I write this week to update you on some of the current happenings at St. Joseph Church.
First, during his visit here on Holy Thursday, Bishop Dennis Sullivan officially re-accepted Mr. Anthony Infanti as a candidate for the priesthood for the Diocese of Camden. Anthony will continue his seminary training at the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ. Anthony will remain at our parish until later this summer when he will begin his theology classes. In the meantime, Anthony has been given permission to give some reflections during daily Mass. While this is not officially a homily as a priest or deacon gives, these reflections will be part of Anthony’s preparation for the very important task of preaching in the future. Anthony also represented our parish as he ran in the iRace for Vocations 5K last Sunday in Sewell, NJ.
Next, we are in the midst of some very important sacraments for our young people. Confirmation of our youth (and one adult) was conferred by Bishop Sullivan on April 18th. We congratulate our students on completing their sacraments of initiation. This weekend, as well as last, we are privileged to see our children receive their First Holy Communion (during the 5:30 pm Saturday and 10 & 11:45 am Masses on Sunday). The large number of children is a very positive sign for the future. I take this opportunity to remind parents that they are the first and (hopefully) the best teachers of their children in the matters of our Catholic faith. It is the parents’ responsibility to be sure that their children attend Mass weekly, go to the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation (confession) on a regular basis, pray in the home, be taught to love God and our neighbor, etc. There is nothing more important than the imparting of our faith in Jesus Christ to our children.
Our parish business manager, Ellen Hyatt, has decided to lessen her workload and retire from the parish portion of her job. She will continue to work for the elementary school, as needed. We are currently accepting applications to fill this part-time position. Applications can be sent to me via the parish office. We thank Ellen for her hard work and dedication to our parish over the years.
Fr. Alfred Onyutha, who was assigned to St. Joseph Parish a few years ago, is celebrating his 25th anniversary as a priest this year. Coming from Uganda, Africa (Catholic Diocese of Nebbi) he has only minimal friends and family here from his home country to help him commemorate this milestone. Fr. Al will be the main celebrant at the 11:45 am Mass on Sunday, May 24, followed by some light refreshments (courtesy of our Knights of Columbus). Please come to be a part of Fr. Al’s family away from home as we pray and celebrate with him.
Finally, in case you are wondering about the status of our parish pastoral council, it was unfortunately put on a back burner temporarily. My hope is that it will be functioning soon. I will keep the parish informed of any progress.
Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I continue to seek the Lord’s strength and guidance as your pastor. In my weakness, sinfulness and sometimes disorganization, God somehow mysteriously uses me and works through me. Miracles never cease. I am living proof.
Fr. Ed Namiotka
Fr. Alfred Onyutha and me