Congratulations to our 2017 Graduates

  • By Fr. Joseph Byerley
  • 07 Jun, 2017
I wish to congratulate all of our St. Rose of Lima parishioners who graduated this year. Whether it was from kindergarten, grammar school, high school, college, or graduate school, we are very proud of you and ask God to bless you as you move on to the next stage in your life. May all that you have learned help you to be successful in your lives. But most importantly, that through your growth in the awareness of the truth in the world, you may become ever closer to Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
In a special way, I also want to acknowledge our graduates from St. Rose of Lima School. This past Wednesday, June 7th, our 44
8th graders graduated from St. Rose of Lima School. We will of course miss them and wish they could stay with us, but we know we must let them go to grow to their full potential. May the Lord bless you in a special way as you move onto high school. Take all the best from St. Rose of Lima to wherever you go. We are sure you will make us proud! Go Falcons!

Congratulations again and God bless you!

Father Joseph Byerley
Saint Rose of Lima School 2017 Graduates
Brian Matthew Abbott Jr                   Claire Catherine Bezich
Daniel Joseph Caracciolo                  Ava Marie Colonna
Noah R. Craig                                          Alexandria Isabella Cummings
Hailey Josephine DeCastro              Kyle James Dickinson
Aiden James Donnelly                        Amina Norma Elder
Grace Marie Flocco                               Madison Nicole Flynn
Joseph John Galante III                     Abigail Mary Graham
Faith Elizabeth Hardy                          Kyle Alyson Hardy
Lucea M. Hutchinson                           Matthew Ryan Jenkins
Sydney Elizabeth Kaiser                     Francesca Marie Kennedy
Jeffrey Vincent Marshall Jr.               Matthew Arthur Mascolo
Kamryn Celia McDonald     Kyra Marin McKeown
Shannon Isabelle McLaughlin         Sean Patrick Otremsky
Nicholas Michael Prete                       Joseph Michael Priore
Ava Elizabeth Regett                            Caden Louis Reich
Katelyn Rose Rienstra                         Amaya Marie Rivera
Madison Lee Robinson                        Neil Patrick Sanchirico
Edmond Angelo Santosusso             Lily Jean Schuhl
Alyssa Ella Sendek                                 Audrey Elizabeth Sepanic
Ann Marie Stettler                                  Albert Francis Thompson Jr.
Anthony William Thompson              Ella Frances van Schalkwyk
Emily Rose Ward                                     Nathaniel Patrick Warren
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 12 Dec, 2017

Advent, Christmas and Spreading the Gospel 

As we continue our Advent preparations and get closer to our celebration of the arrival of Christ our Savior at Christmas, it is a good time to reflect upon the challenge that we as believers have in participating in the New Evangelization called for by all of our recent Popes; Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis. Evangelization, as you know, is the spreading of the Gospel message of love and salvation to the world. 

Amidst the often frantic pace of the Christmas season, it is traditionally also a time for getting together with family and friends. There is something about this festive season that seems to soften the human heart. One might say there is a special outpouring of God’s grace into the world. Because of this, we are offered a great opportunity to bring the Gospel message to those who may not normally be open to hearing it. 

We don’t have to be as radical or as outspoken as John the Baptist, whom we see in the Gospel today. However, seeking to be reconciled with those from whom we have been sepa-rated, forgiving past hurts, extending true hospitality to those we do not normally get along with, generously sharing our material goods with the less fortunate - these are concrete ways that we can make the love of God known to others. In the end, proclaiming the Gospel is not just putting forth propositions to be believed as it is in making known to others the love of God in specific ways. This comes from the idea that our faith is not about belief in a series of doctrinal statements as much as it is belief in the person of Christ. It isn’t that the “what” or content of our faith isn’t important, but that the “what” is important only in reference to the “who” of our faith, which is Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Thus, in showing love to others we are showing to them Christ, who is Love. It is a most effective way to spread the Gospel. I hope and pray that the Lord comes into your hearts anew this Christmas; it is also my wish that you make the most of this chance to bring the love of God to others this Christmas. In doing so, you will not only be cooperating in a most important work of the Church, but also, I believe, opening yourself up to an even greater share in God’s love for yourselves. 

God Bless You, 

Father Joseph Byerley 

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 30 Nov, 2017

Today we begin a new Church year by marking the time of spiritual preparation by the faithful before Christmas

called Advent.   Advent begins on the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov. 30). It

spans four Sundays and four weeks of preparation (although the last week of Advent is usually shortened

because of when Christmas falls. For instance, this year, the fourth Sunday of Advent is on Sunday, and then

that evening is Christmas Eve.)

