The following page lists the Ministries at St. Mark’s Church in alphabetical order.
Please note: Unless another phone extension is provided, please call the Rectory at 732-449-6364 ext. 100 (Office hours: 8 AM to 12 Noon and 1 PM to 3 PM on Monday-Friday. Extended hours on Tuesdays from 1 PM to 6 PM) if you wish to volunteer or seek more information about any of these ministries. Your participation is welcomed and most needed to keep St. Mark’s active and involved in helping our community. Even an hour of your time a week would be beneficial. St. Mark’s is an active parish with almost 25% of parishioners offering their time and talents to the Church in one of the following ways. Be sure that if you join one or more you will meet some wonderful people and will make lasting friendships. Please, won’t you give a little to gain a lot?
- Altar Servers Altar servers enhance the quality of celebration for the whole gathered assembly during mass by taking part in processions and by ensuring that all items required for the celebration are available at appropriate moments. This ministry is open to school-age volunteers in the third grade or older who are scheduled to serve at weekend masses. Adult servers participate during the week. Training and support are available. After training, servers are usually scheduled for a minimum of one mass per month. Join us if you feel that you are being called to help carry out Jesus’ invitation to “Do this in remembrance of Me…”
- Altar Rosary Society The primary purpose of this organization is to promote devotion to our Blessed Mother through daily recitation of the rosary and to maintain the needs of the altar. Although we are a spiritual organization, the members do many spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Our organization sponsors luncheons with an educational/entertaining program on the first Monday of every month except July and August.
- ENCOMPASS Men’s Group This men’s group meets every Wednesday morning at 6:30 AM to 7:25 AM with coffee served at 6:15 AM. The primary purpose is to promote spiritual reading and reflection. The organization sponsors open events to encourage spiritual growth in our faith community.
- Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion Some members assist with the distribution of the Blessed Sacrament at weekday as well as weekend Masses throughout the year. Others assist with bringing the Blessed Sacrament to ill and homebound parishioners. This ministry is open to any dedicated parishioner. A brief training session and commissioning are required. If you have been commissioned for the ministry at another parish that will usually fulfill our requirements. Weekend assignments are usually made for one month at a time on Saturday and Sunday of that particular month. Meetings are on an “as-needed” basis training, orientation in Liturgy changes, etc. Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are to be examples of Christian living in faith and conduct, striving to grow in holiness through this Sacrament of Unity and Love and bringing it to all parishioners, whether they are active, homebound, in various heath care facilities, etc.
- High School CYO St. Mark’s CYO is open to all students of high school age whether or not they are members of our church. The main focus of our ministry is to learn to encounter Jesus and incorporate his values and teachings in our everyday lives. We meet every other Sunday evening to share our faith and social activities. We also participate in Diocesan-led events including retreats, conferences and days of service to those in need.
- Holy Innocents Society The Holy Innocents Society is a diocesan society whose membership is dedicated to the spiritual welfare of Special Children of all ages; autistic, blind, mentally retarded, emotionally or physically handicapped, neurologically impaired or learning disabled. Holy Innocents’ Centers throughout the Trenton Diocese provide Specially Challenged Persons, who are not able to function in a regular Religious Education Program, with religious education geared to their individual learning ability. Dedicated teachers prepare their students for the reception of the Sacraments, and through programs of continuing religious education, prepare them to take an active role in the Church community. By developing faith in God’s providence, in the love of Jesus Christ for His children and in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the teachers try to foster within each student a positive self-concept, a sense of morality and participation in the Christian community. The Centers, under the auspices of the H.I.S., are staffed by volunteer teachers and aides supported by the Bishop, priests, Deacons of the Diocese of Trenton, members of the society, and the parents and friends of the students. Primary funding is provided by the Knights of Columbus with help from the H.I.S. and the contributions of concerned individuals and organizations. Classes at St. Mark’s meet September through May on Saturdays from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM.
- Holy Name Society The St. Mark’s Holy Name Society is a branch of a world Confraternity of the Catholic Church founded to publicly proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Here at St. Mark’s we try to fulfill the aims of the society in a variety of spiritual and social activities. We meet once a month on the first Wednesday, except for July and August. Interesting speakers are engaged for these 7:30 PM meetings. Following the business portion of the meeting, we have refreshments and fellowship. Our society sponsors days of recollection, retreats, holy hours and we recite a decade of the rosary as a group for deceased members and parishioners. We sponsor a variety of social activities for the parish with most proceeds going to local charities.
- Knights of Columbus The Rev. John F. Welsh Council 3231 is a family oriented fraternal organization that proudly serves the parishes of St. Mark’s and St. Denis. They are part of a growing proactive force of the Catholic Church with over 66,000 members in NJ. Council 3231 is over 50 years old and supports such organizations as the Holy Innocent, Friends of Special Children, Madonna House and Birthright. Based on the principles of Unity, Charity, Fraternity and Patriotism you will find Knights quietly involved in virtually every church ministry. Meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday at St. Denis and the 4th Wednesday at St. Mark’s. The Rite to Eucharistic Devotion for the Unborn, which includes a rosary to Our Lady of Guadalupe, is held monthly at St. Mark’s. Annual dues are $40.00. You must be 18 years old and practicing Catholic to be a member. Contact Bernard Ricciardi, 732-528-9259 for more information.
