Social Concerns

Support Haiti - St. Thomas Parishioner's Missionary Trip to Haiti

My name is Patty Decker. I am a long time parishioner of St Thomas Church and lay associate of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, aka cfrs.

On June 22-28, 2014 I am going to Haiti with the friar suppliers

I accompanies the friars in June 2010 on the first mission to offer desperately needed post earthquake assistance to the Little Brothers of St Therese in Carrefour. Since then, the cfrs have adopted this "small in number, big in faith" Haitian order and all the people they serve.  They have become a spiritual and material support; sending supplies, building homes and visiting with medical teams twice a year with friar supplier mission teams.

The most recent mission, in January 2014, brought the realization that malnutrition continues to be a great concern in the area, particularly among children. Right now, the Little Brothers have no resources to provide food for the 600 children enrolled in St Therese School.  I am determined, with God's help, to find meal sponsors for each child for the upcoming year
A meal offered on site during their day is vital to sustain the students and keep them engaged in school. $50 will provide a daily lunch for one child for the school year.

When I go to Carrefour in June, I will visit St Therese School and meet with the principal Br Guiva, who is praying hard for our success in this effort.  I will take photos and gather details to inform sponsors about the students and the current situation at the school.

Help widen the circle in order to find sponsors and be a lifeline for these children who have very few resources within their reach.
How can you help?
Pray, donate and share the attached flyer with your family, friends, school communities, through social justice clubs, newspapers, bulletins, web sites.
To see photos and/or make a tax deductible donation, go here:
Please get involved, provide this basic need and be a life changer for so many children!


Amor vincit omnia

Food Pantry

Food Collection Weekend - Third Weekend of Every Month

We need non-perishable food such as soup, pasta, sauce, peanut butter, jelly, canned goods and juices including baby food  to keep our food pantry stocked.  Food is given to parishioners in need, to Catholic Charities and brought to soup kitchens. Please leave your donations at any of the church doors. If you wish to donate via cash, check or gift card then please enclose it an envelope marked "food pantry" and drop it in the collection basket. Thank you and may God bless you for your continued generosity.

Bereavement Ministry

Offering spiritual support and the healing comfort of God for all who mourn a loss through death.

Bringing Comfort and Healing to Those

-Depressed and guilt ridden

-Overly anxious about the future

-Socially withdrawn and isolated

-Having difficulty eating/sleeping

-Feeling ongoing numbness and agitation

-Increasing the use of alcohol/other drugs

-Experiencing chronic anger/bitterness

-Unable to regain a sense of meaning in your life

-You may have experienced family/friends no longer able to listen tothe pain of your grief.



Each individual’s unique experience of grief needs to be respected, rather than expected to follow prescribed stages of mourning.

Facilitators are Certified by the Family Life Office of the Newark Archdiocese

Patty Russillo and Anna Graziano

For more information call Anna Graziano (973-338-9538)

All calls are confidential



Different Types of Grief

-Delayed Grief:

Mourning is hindered by a lack of empathy from others and an absence of a sense of safety to feel deeply.

-Traumatic Grief:

Accidents, murder, suicide, or other sudden deaths, natural disasters and terrorists attacks. Also, any death that is experienced as devastating.

-Hidden Losses:

Miscarriage, infertility, adoption, failed adoption.

-Anticipatory Grief:

lingering illness

Wellness Ministry

Wellness Ministry Brochure
If you would like more information about the Wellness Ministry or to volunteer, please call the Parish Center 973 -338-9190 Extension 120 Parish Ministry Office.


The mission of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish Wellness Ministry is to continue Christ's work of healing among all the people of God.

This ministry is to serve our Parish and community through the varied skills gifts and experiences present in those who minister.

We respect the dignity of every human life and propose to promote healthy life style choices that enhance the integrity of mind, body and spirit.

The Wellness Ministry is led by a committee of parish nurses who work together with the Parish staff under the direction of the Pastor.


  • Health Screening
  • Health Education
  • Assistance with transportation to doctor/hospital/church
  • Assistance with access to information about various community agencies
  • Provides limited, confidential health counseling
  • Runs errands for parishioners such as food shopping
  • Makes regular phone calls tovhomebound
  • Assists with Blood Drive
  • Shawl Ministry


  • Hands-on nursing care
  • Dispense medication
  • Replace the health care provider
  • Provide emergency medical assistance

Call 911 if you are experiencing medical emergency.


  • Assisting with health screenings (BP), Health Fairs
  • Writing health-related topics for bulletin
  • Planning for Health Fairs, blood drive
  • Providing transportation
  • Running errands
  • Making brief, regular visits and making telephone calls to homebound parishioners
  • Clerical help
  • Shawl Ministry

Shawl Ministry

Over the years the Shawl Ministry has:

  • Welcomed each baby baptized at St. Thomas by giving them a baby blanket.
  • Given baby blankets to the single mothers who are sheltered at Siena House in the Bronx.
  • Had homebound members and our youth group make cookies and scarves for Broadway House's St. Valentine’s Day project.
  • Provided emergency homeless shelters hats and scarves.
  • Participated in the parish Advent Giving Tree project.
  • Provided shawls to the graduates of an adult drug program.
  • Distributed shawls and lap robes to people in need of prayers.


The women of our Ministry not only donate their time and talent but also the expense of the materials making each item. For parishioners who are interested in supporting our Ministry, we appreciate small amount gift cards from A.C Moore and Michaels which can be put in the Sunday collection basket or brought to the parish center.

We are also thankful for your leftover usable yarn.  All donations should be clearly marked for the Prayer Shawl Ministry. Let us continue to pray for those making shawls and  those who receive them.

Please look in the bulletin and online for upcomming meeting dates.


Prayer Shawl Ministry Statement

An active prayer... As I knit this shawl, the work of my hands and the faith of my soul ask God to bring blessings upon you.

A gift received, a prayer accepted.   The receiver physically and spiritually wrapped in the shawl, the prayers of the giver -- prayers for comfort, for healing, a blessing, or thanksgiving.

The gift of the shawl says, "With my hands and in my heart, I have prayed for you.   I share your joy or I pray for your comfort.   And you are not alone."

Members of the Prayer Shawl Ministry knit or crochet shawls and blankets, working either privately at home or with a group.   Crafters begin each shawl with prayers for the recipient and continue their intentions throughout the creation of the shawl. A prayer may also be offered when the shawl is presented.

Prayer shawls are given to recipients of all ages and from all walks of life, and for a variety of reasons.   One may be presented as a prayer for strength to someone who is undergoing a frightening medical procedure, chemotherapy, radiation or dialysis. Another might comfort a grieving spouse or loved one.   Shawls or blankets are also bestowed to celebrate a birth or to acknowledge a life changing event.

At St. Thomas, we strive to provide gifts and prayers for all of these reasons.  Each baby baptized here receives a blanket made by a member of our ministry.  Mothers of babies born with special needs might also receive a shawl and blanket as a reminder that they are continually in our prayers.   We make hats and scarves for local shelters and contribute handmade gifts to the advent giving tree.

Our mission is to provide you with prayers, warmth, and comfort, to share your pain, your sorrow, or your joy.  And to remind you that you are never alone.

Shawl Ministry Photos

For more pictures, please click here