The celebration of Advent has evolved in the spiritual life of the Church. The historical origins of Advent are a

bit murky, with different regions in the Church having different celebrations each with their own emphasis.

The Church gradually more formalized the celebration of Advent. The Gelasian Sacramentary, traditionally

attributed to Pope St. Gelasius I (d. 496), was the first to provide Advent liturgies for five Sundays. Later,

Pope St. Gregory I (d. 604) enhanced these liturgies composing prayers, antiphons, readings, and responses.

Pope St. Gregory VII (d. 1095) later reduced the number of Sundays in Advent to four. Finally, about the

ninth century, the Church designated the first Sunday of Advent as the beginning of the Church year.

Despite the imprecise history behind Advent, the importance of this season remains and give us the opportunity

to focus on the coming of our Lord. (Advent comes from the Latin adventus, meaning coming.) The

Catechism stresses the two - fold meaning of this coming : 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 (No. 524). So on

one hand, we reflect back and celebrate the anniversary of the Lord’s first coming into this world. We ponder

the great mystery of the incarnation when our Lord humbled Himself, taking on our humanity, and entered

our time and space to free us from sin. Then on the other hand, at the same time, we recall that our

Lord will come again to judge the living and the dead and that we must be ready to meet Him.

One of the most common symbols of Advent is the Advent Wreath. The wreath is in the shape of a circle,

without a beginning or end. By this we call to mind how our lives, here and now, participate in the eternity

of God’s plan of salvation and how we hope to share eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. The wreath is

made of fresh plant material, symbolizing how Christ came to give us new life through His passion, death,

and resurrection. Three candles are purple, symbolizing penance, preparation, and sacrifice; the pink candle

symbolizes the same but highlights the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, when we rejoice because

our preparation is now half - way finished. The lighted candles themselves represent Christ, who entered this

world to scatter the darkness of evil and show us the way of righteousness. The progression of lighting candles

shows our increasing readiness to meet our Lord.

It would be wonderful if each family have an Advent wreath, light it at dinner time, and say the special prayers.

This tradition will help each family keep its focus on the true meaning of Christmas. During Advent we

strive to fulfill the opening prayer for the Mass of the First Sunday of Advent: Father in Heaven,…increase

our longing for Christ our Savior and give us the strength to grow in love, that the dawn of His coming may

find us rejoicing in His presence and welcoming the light of His truth.

Have a happy and blessed Advent,

Father Joseph Byerley

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 24 Nov, 2017
Today is the last Sunday of the Church year. Next Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, we literally begin a new Church year. As the readings of today suggest, there is a focus on the end of time, when Christ the King will come and judge the world. It is not an accident that the Church presents readings such as these as we bring the year to a close and prepare for a new one. As Christians, we know that the end of this world is merely a transition for the new and eternal world under the kingship of Christ.

As we look to a new beginning in Advent, we look with anticipation to the coming of Christ. We prepare to celebrate not just his first coming in Bethlehem but also his second coming. At the same time, and perhaps even more important, we need to make sure we are also preparing ourselves for a new and more profound coming of Christ into our hearts. It is my deepest desire that all of us at St. Rose of Lima open our hearts to the transforming power of the love of Christ the King.

 It is only in Jesus Christ that the deepest yearning of our hearts can be fulfilled. It is only in Jesus Christ that salvation is found. It is only in Jesus Christ that a true peace and joy which can never be dimmed is revealed. If only we would allow ourselves to humbly submit to the kingship of Jesus, we would have more than we ever could have as our own “king”. Sometimes it can be so hard for us to see how submission to Christ and his love can be better than if we were our own rulers, but in the end acknowledging our place with respect to God our creator, is the only real path to the joys of his kingdom.

Perhaps a good theme for us this Advent might be to reflect upon the meaning of the coming of Christ into the world and how we are going to respond to his invitation to an ever deeper relationship with the King of Kings.

God Bless

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 16 Nov, 2017

Many, many thanks to all who came out and supported the 96th Annual Saint Rose of Lima Christmas Bazaar – wow 96 years - can you believe it?! It was a great success once again; in fact it was the best ever! It was also a wonderful prelude to the Christmas season. The tally is still being totaled, but the final benefit to the school and parish will be excellent. I wish to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to all of our chairpersons and volunteers who made this year’s Christmas Bazaar very successful once again. It’s hard to really count up days, weeks and the hours and hours that so many of our people put in to make this such a great event as always. I thank you all and may God bless you!  

Congratulations to our Winners!  

