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Weekly Reflections, Prayers, and News from Fr. Thomas

Our Pastor

Rev. Thomas J. Walsh
Pastor
732-257-7722
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November 2017

November 19, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This week as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day may we be truly grateful to Almighty God for all the many blessings and benefits of this great land. From our earliest days, Americans have set aside a day of national thanksgiving to express our gratitude and to celebrate our heritage.

The township of East Brunswick will hold its annual Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday, November 21st, at 7:30pm at Aldersgate Methodist Church. The parish will celebrate our annual Thanksgiving Mass at 9am on Thanksgiving Day. A collection will be taken for the poor of the parish by the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

Happy Thanksgiving Day.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


November 12, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

During a recent gathering of the priests of the Diocese, Bishop Checchio reminded us that we must be evangelizers of the Good News of the Gospel. That the Gospel message of salvation must be announced to a new generation of Catholics. One of the distressing signs of this present moment in the life of the Church is the decline in Sunday Mass attendance. The celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is what holds our community together. In 1974, 47% of Catholics attended Mass once a week, in 2012 only 24% attend Mass once a week. Without the Eucharist the Church will cease to exist. A recent poll of young Catholics (millennials) finds only about 16% identifying as practicing Catholics. What to do with the large numbers of young Catholics who have abandoned the Church?

During the month of November, the diocese conducts a headcount at all of the Sunday Masses throughout the diocese. This count has shown a steady decline in Mass attendance since the year 2000. The count is used by the Bishop to determine the number of priests assigned to a parish and which parishes remain viable. Please join me in prayer for the renewal of our faith community. We are a very blessed community and we need to strengthen our commitment to Sunday Eucharist and to the Catholic faith.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


November 5, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The month of November is dedicated to the remembrance of all the faithful Departed. The feast of All Saints and the Commemoration of All Souls are kept as reminders of our earthly pilgrimage to paradise. “Here we have no lasting city,” as Saint Augustine reminds us. We are a pilgrim people on our way to the Eternal Jerusalem.

Saturday, November 11th is Veteran’s Day and we honor all of the men and women who have served our country in war and in peace. This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the America’s entrance into the First World War. Under the command of General Pershing more than two million soldiers fought on the battlefields of France. On November 11, 1918 Germany signed an armistice (an agreement for peace and the cessation of fighting) that ended the War.

The month concludes with the celebration of Thanksgiving Day. A day set aside to give thanks to God for the all the blessings of our beautiful country. May the Lord make us truly grateful for all the blessings that we have received.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas

PS. Please support the HSA Basket Raffle. The Raffle will be held this Friday, November 10th, in the Parish Hall. Tickets are still available please see the bulletin for more details.


October 2017

October 29, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As the month of October draws to a close the beauty of the autumn foliage reminds us that all things are passing. Amidst the gathering darkness and the stripping of the leaves the Church celebrates the Feast of All Saints and all Souls. The final harvest that will come at the End of Days when Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead.

This Wednesday, November 1st, the Solemnity of All Saints, celebrates all the faithful disciples who are with the Lord in the Kingdom. Thursday, November 2nd, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. At the 7 pm. Mass, all the names of those members of our community who have died in the past year will be read from the pulpit. Each family will receive a blessed candle in memory of their loved one. Please come and be a part of these celebrations.

As Catholics it is a noble thing to pray for the dead:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace. May their souls and all the souls of the Faithful Departed, through the Mercy of God, Rest in Peace. Amen

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


October 22, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this World Mission Sunday it is important to reflect on our own history as an immigrant community here in the United States. Having just completed a pilgrimage to the Missions of California I was struck by the zeal of those first Franciscan Friars, especially St. Junipero Serra, to bring the Catholic Faith to the Native Americans. By establishing a chain of 21 Missions from San Diego to Sonoma those first missionaries planted the Faith with great sacrifice and love.

The original missions were established by Spain to extend its empire. They endure today as a testament of faith in the Kingdom of God. Through war, earthquake, and fire they remain planted firmly in the rich soil of California, a living community of faith, hope and love.

Saint Junipero Serra, pray for us.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


October 15, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings from California and the beautiful Missions of Saint Junipero Serra. We arrived in San Diego on Monday and celebrated Mass at the Mission of San Diego de Alcala. This was the first mission founded in Alta California by Saint Junipero Serra. The Mission was founded on July 16th, 1769 and begins the chain of 21 Missions that extend from San Diego to Sonoma.

