Sunday, February 25, 2024

Mortified. Fortified. Transfiguration (Lent, 2nd Sunday, 2024-02-25)

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Homily, 2nd Sunday Lent (year B)  ●●  2024 February 25  ●● Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18 ● ● Psalm 116 ● ● Romans 8:31b-34 ● ●  Mark 9:2-10 ● ●

 [__01__]  Many years ago, I found myself in a rush, in a hurry, driving to meet a friend at the train station, a friend travelling from New York City.

Trying to make up for lost time, I made the mistake of driving 40 miles an hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. I was pulled over by a police officer and immediately given a speeding ticket. It was the first ticket I'd ever received. Not the last. I was upset.

My friend was amused and tried to lighten the mood at my perception of “disaster”. I was neither laughing nor smiling.

Soon after, our journey continued with 2 more friends on our way to New England and Maine.

During the 6-hour drive, the 4 of us talked about many things. We probably spent about 30 seconds of a 6-hour drive on my speeding ticket experience. We were in a different car on a different in a different direction. On a longer journey, there was a new destination, a new big picture and vision to consider.

Was I open to this new vision?

Not initially I wasn’t !

[__02__]   I lost an opportunity, at the time, to rise above a minor setback.  The was neither my last speeding ticket or the last time I got distressed over something truly minor.

Reflecting on these 40 days of Lent and my experience, I realize my understanding of “mortification” was incomplete.

In the dictionary, looking up the word “mortification,” we read 2 definitions:

1st. Mortification is “embarrassment or shame”. That where I was at, what I was feeling.

2nd. Mortification  is also the “subduing of one’s own desires” That what I was not doing!

 [__03__] I wasn't genuinely remorseful for speeding; I was simply regretful for getting caught and facing the consequences. Moreover, instead of subduing my desire for pity, I craved validation from others, which remained elusive. 

The opportunity in any one of many everyday difficulties or faults or failures is to see “mortification” as an opportunity for a new vision, a new big picture.

[__04__]    The Gospel is about the the Transfiguration, an event where Jesus revealed his divine glory to Peter, James, and John, the unveiling in High-Definition HD of Jesus' eternal splendor.

This profound revelation was intended to make them FORTIFIED (strong) for the impending trial of his arrest and passion …. So they would be FORTIFIED – strengthened – rather than only MORTIFIED (weakened)

After this Transfiguration is is meant to be “cause” of faith,  did the Transfiguration have this “effect”?

Not right away!

How did the disciples behave when Jesus was arrested?  They faltered. Judas betrayed, Peter denied 3x, and 9 others ran in the the opposite direction.

Yet, later, combined with the appearance of Jesus, risen from the dead, they are able to talk with him again and be restored after they take it all in.

[__05__]    Do big picture images and selfies of glory save us from distress and doubt?

          If a diploma and “graduation day” is, for example, a symbol of glory and achievement and learning, does the photos of that day alone make us humble enough to continue learning…and searching when we are a bit lost?

Each of us is called to trust in the grace of the Holy Spirit in different ways. I am called to this, as a priest, but not because I have photos of me, my classmates and the archbishop on Ordination Day.

Some of us certainly have photos of our weddings and family events. But, these images and memories alone do not FORTIFY us or explain the vows of marriage.

I suggest that even if the disciples had taken out their phones with fancy cameras and video recorded the Transfiguration, and taken selfies, they would have still run away at Jesus’ arrest!

 Faith is not derived simply from visual representations, but from hearing and trusting in God's word, and hearing and trusting in God's word spoken to us through others.

What is key word in the Gospel today? “LISTEN.” God doesn't say, Look at Jesus. God says listen to Jesus, LISTEN to Him.

The season of Lent serves as a reminder that about LISTENING nad LOVE. Prayer and fasting can help us to LISTEN and LOVE.

In this regard, mortification is not means of punishment but of motivation.