The winner of the Walt Disney Family Vacation voucher was Kelly McAneny  

The Grand Slam 50/50 winners are:  

5th prize - $2181.50 - Joanne Altamuro 

4th prize - $2181.50 - Alexis Geyer  

3rd prize - $2181.50 - Amy Ezekiel  

2nd prize - $2181.50 - Jolene Sparano  

1st prize - $ 13,089.00 - Eileen Fisher  

By Terrance Campbell 09 Nov, 2017
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 03 Nov, 2017
In celebration of All Saints Day, I am re-running a nice reflection from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on holiness and becoming a saint. Being a saint really is not all that complicated, according to Benedict XVI, who offers us a simple three-step recipe: Go to Mass on Sunday, begin and end the day in contact with God, and make decisions according to the Ten Commandments. The Pope Emeritus offered this simple guide citing Scripture and the Second Vatican Council, presenting us what is "the most essential" for reaching sanctity.

He said: "What is the most essential? Essential is that no Sunday be left without an encounter with the Risen Christ in the Eucharist -- this is not a burden but light for the whole week. Never to begin or end a day without at least a brief contact with God. And, in the journey of our life, to follow 'road signs' that God has communicated to us in the Ten Commandments read with Christ, which is simply the definition of charity in specific situations. I think this is the true simplicity and grandeur of the life of holiness: the encounter with the Risen One on Sunday; contact with God at the beginning and end of the day; in decisions, to follow the 'road signs' that God has communicated to us, which are simply forms of charity."

Everyone is called to holiness, the Pope Emeritus affirms. "How can we journey on the path of holiness, how can we respond to this call? Can I do so with my own strength?" he asked. "The answer is clear: A holy life is not primarily the fruit of our own effort, of our actions, because it is God, the thrice Holy, who makes us saints, and the action of the Holy Spirit who encourages us from within; it is the life itself of the Risen Christ, which has been communicated to us and which transforms us."

The former Bishop of Rome proposes another question: "Can we, with our limitations, our weakness, reach so high?" Recalling the line-up of saints presented by the Church in the liturgical year -- from every period of Church history, belonging to every age and state of life, he states that the saints are "the concrete faces of all peoples, languages and nations. And they are very different among themselves." And the Pope emeritus pointed to other "saints," who are also "road signs": "the simple saints, that is, the good persons that I see in my life, who will never be canonized. They are ordinary people, to say it somehow, without a visible heroism, but in their everyday goodness I see the truth of the faith. This goodness, which they have matured in the faith of the Church, is for me a sure defense of Christianity and the sign of where the truth is." It is this communion with saints, canonized or not, that enables us to cultivate a "firm hope of being able to imitate their way and share one day the same blessed life, eternal life."

Finally, Pope Emeritus Benedict concludes with an invitation to be open to holiness. "I would like to invite you to open yourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit, who transforms our life, to be, we also, pieces of the great mosaic of holiness that God is creating in history, so that the Face of Christ will shine in the fullness of its brilliance. Let us not be afraid to look on high, to the height of God; let us not be afraid that God will ask too much of us, but let us be guided in all our daily actions by his Word, even if we feel that we are poor, inadequate, sinners: He will be the one to transform us according to his love."

Since it is God who transforms us into Saints, let us let Him do it. We can all be Saints!

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 29 Oct, 2017
Since the consolidation of parishes in 2014, you may know that the rectory at the St. Francis DeSales church location in Barrington has been unoccupied. Because it is in good condition, it was very sad that it was not being used. Recently representatives from the Diocese of Camden came to me with a proposal to allow a group of religious sisters who wanted to come and minister in our area. The rectory in Barrington seemed like a perfect spot. Well, I am happy to announce that we are now blessed with some new occupants to the rectory…or should I say now, “convent.” Four sisters from the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity are now residing there.

 The Order was founded in 1909 in Brooklyn, New York, by Father Thomas Augustine Judge, a Vincentian priest ordained in Philadelphia. The sisters come to us from their main house in Philadelphia. The Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity serve the Church in many dioceses in the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Their specific mission is the preservation of the faith in those areas and among those people who are spiritually neglected and abandoned, especially the poor. They work to develop a missionary spirit in the laity, with the goal that every Catholic be an apostle.

 The four sisters who have come here are:
Sister Mary Matthew Labunski will continue to work with Catholic Charities in Salem County; sister had already been working there and was commuting from Philadelphia.
Sister Christine Ma will be working with the Vitality health care services of the Diocese of Camden.
Sister Josefina Mendez, who, while continuing to minister in south Philly, will be exploring possibilities for Hispanic ministry here in the diocese. Sister Joan Lorraine Kreutz will be serving at Rosebud Academy, our Pre School located in Barrington.

We are very happy and blessed to have these wonderful sisters in our Parish of Saint Rose of Lima. As their schedule permits, they do come to both daily Mass and Sunday Mass at Saint Rose. Please, as you always do, give them a warm Saint Rose of Lima welcome! Please make sure you keep them in your prayers that they may have a successful apostolate in our diocese and help many people come closer to the Lord through their service.

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 20 Oct, 2017

We can always learn new perspectives on prayer. Pope Emeritus Benedict shows us how the Blessed Mother can help us in our prayer. Meditation isn’t just for the Saints, it is for us all and it is fundamentally simple and uncomplicated. I hope this reflection is beneficial to you. 

God bless you, 

Father Joseph Byerley 

Today, I do wish to speak about meditation. And what is meditation? It means to "remember" all that God has done and not to forget all his benefits (cf. Psalm 103:2b). Often, we see only the negative things. We also need to hold in our memory the good things, the gifts that God has given us; we need to be attentive to the positive signs that come from God, and remember these. Therefore, we are speaking about a kind of prayer that the Christian tradition calls "mental prayer." We are more familiar with vocal prayer, and naturally the mind and heart must also be present in this prayer, but today we are speaking about a meditation that does not involve words, but that is rather a making contact of our mind with the heart of God. 

And here Mary is a true model. The Evangelist Luke repeats numerous times that Mary, for her part, "kept all these things, pondering them in her heart" (2:19; cf. 2:51). She keeps them; she does not forget. She is attentive to all that the Lord has said and done to her, and she ponders; that is, she makes contact with diverse things -- she dwells deeply upon them in her heart. 

In our own time, we are absorbed with so many activities and commitments, concerns and problems. Often, we tend to fill up all the spaces of the day, without having a moment to stop and reflect and to nourish our spiritual life -- our contact with God. Mary teaches us how necessary it is to find in our days -- with all its activities -- moments to recollect ourselves in silence and to ponder all that the Lord wants to teach us, how He is present and acts in the world and in our life: to be able to stop for a moment and meditate. St. Augustine likens meditation on the mysteries of God to the assimilation of food, and he uses a word that recurs throughout the Christian tradition: "ruminate." The mysteries of God should continually resound within us so that they might become familiar to us, guide our life, and nourish us as happens with the food that is neces-sary to sustain us. And St. Bonaventure, referring to the words of sacred Scripture, says that they "should al-ways be ruminated on so as to be kept in mind by the ardent application of the soul". 

To meditate therefore means to create within ourselves an atmosphere of recollection, of interior silence, so as to reflect upon and assimilate the mysteries of our faith, and all that God is doing in us -- and not only the things that come and go. We can "ruminate" in many ways; for instance, by taking a short passage of sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the Apostle's Letters, or a page from a spiritual author we are drawn to and which makes the reality of God in our today more present, perhaps taking advice from a confessor or spiritual director; by reading and reflecting on what we've just read, pausing to consider it, seeking to understand it, to understand what it says to me, what it says today -- to open our soul to all that the Lord wants to say to us and teach us. 

The holy rosary is also a prayer of meditation: In repeating the Hail Mary we are invited to think back and to reflect upon the mystery we have announced. But we can also dwell upon some intense spiritual ex-perience, on the words that have remained with us from our participation in the Sunday Eucharist. You see, therefore, there are many ways of meditating and of thereby making contact with God -- of drawing near to God, and in this way, of being on the road to heaven. 

Dear friends, consistency in giving time to God is a fundamental element for spiritual growth; it will be the Lord Himself who gives us a taste for His mysteries, His words, His presence and action, to feel how beautiful it is when God speaks with us. He will make us understand in a more profound way what He wants of us. In the end, this is the goal of our meditation: to entrust ourselves ever more to the hands of God, with trust and love, certain that, in the end, it is only in doing His will that we are truly happy. 

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 06 Oct, 2017

I have just returned from a very beautiful pilgrimage to Spain, Portugal, and France. It was filled with many blessings; I was fortunate to have visited some amazing places and shrines. I remembered you, the wonderful parishioners of Saint Rose of Lima at every Mass and especially at Lourdes and Fatima where I was blessed to be able to concelebrate Mass at the actual spots where the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place.  