Everyday you are remembered in our prayers and especially at the celebration of the Eucharist. May Our Lord strengthen us and make us faithful disciples.

“Vaya con Dios!”

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


October 7, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Our pilgrimage to the California Missions is leaving Monday October 8th from Liberty Airport. I am taking a group of our parishioners to the beautiful Mission churches founded by Saint Junipero Serra. On the pilgrimage we will journey along the famous, “El Camino Real” The royal road that will lead us to all the 21 Missions that begin at San Diego and form a chain along the pacific coast to San Francisco and Sonoma. Please be assured of our daily prayers for you and your intentions. Fr. Serra’s motto, “Siempre, Adelante!” “Always, Forward” will be our motto for this once in a lifetime journey of faith.

Saint Junipero Serra, pray for us!

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


October 1, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The month of October is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, her feast day is October 7th. The praying of the rosary has been a hallmark of Catholic faith and piety for centuries. The "telling of the beads" as it was called in Celtic Spirituality sustained the faith of countless millions through war and famine, life and death.

This October 13th marks the 100th Anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. Our Lady appeared to three children and revealed to them her desire for greater prayer and penance. Our Lady urged them to pray the rosary for peace in the World. Perhaps this anniversary provides us with an opportunity to reconsider the rosary. I know countless men and women who pray the rosary on their way to work each day. Mediating on the mysteries surrounding the life of Our Lord while praying stills the mind and recollects the spirit to bear the burdens of the day ahead.

I always ask the children to carry a rosary with them and to make it part of their daily prayer. A group of parishioners prays the rosary every day after the morning mass. Our Altar and Rosary Society promotes the recitation of the rosary through their service to our community.

May the prayers of the Blessed Mother bring peace to our world.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


September 2017

September 24, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Gospel of Saint Matthew is often called the Gospel of the Church. These past weeks, the evangelist has been opening up an understanding of the Church as first and foremost a community of disciples. This assembly of the faithful has the Apostles as their foundation and lead lives of spiritual discipline and virtue that build up the community of the Church. These disciplines of fraternal correction and forgiveness are the hallmarks of this new community.

As I mentioned in my homily last week, the spiritual discipline of forgiveness is to be understood as a commandment from the Lord. It should be put into practice along with prayer, fasting and charity.

In today’s Gospel, Matthew reminds us that salvation is open to all. It does not matter when you decide to heed God’s call to conversion, it only matters that you accept it with an open heart.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


September 17, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

How often must I forgive? This is the question that St. Peter asks the Lord Jesus in today's Gospel. Mercy and forgiveness lie at the heart of the ministry of Jesus. As a disciple do I follow Jesus' example? It is often our inability to forgive, our lack of mercy, that destroys our relationships with members of our family and community.

Only the amazing grace of God, that we receive in the sacraments, changes us and allows us to relinquish our bitterness and our pride to learn the way of mercy and love. We are all in need of God's mercy and forgiveness. Who is in need of your forgiveness today? Do not let bitterness and harsh judgement keep you from experiencing the mercy of God, "forgive your brother from your heart."

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


September 10, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In his encyclical, “The Joy of the Gospel”, Pope Francis invites all Christians to be joyful witnesses to the love of God, to share the good news of the Gospel. Pope Francis writes: “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.” “No one should think that this invitation is not meant for them, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.”

The watch word for the present moment is Evangelization”. As a priest I have been invited to numerous workshops and presentations on the importance of spreading the Gospel by the witness of our lives. Evangelization is the sharing of my own story, my experience of encountering Christ in my own life. So many people are seeking an encounter with God, which is always an encounter with Goodness, Beauty and Truth. In this encounter with the Divine we find our true selves and the meaning of our life for others. For the love of neighbor compels us to share the Good News of our redemption.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


September 3, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Summer has gone by and with the arrival of Labor Day the new year begins for our parish community. This Wednesday, September 6th, we are welcoming 375 students to our excellent Catholic School. Summer projects have been completed: the French Drain in front of the main doors of the Church, a new beautiful Gym floor has been installed in the Kelly Gym, and new air conditioning units have been installed in the kindergarten rooms and the technology center. Plans have been finalized for the Ariella Hopkins Pre-K & Kindergarten playground and the installation date will be announced once the construction is completed.

