Berlin, NJ

Welcome

Mission of Saint Simon Stock Parish

Saint Simon Stock is a welcoming Catholic community. Guided by the Holy Spirit and nourished by the Word, Sunday celebration of the Eucharist is the center of parish life. Through our Baptismal call, we generously share our time, talent and treasure. As responsible stewards of the Kingdom of God, we give joyful witness to Jesus Gospel of love.

Pastor: Rev. Michael A. J. de Leon, A.M.
In Residence/Weekend Associate: Rev. Dexter Nebrida, A.M.
Deacons: Robert Iuliucci and Michael S. Vitarelli
Stained Glass

Dear parishioners and visitors who are looking for their new parish home,

You are all welcome! I pray that you and your loved ones will (and will continue) to feel welcome, respected, and loved by your priests, staff, ministry leaders, and the people of God. I wish you God‘s peace, comfort, healing, forgiveness, and love!

Some people call this parish their “summer parish.” Others, their “other parish.” But I hope you will join many who call this parish – their “home parish.” Saint Simon Stock Parish is a special parish. It was established on November 4, 2009 when two parishes – Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Berlin, and Saint Edward the Confessor merged into one.

This week Gospel from Saint Matthew (Mt. 5:20-37), Jesus challenges his disciples (and all his followers like us) to surpass the “righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees” (so that we will) “enter the kingdom of heaven.” According to Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, biblical scholars and commentators, Jesus‘ teaching on surpassing the righteousness of the scribes and the pharisees invites us for “a radical interiorization, a total obedience to God, a complete self-giving to neighbor, that carries the ethical thrust of the law to its God-willed conclusion.” Therefore, the “standard of righteousness demanded of disciples goes beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees. It requires much more than external conformity to the law‘s regulations.”

There were many who took this calling to heart. One of them was our parish patron saint - Simon Stock. He was prayerful man and a man of action. When he was twelve years of age, he decided to live as a hermit in a hollow tree trunk of an oak tree. Legend has it that the name Stock, meaning “tree trunk,” derives from that fact.

It is also believed that, as a young man, Simon went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where he joined a group of Carmelites with whom he later returned to Europe. Simon Stock founded many Carmelite Communities, especially in University towns such as Cambridge, Oxford, Paris, and Bologna, and he helped to change the Carmelites from a hermit Order into one of the mendicant friars. Who are the Mendicant orders? What do they do? They are, primarily, specific Christian religious orders that have adopted a lifestyle of poverty, traveling, and living in urban areas for purposes of preaching, evangelization, and ministry, especially to the poor. The mendicant orders surviving today are the four recognized by the Second Council of Lyon (1274): Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians (Augustinian Hermits), and Carmelites, as well as Trinitarians, Mercedarians, Servites, Minims, Hospitallers of St. John of God, and the Teutonic Order. (https://www.britannica.com › topic › mendicant-Roman-Catholicism)

In 1254 Simon Stock was elected Superior-General of his Order in London. His lasting fame came from an apparition he had in Cambridge, England, on July 16, 1251, at a time when the Carmelite Order was being oppressed. In it, the Virgin Mary appeared to him holding the brown scapular in one hand. Her words were: “Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for thee and thy children of Mount Carmel. He(she) who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection.”

The scapular (from the Latin, scapula, meaning "shoulder blade") consists of two pieces of cloth, one worn on the chest, and the other on the back, which were connected by straps or strings passing over the shoulders. In certain Orders, monks and nuns wear scapulars that reach from the shoulders almost to the ground as outer garments. You would notice that the priests (Father Randy, Father Dexter and I) are all wearing a white cloth scapular over our shoulders. It is part of our religious habit. Laypersons usually wear scapulars underneath their clothing; these consist of two pieces of material only a few inches square. There are elaborate rules governing the wearing of the scapular: although any Catholic may wear it, even an infant, the investiture must be done by a priest. And the scapular must be worn properly; if an individual neglected to wear it for a time, the benefits are forfeited. The Catholic Church has approved eighteen different kinds of scapulars of which the best known is the woolen brown scapular, or the Scapular of Mount Carmel, that the Virgin Mary bestowed on Simon Stock. His feast day is on May 16th. As your pastor, I am happy to tell you that we will have an annual investiture of the brown scapular in our parish church.

Like Saint Simon Stock, there are many men and women who strive hard to surpass the righteousness of that of the scribes and the pharisees, we are also invited to examine our lives, pray always, and go beyond our limitations to care, to forgive, and to love God and our neighbors.

Peace and love,
Fr. Michael