PARISH BLOG

Reflections and news from our Pastor and Youth Minister

to help you stay connected and go deeper in your faith.



Disclaimer right from the start, I am partially ripping this week's blog post off from a homily I heard this weekend, because it was just so darn good (thank you, Father). This weekend's Gospel was perfectly timed. Do you ever feel that way? Every once in a while, we hear the Sunday Gospel and think, "wow, this is just so perfect for what I'm/we're experiencing right now."


It's almost as if someone planned it that way! God often uses our liturgical calendar to bring us just the right message at just the right time. The Gospel from this past Sunday (that of the corporal works of mercy and "the least of these," if you zoned out) is just spot-on for us today.


Why is it so relevant? There's a number of reasons. First and foremost, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It will (and should) look different this year. We all need to make our own differential risk assessments about whom we should celebrate with and where we should celebrate.


It stinks, and it's hard, but we need to make some hard choices right now. Either way you slice it, Thanksgiving is not far away! It's a special holiday for us, both as Americans and Catholics (and football fans). It symbolizes gratitude, family, and togetherness. In short, it's a celebration of much of what makes life worth living.


And that's not even touching on the FOOD! Thanksgiving food is, in a word, impeccable. It's strange that we have so much love for dishes that many of us only eat once a year (seriously, how often do you have stuffing and cranberry sauce outside the month of November?), but it's also comforting. There's something reassuring about knowing that, once a year, we can dig into these special foods.


Don't believe me? Just look at the Internet. One of my favorite memes that makes the rounds every Thanksgiving is the remix of Shirley Caesar, a gospel singer and Protestant minister, singing about "beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes," etc.


It's generally referenced as the answer to the question, "what are you having for Thanksgiving?" I can't do it justice through text, so I'll just link it here. It's a jam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB9FrK2jMs4


Okay, so we've established that Thanksgiving is the bomb, but that doesn't really tie into the Gospel specifically. What does tie in is another Thanksgiving staple: charity. Thanksgiving is a big time of year for various charities, and requests for food, clothing, and financial donations often increase each November.


Charity is a big part of Thanksgiving for Catholics, as it should be. Because charity is a form of mercy, the exact thing that Jesus calls us to in this past weekend's Gospel. We are called to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the oppressed, and much more.


Let's be clear about this. These are not "nice things" for Christians to do every once in a while. Nope, nope, and nope again. These works of mercy are our DUTY as followers of the Lord. In fact, Jesus does not mince words when He tells us how important these precepts are.


In fact, He even goes so far as to assert that these are the criteria that determine whether or not we share in eternal life with Him in heaven. OOF! Why such importance? Why is our treatment of the poor and disadvantaged given such a prominent place in our spiritual life?


Jesus reveals this to us, too. "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." That is powerful language, right there. Jesus tells us that we shouldn't just help the poor because it's the right thing to do, but because the Lord Himself lives in them.


Jesus reaffirms the dignity of each human person, especially the "least of these." We of course think of the poor, the homeless, and the disadvantaged here. But there are others, too. What about the misinformed? The boorish? The uncharitable?


I've written whole posts about this recently, so I won't go into any greater detail, but I am 100% sure that Christ would have us extend mercy to those we disagree with (especially politically) as well.


And so, as we move into Thanksgiving and its trappings, let's not think of charity as giving to "the least of these." Right now, especially this year, let's think of it as giving to Jesus Himself. Because, in the end, that's what we're really doing. Do your duty as a Christian!


Buy Jesus a meal. Donate a coat to Him. Pray for Him if you see Him on the streets. Be kind to Him. Speak charitably to Him. Above all, love Him in whomever He appears in your life. I pray that when our earthly time comes to and end, we will all receive the reward that Jesus promised to those who take His words to heart.


"Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world."


May God bless you, and Happy Thanksgiving!


Regis

Dear Friends in Christ:

A Blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family! This coming Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving Day! I think it is safe to say that this will be a Thanksgiving like never before! We celebrate this Thanksgiving in the midst of a worldwide pandemic with cases, unfortunately, rising in number day after day. We have all been advised by the State authorities and local health departments to reconsider any large gatherings, even with family, this year and instead make provisions for smaller gatherings. Sadly it is another special day taken away by the COVID 19 pandemic, or is it?


You see I love Thanksgiving! I love the fact that on this day families and friends “normally” come together around a table bursting with delicious food, sharing memories and stories of past traditions and family members which bring laughter and tears, and simply enjoy being together! I do want to make a note if this is your first Thanksgiving after the loss of a loved one, please know of my special prayers for you on this coming Thanksgiving Day. May the God of peace and comfort enfold you in His embrace.


Thanksgiving Day has always been a special day for me. I have shared this in the past! I have such amazing memories of family gatherings, family hikes, town football games, family basketball games at the local schoolyard or touch football in grandma’s backyard. More recently I have enjoyed putting on Thanksgiving Dinner for my parents and other family and friends. The past Thanksgiving 2019 was the last time I was with my brother and his family from California. All plans for any future encounters are on hold indefinitely due to the Pandemic. I even, sadly, missed my niece Piper’s First Holy Communion due to the travel restrictions at the time. I am going to miss having my family around the table this year but will be connected with all of them in my thoughts and in my prayers. I encourage everyone to be smart and make some sacrifices in order to stop the spread of this virus. It is a sacrifice but it is a sacrifice with the health and safety of others at the heart of it. Don’t we all want that?


