Sixth Sunday of Easter

 

Dear Friends,

Biblically, Ascension took place 40 days after the Resurrection and so the actual Ascension Day falls on a Thursday – which is what we used to celebrate every year. Recently the bishops of New Jersey met and after discussing the pros and cons of this practice have discerned that the Solemnity of the Ascension be permanently transferred from Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter to the following Sunday. The bishops’ discernment included a great desire for more of the faithful to participate in this integral dimension of the completion of Our Lord’s paschal mystery by the Ascension observed on a Sunday – which will be next Sunday.

This year, Thursday, May 26 will be observed as Thursday of the Sixth week of Easter and the Memorial of St. Philip Neri (1515-1595) who is known as the founder of the Congregation of the Oratory. We have Oratorian priests and brothers in our diocese and so it is their feast in a special way. As a layman, Philip spent several years in Rome performing all kinds of good works – especially in ministering to the sick, in catechizing the youth, and in providing for pilgrims. Under constant advice and persuasion from his spiritual director, he decided to be a priest and was ordained in 1551. He was almost 36 years old, a “delayed vocation” in the extreme by the standards of the day, but without the least difference in priestly zeal and vigor.

St. Philip Neri is commonly known as the “patron saint of joy,” and the “humorous saint.” He wasn’t exactly a comedian, but he did enjoy poking fun at himself, using humor to maintain his humility. For example, according to author Shaun McAfee, “Neri was known to show up to important events with half his beard shaved, give incorrect walking directions to his disciples, read a book of jokes … When he did each of these things he caused a mix of emotions in others, but it always ended up producing the same end state: increased humility, and increased patience.” St. Philip Neri hung this sign on his door: “The House of Christian Mirth.” He used to say: “A heart filled with joy is more easily made perfect than one that is sad.”

Holiness is related to humor. That is why many saints laughed at themselves; they knew that this earthly life is only a stop on our journey to heaven and so to take this world seriously is utter foolishness. Bishop Sheen once said, “A divine sense of humor belongs to poets and saints because they have been richly endowed with a sense of the invisible, and can look out upon the same phenomena that other mortals take seriously and see in them something of the divine.”

This is what Pope Francis has been reminding us when he said, to be a Christian doesn’t mean being “gloomy-faced,” but being filled with a levity of heart that recognizes the beauty and joy of Christian life. Humor in the right context can be a good thing, and even a pathway to holiness. St. Philip Neri practiced it. His joyful spirit was one of the reasons why many were attracted to him. They saw the joy he had and wanted to know the source of that joy. They realized that the source was Jesus who said: “I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22).

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

St. Matthias School & Parish YARD SALE

St. Matthias School & Parish YARD SALE

St. Matthias School and Parish will be hosting a huge multi-family yard sale on Saturday, April 30th, 2022, from 10 am to 2 pm in the rear school parking lot located at 170 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in Somerset. Rain or Shine. Hot Dog and Ice Cream Food Trucks will be on the premises. Raffle tickets will be available, and the winner need not be present to win.

Many school families and parishioners will be selling items during the event. In addition, the School will be selling older tech equipment that we no longer have use or space for, at bargain prices: Apple iPads (4th gen), Hitachi projectors, Dell 22 in LCD monitors, Dell monochrome Laser Printers, and other computer accessories and freebies. All items are out-of-warranty but in working condition, and priced to sell ($20 to $40).

Help support our school and community by attending this fun event and by spreading the word to family, friends, and social media accounts.  Thank you for your support.

Early Stage Support Group Series for People Living With Alzheimer’s and Dementia

The Alzheimer’s Association and St. Matthias Catholic Church are co-hosting an Early Stage Support Group series for people living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia and their care partners. The group will meet Wednesday, May 11th from 2pm-3:30pm in the dePorres room in the Parish Office. We are also offering a Zoom link for those who cannot attend face to face. Registration is required. To register, call 800-272-3900. The Alzheimer’s Support Group meets every second Wednesday of the month!

The Group provides a safe and supportive environment and offers dementia-related education, emotional support and connections with resources so that the group members may enhance their lives in the midst of the journey.

Alzheimer’s Association support groups provide emotional, educational and social support through regularly scheduled meetings where strict confidentiality is maintained. Support groups help participants develop coping methods and encourage the maintenance of their personal, physical and emotional health, as well as optimal care for the person living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

Early-Stage groups offer social, educational and/or support components and are facilitated by trained volunteers. For more information visit alz.org/NJ.

Reserve your spot today for the St. Matthias School & Parish YARD SALE

Declutter your home Recycle usable items Sell or find a bargain Earn extra cash Help the school raise funds!

You can do all of the above by reserving space at our upcoming yard sale. Parishioners and school families are welcome to participate. Simply fill out the registration form below and remit it along with your check to the school by April 18th. You can either send it to the school’s main office, or you can mail it to St. Matthias School, 170 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Somerset, NJ 08873. Checks should be made payable to “St. Matthias School.” All sellers will be responsible for setting up and cleaning up their rental spaces.

