of adults have been joining our Church each year. This was possible because of a very efficient team headed by our former Parish Staff member Phyllis Stone assisted by Anne Marie Francis & Mary-Frances Reavey. They were supported by Carmen Calvimontes, Gondee Tibay, Jason Goldberg and Dee Christmas. As coordinator, Phyllis did a wonderful job of seeing to every aspect of the RCIA process that culminated at the Easter Vigil when those in the RCIA class received Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation. I am ever grateful to Phyllis and her team for their commitment to this ministry.  I am very happy to say that Anne Marie Francis and Mary-Frances Reavey have graciously agreed to share the responsibility of RCIA leadership. As part of the RCIA team, both Anne Marie and Mary-Frances have years of experience with RCIA process and leading the sessions. With help from the rest of the team and the Parish Office, they will be organizing these sessions and we do hope that you, our parishioners, will continue to invite others to be part of our next class of RCIA 2023.

Parish Trustees: You may have noticed that Isaac Peng and Marge Richards have been listed as Parish Trustees. With Isaac’s moving out of the parish some time back, I have nominated Pearl Scott to that position as Parish Trustee. I thank Isaac for his selfless service and wish him God’s blessings in his new place. At the same time, thank you to Pearl for accepting to be the Trustee together with Marge Richards.

The Parish Survey: Your response on prioritizing the renovation needs of the church has been tabulated. Thanks to the 289 parishioners who responded and gave other ideas, comments, criticisms, encouragements etc. I plan to implement whatever is practical. See the survey result in a table format on page ….

 Prayer Sessions: The improvements of the church’s building must go hand in hand with the growth of the church community’s Spirituality. What is prayer? How can I pray personally? What is the proper way for me to pray? These are questions people keep asking. One of our parishioners, Ivette Mitchel, who has lots of experience in guiding others to pray, has offered to lead four sessions on these important aspects. If you are interested, please contact Ivette by phone at (908) 247-6039 or email at ladyi63@aol.com She will finalize the details after hearing from you.

May this Labor Day help us to appreciate every work we do as God’s plan to give us purpose, fulfillment and to be a light in the world.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Dear Friends,

Recently a very faithful and active parishioner asked me about a certain prophecy that predicted three days of darkness on the face of the earth which is to begin on September 1, 2022, and for which we need to be prepared with “candles of blessed wax alone that will give light during this horrible darkness.” This is apparently based on prophecies by visionaries or seers like Blessed Anna Maria Taigi who lived from 1769-1837. Padre Pio is also said to have made or alluded to such prophecies – though that claim is disputed. The Church does not oblige us to believe in any particular prophecy, whether it is about natural calamities and total darkness as punishment from God, the end of the world, or the exact time of the second coming of Christ.  In fact, obsession with the second coming of Christ was a concern that St. Paul had to address in his letter to Thessalonians in these words:

We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly,
or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
Let no one deceive you in any way. (2 Thessalonians, 2:1-3)

This was part of the passage read for the Mass last Tuesday and I explained that it is not a thing of the past. The very deception, that St. Paul warned the first Christians against, has been recurring time and again in the course of human history. Most prominent among these has been date-fixing for the second coming of Christ. History is filled with so many such dates for which many different groups, deceived by a cult leader or a visionary, had prepared, even by selling all their possessions. But such examples of fixing a date, based on some sayings of a seer, is totally contrary to what Jesus himself said in Mark 13:32: “Concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

At the same time, we give credence to what we know from the Bible about the second coming of Christ. That is what we profess every Sunday in our Creed, “He [Jesus] shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; and His kingdom shall have no end.”

What the Scriptures are asking us is to be ready for it for God has not revealed the date or time as some have been predicting, no matter how sincere these individuals are. That readiness happens when we go about our daily duties even as we try to live the gospel values to the best of our ability despite whatever shortcomings and frailties we may have. But, do not be afraid as Jesus has reminded us numerous times:

“See to it that you are not deceived. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.” (Luke 21:8-9)

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal