Last week I received a call from the Camden Diocesan office informing me that Bishop Sullivan has assigned Fr. Christopher Markellos as the full-time Parochial Vicar (associate) for our parish. I was surprised, but glad, to hear the news! Fr. Markellos comes to us from St. Joseph High School in Hammonton, where he was the Director of Catholic Identity for the school. The change is effective as of July 1st.
It will be nice having Fr. Markellos around the rectory. It has been rather quiet here since both Fr. Larry Polansky and seminarian Anthony Infanti left us this past year. Fr. Christopher Onyeneke, who is a religious order priest (Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary), will continue to work as the chaplain at Shore Medical Center and help us here on an as needed basis. Our two (married) permanent deacons, Mr. Robert Oliver and Mr. Steven Theis, will also continue to assist at the parish.
In addition to the personnel changes, a few facility improvements are in process as a result of our Capital Campaign (Celebrating 70 Years: Embracing the Mission, Continuing Our Tradition) initiative. A new digital piano has replaced the aging baby grand piano in the choir area. The fire sprinkler system is currently being installed in the church basement. We have obtained the bids for a new sound system that will, most likely, begin to be installed in August. The old slate roof on the rectory garage is being replaced as I write this. Also, the HVAC system is being studied by a company to determine what is the best and most energy efficient way to heat and air-condition our church. I am happy to see so many things in process, with more to come!
With all the changes and improvements being planned, may we always keep in mind the importance of growing as disciples of the Lord Jesus. My ultimate goal as pastor is to help people to know, love and serve Jesus Christ. I try to guide people in whatever way I am able toward union with God in Heaven. I certainly cannot do this alone. It involves a united effort from all of us. Please do your part to encourage weekly participation at Mass in your families and to take advantage of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation (confession) regularly—I suggest monthly. Always pray daily in your homes. Try to learn more about your faith—perhaps by bible study, reading a good Catholic book, listening to a Catholic CD (available in the vestibule of the church), etc. We provide links to many of these matters on our parish website: www.stjosephsomerspoint.com/.
Faith needs to be nurtured and not left dormant. I remember reading a line from the Venerable Bishop Fulton J. Sheen: There are no planes in the spiritual life; we are either going uphill or coming down. Too many things in this materialistic, secular world can distract us or even attempt to suck the very soul / life-blood out of our lives. In my view, without the sacraments—especially the Holy Eucharist—this struggle would seem near impossible. Jesus knew what we needed and gave us the means toward holiness of life and union with Him. Try to be open to all that the Catholic Church has to offer.
To me, it’s a shame that more people do not take advantage of His many precious gifts and His rich, unfathomable mercy.
Fr. Ed Namiotka