[__06__]    Often, the greatest charity we can perform is not based on what others can see or perceive or measure. Sometimes others do not see, cannot see and perhaps are not meant to see our self-denial. This is charity.

I read this an article by Dominican Father (Father Martin Harrison, O.P.)  (Source:,to%20God%20as%20a%20mortification)

  “Alms-giving does not necessarily mean giving money away. The best alms is to give happiness to others – any kind of action done for the love of God and our neighbor, any small service especially if it means self-denial, is acceptable to God as a mortification … We … find doing good to others to be too much trouble and to cause too much inconvenience to ourselves. We could make a point of doing at least one kind act a day to help another, as a mortification.”

If doing good is rebuffed or rejected, that doesn't make the good into the bad but only the good invisible. Doing good this way is a simple penance we can make as a way of reparation for sins, and a way of respect for the poor and the vulnerable.

Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, lived a penitential life. Yet she did not sin. She didn't do penances for her sins, but gives us a model to follow, to ponder the good news, and receive our Lord in our bodies by pondering his word and presence as well. And recognizing that Jesus gave up his life so that we might live not just in this life, but in the next.

We have these 40 days of Lent to make penances even small ones to remind us of Jesus's love and ultimate sacrifice. He is the big picture.  [__END__]

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Fasting and Lent (2024-02-18, Lent, 1st Sunday)

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Homily, 1st Sunday Lent (year B)   ●●  2024 February 18  ●● Genesis 9:8-15 ● ● Psalm 25 ● ● 1 Peter 3:18-22 ● ●  Mark 1:12-15 ● ●   Title: Fasting and Lent

[__01__]  Recently, someone I met, around the time of Ash Wednesday, told me she heard about the Catholic tradition of not eating meat on Fridays, on abstaining from meat on Fridays. Say what?

          I explained that the reason we follow this practice is because of Jesus – who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified died and was buried – all on Good Friday.

          I shared that this abstinence is not because the eating of the meat is bad but it does have a connection to our Lord and Savior.  Since Jesus sacrificed his flesh for us on Good Friday, we refrain from eating flesh meat in his honor on Fridays.



[__02__] The Christian lifestyle is intended to be one you and I live not to serve ourselves (“all we can eat”) but rather serve God and others. Jesus summarized this in the Greatest Commandment:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

From these two commandments we are called measure our love for others based on our love and care of self. There is no explicit commandment given to love ourselves,

But Jesus does say in Luke chapter 12: “Jesus tells us not to worry about food or clothing. He reminds them that life is more than just these things, and God takes care of the birds and flowers, so He'll surely take care of us. We are called to focus on seeking God's ways.”



Along this line, what does not come naturally is going out of ourselves to love others.  Humility also may not come naturally….

C.S. Lewis famously said: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.””

 [__03__]   In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus goes out into the desert to fast and to pray.

          And, we read that he is tempted by the devil, by Satan.

          Pope Gregory the First (Gregory the Great) gave a 3-level or 3-step breakdown of what it means to be “tempted” or “in temptation”.

          These 3 steps apply to Jesus and apply to us, except for the Lord, he only goes to step 1. We sometimes find ourselves all the way to step 2 and 3.

          But, we know that Jesus himself did not succumb to temptation.

          Perhaps, there is someone you know and trust who also seems able to resist temptation. That person would also be at “step 1”

 [__04__]  Let’s take the example of the temptation to be dishonest …


1st Level – Step: “suggestion”.  A suggestion is made to me – or even a random thought comes to me – that I might save time or money by hiding something or by, for example, plagiarizing, by lying….

          But, it’s just a suggestion, I have not done anything yet.

2nd Level – Step: “delight”. While knowing that the suggestion is wrong, I take pleasure in some convenience or comfort that the suggestion will bring to me. I delight in the suggestion.

3rd Level-Step: “consent” I do the action and consent after having heard the suggestion and delighted in it.

