Seventh Sunday of Easter

June 2, 2019

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is truly Risen, Alleluia!

“The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them,’ and when he said this he fell asleep.”

Happy Anniversary, Father Chris!

On many occasions we are touched by an event. Someone does something heroic, or shows great kindness. We might not remember their name or the circumstance. Of the two individuals singled out by St. Luke in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles we remember Stephen for his heroism, and Paul for his eventual conversion.

The deacon Stephen suffered martyrdom. Saul, eventually met the Lord and became the great St. Paul. Like Jesus at Calvary, Stephen entrusted his life to the Lord and offered forgiveness for his murderers. The persecutor became the great preacher and apostle.

As we reflect on the life of the early church, may we see that Christians are persecuted in countless places today. Martyrdom continues in Syria and Iraq. St. Oscar Romero in El Salvador, and the Oklahoma priest Blessed Stephen Rother, in our own time tell us the blood of Christians is still being shed. As members of the Body of Christ, we pray for all who suffer as victims of religious oppression, and offer our own forgiveness to those who offend us.

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June is the month of the Sacred Heart. Pray this little prayer often that the nuns taught me when I was a kid: “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like Yours”! May God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Joyfully in the Lord, 



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Sixth Sunday of Easter

MAY 26, 2019

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is truly Risen, Alleluia!

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine, but that of the Father who sent me’… ‘the Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.’”

Some recall famous farewell speeches. Others refer to them as pep talks. In business we find motivational speakers. The gospel of John in Jesus’ priestly talks, offers us all three.

How special to realize that because of my dedication and commitment, I am a living dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. How special to know that the Spirit is teaching me today, as a missionary disciple of a loving God. How special, because of my many cares and distractions that I am reminded of what is of value, the treasure hidden in the field, the pearl of great price. Jesus is not just preparing me for His departure, or entrusting His mission to me, but expects me to carry it out by what I say and do.

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“Dear friends, what an immense joy to have Mary Immaculate as our Mother! Every time we experience our frailty and the promptings of evil, we may turn to her and our hearts receive light and comfort. Even in the trials of life, in the storms that cause faith and hope to vacillate, let us recall that we are her children and that our existence is deeply rooted in the infinite grace of God. Although the Church is exposed to the negative influences of the world, she always finds in Mary the star to guide her so that she may follow the route pointed out to her by Christ” (Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, December 8, 2009).

As we conclude this month of May, the month dedicated in a special way to the Blessed Virgin Mary, may we ask her to keep us close to her Son Jesus and pray the prayer she loves to hear the most: The Holy Rosary. May God bless you and keep you always in His Love!  Have a happy and safe Memorial Day!  Mary, our Mother and Queen of peace, pray for us!

Listen to my homily today:

Joyfully in the Lord,

PRAYER FOR MEMORIAL DAY

God of power and mercy, you destroy war and put down earthly pride. Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears, that we may all deserve to be called your sons and daughters. Keep in your mercy those men and women who have died in the cause of freedom and bring them safely into your kingdom of justice and peace. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers)



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 19, 2019

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is truly Risen, Alleluia!

It is hard to remember the important things in life. Our lives are often filled with so much activity, so many distractions and attractions, that we sometimes forget what it is all about.

Well, what is it all about? Are we just living from moment to moment, being pushed from one thing to another? Sometimes it’s so sad when you hear people talk about their lives as nothing but a whole bunch of activities. There doesn’t seem to be any real content in some people’s lives. It’s just one thing after another.

So what is it all about? It’s all about love. Loving one another, as Jesus has so simply told us in today’s Gospel: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I l have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

Our lives as women and men are incomprehensible and senseless if they are not lived in love, and from love. At times, so much of life is incomprehensible. Often we just don’t understand the way things are. We don’t understand why certain terrible things happen to people.

It’s especially at times like those that we need to have the experience of love. When we are in the midst of loving and taking care of others, then life makes sense on a deeper level. We don’t have any more understanding, but we become deeply engaged in life in a way that goes beyond words.

We need to be immensely grateful that the Lord saw fit to give us such a gift. When all of us take this gift and use it every day of our lives, we will then create the new heaven and the new earth because we will all be living in love.

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“O Lord, you have given me so much; please give me one thing more: A GRATEFUL HEART” (Prayer of Gratitude). I thank you for the opportunity to be your parish priest here at St. Rose and as I celebrate my 40th Anniversary of Ordination today. I humbly ask your continued prayers for me and all priests. May Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Joyfully in the Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Fourth Sunday of Easter

May 12, 2019

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is truly risen, Alleluia!

