World Mission Sunday

Dear Friends,

Over one billion Catholics all over the world observe today as World Mission Sunday. This annual observance was instituted in 1926 by a Papal decree issued by Pope Pius XI. Every year since then, the universal Church has dedicated the month of October to reflection on and prayer for the missions. On World Mission Sunday, Catholics gather to celebrate the Eucharist and to contribute to a collection for the work of evangelization around the world.

Why does the Church give so much importance to World Mission Sunday? The Acts of Apostles gives a very good answer: “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). The Apostles were following the missionary mandate that Jesus gave us all to go and proclaim the good news to all creation (Matthew 28:19-20). This annual celebration gives us a chance to reflect on the importance of missionary works for the life of the Church. It reminds us that we are one with the universal Church and that we are all committed to carrying on the mission of Christ, however different our situations may be.

You know that I myself was a missionary in the north-eastern Indian State of Nagaland and you have heard me sharing my missionary experiences. But when I came to this country, I was quite surprised to hear that there were missionary regions in the USA. “Home Missions” is the name for dioceses and parishes in the United States, including its territories and former territories, which cannot provide basic pastoral services to Catholics without outside help. Basic pastoral services include Mass and sacraments, religious education, and ministry training for priests, deacons, religious sisters and lay people.

For many decades, the Church in the United States has sent missionaries overseas to serve the people of Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The home missions are dioceses and parishes here in the United States that need the same kind of support. Surprisingly, according to the USCCB, “the Catholic Church is poorly established in many parts of our country, especially Appalachia, the South, the Southwest along the Mexican border, the Rocky Mountain States, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and remote island chains like the Marshalls and the Carolines in the Pacific.” Generally speaking, the home missions are everywhere that Catholics are few and the Church is fragile. Here’s just one example:

In Montana, the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings has 99 parishes and missions stretching over 90,000 square miles. Many priests in this diocese serve multiple parishes – some serve up to five! Many parishes cannot meet the financial obligations of having a full-time priest and communities often feel disconnected from the larger Church.

So, when the World Mission Sunday rightly raises our awareness of the worldwide missionary efforts in the world outside of the United States, let us not forget the missionary regions closer home in our own country.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

Racial Justice Initiative Book Read “Racial Justice and the Catholic Church”

St. Matthias Racial Justice Initiative Book Read and Discussion

“Racial Justice and the Catholic Church”

by Bryan Massingale

Saturday, October 30, 2021, 9:30AM—11:30AM

To register, please click here:

 

Zoom Link Here:

https://us02web.zoom.us?j?2780458086 Meeting ID: 278 045 8086

Purchase the book today from an online bookseller (Amazon, Walmart, Target, Discover Books)

Contact Phyllis Stone in the Parish Office for more information.

Message from Msgr. Brennan

Saints of October- Respect Life Month

During the month of October the church celebrates the lives of great saints who teach us respect for all life. Among these are Saint Francis of Assisi (Oct 4) , Saint John XXIII (Oct 11) and Saint John Paul II (Oct 22) .

Francis of Assisi (1181—1226) is among the most beloved of all the saints. He had a deep love for all creation and showed particular love for the poor, the sick and the outcasts. He befriended lepers, beggars, birds and wild beasts alike. Francis knew that all life is a gift from God and so he gave thanks for the beauty and goodness found in all creatures, especially in the human person.

Saint John XXIII , Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (1881—1963), was elected pope in 1958. He called for and presided over the first sessions of the Second Vatican Council. This ever smiling, always jolly, portly man wrote a powerful encyclical letter, Pacem in Terris, in which he addresses issues about life. “Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary to the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care , rest and finally the necessary social services” ( #11). But for each right the pope listed, he also listed a corresponding duty. “The right to live involves the duty to preserve one’s life; the right to a decent standard of living , the duty to live in a becoming fashion; the right to be free to seek out the truth , the duty to devote oneself to an ever deeper and wider search for it.” The right to life involves all of us and places on us a duty to work to support all life.