          What does it mean for Jesus to be tempted? It means, only  that he heard the suggestion. He did not sin by delighting in it or consenting to it.


 [__05__]  Jesus's strength was that he was born without original sin, and they did he did not delight in this suggestion.

Do we delight in the suggestions of sin? Sometimes there are times when we do not delight in the suggestions of sin. We are strong in our faith and trust in God. And we can avoid delighting or taking pleasure in sin or trespassing. But we're broken and fragile. And sometimes we do delight in and we can consent to sin.

For this reason, Jesus Christ came among us, not just for 40 days in the desert, not just for 40 years, but for all time, to give us a model to follow to recall that even when we're suffering, as we read in Romans 8:28 à all things work together for good even when we're suffering, all things work together for good for those who love God.

[__06__]   In these solemn 40 days of Lent, we the Church are uniting ourselves to the mystery of Jesus’ fasting  in the desert.

          __   Paraphrased: “Our separation from God and the start of doing wrong began with eating in the Book of Genesis. God said not to eat from one tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17), but Adam and Eve did it anyway. This eating connects to the big questions of life and death, and whether someone is saved or condemned. Food keeps us alive in this world, which doesn't last forever and where things die. But God didn't make death (Wis. 1:13). Adam and Eve chose to rely on food alone instead of God (Dt. 8:3; Mt. 4:4; Lk. 4:4).

 (,no%20death.%22%20(Wis.) __

          A few times, I have gone on spiritual retreats that have involved a fast from “communication” or a fast from talking. In the beginning of such fasts, I often crave conversation. But after a few days, I get used to it and enjoy the silence.

          In this regard, the choice to be silent – on the retreat – or to go without some form of food – is not be because talking is evil (talking is good) or because eating is evil (food is good), but just to make a practice of putting ourselves more explicitly in God’s presence each day.

          In a fast, we are not denying ourselves in order to make our lives more chaotic or disorganized, but rather to know better what is truly important so that we can grow in humility and love of God and neighbor.

          We also – at times – may need to fast from saying something too quickly so that we can pray about what it is God wants us to say, what is meant to be spoken, so that we can also live by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Fasting/Prayer/Charity as a Team Effort (2024-02-14, Ash Wednesday)

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Homily, Ash Wednesday   ●●  2024 February 14  ●● Joel 2:12-18 ● Psalm 51 ● ●2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 ●●  Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 ● ●

 [__01__]  When I was 18 years old and a freshman in college, I found myself signed up for and playing with my college’s rugby club which was an unfamiliar experience on many levels of passing, kicking, running and “commandments or rules” to be followed.

          I also had an experience regarding – not a commandment – but a calling and invitation that would be beneficial to me and to others, if I were to follow it.

          One day, at the end of the fall / autumn season, at the last practice as the afternoon light was fading, our coach one final challenge for us which had nothing to do with passing or scoring, but was related to physical effort. At least, for me, it would be physically taxing …or so I thought.

          He wanted each of us, as members of the team to donate blood … not right there on the field in the fading light, but at the hospital. More on that later….

[__02__]   I bring this up because his particular invitation to give blood – while not officially religious – reminds me now of our traditions during Lent of how we are called to enter – FREELY – in complete FREEDOM – into praying, almsgiving, and into fasting.

          If you read the blue sheet in the bulletin about the official Catholic traditions, you might experience this as a series of rules to follow. I would like you to read and pray over this as an opportunity to grow in freedom – just as your spouse or your family or friend wants you to love freely, God is also giving you – us – this season so that we can love Him freely and love each other freely.    Yes, at times, a truly committed relationship does involve doing certain things …. Or abstaining from or avoiding certain things out of love.

[__03__]   Yes, at times, a truly committed relationship does involve doing certain things …. Or abstaining from or avoiding certain things out of love.

          When I was in the seminary, we were required to do many things and even the “requirement” of attending Daily Mass every day at 7:15 am did at times come across to me as a “rule” than an invitation.  Thus, it was notable to me – that a man who worked in the building as our electrician/plumber and repair person would interrupt his morning routine to kneel outside the chapel during the Eucharistic consecration while we were in the chapel. His witness taught me something about taking the rules for granted and about freely choosing to come before God whether on Ash Wednesday, Lent or any other day.

[__04__]  Lent also reminds us that you and I do not go it alone in life.

          While we might live alone, eat alone on a regular basis, we do not fast and sacrifice alone during Lent or as Christians.

          Rather, we fast and make sacrifices as a community, as Church, as the Body of Christ …and in my 18-year-old young adult example, we were being asked to “sacrifice”as a team of individuals.


[__05__]  In our Catholic tradition these days, we are not actually fasting every day for 40 days, but on this particular day – Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday – trying to make it through the day on the equivalent of 1 meal.  And, on the Fridays of Lent, we abstain from eating meat.  

The Friday's abstinence from meat extends for the entire year. That is, we are meant to do something every Friday, 52 weeks a year, sacrificial it could be giving up meat or it could be something else.

          I know “1 meal” sounds lonely, but I think one meal can also can be the one practice which brings us together, which united us.

          In Essex County alone, there are an estimated 100,000 people living with “food insecurity” and this means = “Food insecurity refers to lack of access, at times, to enough food and lack of availability of nutrition.”

          While the measure of your fasting does not put a lid or put an end to food insecurity statistically, socially…it unites you spiritually to those who are hungry.   Our world, locally and globally need your prayer and fasting.

          Fasting on Ash W and on Good F and on other days brings us together.

          Just a disclaimer – I urge you to be sensible and logical in your fasting and sacrifice. For some of us, the best fast we can make is to follow the doctor’s orders about what to eat and when to eat.

          This also brings us together at one spiritual table.

[__06__]  Lent is also about how we can love each other and bear each other’s burdens.

          And, in this case, I was being invited to participate with other team members in donating blood.

          So, I just had to pretend this did not scare me. I remember thinking that I really did not have to donate blood. It would not even be venial sin of omission to skip this opportunity.


[__07__] And, given that I was then pretty unsure if it would be painful or weird …I had lots of reasons not to do this.       But, the story of the coach was impressive to me.

[__08__] As a child, he had been the victim of a serious house fire which he had, of course, survived but looking at him closely at that moment, I could see the scars that and that he must have suffered greatly.


[__09__]  His life had been saved due to medical intervention and also by the several blood transfusions which he had received.  He never forgot the blood transfusions. This was where our team came in.   He wanted us to give back what he had received.

He also mentioned something about how this would be good publicity for our team, for our college and that we might even appear to be others at school to be “more physically handsome and better looking than we really were”.

[__09__]  And, while publicity and popularity are good things, sometimes, they darken the aspects of our freedom and free will.

          And, the Gospel tells us this today.   In the Gospel of Ash Wednesday we read this:

When you give alms [charity], do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do … to win the praise of others.” (Matthew 6:__)

          All that was necessary for me to “donate blood” was to show up and stick my arm out. I just had to be present. The professionals in medicine did the rest.

          I am not saying I got over my fear entirely of the needle of giving blood. But, it showed me that what I needed to do was to be present, offer something of myself and let it happen.

          This is also what we are called to do each day. We cannot control the outcome of every situation We are called to pray, fast, to give charitably and to let God do his work through us and in us and through us to others. Just show up ! Your presence and your prayer matter.

Don’t get too caught up in the results or as the Gospel reads: “do not your left hand know what your right is doing.”   (Matthew 6:__)

I pray that our fasting and sacrifice may draw us closer to the Lord and to each other, that these 40 days and beyond and to remind us of the blood drawn by the Cross and to save you and me for eternity.

          Fasting and sacrifice are meant to bring us together as the “team” of the Church, as St. Paul wrote:

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”  (Romans 12:4-5) [__end__]   

Sunday, February 11, 2024

#WhatHappensinVegas / #OurLadyofLourdes (2024-02-11, Sunday-06)

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Homily, 6th Sunday (year B)  ●●  2024 February 11  ●● Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46 ● ● Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 11 ● ● 1 Corinthians 10:31 – 11:1 ● ●  Mark 1:40-45  ● ●

Title:  #WhatHappensInVegas  #OurLadyofLourdes #February11

[__01__]   There is a grotto, a shrine – for prayer - to Our Lady of Lourdes, on our property.

          If you've never been there, it's located to your left outside the door. It is in the center of the parish, the geographic center of our parish.

There is another more famous grotto Our Lady of Lourdes at “Notre Dame” University in Indiana. It is in the center of the campus and gives the university it’s identity and name.

Our Lady is in the center. I have some friends (a father and a son) who graduated from Notre Dame.  They are also Notre Dame sports / football fans.

They constantly quote a former Notre Dame coach (Lou Holtz) who told his players before a big game:  God doesn’t care who wins [this football game] tomorrow, but his mother does!

 [__02__]   Do you mind if I change the channel, with the remote control , to football to the Super Bowl championship this weekend?

And, specifically to the messaging and preaching of the commercials?

          Are you one of the people “tuned in” not just for the game but also for the commercials? I am one of those people.

          I think the commercials reveal something of our own desires …and one in particular in 2024 due to the location of the stadium and game.

          This year, for the first time ever, the game is being played out west in Nevada in the place known as “sin city”: Las Vegas.

          This “sin city” nickname / designation, I believe, might be agreeable to some of us and to the Pharisees who believe sin and sinfulness are limited to certain places and times and people.

          Was this not their attitude toward leprosy? Keep those people away from us. We are better than they are. But Jesus’ message is that the leper might be “simple”, but he does not really lack “status” in God’s eyes.

          The man with leprosy shows great humility, kneeling down before Jesus and recognizing his divinity more than the more “officially registered” Pharisees do.

[__03__]  It is also a humility shown in the mosaic above our altar, in the kneeling, praying (St.) Bernadette of Lourdes.

          This Sunday is February 11 and really our “Super Sunday” and the anniversary of the first appearance in 1858 of the Blessed Mother to Bernadette.  Bernadette had her own very fragile condition, not being well physically and her family was very poor financially.

          It is ironic that Lourdes has become a place of healing and miracles and that Bernadette was such a great intercessor before God for the healing of others, BECAUSE Bernadette herself was perpetually sick and died at age 35.

          Not everyone is called to healing but all of us are called to holiness.

[__04__]  Also, you and I – as sinners – do not lack status in God’s eyes. Jesus does not desire the sinner to die but to turn to him and live.

          This is what confession and the seal of confidentiality in the confessional are about, the opportunity to be totally honest and healed … all without having to state your name. God knows who you are. The priest does not need to know.

          Do you have – do I have – an incorrect attitude toward the places of sinfulness, the times of sinfulness and the people who are sinning …and the probability of sin?

[__05__]  I suggest this attitude is ∑ summarized in the famous tourism advertisement and popular #hashtag for the city itself, starts with “What 

“’What Happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

In 2003, this phrase was made famous in by the Las Vegas Tourism Authority to promote travel to Las Vegas based on the city’s image of “adult freedom”. But is the choice to sin really MATURE .. and is it LIBERATING?

Even if we never go to Vegas or to NOLA for Mardi Gras, don’t we sometimes regard sin as = “what happened at the party stays at the party” / “what happened at the office stays at the office ” / “what happened in the past stays in the past…”


[__06__]  The # message of “What Happens in Vegas” is a desperate and depraved statement and Jesus does not want to leave us desperate and depraved and broken.

We have a different belief and creed that the sins of the past can be healed and we can grow and change.

[__07__]  Years ago, I attended a lecture at the Archdiocese of Newark on the subject of virtue and also of purity given the many temptations out there …

          The speaker reminded us of many pitfalls to sin online and electronically. He was not, however, talking mainly about the dangers of having an Amazon Prime account.

          Rather, he was speaking of the dangers of pornography and indecent images which are presented to you and me as harmless and entertaining.

          However, are they not contrary to the virtue of respect, self-respect and human dignity?

          The images represent the degradation of the actors and performers both women and men, some of whom might be “paid and willing victims”, but all are still victims!

          Given that such images were and are so prevalent, he paraphrased the one-time VISA credit card commercial – “pornography – it’s everywhere you want to be”

          And, for you and me -– in various forms – these images and ideas and words and words can be a substance to be consumed that can seem to be irresistible.

And some people suffer from addiction or forms of dependency related to pornography. This can be healed through the church through confession and through counseling.

          They seem to be irresistible and the this an illusion – to be everywhere you want to be – and to make you into anyone you want to be.

          The evil spirit – Satan – can contort or distort the desire for love and beauty into a distorted image of ourselves, of our relationships, even of our own bodies.

          After all, Satan – the devil – does not really care about your body. He just wants your soul.

          God cares about you – both soul and body – and wants you to know you are loved as you are, as who you are. Love and real affection are not about what you get but rather what you give.

          Be careful. The spirit and distortions of the Evil One are everywhere you want to be.

[__08__] What happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas. It will affect your or my à family, marriage, work, ministry, sleep, attention span.

And, by the way, the legalized marketing of online sports betting and gambling is a great temptation to young people and recovering gamblers. So what happens in the Vegas casino does even stay in the building. It’s on your phone, in your house.

There is a danger that we will die in our sins but it does not have down this way.

“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” suggests that we – as sinners – surrender to death by our sins in particular places and that sin is both a destiny and destination.

The Good News has a different direction à Jesus does not desire the sinner to die but to turn back to him and live.

We go to confession – to receive penance and absolution – because the confessional and cross is where the sin goes to die with Christ.

          Recall the seal and confidentiality of confession: what happens in the confessional stays in the confessional.

          But what happens on Calvary, on the Cross, does not stay on Calvary.

          [pause] Prior to this Gospel episode, in Mark Chapter 1, Jesus’ popularity and identity remained obscure.

          Jesus was staying and speaking in Galilee which was sparsely populated at the time. The Lord did not have a “media presence”.

          In his more public Passion, Death and Resurrection, Jesus’ mercy goes out to the whole world, to you and me as individuals, to Our Lady of Lourdes parish family (which we give thanks for this weekend,), so that all of us might put on the new man, the woman in Christ to be re-made in holiness and wholeness. Stay tuned!

          Our Lady of Lourdes Pray for us!

          Notre Dame de Lourdes, priez pour nous!   [__end__]   

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Annual Appeal - Benefits to Ministries, Benefits to our Parish (2024-02-03)

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Explanation of Benefits of Annual Appeal 

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[__SLIDE 1 = s 1 __] I am Father Jim Ferry, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes of West Orange here to speak to you about the annual appeal with the Archdiocese of Newark, how the annual appeal benefits various ministries and how the annual appeal has also benefited Our Lady of Lourdes over the years.

The annual appeal is an effort that we participate in together with the Archdiocese of Newark.

 [__s 2 __] A QUESTION    As a personal example, there was a question that came to me years ago, a question came from my childhood friend. My friend called me up asking about “financial help”. But he was not asked me to borrow money. Rather, he was asking how he could help financially to someone in need to a family in need in our parish. And, could I identify somebody in need?

I was uncomfortable with this question uncomfortable around my friend for a little while because I couldn't I didn't have somebody immediately in mind.

[__s 3 __] MY ANSWER    But after a few more phone calls, I was able to identify somebody I came up with an answer. I was in contact with a family who was doing some home repairs due to an ailing or sick family member.  They were in need.

