Parish Ministries


If you or anyone you know is interested in membership in the Catholic Church, or to complete the Sacraments of initiation please contact the parish office.

INFANT BAPTISM: Parents are to call parish office after the birth of their child, to begin the baptismal preparation program.

SACRAMENT OF HOLY MATRIMONY: Arrangements must be made with a parish priest at least one year before the reception of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

ANOINTING OF THE SICK: Please call the Rectory to have a priest administer this Sacrament to one who is seriously ill. Also, please call the Rectory to have a priest visit you or a sick relative in the hospital.

CONFIRMATION: Confirmation will be conferred in the 10th grade after a two year preparation.

SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS: Contact the Vocations Office of the Archdiocese of Newark at 973-497-4365, or speak to one of the priests or sisters.

Adult Education
Process of Adult on-going formation in the Faith which provides workshops, lectures and study groups.
You could: Look for announcements in the bulletin with sign-up instructions and attend.

Altar Servers
Grammar school aged children (grades 3 and up) serve at Sunday and Holy Day Masses in Church. Training is provided. Adults are welcome to serve at the Sunday, 8:00a.m. Mass.
You could: Join the team!
Contact: Deacon Walter Wiggins at

Baptism Preparation of Parents
Baptism is a special time in the faith life of parents and families. And so the Church asks that parents are prepared for the commitment they are making on behalf of their children by attending a parent meeting.
You could: Join the team – volunteer couples take turns assisting the celebrant and
Pastoral Associate at the meeting and day of Baptism, two or three times per year.
Contact: Sister Mary Selina at

Bereavement Group
We give support to grieving families and attend funeral Masses held at OLS.
You could: Join!
Contact: Mary Jane Tannen at 973-763-3361.

Bible Study
Study and reflect on a specific book of the Bible once a week for one hour and a half. Deepen your knowledge and love of God’s Word.
You could: Come Saturday mornings after the 8:30a.m. Mass with your Bible. All are welcome!

Catechesis for Children: The Religious Education Program at OLS
Our catechetical program is designed to support parents in their role as the primary religious educators of their children. Our goal is to teach the essentials of Christ’s message, communicating the language, tradition, doctrine, heritage, and personalities of the Catholic faith. You could: Volunteer as a catechist, aide, babysitter or office helper. The catechists are dedicated volunteers, who share the Ministry of the Word by offering their time and talents as faith sharers. They are committed to the Church and want to share their faith with young people. They are supported by a Religious Education Office, with orientation sessions, workshops, and resource materials.
Contact: Jennifer Noll or Colleen McDonald at or 973-763-5454 ext. 285

First Reconciliation / First Eucharist
At OLS, preparation of children for these sacraments is a cooperative effort between their parents and pastoral staff. Each candidate’s family is actively involved in a home-based program supplemented with parent meetings, Prayer Services, and a half-day retreat.

Liturgy for Children At special times of the year children volunteer to proclaim God’s Word, as Greeters, Etc. at the 9:30 a.m. Mass. Volunteers help the DRE with this Mass.
You could: Encourage your child to volunteer.
Contact: Jennifer Noll or Colleen McDonald at or 973-763-5454 ext. 285

Children’s Liturgy of the Word Ministry
Serves elementary age children at the 9:30a.m. Mass on the first Sunday of the month. The children leave the adult assembly to listen to and celebrate the day’s Gospel story, rejoining their families and community for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Youth Confirmation Ministry
Open to all high school students in our community. The Youth Group offers a whole range of social, athletic, and spiritual activities. Anyone interested in finding out more about our Youth Group is invited to attend the weekly meeting on Sunday nights from 7:30-9:00p.m. in the lower Church. This meeting provides an opportunity to make new friends while discussing topics of interest in an open and honest atmosphere. Teens who have celebrated Confirmation and who exhibit leadership qualities are asked to consider serving as Junior/Senior Leaders in the Phase I and Phase II Confirmation Program. Leaders meet Wednesday evenings for planning sessions and attend Sunday evenings with high school freshmen and sophomores. These Peer Ministers receive leadership and group dynamic skills training.
You could: Volunteer – young adults are always needed to help and support the Youth Group.
Contact: Christopher Kaiser or Colleen McDonald at