The yard sale will take place on Saturday, April 30th, from 10 to 2 p.m. Set-up time for sellers will be from 8 to 9:30 a.m. in the rear parking lot of the school. Click here to register or go to www.stmatthias.info and click on the Yard Sale banner on first page. That will give you the registration form; just print, fill out & turn in to the school office with your check.

NJ Youth Rally at Six Flags Great Adventure

The Diocese of Metuchen’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry is excited to share that the 2022 New Jersey Youth Rally at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ, is scheduled for Sunday, May 15, 2022! The cost for the day is $55 per person ($25 for season ticket holders) and includes advance entry into the park, a FREE return ticket to Park, a 3-hour all-you-can-eat buffet, Mass, the Opening Ceremony, and a Free Parking Pass. Open to all Jr. High, High School & Young Adult Ministry, Scouting, Parish/School Athletic Programs, families, and all.

To purchase your tickets please visit the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry page on Diocesan Website and register before the May 6th deadline.

Questions? Please email mvantslot@diometuchen.org.

Symposium on Critical Race Theory

On February 28th, St. Matthias was fortunate to spend some time listening to the Rev. Dr. Dante R. Quick, Senior Pastor of 1st Baptist of Lincoln Gardens here in Somerset, share important background in a Zoom symposium on Critical Race Theory. He also offered his perspective on what CRT means for Christian education. The symposium was moderated by Dr. Sandra Donnay, parishioner ND and founder of the Racial Equity Initiative, and sponsored by the St. Martin de Porres Society of St. Matthias. First and foremost, Rev. Dr. Quick explained the history of CRT as an academic examination centered in legal studies which debuted in 1971 in the Harvard Law Review; however he put forth an explanation of CRT having begun far before 1971 as explained by forgone scholars and thinkers. He positioned CRT as nothing more than an examination of the relationship or “intersectionality” of race, economics, education, and health through the teaching of real and true American History, and the advocacy of equity vs. equality. You can listen to the full recording of the symposium on the St. Matthias YouTube channel by clicking here.  Also provided by Rev. Dr. Quick and the moderator, Dr. Donnay, is the list of resources below. We hope to have them both with us again sometime soon.

Recommended Reading/Books from Rev Dr. Danté R. Quick:

  • David Walker’s Appeal by David Walker,
  • The Meaning of July 4th For the Negro by Frederick Douglass
  • black codes, by the Editors Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • A Theology of Liberation by Gustavo Gutierrez
  • The Strange Career of Jim Crow by C. Vann Woodward
  • Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
  • The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois
  • Letter from Birmingham Jail by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • City of God by St. Augustine of Hippo

Resources from Dr. Sandra Donnay (on how to talk to children about race): Pursuant to the request by one of the attendees, below are some resources for talking to children about race provided by Southern Poverty Law Conference (SPLC).

https://www.embracerace.org. (Support for parents who want to hold discussions with their children about racism).

https://www.teachingforchange.org. (Recommended Social Justice Books)

https://raceconscious.org. (Resources for talking with children about racism)

 

“Women in Conversation”

March 8 was International Day for Women.

As Catholics, we believe that our church is called to be God’s agent of social change. Women have played and continues to play a pivotal role in the life of the church. RENEW International, a very evangelizing Catholic movement, is offering a wonderful webinar on Wednesday, March 16 at 2 pm, titled “Women in Conversation” with Genevieve Mougey, the Director of the Office of Social Concerns in the Archdiocese of Washington. Click here to register.

Inviting the Men of Our Parish to Consider

ARE YOU BEING CALLED TO THE DIACONATE?

The Diocese is looking for men who are interested in becoming Permanent Deacons. A new diaconate formation class is about to begin. Applications for that class will be accepted near the end of this summer; prior to applying, interested men must attend an Information Meeting. A General Information Meeting will be held at the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center in Piscataway on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at 7:00 PM and again on Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 10:00 AM. If you are between the ages of 35 and 60, and you believe you are being called to this ministry, you, your wife and your pastor are cordially invited to attend one of these meetings.

If you have any questions, or wish to advise that you will attend, please contact the Diocesan Diaconate Office at (732) 562-2457 or diaconate@diometuchen.org.

SYNOD Listening: Last Chance for Those Who Wish to Respond

Pope Francis wants to hear from you! Yes, he wants input from everyone! The participants at the Synod on Synodality in 2023 will consider these ideas to make our church a more listening church. Besides the deanery-wise listening sessions that our Diocese organized, we did our own parish listening sessions here at St. Matthias. For those of us who could not attend any of these sessions, here’s the last chance to send in your ideas and concerns by answering the questions online. Click here to fill out the St. Matthias Synod 2023 survey