Category Archives: News & Events

Bishop Checchio will ordain Ketan Christian, the first Gujarati as a Deacon along with 15 candidates and one other as a transitional Deacon.

Bishop Checchio will ordain Ketan Christian, the first Gujarati as a Deacon along with 15 candidates and one other as a transitional Deacon. The ordination will take place on Friday, May 03, 2024, at 4:00 PM at The Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, 32 Elm Avenue, Metuchen, NJ 08840.

Bishop Checchio will ordain Ketan Christian, the first Gujarati as a Deacon along with 15 candidates and one other as a transitional Deacon. May 03, 2024

The permanent Deacon is an ordained member of the Church who has received the sacrament of Holy Orders (as does a Bishop and Priest) and is deemed a cleric. Permanent Deacons make promises of obedience to the Bishop. They also promise to pray the Liturgy of the hours each day for all the people of God. Deacons can perform Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals. A Deacon also assists Priest or Bishop at Mass and may give the Homily.

From Left Max, Stephanie, Ketan Cristian, Bishop James Checchio, Ila Christian and Christine.

My younger brother and son of Late Mr. Joseph Beda Parmar and Late Sushila, Ketan Christian is married to Ila Christian and they are proud parents of three beautiful daughters, Christine, Stephanie and Sydney living in South Plainfield for the last twenty plus years. He and his family are the members of the Church of the Sacred Heart in South Plainfield, NJ 07080. Coincidently Bishop Checchio was ordained and installed as a fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen in the same very Church of the Sacred Heart in South Plainfield on May 03, 2016. On the 8th anniversary of his ordination to bishop on May 03, 2024, Bishop Checchio will ordain Ketan as a Deacon. May 3rd is the Feast of Saints Philip and James.

Ketan and Family Invite to attend the ordination to the Sacred Order of Deacon – May 03, 2024

Link of Live streaming – https://www.youtube.com/@CathedralofStFrancisofAssisi/stream

Pease note Ketan and family is pleased to invite you for dinner after the ordination on May 03, 2024 at 6:30 PM at Royal Albert’s Palace, 1050 King Georges Post Rd, Fords 08863. Please RSVP by April 26, 2024 Call/Text (732)331-5192

Ketan and Family invite for dinner after the ordination on May 03, 2024

Traditionally, the beginning of the order of deacons is traced back to the story in Acts of the Apostles, Acts 6: 1-6. The time finally came during deliberations of the Second Vatican Council in 1963, calling for restoration of the diaconate as a permanent level of Holy Orders. In June 1967 Pope Paul VI implemented this decree of the Council when he published the apostolic letter “Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem” (“The Sacred Order of the Diaconate”) in which he re-established the permanent diaconate in the Latin Church.

Please click here to read: THE PERMANENT DIACONATE: A HISTORY.

Please click here to read: Diaconate A Short History of the Permanent Diaconate.

The very first time in US history five men from the Archdiocese of Baltimore were ordained as a Deacon On June 12, 1971 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland.

Members of the first class of permanent deacons and their wives stand outside the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in 1971. The deacons and their wives, from left to right: Charles and Janet Kruger, Hubert and Dolores Derouaux, George and Joyce Evans, Bernard and Antoinette Bak, Doris and Americus Roy, and Angelina and Richard Johe. (CR file)

Please click here to read more about the first class of permanent deacons from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Although a resolution was already passed by the CBCI for accepting the permanent Diaconate in India as a proper and permanent state of the hierarchy in 1966, it was only in 1982 that the CBCI finally petitioned the Holy See. A year later, the CBCI received permission from the Holy See to restore and promote the permanent Diaconate in India, with a proviso that before it could be introduced in any diocese, the bishop would consult the bishops of the region. On January 22, 2006, Bombay was the first and only diocese in India to introduce the permanent Diaconate when, the then Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Ivan Dias, ordained two permanent Deacons, Mr Lloyd Dias from Sacred Heart Church, Vashi and Mr Elwyn De Souza from St Joseph Church, Juhu.

Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Ivan Dias, ordained two permanent Deacons, Mr. Lloyd Dias from Sacred Heart Church, Vashi and Mr Elwyn De Souza from St Joseph Church, Juhu.

Please click here to read more about the above.