Just as vibrations, fluids, and nutrition directly form the baby from the mother’s own body, God breathes life into us from the substance of God’s own self. We are shaped in God’s own Divine Image, and marked with the vibrations of God’s own Voice; and since we know from Jesus that “the Father and I are one,” we can be assured that we are also one body with Jesus.

Since we are born of God’s substance, there will be no way in our future life that we can be entirely deaf to the Voice of God. The Scripture tells us, “Faith comes from hearing.” We all know, however, that at times, we don’t really want to hear that Voice. We can try to ignore it. We can avoid prayer and times of reflection upon our situation; we can refuse to seek help or wisdom from others when we need it; we can keep busy and surround ourselves with as much loud music, noise, drink and distraction as we can bear.

This Easter season is the best time to have our hearing checked! When we listen to Jesus in the Scriptures, in prayer, in our daily lives with friends and families—let’s try to listen with every fiber of our being—not just with our ears. To listen well requires silence. Maybe it’s time to go on a Day of Reflection, or a women’s or men’s retreat. When you listen with your whole body, your body’s wisdom tells you what needs resting, changing, or renewing. You will hear the Good Shepherd calling you, who is longing to protect and refresh you.

Finally, the test of our hearing will be whether we resemble the disciples, who “knew only how to be filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” Jesus’ love is so generous that it reaches the hearing of everyone and anyone. Let’s listen generously, too.

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A PRAYER FOR MOTHERS

All loving God, we give you thanks and praise you for mothers young and old.

We pray for young mothers who give life and count toes and tend to our every need. May they be blessed with patience and tenderness to care for their families and themselves with great joy.

We pray for our own mothers who have nurtured and cared for us: May they continue to guide us in strong and gentle ways. We remember mothers who are separated from their children because of war, poverty, or conflict; may they feel the loving embrace of our God who wipes every tear away.

We pray for women who are not mothers but still love and shape us with motherly care and compassion. We remember mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers who no longer are with us but who live forever in our memory and nourish us with their love. Amen.

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It occurs to me: why is it mainly women, who pass on the faith? Simply because the one who brought us Jesus is a woman. It is the path chosen by Jesus. He wanted to have a mother; the gift of faith comes to us through women, as Jesus came to us through Mary.” (Pope Francis). Enjoy this Mother’s Day and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love.

Joyfully in the Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Third Sunday of Easter

MAY 5, 2019


Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is truly Risen, Alleluia!

I wonder how many times in our daily lives we are looking with our physical eyes, but not seeing with our spiritual eyes? How many times have we not recognized God’s presence in a certain moment? Maybe a cute baby is laughing with delight in church, but instead of saying, “It is the Lord!” someone frowns and goes “sh-hhh!”

We live in such a culture of criticism, harsh judgment, and moving too fast that often these are our first reactions. But if we would open our eyes wider, we would see more.

In yoga, they speak of learning to see with “soft eyes”—eyes that are not defensive and quick to anger, but are open, curious, and gently ready to receive new things. If we look around us with “soft eyes”, and move into every situation with that soft openness, we will soon become aware of Jesus where we least expect him.

We probably give way too little care to our own adult spiritual needs. Do we even know how to hand ourselves over to God, to rest in God on annual retreats? Amazingly, even corporations see the value of retreats these days.

Or maybe see a spiritual director to discuss questions of the soul and heart? Take a little silence most days, to listen to God? How can we tend to the sheep Jesus has given into our care? Whether as teachers, parents, family or friends—YES, God is saying, “Feed my sheep.” Starting with our own bodies and souls.

God has an abundance of love for us to tap into, and distribute to every person, animal, and plant that we touch. Let us become good shepherds of that love, ourselves.

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“I recommend praying these words to Mary: Mary, Mother of Jesus…we come to you with the same attitude of children who come to their mother. We are no longer children, but adults who desire with all our hearts to be God’s children. Our human condition is weak; that is why we come to ask for your motherly aid so we are able to overcome our weakness. Pray for us so that we can, in turn, become people of prayer. We invoke your protection so that we may remain free from all sin. We invoke your love so that it may reign and we will be able to be compassionate and forgiving. We ask your blessing so we can be like the image of your beloved Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen” (St. Teresa of Calcutta).

In this month of May dedicated to our Blessed Mother, may God bless you, Mary watch over you, and keep you always in their love!

Joyfully in the Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday – 04.28.19

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is truly Risen, Alleluia!

In today’s Gospel, when Thomas touches Jesus’ body, he believes—but Jesus isn’t too impressed with this expression of faith. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe!” Jesus must have been envisioning us—all of the future believers who might need courage and imagination to believe, centuries later.

