From the desk of Father Jeffrey V. Romans
Dear Friends in Christ:
A Blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family! This coming Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving Day! Families and friends will gather around tables bursting with good food, sharing stories and memories which are bound to bring some laughs and perhaps some tears at the empty seat where one of our loved ones sat before they passed away. If this is your first Thanksgiving since the loss of a loved one know I am keeping you in my prayers in a special way on Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving Day has always been a special day for me. My earliest childhood memories bring me to an early morning hike with my Uncle Ken and then to my paternal grandmother’s house for an afternoon and evening of food, games, sports, and fun with my cousins. As I grew older, the morning hike was replaced with attending the football game in Bristol between the two high schools with friends and then to Aunt Helen’s house (she took over at the same home after my grandmother died). Then as my cousins began having their own families and began splitting their holidays between our family and their in-laws, Thanksgiving Day became a day at my childhood home with my parents, siblings, and friends. More recently, since coming to Cheshire and my brother living in California, I have taken on the task of hosting Thanksgiving and have had my parents and some close friends for a delicious meal (if I do say so myself) and a relaxing afternoon/evening of friendship by the fireplace.
It was brought to my attention that some Catholics wonder why the Church does not have a day set aside in our liturgical calendar for giving thanks. The reason this is true is that every Mass, every celebration of the Eucharist, is an offering of thanks and praise to God for all his wonderful works. So why not begin Thanksgiving Day by coming to Mass at 9am and giving thanks to God at the altar. There is no better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than to come to Mass and offer our gratitude to God for all the many blessings He has given to us. Mass also provides us the opportunity to pray for those in need. We remember those in need of the basic necessities of life, as well as to pray for those in need of support and love.
Thanksgiving is also a time of year in which people, in great number, not only pray for those in need but also do something about it. We are called to help one another after the command of Jesus in the Gospels that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Look around and see where you might have something to contribute, be it an extra coat, a box of groceries for the Cheshire Community Food Pantry, or even time helping an elderly neighbor rake the leaves and get ready for the winter. No action on your part is too small when the needs are so great. A special word of gratitude to all of you for your generosity to the Cheshire Interfaith Thanksgiving Project…we collected 505 boxes/bags of stuffing, 384 boxes of mashed potatoes, and 149 boxes of pie crust. THANK YOU! Don’t forget you can join us this afternoon at 4PM at the Cheshire Community Food Pantry on Sandbank Road for the Interfaith Prayer Service and the preparing of the Thanksgiving meal boxes for the families in our town served by the Food Pantry.
This Thanksgiving, please know of my gratitude to God for each of you! A day does not go by when I do not thank God for the gift of being your Pastor. I am honored and privileged to serve you. I am also grateful for the gift of Father O’Neill who serves among us in these early days of his own priesthood, and for the enthusiasm, joy, and talents he brings to us. I know we are all most grateful for his presence and ministry. I ask God’s blessings upon us all that we may always be found to have a grateful heart ready and willing to serve the Lord.
Cheshire Lights of Hope…on your behalf I express profound gratitude to Katelyn Bowman and Beth Bowman, who coordinated the efforts this year for our parish, and to all those who worked so hard to make the light shine on our parish properties for the Cheshire’s Lights of Hope. They were here prepping, setting up, lighting, and then the next day cleaning up. I am most grateful to each and every one of them.
Our volunteers put up over 1,500 luminaries on our two campuses! Here is a picture from a drone of what the Saint Bridget Campus looked like that night.
The Lights of Hope is always a wonderful sign of the unity of our community as one drives around town and sees so many homes, businesses, and places of worship lit up in solidarity and in hope.
Intergenerational Advent Retreat…Our Pastoral Staff is busy working and planning a retreat which will be held on Thursday, November 30th from 5:30p.m. until 8:00p.m. (We know Advent does not start until Sunday, December 3rd, but part of the evening will include an Advent Wreath making experience and so we are holding it early so you can have the Advent Wreaths in your homes). This is an opportunity for parishioners of all ages to come together for a pasta supper, presentations and activities to reflect on our theme for Advent, which will be Jesus Is Coming!
Are You Ready? There is NO COST for the retreat or meal; however, for those families or individuals who would like to make an Advent Wreath during the evening, there will be a charge of $15 for the kit. We hope you and your family will join us. Registration forms are in all bulletins THIS WEEKEND. Please join us!
As always remember to pray for our parish family and ask God’s blessings as we build His kingdom here. Please know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me, that together through the intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patron, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.