Today's Happenings
June 2020
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St. Mary's Soup Kitchen
09:15 AM - 02:30 PM
We serve at the St. Martins Jersey City soup kitchen is the third Saturday of each month. We need about 22 volunteers each month. Volunteers meet on the patio behind the church at 9:15 AM and leave for Jersey City at 9:30 AM. Directions to the Jersey City soup kitchen are available. Volunteers return between 2:00 PM and 2:30 PM. To volunteer please call Pat Brady at (973) 839-2896.
Food Pantry Open- 22 Lakeside Avenue Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442 (Lower, rear, parking lot entrance)
09:30 AM - 03:30 PM
The Food Pantry is about 3 blocks away from the church/rectory, and is accessible from the Municipal Parking Lot The St. Mary’s Food Pantry is open on the 3rd and 4th Saturdays of each month from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the Wednesdays following these Saturdays from 4 to 7 p.m.
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Food Pantry Open- 22 Lakeside Avenue Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442 (Lower, rear, parking lot entrance)
09:30 AM - 03:30 PM
The Food Pantry is about 3 blocks away from the church/rectory, and is accessible from the Municipal Parking Lot The St. Mary’s Food Pantry is open on the 3rd and 4th Saturdays of each month from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the Wednesdays following these Saturdays from 4 to 7 p.m.
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We are working closely with the diocese and our local, state, and federal officials to determine when and how St. Mary's can safely open its doors to the public. We look forward to the day when we can celebrate together again! Please stay tuned to facebook and our website for the most up-to-date information.

St. Mary’s School, which has been part of the Diocese of Paterson’s St. Mary’s Parish since 1952, will permanently close its doors next month at the conclusion of the current academic year. The decision to close the school was based on the recommendation of the St. Mary’s Parish Finance Committee – which consists of parishioners with vast professional experience and backgrounds in the financial industry – and the diocese’s approval of the committee’s recommendation.

Among the factors that drove the decision are years of six-figure operating deficits, significantly declining enrollment, and a projected deficit of more than $334,000, which does not include $240,000 of necessary state-mandated and other repairs, for the 2020/21 academic year.

St. Mary’s Parish is staffed and operated for the diocese by the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province. The school serves Pre-K to grade 8.

Although the decision comes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the school’s financial struggles have been well-documented in recent years – and the announcement, officials say – although painful – should come as no surprise to the school community.

“The school was not a sustainable reality long before the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The timing of this decision, although extremely difficult and painful, is practical and necessary to the survival of the parish. The pandemic is not the reason we are closing the doors to St. Mary’s School, but it made an already untenable situation worse,” said Father Gonzalo de Jesus Torres-Acosta, O.F.M., pastor of St. Mary’s Church.

Talk of the school potentially closing had intensified in recent years due to declining enrollment and annual six-figure budget deficits. The school operates independently of financial assistance from the diocese. It is completely dependent on three components: fundraising, tuition – which is significantly discounted for 75 percent of students under the school’s Fair Ability to Pay program – and financial subsidy from the parish.

In the past several years, the parish administration has taken extraordinary measures to keep the school operational. For example, the parish subsidized a $119,000 shortfall in the 2017/2018 school budget – and last year, parish funds closed the school’s $212,500 operating deficit. This was reported in the Annual Report distributed to the entire parish community in the Sept. 15, 2019 Sunday bulletin, and was also reviewed and approved by the Parish Finance Committee.

Last year’s 5 percent tuition increase – the first in 11 years – was followed by an additional 5 percent increase this year. But that made minimal impact in keeping up with increased operational costs – and even another planned 5 percent increase for the 2020/21 academic year would not have addressed the projected deficit. The average annual tuition projected for the 2020/21 academic year is $3,861 per child when adjusted for the Fair Ability to Pay program – far short of the $7,393 average full cost of educating each student. Enrollment for the fall school session had dropped drastically from last year, from 223 students at the beginning of the 2019/20 session, to only 164 students registered for the 2020/21 school year. Not all of the families who have registered their children have been able to fulfill their obligations for the current school year.

“We were walking into the stark reality of a $334,231 deficit for the 2020/21 academic session – and that was after deep classroom and academic cuts that reduced the budget to bare bones and risked compromising the quality of education. Even in spite of this impossible deficit, we were still considering opening the doors, but that deficit ballooned to just short of $575,000 when we learned that we needed an additional $240,000 for repairs to the physical plant,” explained Father Torres-Acosta.

“We have been transparent with our intentions. This was not a sudden reaction or decision based on the pandemic; it is based on economic realities. This was a measured decision after dialogue and meetings with all stakeholders that began more than 24 months ago and intensified last year. We had tough conversations with our parents, principal, parish trustees, the state, banks, and our friars and Holy Name Province officials,” said Father Torres-Acosta. “We explored every possibility of keeping the school operational, but after listening and subsequently evaluating and assessing the information from those frank discussions – and after much prayer and deliberation, we came to the collective conclusion that we had to close the school at the end of this academic year.”

