Praise in the Midst of Pain

08-27-2017Liturgy CornerBrother Anthony Van Berkum O.P.

"I pray the Divine Praises when I'm in pain."

I've been visiting hospital patients this summer, and I have had the privilege of hearing many beautiful expressions of faith. This one particularly struck me; it's such a jarring image. Praise is not my first reaction to pain, but as soon as I heard this I couldn't help but see that it could be, and perhaps even should be. We can combat the evil that afflicts us by praising the goodness of God right in the midst of its attack. Often when we are seriously in pain, a prayer recited hastily from memory is all that we can manage. And in that moment, such a prayer is enough. Now, though, we are at liberty to begin to reflect on this prayer more deeply. In so doing, we can prepare ourselves to confront pain by glorifying God's everlasting goodness. Blessed be God.

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Peace: Absence and Presence

08-27-2017Eucharistic Adoration

Peace is normally defined as an absence of war,violence, or disturbance. We experience a lack ofpeace not only in our world, but often within ourselves, yet Jesus offers His peace to His followers—but what does the peace of Christ “look like”?

Jesus came, not only to take away anxiety, fear,and confusion in our hearts but also to fill us withHis life. We experience peace in Adoration because there is an absence of noise and distraction but we experience the peace whichChrist offers, because Jesus is present there. Ourproblems do not go away, but we recognize thatJesus is with us in our struggle.

Love: What and How

08-20-2017Eucharistic Adoration

They say you become like the top five people whom you spend the most time with—but what if one of those top five people was Jesus, present in the Eucharist? Then we would seek to love what He loves and reject what He rejects (sin); we would begin to love our neighbor as Jesus loves them—for their own sake and not for what we can 'gain' from them. Jesus desires to make our hearts like His. In Adoration we pray to become like God, but the best way to love is to simply love.

We become like God by loving what He loves—He loves us, He loves every human being He has created. We become like God by loving how He loves—no strings attached, unconditionally, for their own sake. By doing so we will be able to look beyond ourselves and to behold the beauty of Christ in our neighbor.

If you desire it, He will give you His Heart. Come be with the Lord.

Why ChristLife?

08-20-2017Parish LifeRobert Behre

We come to St. Magdalen’severy Sunday and take varying approaches to the experience. My weeklyChurch experience certainlywasn’t one that would be written about in books but it was an experience typical of, I believe, many.

When I think back to just ayear ago, I’d have to say my Church experience was robotic and, thus, unfulfilling. The strange thing forme was that I accepted that robotic experience in placeof a real relationship with Jesus. I convinced myself I was getting something from that experience. Here’sthe thing. I wasn’t. I knew that wasn’t the case when I stopped long enough to honestly examine my behavior and admit to myself that I was going throughthe motions.

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What is the Apostolic Pardon?

08-20-2017Liturgy Corner

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains exactly what the Apostolic Pardon is and the requirements to perform it.

"The anointing [of the sick] is ordinarily succeeded by the conferring of the Apostolic benediction, or 'last blessing,' as it is commonly called. To this blessing a plenary indulgence is attached, to be gained, however, only at the hour of death, i.e. it is given nunc pr o tunc. It is conferred in virtue of a special faculty granted to the bishops and by them delegated quite generally to their priests. The conditions requisite for gaining it are the invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus at least mentally, acts of resignation by which the dying person professes his willingness to accept all his sufferings in reparation for his sins and submits himself entirely to the will of God…. The words of St. Augustine are in point: 'However innocent your life may have been, no Christian ought to venture to die in any other state than that of the penitent.'"

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The Tabernacle Veil

08-13-2017Liturgy CornerFather John Abberton

Why veil the Tabernacle? The immediate and short answer is because the tabernacle in desert had veils and because there was a veil shielding the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem Temple. The fact that this Temple veil was torn in two does not mean that we should abandon the use of veils and curtains. That would be simplistic, not to say childish, interpretation of that tremendous event.

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An Interview with Jan Coey Catechist for 7th grade faith formation class

08-13-2017Parish Life

What was it that inspired you to become involved in this ministry?

Sister Christine approached me and said she saw my family at Mass and asked if I would consider being an aide in the classroom. I had been pondering the thought for some time so this personal invitation from Sister helped me to say "yes." Sister assigned me to be an aide in the classroom that was focusing on Salvation History. I had no clue what that meant so I signed up for a Quick Journey Bible study to understand what it all meant so that I would be prepared. After several sessions were completed, I felt like I could relate to the kids and was more confident that I could make a difference in a classroom. That was a turning point for me.

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God Wants You

08-06-2017Eucharistic Adoration

Adoration is an encounter with the living God, it is amoment when we allow Him to affirm the truth thatHe made us and He desires that we exist. He desires that we might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The answer to every question which poursforth from the human heart is love. We come to Jesusin the Blessed Sacrament to understand, to be healed,to be free. We come and we place our needs beforeHim, for ourselves and for those whom we love. Yetat base, what we are truly seeking to ‘know’ is thatwe are loved by God. He affirms this by simply remaining with us, with calling us to Himself. Jesus’love is deep, pure, and strong. He not only createdyou, He desires you. Jesus thirsts for you. May wecome to Adoration to express our deep love and thirst for Him.

The Veil, the Chalice and the Dignity of Man Like the Sacred Vessels at Mass, We Were Made to Receive Christ

08-06-2017Liturgy CornerFather Jerry Pokorsky

According to the liturgical legislation of the Church, the chalice used at Mass should be covered with aveil. The General Instruction for the Roman Missal [GIRM 80c] states, "The chalice should be coveredwith a veil, which may always be white" . Like most liturgical vestments, the chalice veil is a mysteriousgarment. We may be tempted to dismiss it as a kind of decoration. But the chalice and the veil not onlyhave a function during the celebration of Mass, they also remind us of a dignity that is too often veiled. A veil is used to cover the chalice when it is carried to and from the altar during the celebration ofMass. It is usually the same color as the vestments. As a liturgical vestment, it was probably introducedin the Middle Ages, and may have had a functional origin-perhaps developed from a sacculum or smallbag for carrying the sacred vessels.

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An Interview with Jessica Stefanick: Aide for 5th Grade Faith Formation Class

08-06-2017Parish Life

What was it that inspired you to become involved in this ministry?

It happened during the last session of Symbolon. I was participating in the program with my two sons and at the end of our class, all the teachers came together so that the parents could acknowledge their gratitude. Bridget said that if anyone we knew might be interested in serving as an aide or a catechist in the children's classes to let her know. When I heard that plea, I got a gut reaction that I should speak to her. But I thought, I am a single mom of two and it would be too much and I can't do this now. So I made a deal with God that if in six months I was still thinking about teaching, I would inquire about it. Six months later I was still thinking about serving so I called Bridget and asked if I could help out and she put me in a classroom as an aide.

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Why do Catholics genuflect in a Church?

07-30-2017Pastor's Letter

Court etiquette says we should show this respect to our King, pledging him our service. It is easy to “go through the motions” as Catholics, and one of the easiest gestures to forget the meaning of is the genuflection.

Often we will find ourselves mindlessly walking into church, finding a pew and kneeling quickly on one knee before sitting down. We sometimes do it so much without thinking that when we walk down the aisle of a movie theater we end up genuflecting before we sit down for the show! So why do Catholics genuflect when they walk into a church?

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The Gold Box in a Catholic Church

07-23-2017Pastor's Letter

The gold box in a Catholic Church is sacred, set apart for a very special purpose.

One of the primary and most distinctive fixtures of any Catholic church is a box or cabinet, typically made of gold placed in the front and center of a church. The exact shape varies, but you will most often find a red vigil lamp lighted next to it.

As Catholics, we call the box a tabernacle and it contains the “holy of holies,” Jesus present in the Eucharist.

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The Miraculous Love of God

07-16-2017Encountering ChristYamiris Marcano

Since my birth, I have seen the hand of Our Creator and the intercession of Our Most Holy Mother over me. I am Yamiris Marcano, born and raised in Puerto Rico. When my mother was seven months pregnant with me, she had complications of such a magnitude that they believed neither she nor I would survive. My aunt was a “Mission Helpers of The Sacred Helpers” nun. She, along with her congregation of nuns, came to the hospital and prayed with great fervor. They prayed for days to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding scapulars in their hands. God listened to their pleas and my mother and I survived. The nuns decided to give us that statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel along with their Scapulars. For this reason, I always have scapulars with me and give them to anyone who wants them.

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A Warm Welcome to Our New Pastor

07-09-2017Pastor's Letter

We are pleased to welcome our new Pastor, Father Kenneth Brighenti to St. Magdalen de Pazzi. He arrives from Mount Saint Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD., where he servedon assignment from the Diocese of Metuchen asDirector of Pastoral Field Education and Vice Rector.

He was ordained on May 28, 1988 at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in Metuchen. Since his ordination, he served as Parochial Vicar in four parishes in our diocese from 1988 - 2000. He became Pastor of St. Ann in Raritan in 2000 where he remained for nine years.

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Battling Boredom

07-09-2017Eucharistic Adoration

Boredom and Distraction: Gateways to Peace

Does it seem scandalous to admit this-that you could find spending time with God to be less than enthralling? Yet so it is. Boredom can often be a real stumbling block in attending Eucharistic Adoration. But have you ever asked yourself why silence, why not having something to do, why just being 'with yourself' is so uncomfortable?

God not only speaks to us in beautiful thoughts and poetic prayers but also in our discomfort and…even in our distractions. Let Him speak to you by asking yourself these questions. By asking Him to reveal His truth to you.

We are the Pro-Life Generation

07-02-2017Encountering ChristJulia Wierzbicki

The Diocese of Metuchen sponsors a pro-life videocontest annually, invitinghigh school students tocarefully consider a particular pro-life theme.This year’s video themewas the “Power of One”and what one person cando to impact the Pro-Life fight. My youth group director Michele Beckman, knowing that Ihad participated in video contest before, mentioned the opportunity to me. I decided to give it a go and see what happened.

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Why Do Questions Arise in Your Hearts? (Lk 24:38)

07-02-2017Eucharistic Adoration

There is a big difference between questioning God and asking questions of God. This difference is illustrated veryclearly when we compare Zachariah, the father of John theBaptist, with Mary. Both Zachariah and Mary were in shock when the angel Gabriel told them that miraculous births would take place yet Zachariah was struck dumb andMary was blessed among woman, why? Zachariah’s questioning, “How shall I know this?” (Luke 1:18) camefrom a place of disbelief, his posture was one of skepticism. Mary’s questioning, “How can this be?” (Luke1:34) arose from faith seeking understanding. Mary approached God in a posture of humility and genuine inquiry. Whenever we approach, God and questions arise inour hearts we need not be anxious or fear that these questions show a lack of faith. On the contrary, we canmanifest our trust in God by humbly waiting for Him tospeak and to respond to the deepest questions of our hearts. May we approach Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary.