June 13, 2021: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
This week for the first time in several months, we are celebrating an Ordinary Time Sunday Mass. You have probably noticed that some of the accents in the Church have become green. This, obviously, is the color that we use during the season of Ordinary Time. Just a reminder, this season does not mean there is nothing special going on. Instead, it reminds us that the weeks of our liturgical year are “ordered,” numbered from the first week to the thirty-fourth week of Ordinary Time.
While other seasons highlight particular solemnities or events such as Christmas Season or Easter Season, Ordinary Time emphasizes the manifestation and building of the Kingdom of God on earth. That is why we read many of Jesus’ sermons and teachings during these weeks, as they are instruction for us to build the church, the Kingdom of God here on earth. There really is nothing ordinary about Ordinary Time.
This Sunday, June 13th at the 9:00 Mass, we will be honoring four extraordinary members of our Parish and School staff who are retiring after many years of service. Mrs. Rose Miseski (“Mrs. M”) has been a kindergarten aid for 25 years at St Cassian School. She has decided to retire at the end of this school year, and we thank her for her many years of dedicated service to our youngest school children. Along with Mrs. Regina Sammon, she has been one of the first to instruct and teach our School students over the years.
Mrs. Regina Sammon, our long-time school kindergarten teacher and Director of Religious Education is retiring this year as well. Just about every child who has received the Sacraments at St. Cassian Church for the last quarter century, has been guided by Mrs. Sammon and her sacramental preparation. The same can be said about all our School’s kindergarten children as well. She has served both the School and the Parish very well for very long.
Mr. Mike Sammon, a St. Cassian School alumnus himself, began teaching Gym at St Cassian’s School forty-four years ago. Mr. Sammon has been influential for every child who has come through our School for that long. There is no question that Mr. Sammon’s lovable, fatherly, friendly demeanor will be missed at St Cassian School.
Finally, many of you are aware that Mrs. Eileen Ziegler, the long-time Parish secretary retired at the end of last calendar year. Because of the pandemic, until now there was really no other time to honor her for her Parish service and also the way she acted as a bridge from the Parish to the School. Eileen served as Secretary for twenty-three years during Msgr. Jack Judge’s pastorate as well as ten years of mine. Anyone who has called the Parish office during that time for a question, or arranged a funeral or a wedding, probably talked with Eileen. We are all grateful for her service to the Parish and are happy that she will remain an active Parishioner. We are very happy for all our retirees and thank them for their many years of service the Parish.
Before people start leaving for the summer, I want you to be aware of what will be happening in September when we all return from summer vacation. In mid-October to November, there will be an Archdiocesan-wide unified welcome back and return to church. The Archdiocese is asking all Parishes to prepare in different ways for our Parishioners to return comfortably and to “hit the ground running” with different programs and events to welcome returning, as well as new members. This initiative is called “Vine and Branches.”
The Parish Council here at St. Cassian has already begun forming Vine and Branches teams with different purposes: to prepare socially, spiritually, and pastorally for everyone’s return to the Parish. There will be four separate groups that will be brainstorming and coordinating events for not only the beginning of our return but going forward. The teams are Social, Evangelization, Spiritual, and Digital (Social Advertising). While we already have Parish Council President Tom Higgins and members of our Parish Council working on these four different areas of preparation and reintegration into the Parish, we need volunteers who are enthusiastic and willing to help St. Cassian Parish return to the way it was pre-pandemic. I would ask you to prayerfully consider if you can help with any of those four teams, and then contact the Parish office to be put in that specific group. The group leader will contact you for further details. This Vine and Branches initiative will be a wonderful way for us to not only get back to where we were before the pandemic, but to move forward as a Parish in building the Kingdom of God. Please consider helping, then contact the Parish office.
Finally, our summer weekday Mass schedule, meaning Monday through Saturday, will remain unchanged throughout the summer. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday mornings, will continue to have 8:15 a.m. live-streamed Masses that are open to the public. There will continue to be no public Mass on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In September, after Labor Day, we will continue again with daily Masses Tuesday through Saturday a.m., however, there will not be Mass at St. Cassian on Monday mornings. Those who regularly come to daily Mass have become acquainted with the nearby Catholic churches that offer Mass on Monday and I would encourage those interested in Monday Mass to be mindful of the other Parishes’ Monday schedules.