Father Torres-Acosta said he wanted to eliminate the tension and uncertainty of pushing this decision into the weeks or months ahead in order to give families adequate time to enroll their children in other schools, and to provide faculty with ample time to apply for teaching positions as well as for enhanced unemployment relief from the state and federal governments. He said that the school would assist families as best as it could in making enrollment application with other Catholic schools in the diocese, and also work with faculty in identifying teaching opportunities.

“It would have been worse if we reopened next fall, and then had to shut down in the middle of the academic year. Making this decision now gives everyone the chance to reset and plan their future,” he said.

“We are experiencing the same heartbreak that our families, children, and world-class faculty members and administrators are feeling. We understand their passion and their disappointment over this decision because they are losing what has been an outstanding example of Catholic education and Franciscan spirit. Like them, we are extremely proud of the achievements of our students, the excellence of our faculty and staff, and the dedication and support of our school and parish families,” said Father Torres-Acosta.

The school administration and parents had actively maintained robust fundraising efforts to offset tuition costs for families in need – but the pandemic has all but canceled and postponed fundraising events for the foreseeable future, and has created economic uncertainty for the sources of this support. Father Torres-Acosta has gone to great lengths to secure tuition assistance for struggling families before the coronavirus outbreak and during the pandemic – for example, last year, he obtained several scholarships from the Parsippany-based Tri-County Scholarship Fund, and more recently he sent a fundraising appeal to school alumni, as well as to the entire parish community by setting up the St. Gabriel Fund. But none of this generated revenue comes close to closing the six-figure budget deficit.

“It breaks my heart to deliver this news, especially at this time. But the parish, for its own survival, can no longer be asked to shoulder the financial burden of the school. We are going to miss greeting the students every morning and celebrating weekly Mass with them. But the current conditions are no longer feasible. We are not closing our doors because of the pandemic, but it has effectively pushed us off the edge of the cliff.” #


St. Mary's will live streaming daily Mass at 9:00 a.m. These Masses are otherwise private and are not open to the public.

The schedule is as follows:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: Mass in English.


Wednesday's Mass will be a School Mass / Children's Liturgy.
Thursday: Misa en español (jueves 9 AM) 
There will be no Mass livestreamed on Saturday morning. 
Sunday Masses: 9 AM in Spanish and 10:30 AM in English . 

 You can watch those Masses live on our Facebook page (St. Mary's Church Pompton Lakes) or our YouTube Channel. Simply go to and search for “St Marys Pompton Lakes.” 

La Misa en español será transmitida en directo por Facebook y Youtube Jueves a las 9AM y Domingo a las 9 AM




No News/Updates Found
All are welcome
All are welcome
All are welcome
All are welcome! 

“All are welcome here and we extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, lesbian, transgender, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no hablo inglés. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying newborns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you can sing as beautifully as our cantors or like our pastor with a heavy Latino accent. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope or haven’t been in church since little Melissa’s Baptism. We welcome those who have been in this land for many generations and those who just arrived, the documented and the undocumented. We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, football dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians and junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion;” we’ve been there too. If you blew all your offering money betting on horses, tough luck for us. You’re still welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church. We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts ... In short, we welcome you!- this is your HOME!
Faith Direct
Faith Direct
Faith Direct

As you are probably aware, church attendance during
the summer months tends to drop off as vacations and
weekend sporting events often conflict. On the other hand,
the services we provide within the parish and for the larger
community continue year round, as do their associated
expenses. Thus, your consistent financial support of our
parish is vital to achieving our stewardship mission.
The easiest way to be sure that your gift of treasure reaches
us, even when you can’t be here, is through enrollment in our
electronic offertory program: Faith Direct. If you have not
yet enrolled, please consider doing so this month.

Enroll today! and use our parish code NJ23.  

Thank you in advance for your support and for using Faith Direct!

 How to easily enroll in Faith Direct

Safe Environment Program
Safe Environment
Safe Environment  “If any person may have been abused by any priest, they should immediately contact their local County Prosecutor’s Office and the Diocese’s Victims Assistance Coordinator: Peggy Zanello at 973-879-1489. You may also be in touch with either of the Diocesan Response Officers: Rev. Msgr. James T. Mahoney, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, 973-777-8818 Ext. 205 or Sister Joan Daniel Healy, S.C.C., Chancellor/Delegate for Religious, 973-777-8818 Ext. 248.

The entire text of the Policy of the Diocese of Paterson in Response to Complaints of Sexual Abuse is available on the diocesan Web site:”

“Si usted o algiuen que usted conozca ha sido abusado por un sacerdote deben de llamar de inmediato a la oficina del Procurador General de su comunidad y a la Coordinadora para Asistencia de Victimas de la Diócesis: Peggy Zanello al 973-879-1489. También deben de llamar a la Diócesis y hablar con el Rev. Monseñor James T. Mahoney, Vicario General y Moderador de la Curia al número 973-777-8818 ext. 205 o a la Hermana Joan Daniel Healy, S. C. C., Canciller/Delegada Religiosa al número 973-777-8818 ext. 248.

El texto completo de la poliza de la Diócesis de Paterson referiendo a Reclamos de Abuso Sexual esta disponible en la página web:”
Be a Franciscan
Be a Franciscan
Be a Franciscan

Are you being called to our way of life? Have you ever considered becoming a Franciscan friar?