Truly we are blessed community and I thank Deacon Jack Kenny, Deacon John Broehl, and Joe Monteleone for overseeing all these projects. May the Lord continue to bless the work of our hands.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


August 2017

August 27, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Church is founded on the faith of the apostles andthat first community of disciples who confessed Jesus as the Christ of God. Saint Peter’s declaration in the Gospel for this Sunday that Jesus is the Son of God and the promised Messiah becomes the foundation of the community of believers. Christian faith is not founded on aset of rules or even morality. No it is founded on an encounter with the Risen Christ. The person of Jesus Christ makes Himself known to us in Word and Sacrament. The more we deepen our relationship through prayer, worship and service the more we will confess Christ as Our Lord and Savior.

Please enjoy this last week of the Summer of 2017!

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


August 20, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of our patron, Saint Bartholomew the Apostle and Martyr. When our parish was established in 1959, our first pastor, Monsignor Morgan Kelly, was given the privilege of founding a parish among the orchards and farms of East Brunswick Township. Monsignor often told the story of being in the car with Bishop Ahr and driving with him into a field and then an orchard of apple and peach trees. When Monsignor asked the Bishop where he was to build the Church, Bishop Ahr told him “This is the place.” Nearly 60 years later the Parish has grown and flourished under the patronage of our great Apostle Bartholomew. May we continue to build up our faith community through prayer and service.

This Summer has witnessed a number of changes to our community. As you know Monsignor Benwell has been appointed Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Annandale, New Jersey. Since Monsignor will no longer be with us on Sundays our Sunday Mass Schedule will be reduced by one mass. The 7am Mass will no longer be celebrated. I realize that this will be an inconvenience to some of our community and I ask for your understanding and support.

On August 8th, my wonderful Sage died and I am missing her loving presence and good heart. Sage was almost 14 years old and so had a very good and happy life here at the parish.

Have a blessed feast day. Saint Bartholomew, pray for us.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


August 13, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Tuesday, August 15th, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to the ancient tradition of the Church, Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthly pilgrimage. Our prayers to Mary echos this ancient faith when we ask her to remember us at the hour of our death. May the prayers of the Mother of God assist us on our pilgrimage to heaven.

First Project: Church Doors

A French drain will be installed in front of the entrance doors to the Church. During heavy rainstorms the floor of the Narthex has been flooded and the drain will eliminate this problem. Deacon John Broehl will oversee this project.

Second Project: New Gym Floor

The floor in the Kelly Gym will be replaced this August and new baskets have been ordered. The Kelly Gym has provided over 40 years of service to the children and young people of the parish and I am seeking donations to offset the expense of this project. With the help of the Athletic Association and our parish we are hoping to raise $150,00.00 to complete this project. Joe Monteleone will oversee this project.

Third Project: Pre-K Playground

Through the generosity of Bobby and Lisa Hopkins the Ariella Hopkins Pre-K playground will be created in Ariella’s memory. This Playground will be used by all Pre-K and Kindergarten students. We are in the process of finalizing plans and the playground should be completed in September. I thank the Hopkins family for their goodness to our school children.

As always, please allow me to express my gratitude to all who give so generously of their time, talent and treasure to continue the Mission of our wonderful parish of Saint Bartholomew.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


August 6, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The feast of the Transfiguration which we celebrate today shows forth the Glory of Christ as Savior of the World. Appearing on Mount Tabor with Moses and Elijah, Christ is shown as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. May this feast remind us that we belong to Christ and to His Kingdom, the darkness of our present age cannot diminish the Glory of Christ, the Son of God.

Before school begins in September there are a number of projects that need to be completed:

First Project: Church Doors

A French drain will be installed in front of the entrance doors to the Church. During heavy rainstorms the floor of the Narthex has been flooded and the drain will eliminate this problem. Deacon John Broehl will oversee this project.

Second Project: New Gym Floor

The floor in the Kelly Gym will be replaced this August and new baskets have been ordered. The Kelly Gym has provided over 40 years of service to the children and young people of the parish and I am seeking donations to offset the expense of this project. With the help of the Athletic Association and our parish we are hoping to raise $150,00.00 to complete this project. Joe Monteleone will oversee this project.

Third Project: Pre-K Playground

Through the generosity of Bobby and Lisa Hopkins the Ariella Hopkins Pre-K playground will be created in Ariella’s memory. This Playground will be used by all Pre-K and Kindergarten students. We are in the process of finalizing plans and the playground should be completed in September. I thank the Hopkins family for their goodness to our school children.

