“Behold I am with you always, even to the close of the age.”
Jesus promised that He would never abandon His people; He promised that He would remain until the end of time. Jesus walked the earth over 2000 years ago, yet He is still present and active in the lives of His people. He is with them. However, recognizing God’s presence in our world today takes a ‘trained eye’ and an act of faith. Jesus can most readily be recognized through the witness of Christian people, people who acknowledge and testify to the power and presence of God in their lives. The ‘Encounter with Christ’ stories help to highlight how God is working in the lives of the people in the parish of St. Magdalen’s Church. These stories are meant to help those who read them to more easily recognize God’s presence in their own lives. God wants to be known by you and to work in your life—invite Him to do so.
Dear Parish Family:
As I write this reflection on my upcoming 25th Anniversary to the priesthood, I am profoundly aware of how good and kind God is to me. Growing up a boy in Nebraska I would never have imagined the journey that has opened up before me as a result of saying “yes” to a stirring in my heart that I wanted to become a priest.
Many people have recently asked; “How did you know God was calling you to the priesthood?” You would not think so, but it always startles me. I feel like I have to reflect on it again and ask myself; “yes, just how did I know?” It is sometimes said that every vocation is a mystery. Not in the sense of figuring out a puzzle, but rather for the eyes of faith, an ever-emerging reality that becomes clearer over time. What I said “yes” to when I felt the first stirrings in my heart was not a call explicitly to the priesthood, but rather a desire to do something for God, because I felt love for Him, when I walked into a Church as a small boy. Then, one day while sitting in my 7th grade Friday religion class with the associate pastor, I began to daydream and all of the sudden I thought “I want to do what he does!” It just looked so attractive; but I didn’t know exactly why.READ MORE
I still have my rosary beads from 2nd grade. I learned to pray the rosary at an early age since I attended Catholic school. My mother was also very devoted to the rosary, praying it diligently after the death of my four-year old brother. She found peace and comfort amidst her heartache by reciting the prayers and through entrusting herself to Our Lady. I carried this awareness with me.
When I was in my early 20's I was a big partier. I was involved in a drunk driving accident which left me paralyzed from the neck-down. A few years later I realized it was alcoholism and have been sober for the last 24 years. I had always been very active so being paralyzed forced me to be still and to start thinking. My fiancé at the time could not deal with this tragedy and so broke off our engagement. Amidst my suffering, I went back to what I had known as a child—that Mary was my mother and that the rosary was a powerful prayer. I remembered how my mother had gone to Mary when she was in need and so I began to pray, hoping to receive peace and comfort. Eventually after much prayer and therapy, I was able to walk again and to return to work.READ MORE
As the only child in a loveless marriage, I felt the pressure of trying to make my parents happy at a very early age. Perfection in everything was the only way to win my mother’s love, so I did my best to excel in everything I did. Despite the fact that I was an honor student and successful in everything I tried to do, I never felt good enough to win my parents love and approval.
At High School graduation, my mother explained to me that since my father had just retired and she only worked part-time, I would now be responsible for supporting my family. The most important thing in life was to be self-reliant, strong and financially and emotionally independent, as I could not rely on them or anyone else to support me.READ MORE
Raised in the Assemblies of God Church, my relationship with Jesus was personal and secure at a tender age. However, all things Catholic were foreign to me and sadly misunderstood. A love for the visual arts motivated me to enroll in 4 years of art school where I studied the world's great artists,and traveled abroad on several occasions. I remember a particularly powerful encounter that occurred while standing inside the Vatican, at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, staring at Michelangelo’s Pietà. There was Mary, enveloped in graceful acceptance, lovingly and tenderly holding her son's limp body. I could feel the weight of our crucified Lord upon her lap. Looking back now, I see this as my first powerful introduction to our Blessed Mother. Another profound moment occurred while sitting through Mass inside Germany’s Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral). Amidst sacred music, billowing incense and grand stained glass windows, I felt strangely at home. Not yet Catholic, my heart was being stirred!Years later, by the Holy Spirit’s gentle prompting I enrolled in RCIA, and was welcomed into full communion with the Catholic Church in April of 2011.READ MORE
My name is Henry (Hank) Fatton. I believe I am one of the longest serving parishioners of St. Magdalen’s Church in Flemington. I was born in Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, NYC in June of 1922. When I was 12 years old, my parents sent me to live with friends in New Jersey since I was suffering from major intestinal problems. It was then that I first attended Mass at St. Magdalen’s. At that time, it was a wooden church on Park Avenue. In later years, the building was modernized with brick facing and now holds Catholic Charities.READ MORE
Fr. Thomas Dailey will be giving reflections for our parish’s Lenten Mission on Sunday March 12, 13, and 14 at 7pm.
1. When did you first realize that Jesus was more than a person in history or a religious figure, but your savior and friend?
With my fading memory, I cannot point to such a moment of first realization. However, I do know that the Lord has actively guided my life in many ways. Through a priest who taught me in high school, I was encouraged to discern a vocation to the priesthood, which I became convinced was the path on which God was calling me. Through encounters with other people along the way, I have come to know the gentle and merciful hand of God at work in the world and in my life. Through varied opportunities in my work I have come to experience the peace that radiates from conforming to God's will for me.READ MORE
What could draw a group of men to leave the countryside of Flemington to venture into the inner city of Newark? Nothing short of the love of Jesus Christ and His poor. For this reason, once a month several members of St. Magdalen’s parish travel to aid the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in serving the poor.READ MORE
November 20th marked the close of the Year of Mercy. To acknowledge this moment in the Church, Bishop Checchio honored 107 individuals from around the Diocese of Metuchen who exemplified the mercy of Christ in a particular way. Tom Jeffas, a member of St. Magdalen’s Church, was one of those recipients to receive the ‘Disciples of Mercy’ award. Tom was honored for his work with the Hope House and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.READ MORE
I was raised Catholic-attending St. Magdalen’s Church when it was still located on Park Avenue. I served as an altar boy and can still remember polishing my shoes in preparation for Sunday Mass. When I was 17, I enlisted in the Navy and at 18 went to Vietnam-I was a hospital corpsman, in the Fleet Marine Force on my 1 tour and a ‘special warfare’ unit in my other 1 and a half tours. My job was to rescue and treat wounded marines, team mates and civilians. I saw some very ugly things in Vietnam—many of which are etched into my memory. I was wounded on three separate occasions, low-crawling through machine gun, rifle fire and artillery-seeking to save the lives of men in my unit. My best friend, a radio operator, was one such person who I was unable to save. Because of the atrocities of combat, I found myself losing faith in God. I asked, “God, why? Why did you take him?” This loss of faith, I have found, is very common in war veterans. As a result, I was away from the Church for more than 30 years. After going through the inpatient PTSD unit at VA Hospital as well as Outpatient I felt a little relief from the nightmares, but my Faith was still lacking.READ MORE