From Father's Desk

Dear Parish Family,

Loads of positive feedback from our parish feast day celebration keeps coming. So many who participated in the event were uplifted and joyful. We really enjoyed each other’s company, and being able to celebrate Mass in our gardens was a special treat. Once again, I extend deepest gratitude to everyone who made the day possible but especially to our Chairperson, Coni Tartaglia, for her dedication and hard work.

Mark your calendars for next year. Based on all the support and energy behind the event, we hope to make it an annual celebration of our parish life. Some folks are even interested in a fall event. If you are interested in joining the “party planning team” please reach out. We do need volunteers and I would love to have a team of people who would host 3 or 4 big events each year. Many hands make light work.

Our lives are punctuated by a rhythm of commemorations and anniversaries. Our Patroness’ Feast Day reminded me of our 100th year anniversary Mass and celebration in 2019. This weekend we celebrate Independence Day. We mark 245 years since our founders sealed the  Declaration of Independence. We commemorate our great nation and the promise of liberty and justice she extends like a beacon to the world. Much more meagerly, this weekend marks three years of my service as your pastor. What a journey these three years have been together.

To commemorate literally means to remember together, to bring something to mind together. There is much to commemorate this weekend. Our hearts swell with joy and pride for our parish. We are deeply grateful for all our nation is to us and its role extending democratic principles even beyond our shores. I, too am grateful to God for these three years as your pastor.

Remembering together more deeply on Independence Day, our principal celebration this weekend, limited government was one key principle of our founding fathers. During the pandemic our state and federal governments grew in reach and scope. Some accused our leaders of overreach. The Declaration of Independence is mostly a list of grievances directed at a government that has overstepped its bounds. Our Constitution stipulated three equal branches of government. As I read it now, many of the powers assigned to the Congress have been encroached upon by the executive branch. Take a gander at the text itself and see for yourself.

We commemorate that the genius of the government is that it is limited with a system of checks and balances. Furthermore, issues should be handled at the local and state levels whenever possible. The federal government should not reach in to sort things out or dictate to the states. Even our Bill of Rights is predominantly about limiting what our government can or cannot demand of its people. The third article is my favorite, as you can imagine: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...” We are to have no predetermined religion, like Anglicanism - for example - in England, or Lutheranism in Germany. And no law shall exist prohibiting us from living out our faith. When churches were closed when liquor stores were open in NJ, we may have seen an overstep of government. It was not a law passed but the executive branch acting with emergency powers.

Let’s remember together the great principles of our nation and keep on guard against the moments when those principles may be violated. Remember we are great when we keep to the great ideals on which our nation was founded.

God bless America!
Fr. Joel Wilson