As always, please allow me to express my gratitude to all who give so generously of their time, talent and treasure to continue the Mission of our wonderful parish of Saint Bartholomew.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


July 2017

July 30, 2017

The Gospel of Saint Matthew is filled with parables of the Kingdom of God. In today’s Gospel, Our Lord speaks of the hidden treasure buried in the field. This treasure is the pearl of great price, a kingdom of justice, peace, mercy and love that is revealed to us in Christ. We come to understand the Kingdom through the images and metaphors embedded in the parables of the Gospel.

A favorite poem on this parable is “The Bright Field” by R.S. Thomas:

The Bright Field

I have seen the Sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
the treasure in it.
I realize now that I must give all I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying on
to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning aside
like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth once,
but is the eternity that awaits you.

Spend some time this week attending to the presence of the kingdom in your own life.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


July 23, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It has been a summer of change and transition for the Diocesan family of Metuchen. Last week, Bishop James Checchio assigned Monsignor William Benwell as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Annandale effective August 3rd. Monsignor will continue in his office as Vicar General and will have the added care and concern for the Catholic Community of Immaculate Conception. It has been a great privilege to have had Monsignor as our Weekend Assistant for Sunday Liturgies over the past 14 years. He will be greatly missed by our community.

Next Sunday, July 30th, Monsignor will be the celebrant and the homilist for the Noon Mass and there will be a reception immediately following the Mass in the Parish Hall.

Let us be joined in prayer for Monsignor, that the Lord may continue to bless him and his ministry. May the Lord prosper and bless his ministry as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


July 16, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have had a couple of extraordinary days here at the parish this past week. On Sunday, Bishop Checchio celebrated the Noon Mass and was warmly welcomed by our community, especially our school children. On Monday the Home News published a wonderful front page article on our parish Summer Series: “A conversation with the three Abrahamic Faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.” Tuesday night, Rabbi Philip Bazeley, from Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick kicked off the series with a provocative presentation on the core beliefs of the Jewish faith. The series will continue this Tuesday, July 18th, when Father Jeffrey Calia, C.O. Parochial Vicar. Saint Peter the Apostle in New Brunswick will speak on the core beliefs of Catholic Christians. All are welcome to attend, the presentation begins at 7 pm in the Parish Hall.

There are still places available for the October pilgrimage to the California Missions. We will visit all 21 Missions along the famous Camino Real in California. Pilgrimage departs Newark Liberty Airport on October 9th when we will journey to San Diego and the first mission founded by St. Junipero Serra. Our journey will continue along the California Coast to Carmel where Saint Junipero Serra is buried and then onto San Francisco and our return home. Each day the pilgrims will gather for prayer and Mass and there will be time for sightseeing and fellowship. Looking forward to welcoming 25 people to make the journey to the Missions. The dates are October 9th to October 18th. Please contact me for more information.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


July 2, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This week as we celebrate the 4th of July, the birthday of the United States, it is good to remember our founders and all who struggled in the cause of liberty. The citizens of the original thirteen colonies could never have imagined what their initial struggle against tyranny would mean, not only for the United States, but for all the people of the world. That America has continued to be a beacon of freedom as a republic founded on democratic principles. These principles are set forth in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Perhaps this summer would be a good time to become better acquainted with these documents.

Contemporaneous with the founding of the United are the foundation of the Catholic Missions of California. These Missions founded by Saint Junipero Serra planted the faith firmly in the rich soil of California. From 1748 when he embarked from Mallorca, Spain until his death at Carmel Mission in 1784, St. Junipero Serra labored to bring the Catholic faith to the native peoples of California. The “Camino Real” the Royal Road forms a chain of 21 Missions stretching from San Diego to San Francisco. His motto, “Adelante, siempre!” Always, forward” reminds us of our obligation to always go forward trusting in the Mercy of God.

I am organizing a pilgrimage to explore these missions this October. We will leave from Newark Liberty Airport on October 9th and journey the Camino Real in St. Junipero Serra’s footsteps. If you are interested in learning more about the pilgrimage please call or email me at the Parish Center.

Have a Glorious 4th!!

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


June 2017

June 25, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Summer of 2017 is now officially upon us. The last days of school have been celebrated and the students are released into the joy of this blessed season. During the coming week I will be attending a Conference at Notre Dame University, in South Bend, Indiana. This Conference is for Pastors who have Catholic Schools as part of their parochial mission. Bishop Checchio has requested that I attend this conference and I look forward to learning from the experience. I will certainly remember all of you and your intentions at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the beautiful grotto dedicated to Our Lady.