Christian Initiation (RCIA)
The rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the Church’s way for adults who desire to put on the fullness of Christ through Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist and for non-Catholics to become Catholics, and for Catholic adults who have not received their Eucharist and/or Confirmation to prepare for receipt of these sacraments. The RCIA is a process of faith which also involves the witness and support of catechists and sponsors from our parish community.
RCIC: RCIA adapted for children of High School level.
You could: Be a co-catechist every 4/5 weeks.
Contact: Sister Mary Selina at

Collection Counters
These are volunteers who faithfully assume the responsibility of counting and banking the collections of each Lord’s Day and Holy Day.
You could: Volunteer your time.

Ecumenical / Interfaith Relations Committee
The mission of this committee is to foster understanding and cooperation among Catholic, Jewish, and other religious organizations. Help organize and/or participate in Holocaust Observance, Thanksgiving Ecumenical Service, Peace Vigil, and other ecumenical services.
You could: Help organize and/or participate.
Contact: Fr.Richard Pfannenstiel at 973-763-5454

Evangelization Committee
Purpose is to invite non-practicing Catholics to take another look and consider coming Home.
You could: Join the team.
Contact: Deacon Walter Wiggins at

Flower Arranging/Decorators
Committee is responsible for the decorating and floral treatments done in the church for Advent, Christmas, Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday, and other important days during the year. Ordering of all flowers and materials, design, and installation of all decorations is done by this committee.
You could: Become a part of the team. Time Commitment: 2-3 hours
Contact: Dottie Iantosca at
Contact: Parish Office at 973-763-5454


Food Pantry
Established for over thirty years, the Food Pantry is a volunteer-led effort supported by the Church and many individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations from the communities of South Orange and Maplewood. The Pantry is a member of MEND (Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity), a non-profit interfaith support network of 17 food pantries in Essex County.
The Pantry is open every Saturday morning where approximately 125-150 families are provided with a full bag of food as a supplemental enhancement to their food security. Primarily, we give non-perishable foods (low-sugar cereal/oatmeal, pasta, sauce, tuna, canned fruits, vegetables beans, rice, peanut butter, and shelf-stable milk) and fresh breads donated by local shops. We seek to provide the most nutritious food that our budget allows. From time to time, we provide paper products and personal hygiene items.  During the summer and fall, community gardens supply fresh produce. For Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter we provide special items, such as meats or gift cards and holiday items.
Food donations can be dropped off at the Food Pantry in the Lower Church from 7am-4pm Monday through Friday, on Saturdays from 8am-5pm, and on Sundays from 8am-1pm, and left just outside the Pantry door on the little brown desk. If you have a large food donation or a monetary donation, please contact Kate.
In order to ensure our shelves remain full, we rely on a team of dedicated volunteers as well as food, monetary donations, and food drives. Our volunteers shop, transport, and shelve food, monitor food levels and client volume, organize client intake, schedule volunteers, pack food bags, and serve clients. We maintain a social media presence on the FeedSOMAny Facebook page.
You could: Volunteer your time and make food and monetary donations. To learn more about volunteer opportunities and to volunteer, use our Sign Up Genius:
Contact: Kate Cahill at (973.220.8495 or

Giving Tree
Starting in mid-November, and running through mid-December, committee members perform the following tasks: writing gift tags with name, age, gift request (mid- November); setting up the Giving Tree in the church vestibule; putting out written gift tags on the Giving Tree before Sunday Mass (both of these tasks are done the first
Sunday of Advent); and collecting returned gifts after Sunday Mass (third Sunday of Advent). Giving Tree volunteers share in that true Christmas feeling of love, and embody the spirit of our parish community. Parishioners share their Christmas spirit with local children and seniors in need by purchasing the items listed on the gift tags.
You could: Become a committee member (Time Commitment: 2-4 hours once per year). Purchase gifts.