- Lector (see Reader)
- Music Ministry
- Nurse Ministry We are a group of nurses and clerical volunteers whose mission it is to serve our parish community through our varied skills, gifts and experiences. The program is rooted in the mission of the Church to spread the Kingdom of God and to continue Christ’s work of healing, recognizing God’s desire that we achieve abundant life, and reaffirming and supporting the journey to wholeness. Our goal is to respond to those in our community in need of healing. We support parishioners who are recovering from illness or surgery; help in coping with chronic illness; prayers of healing; help individuals and their families find community resources; continue to screen blood pressure and monitor blood pressure on a regular basis.
- Pastoral Council -The Pastoral Council is conceived as a community of believers in faith and service, whose primary pastoral mission is to help the Pastor, to lead, to inspire and to guide our parish community in order to maximize our spiritual formation in the teachings of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Parish Council serves as an advisory body to our Pastor by discussing issues of general concern, by providing parishioner feedback, by offering comments and suggestions, by helping to schedule social events, by coordinating the ministries in the church and by assisting the Pastor, as he requests. Within these roles the Parish Council examines every issue with three major objectives: to help parishioners, to draw people closer to God and the Church and to encourage parishioners to participate in parish events and in at least one of our many ministries. For further information, please contact Fred Buonocore, Chairperson of the Parish Council at 732.449.6364 x 116.
- Parish Office Support We provide assistance to the laity of the parish and St. Mark’s ministries and perform the parish’s administrative and bookkeeping responsibilities. We offer information and coordinate various programs within the Church and support the clergy as required.
- Reader (Lector) The role of the Reader* is to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, with the exception of the Gospel. The Lectionary and Book of Gospels are the only books to be used in proclamation of the Word. The Scripture readings are always proclaimed from the ambo and the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful from the cantor’s podium. All other announcements are also to be made from the cantor’s podium. Readers should prayerfully prepare before arriving for Mass by reading the assigned Scripture passages. Be prepared to proclaim the Word with conviction and passion. To assist in your preparation, our ministry provides a workbook that gives insights and pronunciations needed to clearly proclaim the Word of God. Please use this resource appropriately in your preparation for Saturday evening on Sunday Mass and special liturgy readings. Readers should speak at a moderate pace so the Word will be easily understood. At the end of the reading, pause before saying “The Word of the Lord.”
- Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Adults who wish to join the Catholic Church or baptized Catholics who have not celebrated their Confirmation or Eucharist are invited to participate in a process which dates back to the First century and involves a journey of several stages. It begins with an Inquiry Period during which we come together weekly in a friendly setting to discuss the Catholic faith and to respond to questions. If the seekers wish to continue to the next level, they will experience the Rite of Welcome at a Sunday Mass when they promise to take instruction in the Catholic faith and to live a Christian life. During this period they will study the Christian Scriptures, participate in the life of the Church through prayer and service as they move toward full commitment to Jesus Christ and the Church. Other Rites will mark progress toward reception of the Initiation Sacraments which usually takes place at the Easter Vigil Liturgy.
- Rosary Makers This ministry makes rosary beads requested from missionaries in foreign lands, also hospitals, churches, Armed Services and schools in the United States. The group meets on the last Monday of each month at 1:00 PM. All materials and instructions are provided at each meeting. The assembly of the rosaries is done by our makers at their leisure at home. We urgently need more volunteers to make and ship rosaries.
- Social Concerns The sole purpose of Social Concerns is to help those in need. Since 1986 the committee has endeavored to reach out to the poor, the lonely, the hungry, the elderly and the bereaved. Sound familiar? Yes! We try to live out the gospel message as your emissaries. We are to be a mediating force connecting the special needs of an individual with the resources of society at large and to be an instrument through which aid, in whatever form, is distributed to those who fall between the cracks of social living. The people we help are the friends and neighbors in our immediate community. There are, as well, those from areas close by who appeal to us for help during difficult times. They are all the family of God, and dedicated volunteers tend to their needs as well as they are able. The committee meets from September to June on the second Tuesday of the month in Father Child’s Hall. The mission, though, is year round. Join us anytime!
- Spanish Ministry From a humble encounter with a poor Mexican family several years ago our Spanish outreach ministry has grown to over 150 families. Each Sunday the community gathers to celebrate Mass at 5pm followed by an extensive social and educational program in the church basement. Pizza and soda are served followed by religious education and ESL classes. Household and clothing items are set out for those in need and information and assistance is available for medical, dental, housing, employment and immigration. Weekdays a homework club is available at Manasquan Elementary school to provide educational support and organized games and sports until 5 PM. Throughout July, children participate in a morning program developed to meet academic and recreational needs. The adults of the community have formed their own music ministry and prayer cenacle which meets weekly. This program works because God is at the center of all activities, everyone is treated equally with respect, confidentiality is honored and trust is at the heart of this community bonding.
- Ushers Ministry Our responsibilities as ushers is to greet parishioners on arrival at all Masses, make sure the church is comfortable by opening and closing the windows, provide seating for all parishioners, take up the collections, distribute parish bulletins at the end of Mass, check pews after Mass for any personal articles left behind, replace missals and hymnals after Mass and secure the church by closing all doors.
The following groups act in advisory and overseeing capacities to the pastor and the parish. Members are invited to join after displaying a serious commitment to the Catholic Church, parish and faithfully serving on a ministry.
- Finance Committee The Finance Committee oversees the finance and accounting responsibilities for the parish. They review all proposals and present them with the appropriate financial analysis to the Pastor. They also develop guidelines for preparing financial reports and information to be presented to the parish and diocese.
- Liturgy Committee The Liturgy Committee prepares the Liturgy for Masses, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas. The committee coordinates with the worship ministries in preparing our liturgical celebrations, which also include First Eucharist, Confirmation, and Parish Missions, etc. They also plan and carry out the decoration of the worship environment in accordance with the liturgical seasons.