The church teaches that “when the Bible is read in the church it is Christ himself who speaks.” Being a “reader” at Mass on Sunday, Holy Days, and other days of the liturgical celebration demands much more than balance and the ability to read aloud, although these qualities are essential. The one that proclaims the text needs to understand what he or she is announcing so that the proclamation is not only read to the congregation but understood by the congregation. This is a work, a ministry, that requires study and preparation to interpret what is read, giving the correct intonation and expression.
Who can be a lector? Anyone of junior high school age or older, who has the will and desire to be trained to proclaim the Word of God. For information about this ministry contact the rectory office: 201-854-7006.
Commentators have a special roll at St. Joseph’s of facilitating the Sunday liturgies in a number of ways. Individuals with particular familiarity with the parish and its activities come to the church early, assure that the ministers assigned are present, and the details for the liturgy are in place. They make the welcome to the congregation, orienting them to the particularities of the liturgy of the day. They present the petitions of the Mass to the people at the Prayer of the Faithful and at the end of the Mass give the parish announcements.
Our church ushers and members of the Ministry of Hospitality of the Parish offer welcome and seek to assist and serve those who join us for worship in every possible way. They are servants whose ministry is to assure that our parish is a welcoming community.
Periodically they meet to refine their efforts and to assure coordination of their roll in the liturgical program of the parish especially during the Advent, Christmas, Lenten and Easter seasons. Along with all of the liturgical ministers of the parish they have representation on the parish liturgical committee and take part in spiritual formation activities such as retreats and days of recollection offered to liturgical ministers.
Approximately 40 to 50 men and women parishioners take part in this ministry at the 13 Masses celebrated each weekend.
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion – English/Spanish
Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion assist the priest during Mass to distribute the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ, to the faithful. The parish priest, or priests, with the approval of the pastor, select individual parishioners who then receive training in how to properly function at the liturgy and in home visitations. They receive a mandate from the Archbishop allowing the individual to serve exclusively in his or her parish.
An extraordinary minister must attend at least one parish retreat yearly, and attend those meetings for all the ministers as requested by the priest moderator. A person must meet the following criteria:
- Be a practicing Catholic, having received all of sacraments of initiation, and, if married, the sacrament of matrimony
- Maintain a good reputation
- Be responsible and in good standing in the parish
- Must also attend a course given at the parish by one of the priests
Boys and girls who have received the Sacrament of First Holy Communion are eligible to be trained to serve the priest at the altar during Mass.
Social Action Ministries
St. Joseph’s Emergency Food Pantry
The food pantry of St. Joseph’s offers short term emergency food assistance to the needy. Food for needy families is distributed every third Saturday of the month from the lower community center. Always in need of non-perishable food donations from the parishioners, parish organizations and the community at large, a list of the most needed items is often included in the Sunday bulletin. Volunteers can help take inventory, respond to requests for food and prepare and distribute packages of food.
If interested in this important ministry contact the rectory. (201) 854-7006
Meetings are in Spanish but all are welcome.
St. Francis of Assisi Devotion: Patron of Animals and the Environment
For three days prior to or near October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis, prayers are offered in the context a bi-lingual mass in his honor. Likewise on a date on or near the feast the parish conducts a special service in memory and honor of the saint who had such an affection for all of God’s creation. Parishioners are invited to bring their animals, their pets, to the church property to be blessed. The image of St. Francis is enshrined in the lower church.
St. Anthony Devotion
Here at St. Joseph’s, annual devotions to St. Anthony of Padua, great follower of St. Francis of Assisi, a Doctor of the Church and patron of the poor and elderly, consists of a triduum, three days, of prayer, invoking the intercession of St. Anthony at the end of the daily Masses leading up to the Feast of St. Anthony in June. A solemn Mass is celebrated in the evening of the third day. A tradition of lighting candles before the saint image in the upper church continues as parishioners come forward to venerate his relic. The image of St. Anthony is enshrined in both the upper and lower churches.
St. Jude Thaddeus Devotion
Annual parish devotions to St. Jude Thaddeus, apostle and martyr, and patron of those in desperate situations consist of a triduum, three days, of prayer invoking the intercession of St. Jude at the end of the daily Masses leading up to his feast day in October. A solemn Mass is celebrated in the evening of the third day. Candles are lit before his image in the church as parishioners venerate his relic. The image of St. Jude is enshrined in both the upper and lower churches.
The Divine Mercy Group
The local group was brought here to St. Joseph’s approximately 7 years ago by parishioner Miriam Bracety to foster devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ. Regular members number 50 more or less. Regular weekly holy hours occur every Tuesday (bilingual) and on Thursday, from 3 to 4:30pm and include the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a prayer reflection on the saving action of Jesus. Readings and reflections from the diary of St. Faustina, the mystic founder of the Devotion, as well as readings of the life of the saint of the day are shared. Prayers for the Pope, the Church, the poor and the needy fill out the holy hour.
The group organizes an annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Sturbridge, Massachussetes in September. A celebration of the anniversary of the foundation of the parish group is held in December. The Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday following Easter, along with growing tradition of the Universal church, at a special parish Mass. The group also offers financial help to the Food Pantry which helps the needy of the parish area.The image of Christ as “the Divine Mercy” is hung in both the upper and lower churches.