When I went to the family to tell them about this, they were in disbelief – incredulous – asking Why would anyone help us? Indeed, why would anybody help us?

[__s 4 __] GOD’S GOOD NEWS   Why does God's mercy and love work in the world? St. Paul, and the New Testament explains this, that this works because Jesus has given up Himself for us, body and blood in the Eucharist.

          And he reminds us that the church is also the body of Christ through which we to care about care for each other with compassion and with consideration.

St. Paul writes, now a body is not a single part of many, there are many parts but one body, God has so constructed the body that all the members may be concerned from one another. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. One member is honored all the members share its joy.


[__s 5 __] YOUR WITNESS   And you share your joy and your resources your money in many ways your charitable support is at work at Our Lady of Lourdes through our Giving Tree Project at Advent / Christmas, the wrapped Christmas gifts to needy children and families,  food drives, in soup kitchen, the Souper Bowl soup can drive all of this is cause and effect generosity, the effect of your generosity goes to good causes.

  [__s 6 __] Annual Appeal 2024   

The annual appeal also connects us to good causes, which we would otherwise not have access to.

Proclaiming the Gospel. Example: Offering of Masses and Liturgy to children and family with special learning and sensory needs.

Passing on the Faith. Examples: Catechetical Education; Campus Ministry at Colleges with Newman Centers such as Montclair State University, Rutgers-Newark, NJIT, and 9 universities in total.

Caring for the Poor and Vulnerable. Examples: Catholic Charities; Hospital Chaplaincy.

Forming Future Priests / Supporting Retired Clergy. Example:  Seminary education at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University.

When you give, you may SPECIFY / RESTRICT your gift to the particular area(s), if you prefer!

 [_s 7 _] Goal/Incentive / Gratitude

The annual appeal 2024 goal is $28,210. There’s an incentive for us to reach the goal fully by June 30 in that we can save $12,000 in assessment expenses to the Archdiocese.

I thank you for those of you who have faithfully supported the appeal in prior years. If you have not supported the appeal in a couple of years or if you have not supported the appeal at all, I asked you to join as a returning donor or as a new donor and consider a gift to the annual appeal 2024 in accord with your means in accord with what you can do.

I have made my gift and I asked you to please join me in supporting the appeal.

The appeal is important to me because I recognize there are ministries we cannot do as a parish individually, but we can do more joining with other parishes. Also the appeal supported me directly by paying for my academic seminary education that I received on my way to being assigned here in ministry to Our Lady of Lady of Lourdes.

[_s 8 _] BENEFITS   The appeal has benefited Lourdes parish in following ways since 2014. 

1. “Repair Grants”  – $ 80,000

2. “Debt Forgiveness” - $66,000 – “unpaid insurance premiums, for example”

3. Reduction in Assessment:    $24,000     $ 170,000 = “repair”  + “forgiveness” + “reduction”

Catholic Charities also is a beneficiary of the appeal of Catholic Charities is the organization that oversees the school which school which is renting out our school building Mount Carmel guild Academy. The rent paid by the school is 50% of our parish income 50% of our revenue for the year or $500,000. So the health and well being of Catholic Charities is good for Our Lady of Lourdes.

 [_s 9 _] If you're giving to the Appeal, please choose Our Lady of Lourdes West Orange as your parish on the paper form or when you're giving online.

Your check would be payable to “Annual Appeal 2024”. Forms and envelopes are available from your pew and we can mail these to you as well.

Q’s ? – please call / email me – email Father Jim ferry at Lourdes West orange DOT org or 973-325-0110 and to

To give online, go RCAN dot org forward slash hearing.

[_s 10 _] Thank you for your personal and prayerful consideration of the appeal. The appeal is an important fundraiser for us. And I pray that God will bless you in this new year and bless you for your generosity in the name of the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit.