July 29, 2018


Marriage, more properly called in the Roman Catholic Church: The Holy Sacrament of Matrimony, is one of the Seven Sacraments of the Church. Even though the words Marriage and Matrimony are frequently used interchangeably, there is significant difference between the meaning and the effect of each term. I have been doing a lot of thinking about this since Christmas of 2016, when our daughter Melissa announced to my wife Linda and me, that she had become engaged to be married to Donald Lopuzzo. Both Melissa and Don are members of St. Philip Parish and are very active in our Music Ministry. They also told me that they wanted me to be the Officiant at their celebration of Holy Matrimony. Fast forward one and a half years . . . that Holy Sacrament took place earlier this month. What a joyful day it was!

Marriage is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as: “the state of being united as spouses in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law”. Marriage is a very good thing! Jesus himself says in the Gospel: “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)

The lawful contractual relationship that takes place in marriage also takes place within the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. However, there is more. Jesus transformed marriage into a Sacrament by working his very first miracle at the Wedding at Cana by transforming clean, fresh water into the finest wine for the wedding guests to enjoy (John 2:1–11). This transformation added an entirely new Sacramental dimension to Christian marriage.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the Sacraments as: “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us…They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions”(CCC 1131). The Catechism also teaches that the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony signifies the union of Christ with his Church. This Sacrament gives to the spouses the grace to love each other with the kind of love that Christ loves his Church. It gives them the grace of the sacrament which perfects their human love, strengthens their unity and sanctifies them on their journey to eternal life (CCC 1661).

So, Marriage is a very good thing. It is like the clean, fresh water at the Wedding at Cana. Water is vital to our lives and is the very essence of our existence. The effect of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony elevates that goodness of marriage to a higher level. It elevates it just as Jesus transformed that pure water into the finest wine. It is our faith in Jesus Christ which opens the souls of those to be married to the power of the Sacrament. It is through that faith that the spouses are not only joined to each other, but that Jesus also binds himself to their union.
Deacon Bob Ayers

Our Jubilee Prayer
Rejoicing in you, O Lord, with thankful hearts we pray as . . .
We Remember
gratefully our past companions on the Journey
whose sacrifice inspires us.
We Celebrate
the good news of love in action that empowers spiritual,
service and social ministry.
We Believe
In God’s providence as faithful stewards who continue
Christ’s work using the Keys to the Kingdom. Amen

The Year of our Lord 2018 is our parish Jubilee commemorating 75 years of fulfilling our mission of Opus Christi – which is Latin for Christ’s Work. During the decades our parish has been love in action, bringing good news through spiritual, service and social ministry. Jesus said to our parish patron St. Philip, “Whoever believes in me will do the works I do and even great works.” John 14:22


Registration for the 2018-2019 year is now open. New families are welcome!

Consider joining the Religious Education Ministry
Catechesis and religious education require the involvement of our entire faith community. Not only are we called to provide a community that welcomes new members, but also to provide catechetical instruction to them.

This is a wonderful opportunity to share our faith with the youngest members of our community. Let’s work together to help our children grow in Faith.

Our Religious Education needs several volunteer catechists, classroom aides and substitutes for classes beginning in September. Training and curriculum materials will be provided for catechists. Offer your example and your time to learn about Christ with the children. Please pray about it! Come and join us in this beautiful ministry. For more information, contact Debbie Leach at 973-779-6200 or dleach@stphilip.org

To read complete bulletin click here