Do we think we’re blessed, lucky, or happy to be encountering Jesus in a different way from the apostles? Probably not. If anything, we may feel as if we’re quite distant—detached, even—from the bold, alive spirit that filled Jesus. His followers were thrilled, amazed, excited, to be close to him. But it is clearly more of a challenge for us.

There is no doubt that the real core of faith comes down to us from those fervent believers who were closest to Jesus Christ. We Catholics are linked to THAT community of believers, who passed eyewitness accounts down through history.

We may not have perfect faith—but our questions and doubts, Jesus is saying, are not to be feared. It takes only a mustard seed of faith. Thomas isn’t rejected because of his doubt; but he IS being asked to believe in a different way, a more adult way, that doesn’t require hanging on to the physical.

Fr. Ed’s Presentation at St. Margaret’s Church

Here is the crux of it all: we must believe in Jesus without demanding physical proof—but we must prove our faith by getting very physical about it. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you…” Jesus sends us into a world that is desperate to be touched—touched with kindness, with compassion, mercy, love, patience, generosity. Mother Teresa with the dying, Father Damian with the lepers, St. Francis with the poor—they all said that to touch the poor and hold the sick, they first had to believe it was Jesus himself they were touching.

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“His love endures forever” (Ps. 117/118:2). Truly, God’s mercy is forever; it never ends, it never runs out, it never gives up when faced with closed doors, and it never tires. In this ‘forever’ we find strength in moments of trial and weakness because we are sure that God does not abandon us. He remains with us forever. Let us give thanks for so great a love which we find impossible to grasp; it is immense! Let us pray for the grace to never grow tired of drawing from the well of the Father’s mercy and bringing it to the world. let us ask that we too be merciful, to spread the power of the Gospel everywhere, and to write those pages of the gospel which John the Baptist did not write” (Pope Francis, April 3, 2016).

Today, the Second Sunday of Easter is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. St. John Paul II established Divine Mercy Sunday as a universal feast in the Church on the day he canonized St. Faustina Kowalska, the great Apostle and Secretary of Divine Mercy on April 30, 2000, which was Divine Mercy Sunday that year. Divine Mercy Sunday is the celebration of the Feast of Mercy that our Lord asked of St. Faustina. This Feast of Mercy is the focal point that summarizes the Mercy message and devotion. The message of mercy can be called to mind by remembering the ABC, ASK for His Mercy, BE merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. COMPLETELY trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust.

As we conclude the Octave of Easter today and continue to celebrate Easter, may the love and mercy of the Risen Lord bless you on this Divine Mercy Sunday and always! Pray unceasingly: Jesus, I Trust in You!

Joyfully in the Lord,

Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Easter – 04.21.19

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is truly Risen, Alleluia!

This is Easter! It isn’t a myth—it isn’t just a hope: it’s our reality. Christ was dead and Christ is now alive—and we will live forever! Isn’t that fantastic news?

Well, it should be. But the question is—do we believe it? I mean, really believe it? Or do we have “low-grade faith?” You know, it’s kind of like having a low-grade fever: we walk through our faith in a fog, half asleep, achy and tired. Maybe we caught the high-level “fever of faith” when we were kids; but then the newness wore off. Can we believe feverishly anymore?

Dr. Eben Alexander was a Christian “more in name than in actual belief” who had lost the fever. But then meningitis put him into a coma; and when he awakened he told a remarkable story of visiting heaven, seeing sights and hearing unimaginable music, even talking with others he knew to be dead. Suddenly he had the intense faith that he thought he had lost.

Maybe you doubt it even happened. But can’t we use his story to spark our own religious imagination about what lies after death? Eben learned “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever; you have nothing to fear.” He’d been a skeptic who never believed in near-death experiences. But he experienced God and all creatures in a divine unity: “Everything was also a part of everything else, like the rich and intermingled designs on a Persian carpet, or a butterfly’s wing.”

We are much more than our brains and bodies. The miracle of Easter is what has made this possible. So let us rejoice, and be glad in it! And let’s go on with the journey!

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“We Christians believe and know that Christ’s resurrection is the true hope of the world, the hope that does not disappoint….The words heard by the women at the tomb are also addressed to us: ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but he has risen’ (Luke 24:5-6). Death, solitude and fear are not the last word. There is a word that transcends them, a word that only God can speak: it is the word of the resurrection. By the power of God’s love, it ‘dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord and brings down the mighty [Easter proclamation]’” (Pope Francis, Urbi et Orbi Message, 2018).

