“Behold I am with you always, even to the close of the age.”

Matthew 28:20

Jesus promised that He would never abandon His people; He promised that He would remain until the end of time. Jesus walked the earth over 2000 years ago, yet He is still present and active in the lives of His people. He is with them. However, recognizing God’s presence in our world today takes a ‘trained eye’ and an act of faith. Jesus can most readily be recognized through the witness of Christian people, people who acknowledge and testify to the power and presence of God in their lives. The ‘Encounter with Christ’ stories help to highlight how God is working in the lives of the people in the parish of St. Magdalen’s Church. These stories are meant to help those who read them to more easily recognize God’s presence in their own lives. God wants to be known by you and to work in your life—invite Him to do so.

Making Time for God

12-25-2016Encountering ChristTom Jeffas

November 20th marked the close of the Year of Mercy. To acknowledge this moment in the Church, Bishop Checchio honored 107 individuals from around the Diocese of Metuchen who exemplified the mercy of Christ in a particular way. Tom Jeffas, a member of St. Magdalen’s Church, was one of those recipients to receive the ‘Disciples of Mercy’ award. Tom was honored for his work with the Hope House and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Tom and his wife Donna have six children and sixteen grandchildren. They moved to Flemington nine years ago to be near two of their six children. His sister Marie was already involved with St. Magdalen’s social ministries and invited her brother to serve at the Hope House. Tom began as a food packer but was soon in charge of the physical operations of the Hope House, which assists 76 families with groceries and other basic needs. The Hope House subsists mainly on food donations and on ShopRite gift cards. Tom goes shopping several times a week, sometimes twice in one day, to get the food which these families need to survive and to get these items on sale. Families are assessed according to their need and receive groceries weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly.  When asked what Tom thinks of the poor he serves, he states, “We can never do enough for them.” His love for Christ is evident in his service with Hope House, in his work with ‘Meals on Wheels’, but also in his service as an usher, and as a Eucharistic Minister at Mass and for the homebound.

Tom is no stranger to hard work. He began work at the age of 8, delivering newspapers after school to help out his family. As a young man he drove a truck for 29 years before becoming a supervisor in the company, overseeing 45 teamsters. Tom was raised Catholic and attended Sunday Mass with his family but never gave much thought to spending time in prayer with the Lord until after he retired. Yet the Lord used Tom’s work experience and organizational skills to prepare him to run the Hope House efficiently and to implement many new ideas. Once he retired, Tom placed his work ethic and his energy at the service of the Lord, placing his faith as a top priority. The Church has been enriched by his love and generosity.