One more Link to read more about the above.

Please click here to read about The Diaconate within the Diocese of Metuchen.

Please save the date and join: Ketan will serve as Deacon of the Mass and preach is first homily.

Church of The Sacred Heart, South Plainfield Bulletin April 14, 2024

HOLY MASS OF THANKGIVING
Sunday, May 05, 2024 @ 11:30 AM
Church of the Sacred Heart
South Plainfield, NJ 07080

Fr. Paresh Parmar, the Episcopal Vicar of The Diocese of Ahmedabad, Gujarat will be attending all above events and will offer a Mass in Gujarati as per details below:

Gujarati Mass celebrated by Fr. Paresh Parmar and Homily by Deacon Ketan Christian on May 05, 2024

Mass Mentality: Priest’s Viral Video Spotlights Misunderstanding of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. – National Catholic Register

Mass Mentality: Priest’s Viral Video Spotlights Misunderstanding of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. – National Catholic Register.

Do the majority of Catholics not fully grasp the why behind the Liturgy of the Eucharist?

Judy Roberts – Nation – March 28, 2024

Fr. Jonathan Meyer

When an Indiana priest’s message on the Mass went viral on YouTube recently, the response revealed a hunger among Catholics to know more about the Church’s principal sacramental celebration.

Father Jonathan Meyer of All Saints parish in Guilford, Indiana, was astounded when a 33-minute talk he had given at a Jan. 27 men’s conference in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was picked up by the Servants of God YouTube channel in Australia, drawing more than a half million views and 1,432 comments.

“I had no idea it was even happening,” Father Meyer told the Register. “I gave a talk, and the next thing I knew, it was trending like crazy.”

Claiming that more than 90% of Catholics do not fully grasp why they go to Mass, Father Meyer set out in the talk to correct misconceptions and expound on the roots and purpose of the Church’s chief form of worship. In it, he presents 14 “Stations of the Eucharist” he has developed to illustrate the nature of the Mass as the re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, taking readers through the Bible and highlighting scenes such as the sacrifice of Abel and the Last Supper.

Father Meyer told the Register in his experience most Catholics bring a kind of consumer mentality to Mass, showing up to get what they want: Jesus in Holy Communion. But Christ, he said, is truly present in the Eucharist not just so that Catholics can receive and adore him. Rather, it is so that they can be at the re-presentation of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

“I think there is this great love of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament,” he said, “but it is completely detached from the true understanding of his presence being given to us so we could enter into the re-presentation of Calvary.”

When Catholics miss this, he said, they tend to cling to peripheral elements of the Mass like music, homilies or community, making them the focal point.

“All those are great and fruits of a well-celebrated Mass, but none is essential to what is taking place,” he said. “… I go to Mass to go to the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, to go to Calvary, to go to my salvation. It literally is my salvation. It is the death and resurrection of the Lord, and I have the ability to unite myself to it.”

Father Casey Jones, pastor of St. Elizabeth Seton parish in Naples, Florida, said his observations mirror those of Father Meyer.

“I can tell by the look on people’s faces at Mass,” he said. “You have these blank, glazed-over kind of eyes. Secondly is the casual way in which people approach the Blessed Sacrament. You see people that come up like I’m giving out a number at the deli counter. You see this lack of understanding.”

“People will receive Holy Communion and then bolt right out the door, without even taking time for a moment of thanksgiving,” Father Jones said.

Others, he said, not only leave early, but arrive late — just in time to receive Communion.

“That is a clear indicator they don’t understand the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they think about ‘what I can get out of it.’ They’ve missed the notion of sacrifice.”

Brant Pitre, research professor of Scripture at the Augustine Institute and author and presenter of The Mass Explained video series, agreed that many Catholics, especially those who grew up in the faith, know what to do and say at Mass but don’t necessarily comprehend why.

“One of the reasons Father Meyer’s video is going viral,” he said, “is that it is touching a nerve and filling a gap many Catholics have in understanding the Mass as a sacrifice.”

For instance, he said, Catholics who say they go to Mass to receive Holy Communion are not necessarily wrong to cite that as a reason, given the Mass is ordered not just toward the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ but toward the reception by the priest and the faithful.

“However, many Catholics unfortunately have the idea that we go to Mass only to receive,” he said, “and they forget the Church’s teaching that we go to Mass not only to receive but to offer ourselves in union with the sacrifice of Christ. This is really, really important. It’s nowhere clearer than in the Mass itself, in the Offertory.”

When the priest turns to the faithful and says, “Pray, brethren,” Pitre explained, he is asking them to pray that “my sacrifice and yours be acceptable to God the Father Almighty.”

Yet, he continued, “If you ask most Catholics, ‘What is your sacrifice?’ they would be hard-pressed to answer that. The priest is offering the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ to the Father in the Person of Christ, but it’s not often as clear that we also go to offer sacrifice.”

Quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pitre said, “The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer and work are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value.”

It is especially at the Offertory, he continued, that the faithful are supposed to be bringing their suffering, prayer, the work they’ve engaged in through the week and all their trials and difficulties and offer them on the altar in union with the priest’s offering.

“For me personally, this understanding of Mass not just as reception of Communion but as offering of sacrifice is really transformative for our active participation in the Mass.”

Father Meyer added, “We need the re-presentation of Calvary because we need to take our sufferings and trials there so we know we’re not alone, that there’s a place we can go in our isolation, brokenness and addiction and can unite it to Christ. And this is not just me thinking about Jesus and that he did that one time in history. He allows us to continue to enter into it because we’re all broken, and every day that brokenness continues, and the brokenness of the world continues.”

As he told the men at the January conference in Florida, “I don’t know what cross you have today, but what I do know is that there’s a Mass right now in this world being offered at this very moment, and you can unite that sacrifice and that pain and that wound to that cross, which is your salvation.”

One of the 50 priests who have been serving as “Eucharistic preachers” for the three-year National Eucharistic Revival, Father Meyer said he and the others have been encouraged to preach on the Eucharist as presence, communion and sacrifice.

“Of those three aspects of the Holy Eucharist that the Revival is trying to bring forth,” he said, “the one probably the least understood is the Eucharist as sacrifice, a sacrificial meal that brings us into direct contact with the sacrifice on Calvary.”

He said he is hopeful that the Church, having previously emphasized communion and presence, may now be entering a season in which sacrifice is highlighted.

Even in his own priesthood, Father Meyer said, he doesn’t know if he fully understood the Mass as a sacrifice. Ordained in 2003, he said, “I was fighting with every ounce that I had to try to just get people to believe in the True Presence. If I had it to do all over again, I wish I would have fought the battle that the Mass is the re-presentation of Calvary and that that’s why we have the True Presence.”

Patrick Madrid, host of Relevant Radio’s Patrick Madrid Show, said in speaking at hundreds of U.S. parishes over nearly 40 years, he has observed that, regardless of their level of understanding, Catholics have an innate love for the Mass, and “going to Mass” is very much a part of their identity.

“There is a certain gravitational pull for Catholics who go to Mass because they know that’s what Catholics do,” he told the Register. Those who are more fervent about their faith tend to have more knowledge about the Mass and why they go, he said, but many go simply because they know in some sense that Jesus is present. “Even for those not well-grounded in their faith, they still feel that gravitational pull. They know Jesus is there. Catholics are drawn to Jesus as they understand him to be present in the Mass, even if their understanding is minimal.”

Madrid said he thinks that many American Catholics’ perception of the Mass as a sacrifice was diminished, if not entirely lost, during the liturgical changes that followed the Second Vatican Council because the transition to the new rite was not explained adequately and because many things were done, such as moving tabernacles out of sanctuaries, that had nothing to do with the Council’s vision.

Likewise, Father Jones said he would blame the loss of the sense of the Mass as sacrifice not on the Council itself, but on the implementation of the liturgical reform that followed it.

“The proverbial rug was pulled from under the feet of the faithful with very little explanation given as to why.” He said changes in the language meant that priests stopped talking about sacrifice and the Real Presence and ceased encouraging Eucharistic adoration and devotions.

Similarly, he said, employing a bare-minimum approach to liturgy that used only what was required by the missal and eliminated such elements as incense or chant removed the awe and wonder of sacrifice. “When you take a minimalist approach, it is a great disservice to the faithful because these beautiful elements were given to us by the Church to help teach us what is taking place at the altar.”

Madrid said he believes the English translation of the Roman Missal that went into use in 2011 was a huge improvement over the previous translation and helped restore the rightful emphasis on the Mass as a sacrifice, especially in the Eucharistic Prayers, and thus was a significant step in the right direction.

He said, “As the lay faithful become ever more aware of what really happens at Mass, through those prayers, the momentum of belief in the Real Presence of Jesus is flowing back in the right direction.”

Amazon River: A boat carrying Christ’s hope and consolation – Vatican News

Amazon River: A boat carrying Christ’s hope and consolation – Vatican News

Sr. Marcia Lopes Assis in front of the “Papa Francisco” hospital boat, with Brother Afonso Lambert

On the banks of the Amazon River, the “Papa Francisco” hospital boat tends to some 5,200 people’s health and spiritual needs, which Sister Marcia Lopes Assis serves aboard in the Juruti-Pará region of the Amazon forest in Brazil.

By Sister Débora Evangelina Vargas, A.S.C.J.

Sister Marcia Lopes Assis belongs to the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She carries out her pastoral work at the Nuestra Señora de la Salud Parish in Juruti-Pará in the Amazon. The parish is part of the Diocese of Óbidos, in Brazil.

Sister Marcia shares that her “vocation has been a missionary one from the very beginning”, and that throughout her journey, God has always surprised her in every missionary experience he has granted her.

“They have all been extraordinary and intense experiences, and I am very grateful for them,” she says. “Juruti is no different; it’s a wonderful experience which has allowed me to rediscover the essence of my vocation and of the charism of our founder, which I carry inside me. Here, ‘home’ does not have the same connotation that it does in other places, where we think of something static that meets all our needs or where we are safe from external threats. Here, ‘home’ can be found in a rowboat or in a hammock set up under a mango tree; on the street or in an open shelter or inside one’s own sacristy.”

Children: the best teachers

Among her varied activities, the consecrated woman is a consultant for the Parish Missionary Council (COMIPA), which takes up Pope Francis’ invitation to be a “Church which goes forth,” a missionary Church. COMIPA’s goal is to reach the 78 communities that make up the parish sector, especially those which are most remote—more than 60 kilometres away—the most fragile and most in need.

Crossing the Amazon River, explains Sister Marcia, “is no easy task. When we arrived at the community of Santa Rita, I was greeted by the children, who were very timid and frightened by the arrival of a stranger, but we soon became very close. Some are afraid because they confuse me with a nurse or a dentist; others call me teacher, but most of them are captivated and stay close, saying they too will be religious when they grow up.”

As a token of their gratitude, the children offered to teach the religious sister to row. “I found the best teachers among the children,” she adds.

Challenging nature

One of the many challenges presented by the area where Sister Marcia carries out her mission is the phenomenon of “tierra caída,” that is to say, the islands which have disappeared due to the constant force of the waters.

This causes some houses to be flooded, and many families must leave until the water level goes back down. This results in the academic year following not the civil calendar but the “water calendar.” There is a boat that picks children up at home and takes them to school.

Sleeping in a hammock with the sound of the river, not having a landline or a cellphone, and other experiences, helped the religious sister encounter compassion and learn a great lesson.

“Accepting things as they are” and being grateful for the witness of strength, hope, and resilience the families offer.

A boat carrying hope

The sister is part of a group of 35 collaborators who navigate the “Pope Francis Hospital Boat.” The team includes 10 doctors, two dentists, and one priest, Fr. Alfonso Lambert. It is a home of welcoming, of striving, of defending life, and of evangelization, simplicity, and love.

A day on the boat starts very early in the morning with Holy Mass. Then the professionals treat the people according to their symptoms.

“I am in charge of welcoming the families, evangelizing the children and accompanying the sick after a surgery or taking them to their medical visits if they cannot get there on their own. I distribute the Eucharist to the sick,” says Sister Marcia.

On their expeditions, they have tended to about 5,200 people and, in some cases, performed simple surgeries. Some patients had been waiting for eight years.

On their itinerary, they have visited the Aritapera region and the Mamuru Indigenous region. “We could make an analogy between the Hospital Boat and Jesus: just as they would bring all the sick to him so he could heal them, the same happened with the Hospital Boat,” affirms Sister Marcia.

In that period, the sister experienced a Samaritan Church which offered love as a cure.

“There is a purpose that gives meaning to where one is and to what one does. May nothing hinder us from being a mission wherever Providence places us, and may love be the driving force of all,” the sister concludes.

‘It’s a minor miracle’: Parishioners purchase historic church from Pennsylvania diocese – CAN

‘It’s a minor miracle’: Parishioners purchase historic church from Pennsylvania diocese – CAN

By Daniel Payne – CNA Staff, Mar 23, 2024

The exterior of St. Joseph’s in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

A group of parishioners in the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, is celebrating this month after acquiring a historic church from the diocese and preserving it as a chapel and place of worship.

The Society of St. Joseph of Bethlehem (SSJB) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, announced earlier this month that the society had purchased St. Joseph’s Church, which opened more than a century ago, from the Allentown Diocese.

“The desire to preserve the church by former parishioners has been steadfast since the church was closed in 2008,” the society’s board said in a letter announcing the purchase. “It has taken time and energy over the years to enter into an agreement with the Diocese of Allentown.”

On its Facebook page, the SSJB says its mission is “to restore and preserve St. Joseph’s Church as a sacred place of worship and a testament to the history and cultural heritage” of the area.

Lina Tavarez, a spokeswoman for the diocese, said the parish ”was closed in 2008 because of a merger of several local parishes.”

“It hosted only one regular Mass per year — on the feast day of St. Joseph — and was available for funerals for former parishioners,” she said.

The Mass of the solemnity of St. Joseph at St. Joseph’s Parish in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Credit: Susan Vitez

Paula Kydoniefs, the president of the board of directors of SSJB, told CNA that the group was established “solely for the purpose of buying this church, taking care of it, and sponsoring events.” The church, historically attended by the local Slovenian/Windish community, had its cornerstone laid in 1914 and fully opened in 1917.

Kydoniefs explained that the decision to purchase the property originated several years ago, during a period when the diocese was in the process of merging local parishes.

“In 2008 they were consolidating, and this was one of five churches that was being closed as a parish,” she said. “St. Joseph’s parishioners fought that and appealed it and ended up taking it to the Vatican.”

The Vatican eventually ordered that the parish remain open for use, Kydoniefs said. In 2011 then-Bishop John Barres “gave the parish the ability to have an annual Mass and have funerals of former parishioners.”

The church was used “only occasionally” in this capacity, Tavarez told CNA. In 2023 the diocese moved again to sell the church.

“We went back to the diocese,” Kydoniefs said. “It’s a minor miracle. It was last-minute.”

“They had already announced they were going to sell it. They could have just told us no,” she said. “But, credit to them, they said: ‘If you can come up with $175,000 quickly, you can purchase it.’”

Kydoniefs said “several minor miracles and maybe major miracles” followed, with a benefactor — the James Stocklas Family Trust — quickly coming forward to donate “the whole $175,000.”

“Financially we’re independent, and we’re totally responsible for the care and upkeep and maintenance of the church,” Kyondiefs said.

“According to canon law, it’s a chapel,” she said. “It’s still a Catholic church, it’s still affiliated with the diocese in that way. The diocese has the jurisdiction over what public worship services we can do there.”

“They’ve told us that we must have two Masses a year, one on the feast day of St. Joseph [March 19] and one on Oct. 28, the anniversary of the consecration of the church,” she added.

Presently the church is not suited for occupancy, Kydoniefs said, with inspectors finding several code deficiencies in need of updating. Regulators did work with the community to develop a stopgap mitigation plan that allowed the church to celebrate St. Joseph’s feast day on March 19.

The church “does need a lot of work,” she admitted, but she said the SSJB is prepared to see the building restored and utilized for regular community and religious events “at least monthly.”

“We’ve got a lot of ideas,” she said. “We really want to see this church being used again.”

In a letter issued upon the church’s reopening, meanwhile, the SSJB wrote that “as heartbreaking as it was a year ago, to hear that our cherished St. Joseph’s Church was to be permanently closed and sold on the open market, we now experience the opposite — hearts filled with joy and thanksgiving!”

“To the St. Joseph’s Church community,” the letter said, “welcome home!”