The most recent of these great saints, Pope John Paul II, Karol Jozef Wojtyla (1920-2005), was elected pope in 1978. He holds the record for the most traveled and one of the longest serving popes of all time. Among several great Encyclical letters he wrote is Evangelium Vitae, The gospel of life . “We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the culture of death and the culture of life. We find ourselves not only faced with but necessarily in the midst of this conflict: we are all involved and we also share in it, with inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life”. Speaking to a group of ambassadors in 2000 Pope John Paul said, “A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying”.. By his very life and in his dying, Pope John Paul II showed us the proper attitude we must have towards God’s gift of life.

These three saints, whose feast days we observe in October, are wonderful models and teachers about the dignity of human life and remind us of our duty to work to protect all human life from conception to natural death .

Msgr. Brennan

Register Today for the St. Matthias Vocations Ministry Morning of Reflection

YOU ARE INVITED!

The St. Matthias Vocations Ministry Team invites you to a Morning of Reflection on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 8:30am in the John XXIII room in the school building.

During the Morning of Reflection attendees will hear a variety of speakers share their experience of responding to God’s call to vocation. Attendees will have the opportunity to pray and reflect on how they are being called by God to vocation and how responding to that call can lead to fulfillment and happiness.

A light continental breakfast will be provided at 8:30 am. Activities will get underway promptly at 9am. We will close out the morning with lunch at noon.

Please join us in what will be a very special morning. Attendance will be limited so please register early. To register, please click here.

More information can be found on the St. Matthias web site at https://www.stmatthias.net/vocations/

We look forward to seeing you on November 13th!

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

We, the priests of the Diocese of Metuchen, will gather in Spring Lakes, NJ, for the annual convocation this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It is a special time for the priests and bishop to pray together, reflect on our priesthood, share the challenges we face and enjoy priestly fellowship. This is a great opportunity for us to come together and experience a sense of unity, even though we’re all different. There will be enrichment sessions with a guest speaker. We will participate in many other events such as Holy Hour, Mass, Vespers, socials, dinner, etc.

Both Msgr. Seamus Brennan and I will be attending this gathering of priests. That means there will be no Mass in our church this coming Wednesday and Thursday. Thank you to our senior Deacon Ron Caimi who has graciously agreed to conduct a Communion Service at 8 am on these two days. This can be a reminder to us about the pastoral reality of priests’ shortage that we are facing as a nation.

During my nationwide travels as a presenter for RENEW International to promote small groups of faith sharing, I have come across many priests who were pastors of two or more parishes. The highest percentages of such multiple parish pastoring are found in states like Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, where over 50% of the priests serve more than one parish. The lowest percentages (less than 10%) were in New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Multi-pastoring parishes will not be having weekday Masses on a regular basis. Here at St. Matthias, and in New Jersey in general, we have been very blessed to have the gift of daily Mass for those who wish to attend. We thank God for this blessing.

But we, as a Catholic Community, have to address the problem of the priest shortage. How are we going to continue our sacramental availability? Who is going to take responsibility? It cannot be just left in the hands of church authorities. Or it just can’t be left to mere prayers for an increase in vocations to priesthood, diaconate and religious life, though prayer is essential as Jesus himself said: “ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:38). We need to do more, especially to help our people in the pews understand what is happening, challenging them to fully live out their baptismal call, and providing formation for them to participate more fully in the church’s mission.

I am very happy that our parish lay leadership has initiated the St. Matthias Vocations Ministry. Its leaders have been making efforts to bring to us the understanding that the primary vocation for us all is to be holy. As we respond to that call to holiness in our own calling, we need to be on the lookout for young men whom we could encourage to consider vocations to the priesthood. As you must have already heard or read in the bulletin, our Vocations ministry is planning a retreat on November 13. We will have reflections from a priest, deacon, nun, married and single persons. I invite us all to consider spending this half-day to enrich our own vocation to be holy and encourage one another as we need to heed the call of Jesus.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

We Catholics are pretty much aware that October is Respect Life Month. The Catholic Church is rock solid in its pro-Life doctrine which is consistent with the gospel mandate to respect every human being – both born and unborn. We have heard bishops, priests, deacons and lay leaders preaching vigorously about the sanctity of life and the evil of abortion. So many Catholics, together with other Christians of different denominations, have been witnessing to and promoting the same truth. Every Pope has spoken out clearly in defense of the unborn, including Pope Francis who has repeated: “Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to being aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before he was born, and then just after birth, experienced the world’s rejection.”

The National Life Chain is a very visible way of witnessing to the truth of our pro-life stand as people of all ages and denominations. Last weekend, Msgr. Brennan and myself had announced that the National Life Chain in Somerset County will be held today (Sunday) in Somerville, along Somerset St. and Mountain Ave., from 2 to 3:30 pm. Msgr. Brennan added that the location is right in front of Immaculate Conception Church.

The Pro-Life ministry of our parish is actively promoting awareness of the sanctity of life at all stages. They are speaking at every Mass this weekend about one of their projects to distribute baby feet magnets as part of the NJ Pro-Life movement’s Project 20-20. Our parish has been blessed last year when the Diocese of Metuchen chose two of our parishioners as the Diocesan recipients of the prestigious ‘Pro Vitae’ Award: Fran Johnson and Frank McMann. Their involvement was detailed both in the Catholic Spirit and in our parish bulletin. Fran and Frank will be thrilled to have you join this ministry. Contact her at: tfxj@msn.com.

And yet, why do some not appreciate the Pro-Life movement? Why do some Catholics seem to ignore the Pro-Life issues that are so central to Catholic faith? The answer can be found, as pointed out by Pope Francis, in the mistake of limiting the pro-Life movement to just one issue of abortion, relegating or even ignoring other life issues. Pope Francis continues to proclaim the consistent teaching of the church that “a pro-life stance cannot be only concerned with life before birth. Our defense of the innocent unborn…needs to be clear, firm and passionate. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged.” He clarified further: “Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as ‘unnecessary.’ For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.”

So how do we keep October as the Respect Life month? By going beyond the narrow vision of promoting life, by listening to our Pope who strongly opposes abortion, but has also elevated what he calls an “economy of exclusion and inequality that kills,” the death penalty, care for the elderly, the treatment of immigrants, etc., as central pro-life concerns. Yes, we are truly a pro-life Catholic Community.

Your brother in Christ

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

All Are Welcome at the St. Matthias School Open House

We warmly invite interested students and families to attend our annual Fall Open House on Friday, October 15, 2021. Stop by our beautiful campus at 170 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in Somerset, NJ between the hours of 9 a.m. and 12 noon.

This is a great opportunity to tour the campus, speak with student and parent ambassadors, see the classrooms in action, and ask questions. Hear from our Principal and Admissions Office how St. Matthias School could be just the place you’ve been looking for.

Visit www.stmatthias.info to sign up and to learn more about the Open House. To request more information or to schedule a separate tour or Student Shadow Day, call 1-732-828-1402 or email mkosty@stmatthiasnj.org. So, stop by “Our Open House”. The welcome mat is out. We can’t wait to meet you!

Join Us for the SMS Cornhole Tournament!

All Adults Are Invited to Join Us for the SMS Cornhole Tournament!

Next Saturday, October 9, 12 pm to 4 pm in the school back parking lot

The tournament is open to all adults (18 and over; no children). Double elimination. Feel free to bring your own coolers with drinks! No glass please! Donated prize for top winner! Sign up your team (2 persons) today! $50 per team. 100% of proceeds go directly to St. Matthias School.  Click here to sign up.

Pay through HSA Pay Pal or make checks payable to SMS HSA. Come out, have some fun and support SMS! Open to all parishioners, family and friends!

The Super 50-50 is Back!

Our parish will draw the winning ticket for our yearly Super 50/50 on Sunday, November 21, after the 10 AM Mass — the Sunday before Thanksgiving. By now, you should have received your tickets in the mail. If not, please come to the Parish Office to pick up a book.

This yearly fundraiser helps to fund the many vital ministries of our parish. By supporting this important effort you not only help our parish but, happily, if you win, Christmas will look very bright! Remember that last year’s winner walked away with nearly $14,000!

You can return your tickets by dropping them off at the parish office, putting them in an envelope in the collection basket, or by mailing them to St. Matthias Church, 168 John F. Kennedy Blvd,, Somerset, NJ 08873

All tickets must be returned to the Parish Office by 12 NOON, Thursday, November 18. Take a chance, this could be your year to win!