I want to thank you for being Parishioners here at St. Cassian Parish. At the same time, I thank you for your patience, endurance, and prayers throughout the past year and a half. Thanks, also, for your collective excitement and anticipation about the Parish not only reopening but being greater than ever.
Rev. Marc A. Vicari,
June 6, 2021: Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ
I want to say “Congratulations!” to our school graduates and all graduates this year, grammar school, high School, or college. Well done, especially during a difficult time!
Please be aware of the latest directives from the Archdiocese of Newark (https://www.rcan.org/covid19) that apply starting this weekend. Like many of you, I am so pleased that the mask requirement has been lifted for those people who are double vaccinated (although if you prefer to wear one, that is fine). It is so good to see many of you smiling for the first time in well over a year.
This week we have our Annual Appeal “makeup” collection so that we will reach and exceed our Parish goal. Recall that the money collected that is over our Appeal goal, come directly back to the parish. This money that we will receive, hopefully, can be used for the needs of the Parish.
This coming Saturday night and Sunday, we celebrate The Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, also traditionally known as Corpus Christi. A couple reminders about what we believe regarding the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus:
- We believe that the Host is truly Jesus and not a symbol of Him.
- The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all Divine Beings of the same “substance,” meaning that they have the being. This is what “consubstantial” means.
- “Transubstantial” means to “change substance or being.” For example, when the bread changes into the Body and Blood of Jesus it is transubstantiation.
- Jesus promised us that if we “eat His Body and drink His Blood” we will have eternal life.
- Jesus gave us the Eucharist at the Last Supper and He becomes present at every Mass.
I think it is wonderfully appropriate that this weekend is the week that we are required again to go to Mass. Over the past 15 months there is nothing that parishioners have said that they miss more than receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ. It is perfect that we return to church on the day that we celebrate the gift of the Eucharist and the promise of eternal life that comes with receiving his Precious Blood (even if we only receive the consecrated Host), as we take part in the New and Eternal Covenant that promises us life eternal. Perhaps we can all spend a little extra time in prayer this weekend, thanking Our Lord for becoming present to us, and, hopefully, we never tire of this great gift and miracle.
Lastly, our Summer Mass Schedule begins on Sunday June 27 and will run until the week after Labor Day. The schedule is the same as it has been in the past years: Sunday Masses are: 7:30 am, 9:30 am, and 11:30 am. Saturday evening Mass stays at 5:30 pm and Confessions are still being heard on Saturdays from 4:15 to 5:00 pm.
Again, congrats to our school graduates and welcome back to church. I am looking forward to seeing your smiling faces!
Rev. Marc A. Vicari,
May 30, 2021: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
I want to use this message to wish everyone the very happy Memorial Day weekend and beginning of summer! It feels like it is finally here: not just summertime, but the return to normalcy that we have been seeking for about the last 15 months.
While we can get a caught up in the joy of many things these days, I do want to remind everyone of the meaning and purpose of Memorial Day. We honor the men and women who have, throughout the years, defended, and died for our country. There is no better way to honor them, than to pray for and remember them. please, let us not forget the meaning of this holiday.
At the same time, we have much to be joyful about, especially regarding our return to church. Very recently, the Archdiocese of Newark released new directives for church.
Effective May 28
Masks will no longer be required for fully vaccinated persons. It is not required for parishioners to show proof of vaccination. Any vaccinated person preferring to wear a mask should feel free to do so.
Masks are still required on public transit and in health care settings, prisons, child-care facilities and schools, among other places
People will no longer be required to socially distance indoors or outdoors.
If not fully vaccinated, persons are strongly encouraged to follow CDC guidance and wear a face mask in public settings. Although unvaccinated persons should continue to maintain a safe distance from others.