Annual Fund -Our building of God's Kingdom
Annual Fund
Annual Fund

Dear Brothers and Sisters, May the Lord give you peace! This is the time of the year when we kick off the St. Mary's Annual Fund Drive; information has been mailed and you should be receiving it shortly. This drive is vital for the life and nourishment of our more than 70 ministries, including our Food Pantry, Outreach Ministry, Soup Kitchen, Special Needs Ministry, Hispanic Ministry, Saint Mary's School, and Religious Education and Youth Ministry for more than 1,500 children and teenagers. As you know we do a great deal of good work here at St. Mary's and all of that good work is due to your generosity. We count on the Annual Fund to be able to continue our Christian and Franciscan Mission. Our goal this year is $325,000. I am asking you to please make a gift to this year's Annual Fund and help support our many ministries. If you've never made a contribution to the Annual Fund, I ask that you prayerfully consider making a contribution this year. Thank you for your generosity. Fr. Gonzalo

___Faith Direct Church code NJ23
___ Onetime online donation at 
Funerals during Coronavirus Crisis
Funerals during Coronavirus Crisis
Funerals during Coronavirus Crisis Since funerals and services at funeral homes are not possible at the moment, If someone in your family passes away, please contact the friars if you would like us to offer a short prayer service at the cemetery or with your family through social media. We are family! Contact Keith Orotosky at for English-speaking services or Milagros Anto at for services in Spanish.

May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace

Debido a la imposibilidad de realizar funerales o servicios en funerarias en este momento, si alguien fallece en su familia, los frailes quieren ofrecer una oración o palabra de consolación, un servicio corto, en el cementerio o a través de las redes sociales. Por favor avísenos si pierde un ser querido. Somos FAMILIA ! Por favor comuníquese con Milagros Anto

Que las almas de todos los difuntos, por la misericordia de Dios, descansen en paz!
VIDEO of Our Children Choir
St Mary's Children Choir
St Mary's Children Choir

 Our Children Choir 


 Dorothy-Mary Limey Director of Music Ministry 973-835-0374, ext. 158

Confessions during Coronavirus Time
Confession during Coronavirus
Confession during Coronavirus Weekly Confession (while maintaining social distance). Every Thursday from 4 to 5 PM in the parking lot of the church - by the School pavers
Bells of Remembrance for those we have lost
Bells of Remembrance
Bells of Remembrance Join the friars each Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. as they ring the church bells and read the names of those who have died during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scam Alert
Scam Alert
Scam Alert

Many people are receiving one or more of the following texts or emails claiming to be from Fr. Gonzalo. Please ignore them.

NAME, how are you doing?

I need a favor from you, email me as soon as you get this message, I'm in a conference meeting right now and only have access to mail that’s why i'm contacting you through here. I should have call you instead of mailing you but phones calls are not allowed to be use during the short hours i'll be using here.
God Bless,
Father. Gonzalo De Jesus Torres


Glad to hear from you NAME,

I'm in a conference meeting right now and only have access to mail that’s why i'm contacting you through here. I should have call you instead of mailing you but phones calls are not allowed to be use during the short hours i'll be using here. I just need to get Macy gift card today for some women going through cancer at the hospital but I can't do that right now because of my busy schedule.Can you get it from any store around you possibly now? and I will pay you back . There are 5 of the women but i'm thinking of $1000 worth of Macy gift card only . ($500 denomination each. That's 2 cards of $500 each).
We pray especially for our parishioners, relatives and friends.
All Best Blessing's.
Father Gonzalo De Jesus Torres- Acosta

Updated list of our Food Pantry needs:
 Food Pantry Needs
 Food Pantry Needs Thank you all for your generous contributions to our Food Pantry! Here is an updated list of our Food Pantry needs:

Amazon gift cards
ShopRite gift cards
Gift cards can be left in the mailbox located outside our Parish Office (31 Pompton Ave, Pompton Lakes)

Primary items of need are:
Canned chicken
Small canned hams
Dirty Moore beef stew
Canned potatoes
Canned carrots
Ramen noodles
Baked Beans
Barbecue sauce
Coffee (Regular, Decaffeinated & Instant)
Mixed vegetables
Bread crumbs
Cake mixes
Bars of soap

Secondary items of need are:
Shelf Stable WHOLE milk
Chef Boy R Dee
Laundry detergent
Dish detergent
Plastic and paper bags

These items can be left in the box truck (or gray van) located in the St. Mary's parking lot. Please be sure to check expiration dates before donating food.

You may also order off of our registry:
God bless you for your generosity!

Saint Mary’s Church
Parish Office- Administration
31 Pompton Avenue, Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442
Telephone: 973-835-0374 Fax: 973.835.8173
Parish Office hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 - 4:00PM Sunday 8:00 - 1:30PM
Religious Education/Youth Ministry & Mailing Address
17 Pompton Avenue, Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442
Saint Mary’s School
25 Pompton Avenue, Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442
Carnevale Center
10 Lenox Avenue, Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442