Someone asked me the other day if the Church was going to encourage people to attend Mass on Thanksgiving Day! I said of course we always encourage people to attend on Thanksgiving Day but this year we will be limited to 100 people.


As I was speaking with this parishioner it dawned on me 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, those who are struggling with this virus, as well as to pray for those in need of support and love. This is one tradition that the pandemic cannot stifle. Even if you cannot attend in-person please consider joining us on Livestream and giving thanks to God!


On Thanksgiving, while a secular holiday in general, we usually hear the Gospel account of the ten lepers who were cured by Jesus, and how only one, a Samaritan, returns to thank Jesus. For us as people of faith it can be the occasion to be mindful of the many blessings God has showered upon us and offer our gratitude to Him. So often, myself included, we can take those blessings for granted like the nine lepers who never return to thank Jesus. During this week, take some time and consider your blessings.

  • How has the Lord been active in your life lately?

  • What have you been given that you are grateful for?

  • And in this time of pandemic where we all have had life “interrupted” in so many ways, have there been particular blessings that have come out of it as well?

But it is still Thanksgiving! We can still give thanks! We can still make this a special day of gratitude! Perhaps at your Thanksgiving dinner table, even though somewhat smaller this year, you might take the time before eating to share among yourselves one or two things that you are especially grateful for, perhaps even pandemic blessings. And may these prompt us all to turn to the Lord in prayer to say, “Thank You!”


This Thanksgiving, please know of my gratitude to God for each of you, and, in particular, for your support, care, concern, and love for Father Federico and myself especially during these long and difficult months! 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 Federico who serves among us in these early days of his own priesthood, and for the enthusiasm, 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’s Lights of Hope…on your behalf and mine, I express profound gratitude to our Youth Minister Regis O’Neill 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, albeit socially distant, prepping, setting up, and lighting all day Saturday, and then the next day early in the morning to clean up. I am most grateful to each and every one of them, adults and youth, who worked so diligently to help our parish participate in this worthy yearly town wide event of unity.

Our volunteers put up almost 1,800 luminaries on our two campuses! Above are two pictures from a drone, thanks to Christopher Vignola, of our two campuses and what they 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 coming together and lighting up our town in solidarity and in hope.



I wish to express my profound gratitude to the 707 families who have contributed, as of November 16, 2020, (this bulletin went to print before numbers were received this week) to our Annual Family Commitment, a total of $206,106.50, which reflects the generosity of 22.81% of our families. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to our parish family.


As I am sure you are aware, the added expense of doing projects to your family home can be overwhelming. Now imagine the buildings and the size of the buildings we have to care for. It gets quite costly when major repairs need to be made. And there are always repairs needed, aren’t there. As a family of faith we have a responsibility and an obligation to ensure our facilities are up-to-date and running efficiently. We need EVERY family in our parish family to make a commitment according to their means to help us reach this goal. Thank you for the deep love you have for our parish family.


That said, I also want to express my profound gratitude during this week of Thanksgiving for the phenomenal, tremendous, and humbling generosity of our parishioners THROUGHOUT this time of pandemic. Your financial support of the parish is truly remarkable and, as your Pastor, I am grateful for your continued financial support which enables us not only to pay the utilities but to continue to have our staff here working together to meet the very real needs of our parishioners. Likewise, your generosity has enabled us to develop new programs, both in-person and virtual, as we think outside the box and minister in the midst of a pandemic, above all, to meet the most important needs of our people, their spiritual needs. Thank you for helping us to make that possible by your support and generosity!


As always remember to pray for our parish family and ask God’s blessings as we build His kingdom here even during a pandemic. 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 Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.




· In 1925, Pope Pius XI saw how much secularism and worldly influence was eroding the faith of Catholics and causing darkness in the culture and in the Church.


· He instituted the Feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, to help Catholics understand that no earthly leader, no institution, no government, no political party, no social movement and no worldly business can bring peace and justice on earth. Only Jesus can.

o This feast is a reminder that Jesus has absolute dominion and authority over the events of the world.

o Everything that happens does so because He causes it or permits it.

o No leader or government on earth has this kind of power.


· The Pope writes: “the manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations.”


· During this tumultuous time in our country and in our world, we should remember the origin of this great feast and Who holds the real power.


To read Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Quas Primas establishing the feast, click here:

http://www.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_11121925_quas-primas.html

ABOUT US

Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish is a Catholic community in the heart of Cheshire. Together we can discover your path to a deeper, more fulfilling spiritual life.

Saturday Vigil Masses:

4PM St. Bridget Church

5PM St. Thomas Becket Church

Sunday Masses:

7:30AM St. Bridget Church

9AM St. Bridget Church

10AM St. Thomas Becket Church

11AM St. Bridget Church

Confession: Saturday 3PM St. Bridget Church

ADDRESS

203-272-3531

 

Parish Office

175 Main Street

Cheshire, CT 06410

North Campus

St. Bridget Church

175 Main Street 

Cheshire, CT 06410

South Campus

St. Thomas Becket Church

435 North Brooksvale Road

Cheshire, CT 06410

 

rectory@stbridgetcheshire.org

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© 2018 by Communications for St. Bridget of Sweden Parish