January 31, 2016

The Jubilee Year of Mercy

During the next few weeks this column will print, as an ongoing series in sections, our Bishop’s Pastoral Letter: “The Jubilee of Mercy and the Promise of Christ.”

Pope Francis began the Year of Mercy on December 8, 2015.  These reflections are preparation for our parish Lenten theme which will focus on “Compassion” as the way we both experience and share God’s mercy in our everyday lives.

The Jubilee of Mercy and the Promise of Christ:
Section 2
Arthur J. Serratelli, S.T.D., S.S.L, D.D.
Bishop of Paterson

[10] In reporting Jesus’ first sermon in the synagogue of Nazareth, Luke gives us the only mention of the Jubilee in the entire New Testament. Jesus stands before his townsfolk and reads from the prophet Isaiah. With the last line of the text, Jesus announces that he has come “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Lk 4:19). The expression “the year of the Lord’s favor” (Is 61:2) clearly alludes to the Jubilee laws in Leviticus. Thus, Jesus’ declaration that he fulfills this text is the “Liberty Bell” sounding Forth the true freedom for God’s people.

[11] Throughout his gospel, Luke paints the portrait of Jesus as the one who ushers in the Jubilee. With his miracles of mercy, Jesus sets the downtrodden free and liberates the oppressed. He is the Divine Physician whose mercy makes him the friend of sinners, the helper of the needy and the consoler of the afflicted. His cross and resurrection accomplish “the total fulfillment of the messianic program that Christ once formulated in the synagogue at Nazareth” (Pope John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia, 8).

[12] At the very center of Luke’s gospel, in chapter 15, the evangelist clusters the parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Prodigal Son. These three parables reveal the overwhelming mercy of God. In the ministry of Jesus, God is not merely inviting sinners to return nor is he simply accepting those who do. Rather, He is actively going out to seek and find the lost. The heart of God beats with unrelenting mercy for each of us sinners.

[13] In Mark’s gospel, only after Jesus announces the coming of the kingdom does he call for repentance. He says, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent…” (Mk 1:15). The order is important. First, God’s grace; then, our response. God has come among us to save us in Christ. This is pure mercy. His saving presence, then, leads us to repentance.

[14] “God’s will is to save us, and nothing pleases him more than our coming back to him with true repentance” (St. Maximus the Confessor, Epist. 11). But even our repentance, our turning from our sins and directing our lives to God, is a gift of God’s mercy. God himself works within us so that we both will and do what pleases him (cf. Phil 2:13).

[15] The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy begins on December 8, 2015, with Pope Francis’ opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Each diocese will open a “Door of Mercy” on December 13, 2015, the same day that the Pope opens the Holy Door of his cathedral church, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. In the Diocese of Paterson, a Holy Door will be opened at St. Margaret Church in Morristown and at the Diocesan Shrine of St. John Paul II at Holy Rosary Church in Passaic.

[16] The image of a Holy Door is very symbolic. In John’s gospel, Jesus calls himself “the door.” He says, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the door (gate).Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture…” (Jn 10:8-10). Entering the door or gate evokes the movement from the outside where there is danger to the inside where there is safety. Passing through the Holy Door manifests our desire to enter more fully into the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd who protects us from sin and enfolds us in his grace.

[17] By calling himself the door to the sheepfold, Jesus is claiming to be the only way of entrance into Salvation. There is but one Savior of the whole human race. “There is but one Mediator between God and man…Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). In speaking with Thomas at the Last Supper, Jesus clearly states this when he says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus alone opens the way to communion with God. Thus, our passing over the threshold of the Holy Door representing Christ is a profession of faith in Jesus in Christ as Savior of the world.

[18] During the Jubilee of Mercy, the Holy Father is granting a Plenary Indulgence to all who make a pilgrimage and pass through the Holy Door, whether in Rome or in their own diocese. To gain the Jubilee Indulgence, we must make a worthy sacramental confession, receive Holy Communion, recite the Creed and pray the Our Father for the intentions of the Holy Father. Even those who are physically unable to endure the hardship of a pilgrimage may gain the Plenary Indulgence. The sick, the elderly and the imprisoned should unite their suffering with Jesus, pray for the Pope, make a good confession, receive Holy Communion and assist at Mass, even if they can only do so through various means of communication.


Journey with Us

Our next RCIA session is Monday, February 8th at 7:00 PM in the Russo Room.  Fr. Joe will be presenting a lesson on the Synoptic Gospels.  All are welcome.
We invite you to be our companion on the journey and discover the keys to the kingdom. If you would like more information about the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, (RCIA), please call Donna Scancarella at 973-779-6200.

Bible Study
Seven week Lenten Bible Study Series begins on Monday, February 8th in the Molloy Center at 11 AM. All are welcome!

Saint Philip the Apostle Parish
And Preparatory School

Sunday, April 17, 2016
2:00 to 6:00 PM
The Valley Regency
Tickets: $65 per person
  • Includes $25 Gift of Chips for Gaming Tables
  • Butler served hors d’oeuvres, Carving Station
  • Complimentary: Beer, Wine, Soda, Coffee, Tea
  • Gourmet Desserts, Cash Bar, Piano Music
  • Gaming Tables: Black Jack, Roulette, Craps, Wheel of Chance
  • Gift Baskets for Casino Winnings, Silent Auction, Super 50/50

Click here to book your tickets.

6th Annual St. Patrick Dinner Dance


St. Joseph Dessert Table

St. Philip’s will host its 6th Annual St. Patrick Dinner Dance on Saturday, March 5, at 7 PM (doors open 6:30 PM) in the school auditorium.

Tickets are $40 pp and include a traditional Irish dinner with beer, wine, soda, coffee and tea, plus a St. Joseph dessert table. Specialty drinks available for purchase.

Entertainment will be provided by The Peter McKiernan Band.

To purchase tickets, please send the following to:
St. Philip the Apostle Church
797 Valley Rd., Clifton, NJ 07013
Attn: St. Patrick Tickets

1. Your name
2. Phone number
3. Number of tickets requested
4. Payment (check payable to St. Philip the Apostle)

Tickets will also be sold after all masses on February 13/14

This event sells out quickly so order your tickets early!
For more information call Donna @ 973-779-6200

Tickets will not be available at the door.
You must be 21 years or older to attend this event.



Religious Education Classes schedule
Grades 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6: February 28
Grade 2:  February 7 & 28
Grades 7, 8:  February 7
Confirmation Grade 9, 10: February 7

To read complete bulletin click here