During July and August there will not be a 7 am Mass on Sunday. The schedule for Masses will be the Saturday, 5pm Vigil Mass and on Sunday Mass will be celebrated at 8, 10, and Noon.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


June 18, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate, “Corpus Christi”, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. On this day we are reminded of the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic life and worship. Our parish community is strengthened by the daily celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist and the reserved sacrament present in the Tabernacle centers our life on Christ. The reason a parish is founded is for the sanctification of the people of God. May this feast fill us with deeper reverence for the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

This Friday, June 23rd, is the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We will celebrate a special Mass at 7 pm in the Church. At this Liturgy the parish will honor Cathy Piznar with the Msgr. Kelly Service Award. Cathy has been involved in so many aspects of Parish life and ministry. Cathy and her husband Bob are long time members of the parish and we are deeply indebted for their goodness. Please come and celebrate with us. A reception will follow the Mass.

“Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.”

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


June 11, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Trinity Sunday expresses the Mystery of God as One God, in three Divine Persons. Saint Augustine expresses this quite beautifully: “Whenever there is love, there is a trinity: a lover, a beloved, and a fountain of love.” In his book, The Confessions, Saint Augustine sets forth his understanding of God as the deepest desire of our hearts. “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”

May the love of God, Father, Son and Spirit bless you and remain with you forever.

In Christ, Fr. Thomas

Please save the date Friday, June 23rd for our annual Msgr. Kelly Servant Award. This year we are honoring Cathy Piznar for all her years of service to our community. Mass will be at 7pm and a reception will follow in the Narthex and Parish Hall. Everyone is invited to this joyous occasion.


June 4, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Pentecost Sunday, the 50th day of Easter, celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Our Lady, the apostles, and the women disciples. All were filled with the Spirit and went forth from the Cenacle to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior!

By our Baptism we are incorporated into the living Body of Christ. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, consecrated to God, living temples filled with His life-giving Spirit. Whenever we gather at Eucharist we pray in the power of the Spirit, giving thanks to God the Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

In Confirmation, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and set apart as a consecrated people. The sevenfold gifts of the Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. These gifts bear fruit in our spiritual lives: goodness, patience, charity, joy, generosity, mildness, and fidelity and enable us to grow in the virtues of modesty, continence, and chastity.

Please continue to pray for our Confirmation Candidates and their sponsors.

“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle them the fire of your love.”

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


May 2017

May 28, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It was in May of 1868 that the first Memorial Day was celebrated, three years after the end of the Civil War. At that time it was called “Decoration Day”, because the day was set aside as a day to decorate the graves of the fallen. Since 1971, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May and it marks the unofficial start to the Summer. It is a day to honor those who have died in the service of our country and also a day to reflect on the blessings we enjoy as Americans.

As Catholics, we remember the dead at every Mass: “Remember also our brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep in the hope of the Resurrection, and all who have died in your mercy, welcome them into the light of your face.” It is a noble and good thing to pray for the Dead and to honor their memory.

Tomorrow, I will be celebrating the annual Memorial Day Mass at Holy Cross Burial Park at 10am. There will be a Mass here at the parish at 9am.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


May 21, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Thursday, May 25th is Ascension Day, the fortieth day of Easter. On this day the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took His seat at the right hand of God the Father, the Almighty. The early community in Jerusalem spent the next nine days after the Ascension awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of God’s love and mercy that fills the community of the Church with countless gifts and blessings. As baptized Christians we pray in the power of the Holy Spirit and we are consecrated people, sacred to God.

This year we have been preparing 103 of our young men and women to receive the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Please pray for them that they will be open to the Grace of the sacrament and be faithful disciples of the Lord.

The schedule for the Ascension Thursday Masses is as follows:

Wednesday, May 24th:
7:00pm Vigil Mass

Thursday, May 25th:
8:30am, 12:00 Noon, 7:00pm

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


May 14, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The month of May is dedicated to the honor of Mary, the Mother of God, and Catholics mark this month with prayers and devotions dedicated to Our Lady. The second Sunday of May is the secular American Mother’s Day, but the day has always had a strong Catholic connection to Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. Out of the treasury of Catholic prayer I have chosen to have our children learn Msgr. Kelly’s favorite prayer to Mary, “The Memorare”.

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto you, O virgin of virgins, Our Mother. To you we come, before you we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”

May God bless all of our mothers, grandmothers and godmothers Blessings to all of our families on Mothers’ Day.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


May 7, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Easter Season is filled with the joy of Spring and rebirth after the darkness of Winter. The Joy of Easter surrounds us in the Celebrations of Baptisms, and First Communions, and Weddings. Please continue to pray for our First Communicants and their families. May they continue to join with us at the celebration of Sunday Eucharist.

Next Sunday, at the 10am Mass, our First Communicants will be part of our parish May Crowning. May is traditionally the month of Our Lady and we will honor Mary on Mother’s Day with prayer and song. All of our First communicants are invited to be part of the procession. May the prayers of the Blessed Mother bring peace to our world.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


April 2017

April 30, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Season of Easter extends from Easter Sunday, April 16th, until Pentecost Sunday, June 4th. During these fifty days the liturgy is centered on the Risen Christ and the proclamation of the Kingdom. Before His Ascension, the Lord Jesus commanded His Disciples to go out to the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. How do we follow the Lord’s command today? So many Catholics have fallen away from the discipline of the faith. They no longer pray, or participate in Sunday Mass and many have abandoned the faith altogether. Truly this a time of pruning and perhaps our community has not be able to respond to the needs of our members.

According to our parish census there are 3600 households presently registered in the parish. Approximately 850 to 1000 families attend Sunday Mass. Where are the rest? How do we evangelize the lost sheep of our community? If this trend continues who will be worshipping here in five, ten or fifteen years?

I would be interested in your comments, ideas, feedback. Please continue to pray for our community.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


April 23, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The glory of Easter surrounds us in the beauty of the liturgy and the return of Spring after the long winter. The Holy Week liturgies and Easter Sunday Masses were a testament to the vitality of our community. Please allow me to express my gratitude to all the ministers and volunteers who helped prepare the Church for the Triduum.

Our community is one of the sponsors for the East Brunswick Interfaith Dialogue. This is a combined effort with Temple B’nai Shalom and the Islamic Center of East Brunswick. The Dialogue will take place at 5 pm this afternoon at the Cultural Arts Center at 715 Cranbury Road. I would like to have a good representation from our parish community.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


April 16, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A day of great Joy has dawned for all Creation. Christ, Our Lord, has Risen! Alleluia! May this Easter Day bring a renewed sense of God’s love and mercy in your life and the lives of all of our community. Blessings for a very happy and joyful Easter.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas

Sunday, April 23rd, I will be participating in the East Brunswick Interfaith Dialogue. This dialogue is a joint effort to build stronger bonds of friendship and understanding among the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Dialogue will begin at 5pm at the EB Cultural Arts Center on Cranbury Road.

Zoom in on the flyer for more details.


April 9, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” With these ancient words the celebration of Holy Week begins again. Once more we hear of the Lord’s triumphant entry onto Jerusalem and experience these days of Passion, Death and Resurrection. After the long retreat of Lent we intensify our prayer, fasting and almsgiving in order to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Sacred Triduum – the Three Holiest Days of our year. “Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed. Christians let us keep the Feast.”

Please make every effort to attend the liturgies of this sacred and holy week.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


April 2, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Raising of Lazarus is the final miracle in the Gospel of John that Jesus performs before His Passion. The family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived in Bethany a village not far from Jerusalem. Jesus often visited with them whenever He journeyed to the Holy City. The shortest verse in the Gospels is from the story of Lazarus, John 11:35, “And Jesus Wept.” Overcome by the death of His friend, Jesus weeps when He is confronted by the grief of Martha and her sister Mary. Because Jesus enters fully into our humanity He is able to weep at the death of a loved one. When we are confronted with the reality of death we can turn to Our Lord for comfort and consolation.

Let us continue to pray for one another.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


March 2017

March 26, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The fourth Sunday of Lent is called “Laetare Sunday” the Sunday of Joy. On this Sunday the Church pauses to reflect on the Joy of the Paschal Feast of Easter. “For the sake of the joy that lay beyond it, Christ endured the Cross for our salvation.” May these latter days of our Lenten retreat prepare our hearts to receive the joy of the Risen Christ.

This Tuesday, March 28th, is our Family Penance Service. We will gather in the Church at 7pm. to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Parish Council has planned this evening as a time of prayer and reflection centered on the relationship between family and faith. May the Mercy of God free us from sin and heal our families. There will be a number of priests available for confessions. Please come and receive the grace of the Sacrament.

For the past year our parish has been sponsoring an eGiving program through Faith Direct. Thank you to all of our parishioners who are using our Faith Direct eGiving program. This is the most cost-effective way to receive your donations. I do encourage the use of this program because it provides our members a more efficient way to support the parish. If you would like to sign up for eGiving, please go to our website stbartseb.com and go to the “eGiving tab” to set up an account. Our weekly collection amount now includes donations made through Faith Direct.

Let us continue to pray for one another.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


March 19, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It has been four years since the election of Pope Francis and we have lived through an extraordinary period of grace for our community. From the first days of his pontificate, Pope Francis has called us to the Joy of the Gospel that we must live as committed Christians in the midst of a world broken by war and violence. The Year of Mercy, that he proclaimed, led thousands of people back to the sacrament of penance and a deeper encounter with the Mercy of God. His commitment to the poor and marginalized have shown the world the face of Christ in the suffering of our brothers and sisters. Through his preaching and encyclicals he has called all people to care for the Earth as our common homeland and to have respect and reverence for all of God’s Creation.

Because the 19th of March falls on Sunday this year, Saint Joseph’s feast day is transferred to tomorrow, March 20th. Masses will be held at 8:30 am. and 7 pm. After the 7 pm Mass we will have a reception to honor good Saint Joseph. Please come and celebrate his feast day.

Let us continue to pray for another.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


March 12, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This week our parish welcomes Fr. Jim McBurney O.S.A., to lead a Lenten Retreat on the journey of Lent as a call to conversion of heart. Fr. Jim is a member of the Order of Saint Augustine and is well known for his ministry as a spiritual director and retreat master. Our retreat begins this Monday night with our Novena Mass at 7 pm. and Fr. Jim’s conference will follow after the novena prayers. On Tuesday, the retreat will begin with prayer at 7 pm. Please make every effort to attend the retreat and feel free to bring a friend.*

Let us continue to pray for one another.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas

*Due to the snow storm, the retreat has been canceled. Please look in the Lent Resources & Activities section on the homepage for other resources and retreats for the season.


March 5, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On the first Sunday of Lent we go with Jesus into the wilderness of our daily life where we undergo temptation and experience the weakness of our flesh. As Jesus was tempted by the devil, so we undergo temptation in order that God’s Grace may strengthen us to resist evil and to do good in the sight of God. In our weakness, it is then that we are made strong by the power flowing from the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. May the discipline of Lent: our prayer, fasting and almsgiving transform us to be more like Christ, the Son of God.

Let us continue to pray for one another.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


February 2017

February 26, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Wednesday begins Lent, a season of conversion and hopefully transformation. With Christians throughout the world we take up the discipline of this holy season. The first mention of Lent is found in the documents of the Council of Nicea (325 AD). This Council produced the Nicene Creed and our first understanding of Lent as a special time of preparation for new converts before they were initiated into the Christian Community at the Easter Vigil. Early records also indicate that it was a time of restoration and reconciliation for those who had denied the faith during the persecutions.

Eventually all Christians were encouraged to participate in Lent as a forty day journey leading up to the Sacred Three Days, the Triduum: of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday. We recall the 40 day fast of Jesus in the wilderness and desire to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. During these forty days of Lent, all disciples are encouraged to engage in three spiritual exercises. These Exercises are specifically mentioned by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: prayer, fasting, and giving to the poor. (Matthew 6:1-18).

Let us pray for one another that this holy season may be a time of prayer and renewal for our community.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


February 19, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Every February I read or reread a literary work on the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln. In my years as a student at Saint Joseph Grammar School, the birthdays of President Washington(Feb. 22nd) and President Lincoln(Feb. 12th) were celebrated with great ceremony. How many of my contemporaries remember cutting out silhouettes of these two presidents in profile that adorned the classrooms and hallways of childhood. It was there that we learned a love for country and the men and women of the past who inspired the dream of the American Republic.

In fifth grade, we memorized Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address, (and I can still recite them today). Lincoln at the end of the Civil War spoke these words, "With Malice toward none, with Charity for all..." The malice and anger that so divides us today must not be allowed to undermine our democracy. We must work together to heal the wounds of our society.

Please read these words of Abraham Lincoln, I believe by reading and acting on them we will truly honor his memory.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


February 12, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

These past Sundays we have been listening at Mass to the fifth chapter of the Gospel of St.Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount. Here Our Lord calls His Disciples to reflect on the virtues of the Kingdom of God. The Beatitudes are set before us to awaken us to a deeper understanding of human life and destiny. To live as disciples we must cherish the poor and the humble, be a thirst for mercy and justice and make peace our lasting goal. If we do this we will be the salt of the earth and light for the world.

