2018 Lenten Insert

Lent/Easter Triduum 2018    Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Three Bridges, NJ


“Repent, and believe in the Gospel!”


Will You Make Jesus Your ‘Valentine’

this Ash Wednesday and all of Lent?


This year’s liturgical calendar is very quirky: first, we had the shortest possible Advent
and Christmastime; now it’s Ash Wednesday
on Saint Valentine’s Day and Easter
on April Fools’ Day! [Calendar trivia: this last happened in 1945.] All we needed was Saint Patrick’s Day on a Friday for a full house! What are devout, practicing Catholics, who take seriously the obligation to fast and abstain on certain days, to do?


Since we are called to imitate Jesus, who fasted for forty days and nights in the desert, the Church calls us to certain communal fast days: to give public witness to the One Faith; to gain self-control, mastery over our bodies, minds and hearts; and to rightly prepare for special events like Easter or Christmas, a Rite
or Sacrament. So the Church has every right and a solemn duty to mandate days on which we should fast and/or abstain from meat or other things.


Some childishly try to excuse themselves from these time-honored disciplines by quoting Jesus: “You have nullified the word of God for the sake of your tradition. Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy about you when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.'” [Matthew 15:6-9]
On the other extreme are those who suffer from scourge of scrupulosity, who anguish over minute details, like worrying if a meat-based broth is a sinful violation of Church discipline.


While the Church also permits us to substitute other acts of penance when abstaining or fasting is not possible, or to perform these disciplines on another day … there’s only one day each year when the Church imposes blessed ashes, distributes blessed palm, and pulls out all the stops to celebrate the Last Supper [Holy Thursday], the Passion and Death of the Lord [Good Friday] and His Resurrection [Easter]. These days should be a top priority, outranking all other things … even romantic, candlelit dinners and dare I say … sporting events and pastimes! Here are my humble suggestions for dealing with these issues:


Adjust Your Schedule to Make Jesus FIRST. As I mentioned above, some devotions and sacramentals come but once a year, so make time for them; you can ‘dine with your honey’ any day. Besides, with all due respect to restaurant owners and workers, eateries are jammed on Saint Valentine’s Day, with limited menus, and even jacked up prices. Celebrate some other day, when it’s cheaper and less crowded! [Perhaps because I think that way is why God called me to celibacy!]


Accept the Challenge. If you’re giving up chocolate, candy or fancy stuff for Lent, rise to the occasion – and keep your promises, even on special days! [While there is no ‘official’ ruling whether we must fast on Sundays and Solemnities in Lent, I believe they ‘count’ as fasting days, or we would not omit the Gloria and Alleluia, not use purple vesture.] Anyway, in the true Lenten
spirit, give those sweets or flowers to someone who otherwise would not get them, and who goes unappreciated, unnoticed or even unloved … Jesus will be most pleased! But if you must … keep it simple … and remember to do your Lenten
penance some other day.


Firm Up Your Faith Foundation with Loved Ones.. As the Bible says: “Unless the LORD build the house,
they labor in vain who build.” [Psalm 127:1a]
This Lent ‘add more God and Church’ to your relationships. Receive ashes together; choose joint Lenten disciplines or penances; pray together in communal services like the Stations
or at home; do charitable works together, like serve at a soup kitchen or shelter. Make it your Lenten
‘penance’ to send a secret Valentine
to someone every day this Lent
… and don’t forget to send one to Jesus, at least once a day, via prayer, fasting and almsgiving. May God grant us a spiritually uplifting Lent, true repentance, and an Easter
of unending joy!


Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS – Pastor

+ Mardi Gras
Tuesday February 13 +

Join in ‘Fat
Tuesday’ fun: 6-7:30 pm; the parish provides pasta, bread & salad. If your last name begins with A-L, please bring single serving sized waters, sodas or juices to serve 6-12; M-Z, a dessert to serve 6-8 and thence to the church for Night Prayer and the stripping of the church for Lent at 7:30 pm and the burning of last year’s palms for this year’s ashes.
Contact the Parish Office for details.
For questions
about the supper, contact Hillary Hall at hallrick10@yahoo.com or Patricia Rivero at privero@comcast.net.

