Fourth Sunday of Easter- April 22, 2018
Today’s Gospel occurs in the middle of Jesus’ ministry. At first, Jesus’ words seem to be about the value of self-sacrifice in a leader. “I am the Good Shepherd … I will lay down my life for the sheep.” The Apostles likely would have accepted these words easily enough. But then comes something more strange. “I lay down my life in order to take it up again … I have power to lay it down and power to take it up again.” Only later, when Jesus opened the Scriptures to them after His resurrection, would the Apostles understand His words. Only then would they understand why such an act was necessary for the salvation of the world. Even now, we may struggle with the necessity of Holy Week. How often do we hear complaints against the silence of God, as if He is the “hired man” who “runs away” from suffering? Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is our redemption in fact. God himself bears the full weight of sin’s consequences. The Paschal Mystery is also a sign that happens in full view of the human experience. We have seen Jesus lay down His life. We have seen Him accompany others. “I know mine and mine know me.” We have seen him reach those outside the traditional flock, “sheep not of this fold.” Jesus is the Good Shepherd, not only in Scripture but in our daily lives. While we can’t experience physically walking alongside Him like the Apostles did, the grace of our redemption continues through the Church. We are shepherded by the sacraments, by faith formation, by good mentors. At the same time, we are not only the sheep. In imitating Jesus, we, too, are invited to lay down our lives for others. We can be the hands, feet, and shepherd’s crook As you may have noticed, we have a new statue of St. Anne in the church, thanks to some generous donors. If you are wondering why St. Anne was the choice, I do have personal reasons for wanting her. First my mom’s name is Anne, second the day I was ordained a priest in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart each priest was assigned a chapel to give out their first blessings as a priest and the chapel I was assigned was the one dedicated to St. Anne. However, with that said it is not why she was chosen. Rather, it is due to the name of our parish – “Immaculate Conception” which often is a misconception amongst people. I know many think that the Immaculate Conception is when Mary conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit but it is not. The Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8th which if it was when Mary conceived our Lord it would have either been the shortest pregnancy being only 17 days from conception to birth or the longest being over a year (our Lord became man not an elephant) so this would not make sense. Mary conceived our Lord on the Annunciation which is celebrated on March 25th which would be exactly nine months before Christmas and Jesus’ birth. The Immaculate Conception is when St. Anne conceived our Blessed Mother, Mary, in her womb. St. Mary our Blessed Mother is the Immaculate Conception. This is the reason for adding the statue of St. Anne to our Church of the Immaculate Conception. If anyone knows where we can get a statue of St. Joachim, who is Mary’s father, please let me know as he played an equal role in Mary being conceived. St. Anne and St. Joachim pray for us.
God Bless you and have a wonderful week, Fr. Michael
SCRIPTURAL REFLECTIONS ON STEWARDSHIP
“I am the good shepherd…and I lay down my life for the sheep…and they will heed my voice.”
When you pray, do you only ask Jesus for the things that you want? Do you ever ask Him what He wants from you? How do you listen for His response? Usually, the answer is in “quiet whispers”, so take time every day, in silence, to actively listen for His response.
PLEASE PRAY FOR THE SICK
Please pray for: Please pray for: Kellie Salata, Kelly Chinchar, Jessica, Carol Mangino, Gloria, Daniel Breslin, Stanley, Marie, Bonnie, Helen Traina, Joseph Marrone, Bill Marshall, Anthony, Michael, Denise Gautier, Joseph, Christine Morrison, Jessica Esopo, Janelle Dino, Maricel Fortus, Rachel Fortus and Efren Villanueva Sr.
Hackensack University Medical Center’s Pastoral Care Department is in great need of Eucharistic Ministers/Pastoral Visitors to bring Holy Communion and visit patients. A Eucharistic Minister’s workshop will be conducted on Saturday, May 19th at 10AM and Wed., May 30th at 1PM at the Medical Center by one of the priests on staff. Anyone interested in this ministry will receive a mandate given by the Archdiocese of Newark and after completion to be used at the Medical Center. If you feel called to this wonderful ministry, to bring Jesus and your own presence into the rooms of the sick, please contact Rev. David Armstrong at the Pastoral Care office at 551-996-2345.
The gift of Bread & Wine for the first two weeks of April has been given in memory of Maria & Michéle Totaro and Guiseppe Manieri & Lucia DiNardo by Maria & Nicola Totaro. The second two weeks have been given in memory of Andrea Rovito by her mom.
The Sanctuary Lamp for the month of April has been given in memory of Kyle P. Jashembowski by Linda J. Sylvestri.
This Easter, our new Paschal candle has been donated in memory of Elizabeth Riley and Bertha & Joseph Forst by Mr. & Mrs. George Furman, in memory of the deceased members of the Stampone Family by Marie Blackwell and in memory of the Leone & Dattilo Families by Sergio Leone. We thank them for their generous donations.
THE PASCHAL CANDLE
The Paschal candle represents Christ, the Light of the World. The pure beeswax of which the candle is made represents the sinless Christ who was formed in the womb of His Mother. The wick signifies His humanity, the flame, His Divine Nature, both soul and body. Five grains of incense inserted into the candle in the form of a cross recall the aromatic spices with which His Sacred Body was prepared for the tomb and of the five wounds in His hands, feet, & side. During the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night the priest carries the new Paschal candle in procession into the dark church. The candle, representing Christ Himself, is blessed by the priest who then inscribes in it a cross, the first letters and last of the Greek alphabet, (Alpha and Omega `the beginning and the end’) and the current year, as he prays; then affixes the five grains of incense. This candle is the one from which all other lights are taken for the Easter service. The candle remains lit at all worship services throughout the Easter season. After the Easter season, it is placed near the baptismal font. The Paschal candle is also lit during baptisms and funerals.
MASS INTENTIONS FOR THE WEEK
SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2018
8:30 Francis Moreno by Liliana & Christopher Guilianti & Family
5:00 pm Butch Walsh by Mr. & Mrs. Raymond DeRiso
SUNDAY, APRIL 22, 2018
8:00 For the People of the Parish
10:00 Stella & Rudy Milisits by Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Teklits
12:00 Gregory Chaves by the Family
MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2018
8:30 Annv. Mary D’Alessio by the Family
TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 2018
8:30 Agnes Holmes by Marie & Mike Nasta
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 2018
8:30 Francis Moreno by Rosa & Mario Battaglia
THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2018
8:30 Michael Policastro by the Family
FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2018
8:30 Serafina Padula by the So. Hackensack Seniors
SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 2018
8:30 Mary & Pat Maffetone by the Family
5:00 pm Edward & Rose Azzato & Fred Pulzello by the Family
SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2018
8:00 For the People of the Parish
10:00 Anthony DeGrosa by the Family
12:00 Annv. Vincent Scanapieco by the Family
2018 Sharing God’s Blessings Annual Appeal
Did you know that there is still time to support the 2018 Sharing God’s Blessings Annual Appeal? We have received $3,000 in pledges. Thank you to those parishioners who have already shown your support and generosity. Will you join your fellow parishioners in supporting this effort which strengthens many important programs and ministries across the Archdiocese of Newark and which make our own parish a more vibrant place of worship. Our goal, $11,333, can only be achieved through YOUR generosity. If you have yet to give, please pick up a pledge form in the back of church or visit www.rcan.org/sharing. YOUR gift will truly make a difference. Thank you for your prayers and support.