In Today's Gospel, Our Lord calls us to a deeper conversion of the heart. The law is not fulfilled merely as an outward observance of rules, but as an inner call to holiness, and a desire to live in accordance with the Wisdom of God. This is a call to a life long conversion, to be imitators of Christ and to model our lives on His example.

May we continue to pray for one another.

Pax Christi,
Fr. Thomas


February 5, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In this Sunday’s Gospel the Lord Jesus tells His Disciples: “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.” With these richly evocative images he wishes to pass on to them the meaning of their mission and their witness. As disciples of the Lord we are to bring life and wisdom into a world torn by war and strife.

Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, He is the light that overcomes the darkness of human sin and evil. May we walk in His light this day.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


January 2017

January 29, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today begins Catholic Schools Week, a celebration of the gift of Catholic education in the life and mission of the U.S. Catholic Church. The Mission of our school, "To love, educate, and inspire our children to live the teachings of Jesus Christ" is carried out every day here at Saint Bartholomew. At the 10 am Mass this morning our school community will gather to celebrate our parish school and give thanks to God for all His many blessings.

On Monday, Bishop Checchio will be visiting the school to greet the students and faculty. I am so grateful for all the love and support our Bishop gives to our Catholic Schools. May Our Lord continue to bless him in his ministry.

This Thursday, February 2nd, is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, called Candlemas Day All our second graders and their families are invited to attend a special Mass and procession at 7 pm. This, the 40th day of Christmas and the day,celebrates the presentation of the Child Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem. At the Mass, the children will receive a beautiful Miraculous Medal of Our Lady. Please continue to pray for our children and their families.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


January 22, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today marks the 44th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of Abortion. The Court ruled 7 -2 that a right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the State’s in regulating abortions; protecting women’s health and protecting the potentiality of Human Life.

In disallowing many states and federal restrictions on abortion in the United States, Roe v. Wade prompted a national debate that continues today about issues including whether, and to what extent abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, and what the role should be of religious and moral views in the political sphere. Roe v. Wade reshaped our national politics, dividing most of the American people into pro-life and pro-choice camps.

The teaching of the Catholic Church is that abortion is a grave offense against God. Human life is a gift from God, our Creator, and is sacred from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Catholics must never procure or participate in the willful killing of an unborn child.

Pope Francis has emphasized the Mercy of God in the face of the evil that humans do against the love of God and the sacredness of life let us pray for an end to abortion and work to protect the sacredness of human life.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


January 15, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As we begin this new year 2017 the Church urges us to move beyond the intimate scene of Jesus' birth toward the more challenging vision of His Baptism. To move in the direction of life itself; from concern for intimacy to concern for community.

A Christian parish becomes its best self when it accepts the challenge of community. The parish community, as the real expression of a local church, cannot limit its attention to the search for justice and intimacy among its own members, it must be prepared to take up the cross, standing against evil and injustice wherever they exist in the world. (Nathan Mitchell, Liturgy 1980)

As we reflect on the life and witness of Dr. Martin Luther King we must pledge ourselves as a community to work to eradicate the sin of racism from our midst. We are called by our baptism to witness to Jesus Christ, Our Crucified and Risen Lord.

Pax Christi,
Fr. Thomas


January 8, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Please allow me to extend my gratitude to all those who made the Christmas Liturgies so beautiful and joyful. Christmas at St. Bartholomew is always such a beautiful celebration of God’s love for us made manifest in our Savior Jesus Christ.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, the coming of the Magi to worship the Christ Child. The Magi brings gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to reveal Christ as King, Christ as Judge and Christ as Victor over death. According to tradition, Catholic homes were blessed on this day in the name of the Magi, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. Their insignia (written in chalk) is placed above the front door of the home 20+C+M+B+17.

Like the Magi, may we too find Christ at the end of our journey.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas


January 1, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Eighth Day of Christmas falls each year on New Years’ Day. On the 8th day the Child Jesus was circumcised according to the law of Moses and given the Name Jesus –because He would save us from our sins. The Church rejoices on this day and honors Mary as the Mother of God, for Jesus Christ is both God and Man. The image of the Madonna and Child surrounds us in this holy season. It is the prayer of Mary that sustains the Church on its earthly pilgrimage. May the prayers of the Blessed Mother bring peace to our World in the New Year 2017.

In Christ,
Fr. Thomas

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