Effective June 4
All indoor gathering limits will be removed. Churches and Parish facilities may return to 100 per cent capacity with no social distancing for both indoor and outdoor services and activities.
Although these directives represent a reduction of pandemic restrictions, the local pastors/administrators/chaplains can impose stricter regulations as needed. These may include wearing masks, social distancing, and signing in for Mass or activities. These directives apply to all indoor and outdoor events. Churches and meeting spaces should continue to be sanitized after each liturgy, event or meeting.
Effective June 5-6, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Cardinal Tobin and the Bishops of New Jersey are reinstating the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation effective. To read the official statement, please visit https://www.rcan.org/
Parishes are no longer required to register people for Mass, but still have the option of doing so. In the event it is necessary to do contact tracing, parishes can notify parishioners through regular means of parish communication.
On another note, I want to remind you that next week, June 5th and 6th, we will be having our “catch-up” collection for the Annual Appeal. If you have not yet contributed to the Appeal, please make it that weekend, either online through Faith Direct, through the Archdiocesan website (www.rcan.org), or by using an envelope that is available in the back of the church. As I have mentioned prior, we are very close to reaching our goal, and, if we have all the monies pledged and collected, then we will receive a substantial discount in the assessments that we will pay next year to the Archdiocese of Newark. At the same time, all the monies collected above and beyond our goal, 100% will return to the parish!
Thank you for helping our parish reach the goal, but more importantly, helping the marginalized in Northern New Jersey, chaplaincies in our hospitals and universities, future seminarians and priests (who might serve one day in this Parish), and so many other ministries within the Archdiocese of Newark. Thank you.
My prayer is that you have a wonderful celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity this Sunday, a relaxing long weekend and that the beginning of summer is a happy time for all.
I am looking forward to seeing you all in church, with or without masks!
Fr. Marc A. Vicari,
May 23, 2021: Pentecost
Hopefully, everyone is enjoying this beautiful time of year! Grammar schools and high schools are nearly finished and I'm seeing more and more college students coming home, so it feels like we are at the home stretch of the school year. Congratulations to everyone who is graduating or finishing school.
This Saturday evening and Sunday we celebrate the wonderful solemnity of Pentecost. As Christians we recognize this as the day that God the Father sent the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, thus forming the church. It was a significant day in the history of Christianity and specifically for us as a Roman Catholic Church. It marks the birthday, the formal foundation of the church. However, the Holy Spirit who descended upon those apostles just after Jesus had ascended to the Father, is the same Holy Spirit who descends upon us at our baptisms and confirmations. It is the same Holy Spirit whom we pray will continue to pour forth his gifts upon us. Pentecost is certainly a wonderful day to reflect on how we take advantage of the fruits and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are available to us. The feast also ends the season of Easter and we go back to ordinary time. No more, "Alleluia, " Alleluia" at the end of Mass.
While the liturgical season changes, over the next few Sundays we will continue to celebrate festive solemnities. Next week, (May 29/30) we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, and the following Sunday (June 5/6), we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, also known as "Corpus Christi."
June 5/6 is an important day for our parish as well as the Archdiocese of Newark. Two significant things are happening that day: the dispensation from having to attend Mass is being lifted for all churches within the Archdiocese of Newark and the State of New Jersey. This means that the obligation to attend Mass in person is being reinstated that day. Obviously, those persons who are not well or physically able to attend Mass in person are encouraged to continue to watch the live stream. We are awaiting pastoral instructions from the Bishops for all of the faithful as an explanation, but as of this writing, we have not received them yet. Once the Bishops make the pastoral instructions known, they will be available on our website and in our bulletin.
The second significant item for that day is that we will be having our "makeup Sunday," for the Annual Appeal. We are very close to reaching our goal of $82,300. As of today we have $70,515 in pledges. At the same time, our collection of $61,230 puts us at 74% of goal. Just a reminder, if we reach our goal of pledges and have it collected by June 30th, we will receive a 2% reduction in our assessments for next fiscal year, and that is not insignificant, as they will be reduced by about $15,000.