Healing Mass Committee
Once a year plan the Liturgy Celebration with the anointing of the sick. Be of service to those who come to Mass.
You could: Be an usher, help serve the luncheon, be a door greeter, or assist with the celebrant.
Contact: Sister Mary Selina at

Helping Hands
A volunteer program in which parishioners drive seniors to medical appointments whenever there is a need, regardless of age. Deliver flowers to homebound at Christmas and Easter. Time commitment is flexible.
You could: Be a driver for appointments and/or make deliveries at Christmas and Easter.
Contact: or if you need a ride call Jacob Weber at 973-763-6891

Interfaith Network for the Homeless (IHN) of Essex County
An interfaith ministry of volunteers that provide temporary overnight shelter, meals, and assistance to homeless families in Essex County. OLS is a host congregation for 3 weeks during the year. OLS is part of a network of congregations in Essex County that host families, under the direction of staff at the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Essex County headquartered in Montclair, NJ.
You could: Volunteer to: Help setup and breakdown St. Joseph’s Hall as a living space for the week (2 hours on the Sunday families arrive and depart); Prepare meals (time for preparation and delivery); Spend time with families in evenings or on weekends (2 hour time slots on evenings and weekends); Stay overnight with families (8:30p.m. – 7:30a.m.); Daily shopping (time to go to store and deliver items to Church); Do laundry at the end of week (wash 1-2 loads pick-up and delivery at Church) To volunteer sign-up sheets are available in the vestibule of Church several weeks prior to each stay.  Contact Anna Nelson at

Men’s Prayer Breakfast
A group of men who meet every Wednesday morning 6:00- 6:45a.m., to pray and reflect on the following Sunday’s Gospel. There is a sharing of insights and/or experiences on the meaning of the Gospel. This time gives men the opportunity to place their lives in the context of the Gospel message and thus to grow spiritually.
You could: Join!
Contact: Russ Pace 973-763-5454

Ministers of Hospitality (Ushers)
Parishioners who welcome and greet others coming to celebrate the Liturgy. They are the community’s delegated hosts at the Eucharistic Assembly. They are responsible for seating the congregation, guiding them at times of movement, preparing the Offertory procession, taking up the collection, and distributing the church bulletins. This is open to women and men.
You could: Become an usher.
Contact: Fr.Richard Pfannenstiel at 973-763-5454

Music Ministry –  Preston Dibble, Organist and Director of Music – 973-763-5454 x234 or

Parish Choir
The Parish Choir is the principal liturgical choir at the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows for the Sunday, 11:30 AM Mass. An ensemble of 35 to 40 professional and volunteer musicians, the Choir sings approximately 50 services per year, between September and May. The Parish Choir sings music ranging from Gregorian chant to Renaissance polyphony to music of contemporary composers. This choir is open to adults and also to high school choristers. Rehearsals take place on Thursday evenings, from 7:30 – 9:30 PM in the Upper Church
Canticum Novum Singers
The Canticum Novum Singers is the principal liturgical choir at Our Lady of Sorrows for the Sunday, 10:00 AM Mass. An ensemble of 15 to 20 volunteer musicians, the Choir sings approximately 40 services per year from September to May.  The Canticum Novum Singers’ repertoire is drawn principally from the contemporary sounds of today’s religious composers. This choir is open to adults and also to high school choristers. Rehearsals take place on Monday evenings once per month, from 7:00 – 9:00 PM in the Upper Church.
Saint Cecilia Singers
The Saint Cecilia Singers is Our Lady of Sorrows’ program for young singers (3rd through 8th grades). They meet on Thursday afternoon from 3:45 to 5:00 PM for musical instruction and rehearsal, and sing for Sunday Mass (10:00 AM or 11:30 AM) approximately two times a month. The Saint Cecilia Singers also participate in special liturgies and Holy Days.

