NEWS AND UPDATES
Farewell to Fr. Tony
I am pleased to announce that Fr. Tony has been asked by Cardinal Tobin to take a new assignment as Administrator of St. Joseph Parish, West Orange, beginning February 1st. We are grateful to Fr. Tony for his service to us since July 2019.
After the 10:30am and 12pm Masses this Sunday (Jan. 30th), parishioners are invited to gather in the narthex/gathering space to greet Fr. Tony and offer him thanks for his priestly service and to wish him the best of luck as he embarks on his new assignment. Let us pray for Fr. Tony and the people he has been called to serve as he prepares for this new chapter in his priesthood.
St. James Music Ministry
We once again thank Mr. Dan Palko for his work among us as the Director of Music Ministry and we wish him the best of luck in his retirement.
It is with deep sadness that I am forced to place the parish choir on temporary hiatus. Unfortunately, our current situation limits our ability to have a choir. My hope is to conduct a comprehensive search for a music minister this spring who will join our parish staff.
This weekend we welcome Mr. Philip LaGala as our interim weekend music minister.
Update to Sunday Mass Schedule
With Fr. Tony’s departure, many are wondering if we are receiving a parochial vicar who will replace Fr. Tony. For many reasons this will not be the case, at least not in the near future. Consequently, this will
mean some changes to our pastoral and sacramental ministry here at St. James going forward, particularly our Sunday Mass schedule.
Friends, please be assured that I will continue to minister to this wonderful parish community with zeal and love and work hard to ensure that the sacramental needs of our parish are adequately provided for.
Here are the most relevant reasons why my options are limited and how this will impact our parish:
Priest Shortage – An emerging reality is the decline in young men discerning a vocation to the priesthood, in addition to the limited pool of available priests. I serve on the Seminary Admissions Board, the
the archdiocesan board that reviews applicants for the seminary, and currently there are only two men entering the seminary for the Archdiocese of Newark this year. The numbers are quite disheartening and
sobering. What this means is that there will be fewer and fewer priests available for the over 200 plus parishes within the Archdiocese of Newark. I earnestly implore you to pray that young men may courageously discern a call to the priesthood.
Deficit Reduction – One of my top priorities has been to work closely with our parish finance council to tackle our budget deficit and our debt. While we have already made great strides to improve our financial situation, simply put, our budget cannot support an additional priest.
Sunday Mass Schedule Adjustment – While the parish will not be receiving a parochial vicar, I am happy to say that Fr. John Dennehy will continue to assist me regularly on the weekends. I am grateful for his
priestly ministry among us, as I am sure you are as well. However, even with the continued assistance of Fr. John, we will adjust the Sunday Mass schedule beginning the first weekend in February. Having consulted my staff, the parish pastoral council, and parish finance council, we all agree that a new Sunday Mass schedule is needed at this time. Therefore, our new Sunday Mass schedule, beginning February 6th, is as follows:
New Sunday Mass Schedule
Saturday 5:00pm Mass will remain the same and Saturday Morning Mass will now be held at 8:30am.
Empowered Lay Faithful – We are blessed to have here at St. James such faithful and competent lay men and women. The future of St. James – indeed, the future of the Church – must be the increased involvement and leadership of empowered, talented lay men and women in the church’s pastoral ministry. I believe the Holy Spirit, in this time of fewer priestly vocations, is emboldening and inviting the Church to acknowledge the important role lay leaders have in building up the Kingdom of God here on earth.
Friends, while I understand that this news and new Mass schedule may be received by some with trepidation, I assure you that my confidence in our successful future state has not waned one bit.
Thank you for your prayers, patience, and support.