One of the things that I was reminded of as I visited these holy places where the Blessed Mother appeared was some common themes that these apparitions shared. Whether it was the humble shepherd children of Fatima or the poor country girl, Saint Bernadette, Mary seems to choose those whom the world finds insignificant to deliver a very significant message. This also is seen in the Blessed Mother’s apparitions to Saint Juan Diego in Guadalupe. It is a humble and simple heart that can respond so much better to Our Lady and to her Son, Jesus, than a sophisticated one. This humble and simple heart that Jesus speaks of so often is the one we need to always be striving for if we are going to make any real spiritual progress.  

Whether it was Lourdes or Fatima about sixty years later, there were three things that Mary stressed at both places: penance, prayer for sinners, and the Rosary.  

Mary asked repeatedly to those to whom she appeared to undertake penance for sinners. We are to do penance in reparation for sins. And we must believe that, if we can take the word of Our Lady, which I am sure we can, consciously “offering up” of penances and sufferings really does matter. It isn’t some old fash-ioned idea that was made up to keep us docile, but truly contributes to the salvation of others. It makes sense too, considering what Saint Paul states in his letter to the Colossians, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col 1:24).  

Not only do our sufferings offered up in reparation for sins spiritually benefit others; our Blessed Mother was also insistent that we are to also pray for sinners. Although we ourselves are sinners and in need of other’s prayers for ourselves, our prayers for our fellow sinners brings down graces to them that they would never receive if we were not praying for them. This mutual benefit of praying for each other, as sinners, is a humble recognition that our disobedience of God’s laws matters. That is, what we do or don’t do matters greatly in our eternal lives and that we need God’s grace and mercy to advance spiritually.  

Finally, Mary strongly encouraged (in fact, essentially mandated) to Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia in Fatima and to Bernadette in Lourdes, to pray the Rosary daily. Meditating on the mysteries of Christ in the Rosary and offering this special prayer to Jesus through Mary, His Mother, is one of the most powerful prayers that exists. Since the month of October is the month of the Rosary, it would be a wonderful time for all of us to rediscover the beauty and the power of the Rosary. We have our Lady’s word and innumerable historical events that confirm that the short time that it takes to pray the Rosary profits us with incredible spiritual benefits.  

God bless you,  

Father Joseph Byerley  

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 01 Oct, 2017
I offer you another reflection of the preacher to the Papal Household, Father Cantalamessa. This time, Father Cantalamessa speaks on friendship. "Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha was burdened with much serving." The village is Bethany and the house is that of Lazarus and his two sisters. Jesus loved to stop there and take some rest when he was traveling near Jerusalem. Mary was stupefied that for once she had the master all to herself and could listen in silence to the words of eternal life that he spoke when he was taking his rest. So she sat there at his feet, as is still done today in the East. It is not difficult to imagine Martha's half-resentful, half-joking tone when, passing by them, she says to Jesus: "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." It was at this point that Jesus said something that by itself is a mini Gospel: "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." The tradition has seen in the sisters a symbol of the active and the contemplative life respectively. I think, however, that the more evident theme is that of friendship. "Jesus loved Martha, together with her sister and Lazarus," we read in John's Gospel (11:5). When they bring him the news of Lazarus' death he says to his disciples: "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep but I am going to wake him up" (John 11:11). Faced with the sorrow of the two sisters he also breaks down and weeps, so much so that those who are present exclaim: "See how much he loved him!" (John 11:13). It is wonderful and consoling to know that Jesus knew and cultivated that sentiment that is so beautiful and precious for us men -- friendship.

Of friendship we must say what St. Augustine said of time: "I know what time is but if someone asks me to explain it, I no longer know what it is." In other words, it is easier to intuit what friendship is than to explain it in words. It is a mutual attraction and deep understanding between two people, but it does not have a sexual component as does conjugal love. It is a union of two souls, not two bodies. In this sense the ancients said that friendship is to have "one soul in two bodies." It can be a stronger bond than that of family. Family consists in having the same blood in one's veins. In friendship one has the same tastes, ideals, interests. It is essential to friendship that it is founded on a common search for the good and the true. That which binds people who get together to do evil is not friendship but complicity, it is "an association that corrupts," as is said in judicial jargon.

Friendship is also different from love of neighbor. The latter must embrace everyone, even those who do not return it, even enemies, while friendship demands reciprocity, that is, that the other corresponds to your love. Friendship is nourished by confidences, that is, by the fact that I confide in another that which is deepest and most personal in my thoughts and experiences. I think Father Cantalmessa has highlighted some wonderful aspects of what friendship is and what it’s not, especially in distinguishing friendship from family relationships as well as our Christian duty of love of neighbor. We need to thank God for the gift of true friendship, and make sure also to thank our true friends for that gift as well.

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
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