"THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME"
UPDATED DIRECTIVES DURING THE COVID19 PANDEMIC
Effective May 25, 2021
Given the reinstatement by the Bishops of NJ of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and the lessening of restrictions from the state, the following is provided as an immediate update to the May 4 directives.
Effective May 28, masks will no longer be required for fully vaccinated persons. If not fully vaccinated, persons are strongly encouraged to follow CDC guidance and wear a face mask in public settings. Masks are still required on public transit and in health care settings, prisons, child-care facilities and schools, among other places. People will no longer be required to socially distance indoors or outdoors, (May 28), although unvaccinated persons should continue to maintain a safe distance from others.
Effective June 4, all indoor gathering limits will be removed.
Although these directives represent a reduction of pandemic restrictions, the local pastors/administrators/chaplains can impose stricter regulations as needed. These may include wearing masks, social distancing, and signing in for Mass or activities. These directives apply to all indoor and outdoor events.
Cardinal Tobin and the Bishops of New Jersey are reinstating the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation effective June 5/6, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. To read the official statement, please visit: https://www.rcan.org/
Parishioners should be made aware of the reinstatement of the obligation.
Churches and parish facilities may return to 100 per cent capacity with no social distancing for both indoor and outdoor services and activities, as of June 4, 2021.
Parishioners should be informed that if they are vaccinated, they are no longer required to wear a mask. It is not required for parishioners to show proof of vaccination.Anyone not fully vaccinated should wear a mask.
Any vaccinated person preferring to wear a mask should feel free to do so.
Churches and meeting spaces should continue to be sanitized after each liturgy, event or meeting.
For more safety information: https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562021/approved/20210503b.shtml
Our parish is now registered with https://smile.amazon.com The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible smile.amazon.com purchases. Tens of millions of products are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their smile.amazon.com product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe & Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible to gen- erate donations. Remember, only purchases made at smile.amazon.com, (not www.amazon.com or the mobile app,) generate AmazonSmile donations. Select St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish as the supporting organization.
ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
Monday 7:30pm-9:00pm (church)
Wednesday 7:30pm-9:00pm (church)
Friday 7:30am-6:00pm (churchl)
In the season of Advent each of us may ask ourselves: what do I expect? Advent starts a new liturgical year full of possibilities to deepen our spiritual perspectives and closeness with God. Advent season invites us to awaken new hope in God’s plan and promises. Advent can be a season of healing through deeper awareness that the Christ Child desires to be born anew in us.
The Savior arrives to save, heal, and deliver us.
His coming is profoundly personal. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). The First Reading today tells us the Incarnation was the fulfillment of the ancient expectancy of a Messiah, healer and deliverer of his people. The Catechism teaches:
“When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming” (524).
Let us consider our everyday experiences of expectation and preparation. Think of a couple expecting a child, a person waiting for the results of a medical test, a student preparing for an exam and awaiting the score, someone expecting the arrival of a friend, the anticipation of someone meeting a loved one. According to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:
“We could say that man is alive so long as he expects, so long as hope remains alive in his heart. Men and women can be recognized by their expectations, and that our moral and spiritual stature may be measured by what our hopes are.”
Advent is an opportunity to renew our commitment to Christ as Lord of our lives. Oftentimes in the lives of the saints we read of how they made “acts of oblation” during Advent retreats. This can be very worthwhile because with each passing year, we change and the circumstances of our lives and the world around us are different also. Therefore each “act of re-consecration” of ourselves to the Lord, brings a fresh offering with new perspectives.
In preparing for Christmas we have weeks to reset our spiritual life. Today’s Second Reading speaks of being “blameless in holiness before our God” and “conducting yourselves to please God.” Likely, this won’t happen if we don’t prioritize our time spent with the Lord. The Church’s liturgy certainly helps us to focus.
Today’s Gospel has us consider the experience of hope. Hope is the theological virtue “by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit” (C 1817). The arrival of the Christ Child moves us in a uniquely human and mystical way. The gift of the Incarnation awakens us to the sovereignty and omnipotence of God; the beauty of Incarnate Love.
The expectancy of any child requires due diligence, practical, and spiritual preparation. The expectancy of the Christ Child requires the same so that we may deeply experience the Nativity as a joyful, liberating conversion of heart. To the degree that we make room in our hearts, and order our lives to Christ, we will experience His birth as new life within. He alone is the fulfillment of all our desires.
The Advent season also presents an occasion for healing. Advent is considered a penitential time with an opportunity to turn away from any darkness (sin, vice) in our lives. It’s the coming of Christ as the light of the world that overcomes the darkness. Advent invites us to think about the past, present, and future so we become more aware, and grateful for the Child Jesus who redeems our past, present, and future.
His Presence means that our Divine Physician has come. We are all in need of healing, physical or spiritual. Let us bring that desire to the Crib and the Cross. They are joined mystically together by the scarlet love of the Lamb of God whose life and blood washes us clean. Reflecting on the Christ Child can awaken the child within us. Healing can occur when we strive for spiritual childhood. The Christ Child comes to identify with human limitations and makes himself upon a human mother and father. He teaches us how to trust in the Eternal Father and the divine will that is all goodness. The vulnerability of the Christ Child often allow us to become more vulnerable and thus, the closed, guarded chambers of our hearts are pried open by the rush of divine love. We can’t contemplate the Christ Child without thinking of His Mother—her yes, her total gift of self.
Benedict XVI called Mary “the woman of Advent”. He declared, “learn from her” in order to “live a daily life with a new spirit, with outlooks of profound expectation which only the coming of God can satisfy.”
Through the ancient expectancy of the Messiah, no one could have imagined that the Messiah would be born of a humble girl like Mary, who had been promised in marriage to Joseph. Pope Benedict said, “Neither could she have imagined it; yet in her heart the expectation of the Savior was so great, her faith and hope so ardent, that in her He could find a worthy mother.”
Let us pray for one another that we will not be robbed of the transformative possibility that Advent holds. Let us enter into this new liturgical year with holy daring, and expectations of miracles, divine surprises and childlike transformations. Let us prepare well that our joy may be complete when we receive our newborn King, and celebrate His birth. Let us draw closer to the Christ Child through dedicated spiritual preparation and expectancy.
Have a blessed and peaceful day!
Almighty and eternal God, you have so exalted the unbreakable bond of marriage that it has become a sacramental sign of your Son’s union with the Church as his spouse. Look with favor on these couples who you have united in marriage, as they ask for your help and the protection of the Virgin Mary. We pray that in good times and in bad they will grow in love for each other; that they will resolve to be of one heart in the bond of peace. Lord, in their struggles let them rejoice that you are near to help them; in their needs let them know that you are there to rescue them; in their joys let them see that you are the source and completion of every happiness. We ask this through Christ our Lord,