May the peace, mercy, love and joy of the Risen Lord Jesus bless you and your family this Easter day and always! Enjoy your Easter celebrations today with family and friends and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Joyfully in the Lord, 

Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord – 04.14.19

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Go into the village opposite you, and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. And if anyone should ask you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you will answer, ‘The Master has need of it.’”

The events of Holy Week are so well known to us. Beginning today they unfold before us again. We solemnly bring the prayers, the sacrifices and good works of Lent to their conclusion. The days before us, the Sacred Triduum, reliving the paschal mystery, are more than tradition. The Christ, crucified and rejected is real for us today. Jesus’ directive to the two disciples is directed to us.

If anyone asks why you are living this Holy Week, the answer is the same: ‘The Master has need of it.’ Our loving God is not asking us simply to recall or remember, but challenge us to discover the passion of Christ in our own time. As He was led through the streets of Calvary, many saw and continued business as usual. Others perhaps thought that that criminal was getting what he deserved. This is because they do not know Christ.

For us believers, the tragedy of the Via Dolorosa leads to Calvary, to be followed by the joy of resurrection. This is not a week of failure, but eventually victory. The passion and death of Christ leads to the glorious resurrection. May the words of the gospel express the wish of Jesus for us this week. May it be our mantra: ‘the Master has need of us.’ May this be a special week of prayer and devotion.

May you have a blessed Holy Week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Joyfully in the Lord,

Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Fifth Sunday of Lent – 04.07.19

“I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession by Christ Jesus.”

We measure so many things in life under the banner of profit and loss. I look for a bargain. I go out of my way when something is on sale, even when I don’t need it. How shocking it is as I read Paul, as he speaks of rubbish what many consider of great value.

Paul teaches us that what really matters is knowledge of Christ Jesus, not just knowing about Him, but having a personal relationship with Him. There is nothing as important as knowing Jesus, His great love for me, and His redeeming sacrifice, as we draw closer to Holy Week. May we make an extra effort to be freed from possessions and be possessed by Him.

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“The cross of Christ invites us to allow ourselves to be smitten by his love, teaching us always to look upon others with mercy and tenderness, especially those who suffer, who are in need of help, who need a word or a concrete action” (Pope Francis, Meditations on the Stations). May we pray for one another as we continue on our Lenten journey now taking a turn to the events of the Passion, Death and Resurrection that we will celebrate during Holy Week leading to the joy of Easter. God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Joyfully in the Lord,

Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Fourth Sunday of Lent – 03.31.19

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Today we hear a story about a dramatic family situation which for centuries has been called, “The Prodigal Son.” We all know who that refers to, right? The wayward “wild child” who squandered his dad’s money on wine, women, and song, (and I don’t mean the “Ave Maria”).

Well, maybe not. Some theologians suggest that perhaps this story should be re-named “The Prodigal Father.” Because the word “prodigal” can refer to a wasteful spendthrift or someone who is extravagant in their generosity and love—forgiving beyond all boundaries, as the father in this story did. It is this last definition that gave the Pharisees problems.

They asked Jesus, “How do you eat and drink with sinners?” For Jesus, the love of God is almost opposite of their ideas of how a good, “righteous” Jewish father should behave. Because the father’s forgiving actions were very shocking to Jesus’ listeners.

In the Middle East, if a son demands his share of the inheritance early, it is his way of wishing his father dead. When the son finally crawls home, no one can believe it: the father sees the son and runs to him. As the gospel says, “then the celebration began.”

What about the older son’s jealousy? God always says to us both “Welcome home” AND “Beloved, you are with me always, and everything I have is yours.” All of us at some point are both of those brothers. We can also be the forgiver for the troubled one who needs extra understanding, and for the jealous one.

“Why do you eat with sinners?” Jesus answers: Because God rejoices and invites us to rejoice, too. Will I join in the rejoicing? One moment of true repentance, or of true forgiveness, is all that is needed.

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“Jesus reveals the nature of God as that of a Father who never gives up until he has forgiven the wrong and overcome rejection with compassion and mercy. We know these parables well, three in particular: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the father with two sons (cf. Luke 15:1-32). In these parables, God is always presented as full of joy, especially when he pardons. In them we find the core of the Gospel and of our faith, because mercy is presented as a force that overcomes everything, filling the heart with love and bringing consolation through pardon” (Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, 9).

Today is Laetare Sunday or “rejoice Sunday”. Lent is half over. How has this season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving been for you so far? Let us continue on the road to conversion of heart praying for one another especially our Elect and those candidates who are preparing for Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist that will be celebrated at the Easter Vigil, April 20. May God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Joyfully in the Lord,

Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