What Catholics Should Do During Lent

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

During the days and weeks of penance that lie ahead — from Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2024, until Holy Thursday morning, March 28, 2024 — the Catholic Church throughout the world commemorates the penitential season of Lent ending with the Sacred Triduum of Holy Week. The model Jesus gave us for “these forty days” was his own experience in the desert and the temptations that followed him there where he encountered Satan face to face. And yet, Jesus, there in the desert — alone, fasting and in intense prayer — beat back the devil and triumphed over temptation, as strong and as unrelenting as it was throughout those forty days.

We enter the desert of Lent like Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit, to face our devils, our temptations head on.

But we are not alone. The Lord Jesus Christ is with us. And so, too, is the Church, the entire community of faith observing Lent. Here is what the Catholic Church in the United States requires of us as baptized Catholics:

1. The days of FAST (only one full meal) and ABSTINENCE (no meat) are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. No dispensations are granted on these solemn days except for reason of sickness or those provided in canon law below. ALL OTHER FRIDAYS OF LENT are days of ABSTINENCE.

The pastor of a parish has the faculty to give a dispensation to individual parishioners in his parish and the Diocesan Bishop alone has the authority to dispense groups of Catholics but only for a serious reason.

2. Those who are automatically dispensed from fast and abstinence regulations outside the age limits noted below include: the physically or mentally ill, especially individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Also included in the dispensation are women who are pregnant or nursing. In all cases, common sense should prevail, and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting.

3. Those between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to FAST (only one full meal) as noted above. From the age of 14, people are also obliged to ABSTAIN: this obligation prohibits the eating of meat, but not eggs, milk products or condiments of any kind, even though made from animal fat.

4. The obligation to observe the laws of fast and abstinence is a serious one for Catholics. Failure to observe one penitential day in itself is not considered a serious sin. It is the intentional failure to observe any penitential days at all, or a substantial number of penitential days, that must be considered a serious matter.

5. The obligation, the privilege really, of receiving the Eucharist at least once a year — often called “Easter duty” — for those in the state of grace should shall be fulfilled during the period from the First Sunday of Lent, February 17-18, 2024, to Trinity Sunday, May 25-26, 2024. However, the Church’s law does permit this precept to be fulfilled at another time during the year when there is a just cause.

I want to encourage all Catholics, especially those who are conscious of serious sin, to go to Confession and to make use of the sacrifices and traditions that have always been part of our Lenten practices in the Church.

We do, indeed, fast and pray with the Lord Jesus and with our fellow Catholics. May this Lent be a time of Penance leading to grace and joy for us all at Easter.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M.
Bishop of Trenton

Christmas Flower Memorial

Thanks to all who contributed to our Christmas Flower & Decoration Fund. Our church looked beautiful for the holidays!

Flowers and decorations were given in loving honor/memory of:

John Alfano
Sal & Lena Alfano
Ben Appio
Jason Appio
Marie & John Arkenau
Angela & Gabriel Baldinucci
Mary Lou Beaulieu
Sharon Bilanin
Margaret Bonaccorsi
The Bonk, Rumage & Wolf Families
Nora Bruther
Andy & Mildred Busko
James Butler, Jr.
Anthony Caggiano, MD
Mr. & Mrs. J.J. Capelli
Michael Clisham
Robert Concato
Suzanne Concato
Paul A. DeMarco
William Dengler
JoAnn DiForca
Jillian Dinger
Frances Dwyer & Billy Dwyer
Walter E. Extor
Deceased members of the Falotico & Filak Families
John A. Felsmann
The Felsmann, Mulvihill and Boehme Families
Stephen J. Fiorelli
Richard Fuschetti
Joann & Peter Gesell
Chester & Adrienne Goss
Carlos Grilli
Michael Edward Guerrasio
Jay & Anne Harbeck
Alfred Hassinger
Mary & Thomas Heath
George & Gloria Heintz
Mr. & Mrs. E.P. Heintzelman
Leo J. Heintzelman
Bill & Thelma Heller
Doug Hollywood
Margaret & Vincent Iossa
Members of the Isherwood Family
Sister Mary Josette
Frank Kenny
Allen B. Kurre
Joseph & Elizabeth Labriola
Eleanor LaChoida
Rose & Gerard Lettieri
The Lewit Family
Frances & Joseph Lipari
Rose & Joseph Lippolis
Deceased members of the Lucey & Prozeller Families
Janet Mahoney
Marian McAndrews
The Lunz & McCarrick Families
Jack & Erma Mannutti
Robert Melita
William Miller
Edward J. Molitor
Mildred O’Connor Molitor
Dominick Morea
Sime Mustac (Grandpa & Dad)
Carmen & Angie Nettina
Mary Anne O’Brien
Harold & Dorothy Oches
Loved ones of the Perry & Horney Families
Jean Ward Phelps
John & Josephine Piccinih
Brian R. Picollo
Robert J. Picollo
Departed members of the Power & Swenson Families
Mary & David Quigley
The Reiss Family
James & Alice Robinson
Wilson Rodriguez, Sr.
Thomas Rogan
Jennie Sacco
Bernadette Salgado
Victoria Sandrino
Mary & Edward Scala
Martin Screen, Sr.
Raphael Silvestri
Dayle & Mary Smith
Marion Sorg
Agnes & Gene Stoye
Antoinette & John Summonte
Diane Szupper
Ida Thomas
Martin J. Torbert III
Sheila Vauter
Edith Elizabeth Ward
W. Daniel Ward
Warren Daniel Ward
Louise & Albert Wescott
Rose & Bill Wescott
Jean Wetzel
Mary Winters
Anne & Chester Wotycha
Dr. Edward Wotycha
Arlene Yaron







Basic Needs 2023 Accomplishments

The Basic Needs Committee assists the needy from within Nativity Parish and around Eastern Monmouth County with the essentials of daily living such as meals, housing, utilities, and medical care. The Committee also collects items wanted by our soldiers and sailors and mails these items to locations around the world.

In 2023, the Nativity Basic Needs Committee provided:

  • $41,247 for housing and utility assistance.
  • $18,228 to feed the hungry.
  • $11,280 to provide 486 care packages for soldiers and sailors stationed around the world.
  • $13,600 in support for Covenant House, Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey, Big Brothers Big Sisters and HABcore.
  • $2,768 in other direct client support.

In addition, we:

  • Prepared meals served to over nine hundred individuals at Lunch Break.
  • Prepared and distributed holiday food baskets to over 110 families.
  • Provided food for The Center in Asbury Park, St Anthony’s, Christ the King and other food pantries in our area.
  • Provided Christmas gifts for seniors in nursing homes.
  • Packed and shipped 144 boxes filled with toys for children in third world countries.

All the above is only possible because of the dedication, volunteerism, and financial support of Nativity parishioners.


January 23: Fighting Climate Change at Home Presentation

The Franciscan Earthcare Ministry announces the following:

On Tuesday, January 23, 2024, at 7 pm in Pollak Theater at Monmouth University, best selling author Doug Tallamy, Ph.D., professor of Entomology at University of Delaware and author of Nature’s Best Hope and The Nature of Oaks will present on what you can do in your own yard or balcony to fight climate change, create climate resiliency, and create beauty in your own backyard.

The talk will be followed by Q&A and a book signing. The public is encouraged to bring their own copies of Tallamy books for signature.

Click here to register.

January 28: Church of the Holy Sepulchre Presentation

Journey to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher by Zoom from Nativity Church!

Join tour guide Manuel Imad Abuali and Journey of Faith Tours facilitator Carolyn Norbut for an afternoon in the Holy Land.

Sunday, January 28, 2024
Church of the Nativity – Parish Hall
180 Ridge Road
Fair Haven, NJ 07704

12:30pm – Lunch
1pm – Zoom tour and talk with our guide, Manuel
2pm – Questions/Answers
2:30pm – Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet for Peace in the World

Free Will Offering will be accepted for our guide and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

RSVP required: vbs@nativitychurchnj.org

January 29: Book Club

The Church of Nativity Book Club will meet on Monday, January 29 at 7pm in the Parish Library. Our book for January is What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman.

The breakout novel from The New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Collector, What She Left Behind weaves together riveting stories of past and present, exploring the strength of women in two different times as they face adversity in two very different ways. Go inside the horrifying walls of a 1920s New York asylum as a wrongly imprisoned woman fights for what is most important to her—and meet the young woman confronting the pain and mystery of her own family’s mental illness two generations later.

Ten years ago, Izzy Stone’s mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Devastated by her mother’s apparent insanity, Izzy, now seventeen, refuses to visit her in prison. But her new foster parents, employees at the local museum, have enlisted Izzy’s help in cataloging items at a long-shuttered state asylum. There, amid piles of abandoned belongings, Izzy discovers a stack of unopened letters, a decades-old journal, and a window into her own past.

Young flapper and suffragette Clara Cartwright is caught between her overbearing parents and her desire to be a modern woman. Furious when she rejects an arranged marriage, instead finding love with an Italian immigrant, Clara’s father sends her to a genteel home for nervous invalids. But when his fortune is lost in the stock market crash of 1929, he can no longer afford her care—and Clara is committed to the public asylum.

Even as Izzy deals with the challenges of yet another new beginning, Clara’s story keeps drawing her into the past. If Clara was never really mentally ill, could something else explain her own mother’s violent act? Piecing together Clara’s fate compels Izzy to re-examine her own choices—with shocking and unexpected results.

Click here to see what other books we’ll be reading this year.

Questions about Book Club? Contact Liz Jacobelli at lizjacobelli@aol.com.


January 30: Blood Drive

The Church of the Nativity along with the NY Blood Center will be holding a Blood Drive on Tuesday, January 30th from 12:30pm-6:30pm in the Parish Hall.

To sign up for an appointment, go to www.nybc.org/drive and enter input Sponsor Code 70277 or call 1-800-933-2566. If possible, please try to schedule an appointment, however, walk ins are welcome.

We are in a critical time for blood donations and every pint saves a life.

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

Download [583.72 KB]

12 Knights for Christmas

The “12 Knights for Christmas” campaign continues again this year throughout December and into the New Year. As a Knight myself, I remain powerfully and deeply grateful to the work done by the Knights in our local Council 3187. This year, I continue my journey in the Knights as Council Chaplain as well as recently attaining the 4th Degree, the highest local rank for Knights.

Founded on the principles of charity, unity and fraternity, the Knights of Columbus was established in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, CT, and a group of parishioners. In 2023, Knights come from every stage of life, and from all corners of the world. Today, more than ever, our Church needs men to lead, to serve, to protect and defend…to join together as husbands, fathers, sons, neighbors committed to Fr. McGivney’s vision of active discipleship through acts of charity, fraternity and love of neighbor.

Examples of Council 3187 charitable activities and service include: ARC, Special Olympics, Coats for Kids, Local Food Banks Collections, NJ Covenant House, NJ Birthright, Local High School and University Scholarships, and many more! In addition, the Knights serve the pastors of Nativity and Holy Cross.

Over the next few months, it is my hope that we can add at least 12 new Council 3187 members to help support the needs of our parishes and surrounding communities. Please join me in my hope and prayer that this goal will be achieved. I hope that you will answer my call and join today. It only takes a few minutes to complete the online application and if you join now through January 31, 2024, you can become a member of the Knights of Columbus for FREE.

Click here to join.

Use Promo Code BLESSEDMCGIVNEY, specifying Council 3187.

– Fr. Chris