June 5/6 is not a day when I ask people to give a second time to the appeal, it is just when I encourage those who have not yet given. The Annual Appeal focuses on helping the neediest in Northeast New Jersey with their day-to-day living, but the Appeal also makes sure that there are hospital chaplains and young men preparing for the priesthood to serve in our parishes, among many other programs. Annual Appeal envelopes will be in the church the next few weeks in case you need one to make your contribution. Also, feel free to make your contribution directly through Faith Direct.
I greatly appreciate your support with this Annual Appeal, as always, as it serves a great purpose in the Archdiocese, but it also allows us as a parish to together build the Kingdom of God by helping those in need around us. Again, I am only asking those who have not yet donated to make a contribution on June 5/6. Remember, too, that any money donated above and beyond our goal, comes back directly to the parish.
Finally, just a reminder that starting June 27/28, we will be going to our Summer Schedule. Recall that on Sundays throughout the summer we will have Mass at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. We will maintain this schedule until Labor Day, after which we return to our regular schedule.
It has been wonderful seeing familiar faces returning to Mass these days. Some of you, I have not seen for over a year, so I am overjoyed to have you back! We must continue to be vigilant and cautious as we return, but as restrictions decrease, I am excited and hopeful for a return to church as we knew it.
Please realize that I pray for all of you, all the time.
Rev. Marc A. Vicari, Pastor
May 16, 2021: Seventh Sunday of Easter
I want to take a moment to wish all of the Mothers of our Parish a very Happy Mother’s Day! We especially pray for mothers today both living and deceased, thanking God for them and for all the blessings they have been for us. Hopefully it is a beautiful Mother’s Day for all and how appropriate that we celebrate Mother’s Day during May. This is the month of Mary, Our Blessed Mother, as she is both the model for all mothers, but also the model of the faithful Church. We ask for her to pray for us, our Mothers and the whole Church!
I pray that we are all still enjoying this beautiful Easter Season. This is still the season of rebirth and new life. As the trees and flowers continue to bloom, we recognize them as beautiful and living symbols of our new life in Christ as well as the “rebirth” that occurred with Our Lord’s resurrection. We still have a couple of weeks left in this Easter season, so we will continue to celebrate in a special way the resurrection of Our Lord and the promise of eternal life.
Historically the celebration of the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord occurs 40 days after Easter Sunday. However this year, like last year, we will be celebrating the Ascension on a Sunday, instead of a Thursday. May 16th will be when we celebrate the Solemnity and because of the pandemic and our Archdiocesan directives, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, our Archbishop, along with the Bishops of New Jersey, have determined that celebrating the holy day is best on Sunday.
On a separate note, I want to remind everyone that we are getting closer to the end of our fiscal year. Recall that the Archdiocese is encouraging and rewarding all parishes that not only reach their Annual Appeal goal, but have the pledged money received by June 30th. Those parishes will receive a 2% reduction in our assessments paid to the Archdiocese. As of right now we are at about $69,300 (with $58,900 received) or 84% towards our goal of $82,300. If you have not made a pledge, or if you have not yet sent your pledge money in completely, I kindly ask you to do so in the next few weeks so that we can conclude this year’s Annual Appeal, as well as receive a fairly substantial discount in assessments for next fiscal year.
At the same time, we will use the weekend of June 5/6 to have our Pledge Sunday “catch-up” collection for those who have not yet pledged or completed their giving. It will be an opportunity to make a final push to reach our goal, and more importantly, to contribute to an Appeal that focuses on helping the neediest in Northern New Jersey.
Finally, many of you are probably aware that Governor Murphy has been reducing and eliminating some of the limitations on gatherings, including in churches. While the number of persons we can have in the church building is not limited, we are somewhat restricted by the social distancing of six feet that we must still maintain (and masks must still be worn). For the time being, please be aware of the distance between you and your neighbors while at Mass and, also, please be patient until the restrictions are completely lifted. Thank you!
Asking Mary’s intercession for all of you, especially our Mothers, during the month of May,
Fr. Marc A. Vicari,