Parish School Ministry (Pre-K to Grade 8)
Our Lady of Sorrows Parish School is a Catholic community of faith committed to proclaiming and living the Good News of Jesus. We strive for the development of programs of excellence, which prepare the students for life. With a well-integrated curriculum we offer classes in religion, mathematics, reading, science, language arts and social studies, together with computers, foreign language, music, art, gym etc. We have a very fine sports program and a variety of extracurricular activities. OLS is a Middle States Accredited School, from pre-school 3 through grade 8. An aftercare program is provided. For further information call 973-762-5169 or online at

Peace and Justice
OLS Peace Committee was formed in 1983 to study the American Bishops’ Peace Pastoral. Our main purpose is to bring Christ’s message of peace to the signs of our time through prayer, study, and presentation of programs for discussion. The committee participates in hunger relief efforts, including walks to fight hunger and sponsors letter writing campaigns on social justice legislation. Committee members write weekly “Think About It” articles in the Church bulletin, which focus on peace & justice issues, including Catholic Social Teaching. We hope to change weapons into ploughshares.
You could: Join with us in our efforts to make a more peaceful world. Monthly
meeting 1.5 hours on Sunday morning. Help 15-20 minutes after Mass for food pantry
collection once a year and occasional letter writing campaigns.
Contact: Anna Nelson at

Our parish follows the marriage policy for the Archdiocese of Newark, and so an engaged couple meets with a parish priest over a year-long period to prepare for this Sacrament. At the request of the Diocese OLS sponsors a pre-cana workshop once a year, in March.
You could: Volunteer to help to facilitate the day by giving talks in the areas of Communication, Everyday family life, Spirituality, and Sexuality. Team couples must be married at least 5 years.
Contact: Sister Mary Selina at

Proclaimers of the Word of God
Proclaim the Word of God at the Sunday Liturgy and Holy Days of Obligation and read announcements. When a Deacon is not present lead us in our prayer intentions.
You could: Become a proclaimer!
Contact: Sister Mary Selina at

Remembrance Mass Committee
Once a year plan the Liturgy Celebration of a Special Mass of Remembrance celebrated near All Souls Day commemorated on Nov.2nd. We pray for all who died and were buried from our church during the year as well as for all our loved ones who have died.
You could: Be an usher, help serve the coffee and cake, be a door greeter etc.
Contact: Sister Mary Selina at

Respect Life Ministry
Members of the Ministry develop programs to educate the OLS community on the compelling principle of respect for human life. The primary topics are abortion, euthanasia, and care for the chronically or terminally ill, assisted suicide, capital punishment, and warfare. Educational and pastoral aims are carried out through bulletin inserts articles, annual lectures, regular membership mailings detailing recent developments and significant writings, maintenance of Church bookrack materials, and service projects to help women with crisis pregnancies.
You could: Volunteer to help support their projects; donate items as needed.
Contact: Katharine Townsend at, Gina Margolese at or Elena Santoliquido at

Rosary Society
Women meet to pray the Rosary, grow confident in their Faith, and promote Marian Devotion through various projects. Collaborates with Evangelization Committee periodically.
You could: Become a Rosarian!
Contact: Fr.Richard Pfannenstiel (moderator) at 973-763-5454

Prepares for liturgical celebrations.
You could: Volunteer to care for the altar linens.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul
The Society is organized into basic units called “Conferences.” A Conference such as Our Lady of Sorrows Conference normally consists of six to ten parishioner-members, including President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The purpose of the Society is to bear witness to the love of Christ by acting as the group through which the Parish gives economic assistance to individuals and families temporarily unable to meet their current living expenses. Every effort is made to provide this assistance in ways which respect the dignity of the recipient and the confidentiality of the relationship between the recipient and the Society.
You could: Learn more about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on the web.
Contact: Parish office 973-763-5454 if you are in need of assistance.

Stewardship Committee
Meet about 3x a year to plan ways to further the mission of the parish to spread the kingdom of God by encouraging parishioners to share time, talent and treasure as a way of living out our faith.
You could: Be a part of planning the parish commitment program once a year.
Contact: Sister Mary Selina at

Thirteenth of the Month Club
A group dedicated to praying and studying about the Blessed Virgin Mary. We meet on the Saturday closest to the 13th every month in the lower Church at 10:30a.m.
You could: Join and increase your devotion to Mary in group prayer, discussion and support.
Contact: Mary Jane Tannen at 973-763-3361 please leave a message.