Ash Wednesday

February 14


Fasting from all signs and sounds of festivity, we strip away all that keeps us from focusing on God. Blessed ashes mark the start of our Lenten journey of self-denial, penance and prayer, for we must ‘spring clean’ our homes and our souls! Ashes are a sign of repentance and mortality so those of any
age may receive ashes. In Ash Wednesday’s First Reading the Prophet Joel includes “infants at the breast” in the fasting and communal penance imposed on the people



Ashes are distributed during Mass at:


6:30 am – 9:00 am – 7:30 pm


and at a

Liturgy of the Word

[no Holy Communion]

for Adults at 12:00 noon

and for Children at 5:00 pm:


Grade 2 and Older: Church

Grade 1 and Younger: Parish Hall


Easter Precept or Easter Duty


All Catholics are obligated to receive Holy Communion at least once a year, between the 1st Sunday of Lent, February 18, and Trinity Sunday, May 27. Those conscious of serious, grave or mortal sin must celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation
first; they must go to Confession before receiving Holy Communion.

Fast & Abstinence Guidelines

Those 14 and older are to ABSTAIN
from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Lenten Fridays. Those between 18 and 59 should FAST
by eating only one main meal and two smaller ones on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Those unable to abstain or fast for a valid reason [i.e., St. Patrick’s Day party or wedding] may abstain on another day or perform a different penance; Canon law only permits PASTORS to dispense from fasting or abstaining. Ignoring penitential days, without good cause, is a serious sin of omission. Our Bishops ask us to abstain from meat on Friday all year long for Pro-Life causes
and world



Sunday Mass Obligation


Saturday at 5:00 pm


Sunday at 8:00 – 9:30 – 11:30 am



Morning Mass – Monday through Friday

9:00 am


Food Collection – Operation Rice Bowl


To help feed the hungry locally and abroad: make a donation to our special ‘Fruit of our Fast’ collections on
Ash Wednesday
and Passion [Palm] Sunday
or donate money and/or nonperishable food to help those less fortunate. All are also encouraged to take part in ORB: Operation
; please return ORB donations on Holy Thursday, March 29, to the special ORB
near the sanctuary.


Simple Suppers & Stations of the Cross

Friday Evenings


The church is open weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm – and during Religious Formation sessions until 8:00 pm – for private praying of the venerable Stations of the Cross; booklets are kept beneath the Parish Prayer Book ledge. On Fridays, our Knights of Columbus
prepare a simple supper at 6:30 pm before Stations
are prayed at 7:30 pm, led by:


Respect Life Ministry

2/23: Confirmation Candidates/Teen Ministry

Liturgical Ministers: EM’s, Readers, Sacristans

Knights of Columbus & Men’s Group

Women’s Spirituality & Lazarus Ministry

Altar Servers


On Good Friday
at 7:30 pm is our 16th annualWalking the Stations.’ We use Saint John Paul II’s all biblical Stations. Members of our Parish graciously share personal reflections on how we, the Body of Christ, must die and rise to new life each day!

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

Penance or Confession


Let Jesus, your ‘Lenten Valentine,‘ purge your heart and soul of sin in the primary sacramental experience of God’s mercy: by confessing our sins in the Sacrament of Penance
or Reconciliation
– aka Confession.’
While only all
mortal sins must be confessed, this Rite’s sacramental grace also purges us of our lesser or venial sins. It serves as a ‘check-up,’ helps nip sinful habits in the bud before they bloom into full-blown sins, and strengthens us against temptation and other distractions.


Those guilty of mortal sin may NOT receive Holy Communion until they confess them to a Priest. Confession is also encouraged in Lent
and Advent, before a Baptism, Confirmation
or Wedding
, or serving as a Sponsor or Godparent.

The 4 parts are:


To be contrite or remorseful we must know our sins, so we examine our conscience by shining God’s divine Light, found in Gospel values, the Ten Commandments, Precepts of the Church, Beatitudes and Seven Deadly Sins, into every aspect of our life. If you can’t come up with any sins, ask your family or friends to help … they know your sins!


Priests not only speak for God and the Church; as ‘doctor of the soul’
they help cure sick souls, as medical doctors help heal bodies – but only if we are totally open and honest. Begin with “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned”
or simply
say, “Please help me”
from behind a screen or face-to-face. We may remain anonymous, but should tell our state in life [married, single, ordained, a parent, etc.], and approximate date of our last confession. List all grave, serious mortal sins by number and kind: abortion, adultery, etc.; a general admission [I’m impatient, rude, insensitive, etc.] covers all lesser sins. An Act of Contrition
card is available in the confessional; at Penance Services we recite it from a printed program; don’t let not knowing an Act of Contrition keep you from this Sacrament of Healing!


Listen as the Priest prays; make the Sign of the Cross on yourself as he imparts it on you at the end of the beautiful Prayer of Absolution.


To express our gratitude and offer a token of our willingness to try to avoid future sins, we perform a penance: a prayer, good deed or other sign. To celebrate Reconciliation come to the:



Parish Penance Service

WEDNESDAY – MARCH 21 – 7:30 pm


Several priests will hear private confessions after the communal Examination of Conscience & Act of Contrition at this annual Penance Service.



Or Saturday afternoons at 4:00 pm.


All MUST ARRIVE at 4:00 pm as Confessions

MUST END by 4:45 pm due to the 5:00 pm Mass!


Note: On Passion [Palm] Sunday eve,

confessions will be AFTER the 5:00 pm Mass.


Or call ANY Parish Office to make

an appointment with a Priest.


NO Confessions will be heard during

the Sacred Easter Triduum –

so plan to come to Confession early!



Lenten Enrichment Programs


Here’s how our parish helps adults grow in their Catholic Faith; for more info – or to register for any AFF program – please contact Diane Luceri, our AFF director, at 782-1475 x1114 or dluceri@easeton.net.


Lenten Program at SEAS:

The Footprints of God:

Jesus: The Word Became Flesh


Tuesdays, 9:30-11:00 am OR 7:30-9:00 pm

February 20, February 27, March 6, March 13


This Lent take some time to come to a deeper understanding of the ‘good news’ of Jesus by travelling to the land where Jesus walked! In these sessions we will take a ‘virtual pilgrimage’ to all the key places in Jesus’ life, including the places of his birth, his ministry and of his Passion, Death and Resurrection. After viewing the DVD presentation, we will then delve into Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a deeper understanding of the Gospel. This is a great program for those travelling to Israel this year ~ and for those who wish they could do so! This program is perfect for the beginner as well as for those more experienced in bible study. There is no cost or home study required with this program. You will need the New American Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Registration is required ~ please sign up no later than February 13.


Bonus Session: Catholicism: Amazed & Afraid

Bishop Robert Barron travels to the Holy Land in this session on Jesus to be held on the Tuesday following the completion of the Footprints study.


Catholic Books and CDs


You can also learn about your Faith on your own with the CDs and books that are available on the two kiosks at SEAS ~ one kiosk is in the hallway outside the narthex, the other is outside the Parish Hall. (books $4, CDs $3) The following books are terrific for a Lenten journey:


  • Perfectly Yourself
    by Matthew Kelly for use with Dynamic Catholic’s “Best Lent Ever”
  • The Case for Jesus
    by Dr. Brant Pitre


* Lenten special: buy both books for only $5

Get FORMED for Lent!


This Lent, take advantage of the dynamic online platform called FORMED. As a gift from your parish, every parishioner can have 24/7 access to the best Catholic content on any device with internet access, including your computer, smartphone and tablet – at no cost to you! If you have not yet done so, register at FORMED.org and enter our parish code: GK2J6P. You will set up your profile and be able to access the material at any time. There are many wonderful programs for Lent, with just a few of the many offerings highlighted below:


A Lent to Remember: A Lenten Encounter with Mercy: Explore the ways God reaches out to each of us with his mercy, most especially through the sacraments.


Forgiven: The Transforming Power of Confession:
Come to a greater understanding of the grace and healing offered in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


Prayer: Finding Intimacy with God: Enrich your prayer life using the Lectio Divina method by learning how to open your heart to Scripture as the means to listen to God and then respond.


The episodes that have a Lenten theme: The Story of Salvation, Who is Jesus?, The Paschal Mystery, Sacrament of Penance.


Open Forum with the Pastor


What do you want to know about our Faith, but are afraid to ask? Submit question[s], preferably signed, via parishoffice@easeton.net or on a note in the collection basket; Fr. Tom will try to explain all things with truth and uncharacteristic humor; date & time to be announced.


Lectio: Philippians: Life In Christ


Wednesdays, April 11 – May 16

9:30-11:15 am or 7:30-9:15 pm


This spring, join us for this bible study on St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Towards the end of his life, under arrest and awaiting trial in Rome, St. Paul writes this short but powerful letter to exhort the Philippians to have the mind of Christ, to live a life worthy of the Gospel, and, by God’s grace, to gain Christ.


2018 Bishop’s Annual Appeal:

‘Lighting a Fire in the Heart of Our World’


Give alms
by pledging to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal or BAA, which our Bishop, the Most Reverend James F. Checchio, moved to Lent and named it after his first pastoral letter, ‘Lighting a Fire in the Heart of Our World.’
Many in our Parish are blessed with many worldly resources; the BAA offers us a way to share the blessings God entrusts to us in a way that benefits the physically or spiritually poor and needy. Help us reach our Parish goal of $127,000.00
toward the Diocesan goal of $7.2 million. Pledge cards have been distributed during Mass; if you did not get one or need a replacement, contact the Parish Office so you can help with ‘Lighting a Fire in the Heart of Our World.’






Vocations & Lay Church Ministries


Is God calling you to be an Altar Server, Music Minister, Usher, Reader, etc.; catechesis: Religious Formation, Sacramental Preparation Instructor; or a Priest, Deacon, Sister or Brother? Speak to a Priest, Deacon or Religious.
‘Good Catholics’
pray for Vocations. For more info call 732-561-1990 or visit the Vocation Office’s Diocesan website: diometuchen.org.

Get Involved In Your Parish


Become a better Catholic Christian
by joining one of the many ministries, groups and organizations listed in the bulletin; with so many Masses, Funerals, Sacraments, faith formation for adults and children and other events, there’s something for everyone! ALL Parish groups warmly welcome new members!

Is God Remembered in Your Will?


While concern for our own and others’ needs may keep us from tithing a full 10% now, most should be able to reach this goal in their will. Is God and your Parish remembered … in your will?


The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

Rites of Sending & Election


We are overjoyed to have 3 candidates for full communion in the Catholic Church; they are already baptized and will celebrate their Confirmation and First Eucharist at the Easter Vigil:


Lauralee Pakozdi, sponsored by Wendy VanDine

Kim Parisi, sponsored by Jim Parisi

Robert Robbins, sponsored by Rebecca Robbins


We join our prayers with those who will be chosen as the Elect or welcomed as Candidates by Bishop Checchio in our Cathedral of Saint Francis in Metuchen on Sunday, February 18. If you – or any ADULT you know – wishes to become Catholic or needs First Eucharist or Confirmation, please contact Diane Luceri at the Parish Office, extension 1114.

Annual Catholic Men’s Conference

Saturday – March 10 – 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Seton Hall University – South Orange Campus


This annual Conference can help Catholic men experience fellowship, learn about, renew and strengthen their faith. Speakers include: Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Newark; Jesse Romero & Hector Molina, Catholic Lay Evangelists; Joe Lombardi, assistant coach of the New Orleans Saints and grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. Also included: Confession time; a Holy Hour; an Adoration Chapel open all day for prayer; music, exhibitors and camaraderie. Registration is $25 per attendee ages 18 years and older. Breakfast and lunch included. Register at: www.NJCatholicMen.org. For more info email CatholicMen@rcan.org
or call 973-497-4545.

Unlocking the Beauty of the Revised

Roman Missal’s Orations [Prayers]


Do you read each week’s bulletin article on the revised Mass orations as your Lectio
or weekly ‘holy study?’ Check our Parish website for past articles! Make reading it your weekly discipline!


All Liturgical Ministers’ Gathering

Laetare Sunday – March 11 – 4:00 pm



All who serve in ANY Liturgical Ministry: Altar Servers, Deacons, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Masters-of-Ceremonies, Music Ministers, Sacristans, Readers
– and all who wish to serve in these ministries – are invited to this annual gathering. We will review basic policies, review Holy Week’s elaborate rites, celebrate Evening Prayer and enjoy fellowship and refreshments. If you’re bringing an appetizer, wine or other drink to the ‘after party’ – or wish to help with set-up or clean-up – let Jackie know at the Parish Office.



Homebound Parishioners



Contact the Parish Office to have the Most Holy Eucharist brought to the sick or homebound, or to have a loved one, neighbor or friend visited by a parish minister.



2017 Christmas Collection Stats



Donation    Households    Total


$50.00 – $99.00    145    $7,590.00

$100.00 – $499.00    291    $43,734.00

$500.00 – $999.00    19    $10,050.00

$1,000 & Up    8    $9,000.00

Total        463    $70,374.00

Grand Total        $80,263.00


463 Households gave 88% of our Christmas Collection.



Parish Office Phone: 908 – 782 – 1475


Parish website: www.easeton.net


Parish email: parishoffice@easeton.net


Diocesan website: diometuchen.org


Vatican website: vatican.va




No Greater Love

Sunday – April 15 – 4:30 pm



Presented by


Written by Janeen Stevens

Directed and choreographed by Carol Ferrone

Musical direction by Gerard De Man, Jr.

Back by Popular Demand!

‘No Greater Love’
is a vibrant musical drama, similar to the ‘Whom Shall I Send?’ presentation done at SEAS last year; ‘No Greater Love’
was performed here in 2015 & 2016. Don’t miss this one hour captivating performance that brings to life the timeless, sacred story of the Passion of Jesus Christ. There is NO admission fee, but there will be a freewill offering after the performance, followed by refreshments in the Parish Hall. The Xavier Company,
or TXC, is a unique group of Christian performing artists in residence at NYC’s Saint Francis Xavier Church. These professionally trained actors, singers and dancers perform original works focused on themes of faith and social justice. They perform in churches throughout the tri-state area and will be at SEAS on
Sunday, April 15 at 4:30 pm.

Founded in 1982, TXC is celebrating its 36th anniversary of performing arts ministry in the tri-state area. TXC is renowned for performances that display both spiritual content and artistic excellence. After the performance, a BYOA [Bring your own Appetizer for 6] reception will take place in the Parish Hall; soft drinks and wine will be provided. To learn more about TXC
go to www.thexaviercompany.org.
Don’t miss it!

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

March 25


In Procession, with blessed palms, we honor Christ as our King and reflect on His Passion and Death. Masses are:

Saturday: 5:00 pm


8:00 am – 9:30 am – 11:30 am


All children are invited to our special Children’s Liturgy of the Word at ALL Masses this weekend; before Mass all children are invited to the center aisle; after the Procession they go to see a ½ hour age-appropriate video on Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection and return later than usual, during the Lord’s Prayer.


Monday of Holy Week – March 26


regular daily Mass at 9:00 am at SEAS


Chrism Mass – 7:30 pm at

Saint Francis Cathedral, Metuchen


Priests renew their Ordination promises and our Bishop blesses and consecrates the Holy Oils: the Oil of Catechumens used at Baptism, the Oil of the Sick used in the Anointing of the Sick, and the Sacred Chrism, used at Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and the blessing of new churches & altars. All are invited to our Cathedral for this ancient, moving ceremony. Pray for our Priests!


Tuesday of Holy Week – March 27

Wednesday of Holy Week – March 28


regular daily Mass at 9:00 am


Holy Thursday Morning – March 29


Morning Prayer at 9:00 am


[no morning Mass or any other Mass permitted]


coffee, bagels & fellowship afterwards


The Sacred Triduum & Paschal Fast


Lent ends as we begin Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord’s
Supper; we then enter the shortest but most central liturgical time: the three-day Easter Triduum. To more fully join in Christ’s Death and Resurrection, all are strongly encouraged to join in all Triduum events and the Paschal Fast, which is even more intense than the Lenten fast: all should fast from Good Friday until the Easter Vigil as a way of coming to the joys of the Sunday of the Resurrection with uplifted and welcoming hearts.”
[From the Ceremonial of Bishops # 295.]

Holy Thursday – March 29


We solemnly celebrate Jesus’ parting gifts of love: His abiding Presence in the Eucharist; His care and concern for us in the Ordained Priesthood; and Christian Service, our call to continue His work. For as Jesus said after washing the Apostles’ feet: “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” [John 13:14-15]
In the Mass of the Lord’s Supper we serve by: washing feet, giving alms through Operation Rice Bowl, and ‘watching one hour’ with the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration until Night Prayer.


Holy Thursday Services


    Morning Prayer/Breakfast    9:00 am


    Mass of the Lord’s Supper    7:30 pm


    Night Prayer    11:00 pm


    Keeping watch in the presence

        of the Blessed Sacrament

        11:30 pm – 7:00 am


Our Respect Life Ministry ‘keeps watch’ in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament beginning immediately after Night Prayer on Holy Thursday until 7:00 am on Good Friday morning praying throughout the night for Pro-Life causes. All are invited to join (parishioners and non-parishioners alike). Come for one hour or two … or even for the whole vigil!

Good Friday – March 30


We meditate on Christ’s Passion and Death with ancient rituals and in profound silence. The church is open all day for private prayer and for public services: Morning Prayer, Children’s Passion Play, Main Celebration of the Passion of the Lord
and ecumenical Stations of the Cross. All should visit the church this day to thank God for His redeeming love!


Good Friday Services

    Morning Prayer    9:00 am

    Children’s Passion Play    12:00 noon

    The Passion of the Lord    3:00 pm

    Stations of the Cross    7:30 pm


Holy Saturday – March 31


Ancient tradition prohibits Mass this day; we keep watch at the tomb in solemn prayer. Pray for those who will be baptized and welcomed into our Church during this day of prayerful reflection.



Holy Saturday Services

    Morning Prayer

    with RCIA Rites    9:00 am


    Midday Prayer with

    Easter Food Blessing    12:00 noon


    Easter Vigil Mass    7:45 pm



The Easter Vigil

in the Holy Night

March 31 – 7:45 pm


Church law strictly requires that the ONLY Masses permissible on Holy Saturday begin AFTER nightfall, in darkness, so there can be no 5:00 pm Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. The Easter Vigil Service, the climax of the liturgical year, which begins at
7:45 pm, is a four-part ritual with roots in antiquity. The four parts are:


The Paschal Candle, symbol of the Risen Christ, lit from the blessed fire, is brought into the darkened church. As all light their candle from the Christ-Light, the darkness of the tomb erupts into the warm glow of the Risen Lord’s presence!


We tell our scriptural story of God’s marvelous, saving deeds throughout history.


LITURGY OF BAPTISM & CONFIRMATION. With blessed Easter Water we renew our Baptismal Promises and welcome our newest members through the Sacraments of Initiation, making God’s saving deeds and the Risen Lord truly
alive in us, His Church!


In the highpoint of the Great Three Days [and the entire year] we share Eucharist with our newest members for the first time. We pledge ourselves anew to become Eucharist: to become Christ’s loving presence in our world.


NOTE: There is NO 5:00 pm Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday; the ONLY
MASS is at 7:45 pm.


Easter Sunday – April 1


Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


Easter Masses


Saturday Easter Vigil: 7:45 pm


Easter Sunday:


7:30 am – 9:00 am

10:30 am – 12:05 pm


[Note the different Easter Mass schedule!]