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Easter Message From Your Priest



Letter From Bishop Checchio
April 9, 2020


Letter From Father Nalaka

Dear St. James Family,

In this difficult and different time in our lives I hope and pray you all are doing well and staying safe. In my constant prayer I think of you and pray asking God to keep you safe and give you much needed strength and hope in this challenging situation.

We are already in Holy Week. We Christians usually celebrate these sacred days in churches as communities, but this year most people in the world are confined to their homes. This is an added pain for us people of faith who long to take part in the celebration of the Paschal Triduum. However in these unexpected circumstances God is still calling us to be connected to Him and reflect deeply how He offers us life and salvation even in the darkest moments of our lives. Easter reminds us that Jesus Christ our Lord has defeated the power of sin and death and raised us up into the newness of life with him. Jesus, through His own suffering, death and resurrection has wiped away our sins and through the grace of our baptism has made us children of light. As St. Peter reminds us, “Christ has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter: 2:9). So let us remind ourselves that we are an Easter people and children of the light. Christ’s shining light is within all of us. Therefore in this seemingly dark period of time we are called to take courage and allow the light of Christ within us to illuminate our world. Because we know and believe in Jesus we have fullness of life and hope.

On Good Friday we celebrate the Passion of our Lord. Jesus endured His passion knowing and trusting in God’s enduring presence. In these times can we look at the face of Jesus on the cross and renew our faith in God’s presence in our lives?  Can we seek the face of Jesus to be a sign of God’s love and hope to the world, society, family and our communities?  On Easter Christ’s light has dawned upon us to illuminate our world. Therefore let us rejoice and proclaim; HE IS RISEN, ALLELUIA!

I thought of ending my message by sharing with you the words of Pope Francis that I found in one of my daily reflection books. “We proclaim the resurrection of Christ. When his light illuminates the dark moments of our existence, and we are able to share it with others; when we know when to smile, and weep with those who weep; when we accompany those who are sad and at risk of losing hope; when we recount our experience of faith to those who are searching for meaning and happiness…. And there with our attitude, with our witness, with our life we say Jesus is risen.” My prayerful wishes for a blessed Easter!

With love and Prayers

Fr. Nalaka


Letter From Father Sebastian

My dear parishioners of St. James: Greetings and love from Fr. Sebastian Kaithackal.

Due to the pandemic of Coronavirus we are all suffering in different ways at this time of Lent and Holy Week.  Maybe it is time to spend with our family members, praying more for others.  Jesus spent 40 days in the desert with fasting and prayer.  We are also facing that desert experience now.  Let us hope and pray within 40 days the virus may disappear from the face of the earth. You know well that I am a Hospital Chaplin and I am also restricted in my regular hospital visits except in emergency cases.

There is a saying, “Prevention is better than a cure.” As long as we don’t have a cure for this virus at this time let us take all precautions…1) Stay at home if you can at this time 2) Keep social distance 3) Always wear a mask, because a recent study in Japan shows that when a person with the virus sneezes it can spread more than 17 feet away. 4) Wash your hands with soap and water.  5) Eat and drink hot food and water.  Boost your immune system by drinking hot lemon tea.  And also Ayurvedic doctors suggest that you make a paste with turmeric powder, ginger root, lemon juice and honey, and take one teaspoon in the morning and the evening. 6) Drink warm water several times a day, gargle with salt water several times a day.

So dear friends, be safe! I miss you all as you miss us priests.  We know it is not easy to stay inside the house.  But the Indian priests and students who are quarantined in Italy say that to stay indoors is saving their lives.  They go out only for food and medicine.

During this time let us practice our faith, spending time in reading good books, and spending more time in prayer.  May the Good Lord save us all from all dangers! Perhaps many of you may disagree with me with the tips that I mentioned earlier.  But if you find them helpful-practice them or otherwise simply ignore them.  What I want to say is that, please stay safe.  Please listen to our government orders.

At this time of suffering and discomfort, May the Good Lord be with you all! 
Happy Easter in advance!


With love and prayers,
Fr. Sebastian




By order of the Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, all public Masses in the Diocese have been cancelled until further notice. There will be no Holy Week or Easter Mass celebrations with congregations; all will be available LIVE STREAMED on the Diocese of Metuchen Website at

This extreme action is being taken in order to contain the Coronavirus pandemic. Your Parish Priests will offer private Mass for the intentions which were requested.

The Parish Office will be closed until further notice. In case of true Catholic emergency (Anointing) please call the Emergency phone 732-710-8558. Please visit our website for updates and notices at

Until further notice St. James Church will be open to all for private prayer from 8:00am to 2:00pm, allowing time for disinfecting. There will be no confessions or Adoration at this time.

Please check our website for Mass Online with Bishop Barron’s Chapel and at the Cathedral. The Pope has requested to say the Rosary daily for the World, the lives lost, the sick and an end to this pandemic.


Letter From Msgr. Charlie Cicerale

Dear People of God at St. James Catholic Community:

Boy, do I really miss you all and long for the time when we can all pray again together!  We are truly living through a period of extraordinary stress. The anxiety of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic is effecting all of us. While social distancing is very necessary in order to contain the outbreak, as the Bible says, “it is not good for man to be alone.” Keeping that in mind, given the everyday technology that we have at hand, it is important for us to pick up the phone and call our families and friends, letting them know that they are not alone. Thank you to all who have called or texted me.

As you know, based on the Governor’s order, Bishop Checchio has said that there are to be no public Masses until this health crisis is over. Your parish priests continue to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the intentions requested and for you. We do not have WiFi in St. James Church in order for me to live stream the Mass, but we will be recording the Sunday liturgy starting April 19th, which is Divine Mercy Sunday so you can pray with your parish family. It will be posted on our website by 5:30pm Saturday night, April 18th and every weekend until we can gather again in church as a community of faith.

The diocese will be live streaming Bishop Checchio’s Holy Week services on the Cathedral website: Here is the schedule for the live stream Holy Week schedule:

  • Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020 10:30am (blessed Palms are not to be distributed under any circumstance at this time by order of our Bishop, but may be made available for distribution at a later date!)
  • Holy Thursday, Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, April 9, 2020 - 7:30pm
  • Good Friday, Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, April 10, 2020 - 3:00pm
  • Easter Vigil, April 11, 2020 - 8:00pm - Holy water fonts are to remain empty. RCIA sacraments will be re-scheduled.
  • Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 - 10:30am.

I will be celebrating these services privately on those days. I do plan to bless palms but they will be distributed once restrictions are lifted.

I have been asked “what about funerals”? Given Governor Murphy’s executive order, the State Funeral Directors Association has said that viewings and ceremonies are not to be conducted. All diocesan and parish cemetery office personnel will work from home. While the cemeteries will be closed to the public, the funeral directors have their guidelines. Once the health crisis has passed, if families would like to have a memorial Mass for the deceased person, our parish will make every effort to honor that request.

With all that is going on, I really wish I did not have to bring up this next topic. Given that we depend entirely on donations, the parish is facing financial setbacks. Your weekly contributions are essential for the good of the parish. Your sacrificial giving is of great importance with meeting the cost of employee salaries and benefits, utilities, etc. I ask your help in this difficult time. The easiest thing to do is to go the parish website, and sign up for Online Giving, the electronic donation service we use. Otherwise you can mail your envelopes to the Parish Office, 148 Grenville Street, Woodbridge, NJ 07095.  Our parish does not have much in way of savings and it will take some time to recoup when this crisis is over. Church employees are not eligible for unemployment benefits, so your continued financial support is crucial.

Our Food Pantry remains open, your help there to replenish supplies is always welcome. It is open with regular hours, as the Governor has declared it is an essential operation.

Know that I am praying for all of you everyday. I guess that is the one silver lining in this stay at home situation, we have plenty of time to pray for each other. Be safe - I love and miss your smiling faces. We three priests are fairing well and pray for your peace and serenity.

Blessings and Grace,

Monsignor Charles W. Cicerale

PS. Please visit to see our Bishop’s full statement for the Diocese of Metuchen’s Holy Week and Triduum 2020 schedule, and it will give updated information during the pandemic.









The Catholic Community of St. James has been spiritually rooted in Woodbridge since the 1860s.  We are a culturally diverse group of people united in Jesus Christ through baptism and faithful to the word of God.

We are a parish that encourages all members of our community to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and are committed to do the will of God through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We believe in and practice Christ's compassionate concern for all.

We strive to become a vibrant church that focuses on developing, maintaining and propagating the essential elements of parish life through evangelization, worship, service and stewardship.

All Are Welcome

You are welcome to join this Catholic Community and join our mission of "Making Christ's Love Visible in our World." Come and see! Whatever your present status in the Catholic Church, whatever your current family or marital situation,
whatever your past or present religious affiliation, whatever your personal history, age, background, race or color, sexual orientation, whatever your self-esteem, you are invited, welcomed, accepted, loved and respected at the Catholic Community of St. James.

We welcome you to our family and pray that your faith and our faith will grow together as a living temple of God's presence.

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