In response to some messages, questions (and my apologies if I haven’t responded directly and personally… it’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been busier now with everyone gone than when everyone was around) here’s some FAQ (and a lot of links)

First off, let me just say we’ve been so happy that so many people have found our Masses, and Holy Hours live streamed from the St. John Henry Newman Catholic Center at Montclair Sate University. The numbers of likes and followers to our page (https://www.facebook.com/redhawkcatholic ) have been astronomical – both from our students who have been displaced from campus during this crisis, as well as people throughout the country (and the world for that matter). Thank you for praying with us and all of your support.

Jesus said in scripture “when two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” Matt 18:20. While being together “virtually” isn’t the same as being together physically. But in this time of “social distancing” as we try to “flatten the curve” (obviously 2 terms that weeks ago would’ve been completely foreign to us) I’m happy that this has been a way for us to remain connected together and hopefully help one another remain connected to Christ.

1 – Yes I do post all of my homilies online (and do have to write them out… with A.D.D. it’s the only way I can make sure I stay on point). The posts are all on my blog. If you want them emailed directly to your inbox, you can sign up for that here: https://homilyonthespot.com/#custom_html-7 (It’s the “Mailing List section to the right)

If you don’t want another email, you can always find them here if you want to bookmark it: https://homilyonthespot.com/


2 – A few people have said it’s been hard for them to find past ones… The “Older Posts” section if you scroll down should be listed in chronological order so you can go back. I’ve only been posting daily homilies since mid-March. Prior to that it was mostly every Sunday and an occasional extra post here and there


3 – Audio recordings for Sunday homilies which are on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/frjimchernshomilies and iTunes as a podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/fr-jim-cherns-homilies/id1440618142?mt=2

Before all of this quarantine, my daily Mass homily would only be about 45 seconds to a minute or so. Knowing that people are stuck at home and are looking for a bit more, I’ve been writing a bit more which is why they’re longer and posted. The live streams for the daily Masses are stored as videos all on the Red Hawk Catholic facebook page – but I don’t have any plans to start recording those.


4 – No – we are not allowing people to come to Mass here at the Newman Center. We are following all the directives regarding “stay in place” and “no public masses.”


The people you see on camera at Mass here (reading and receiving communion) are our FOCUS missionaries. The set up here at Newman is that I have an apartment and the men have a separate apartment upstairs and the women have an apartment next door. So we’ve been effectively quarantined together.


I can’t stress this enough- the missionaries made the sacrifice and choice to stay here rather than return to their homes so that they could continue to minister to our students. That’s not true of all the other 100 + campuses where FOCUS serves. Just because of the situation here, the fact that I am assigned and live here full-time – and that they have separate living spaces all here has given us the unique opportunity to be together and to continue our ministry (which we have been doing completely online). So the missionaries have actually increased the numbers of weekly bible studies and the number of students wanting to be a part of them has increased as well.


This has been an additional sacrifice for them – to be quarantined with me and not to be quarantined with their families and loved ones. But I know that the Lord is blessing them and their efforts in a tremendous number of ways…


5 – Yes we’re going to celebrate Holy Week and the Sacred Tridiuum from Newman Catholic this week – which is the first time in my 12 years here that we’ve done that. We normally cannot do that since the University is traditionally closed on Good Friday, the missionaries are away and I usually assist at one of the two parishes I serve on the weekends. But obviously things are very different this year. So for Holy Week, our schedule, all live online is:


+Palm Sunday – Mass at 7:00 PM (our usual time) the Archdiocese of Newark has asked that blessed palm be saved and distributed at a later time.


+Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week – Mass at 5:30 PM and Eucharistic Holy Hour from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM


+Holy Thursday – Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 6:00 PM – note that in keeping with the directives and guides for this year’s celebration:   There will not be the washing of the feet. Mass will conclude with reposition of the Blessed Sacrament (not Eucharistic Adoration) in the tabernacle.


+Good Friday – the Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00 PM – as always, Good Friday is the one day the Church forbids the celebration of the Eucharist. This service is unique and different with three parts: Liturgy of the Word; Veneration of the Cross; and Communion (which is the Eucharist consecrated on Holy Thursday). The Veneration of the Cross will be simplified and will entail removing the red cloth from the crucifix above the altar.


+Holy Saturday – we will not celebrate the Easter Vigil. Because of the complexity and extensive nature of this celebration, we’re not in a position to even modify it under these circumstances. The directives that have been given by the Archdiocese of Newark state that it should only be done in parish churches where it is possible to actually do so. I know that the Cathedral Basilica and other parishes will be live streaming these which will include the singing of the Exultet – the Easter Proclamation…


+Easter Sunday – we will celebrate Mass from the Newman Center at 11:00 AM. There will not be Mass at 7PM that evening.


I know we are all grieving not being able to gather together for these most sacred times and that family celebrations have had to be curtailed. But hopefully we’re recognizing how blessed we are to still be connected “virtually,” are finally recognizing that these virtual things are not a replacement from a person to person, face to face interaction; and that all of this is causing us to dig a bit deeper and appreciating the true meanings of all these celebrations – the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – the central event to history and to our lives of faith.


Please know of our continued prayers for all of you, during these unique times and once again my sincere thanks to all of you who’ve been praying with us.


Fr. Jim Chern


on twitter: @FatherJimChern

on instagram @fr.jimchern