PARISH BLOG

Reflections and news from our Pastor and Youth Minister

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

Dear Father: What is the Church’s stance on homosexuality? Are same-sex relationships/marriages allowed? I’ve done some of my own research but I want to hear what you have to say.


Dear friend in Christ,


This is an important question. Thanks for asking it.


The Church does not reduce people to their sexual preferences. The world reduces people to their sexual preferences. The world labels and categorizes people based on who they are attracted to. This reduces our humanity. The Church never reduces people’s humanity – she always seeks to increase and enlarge our humanity.


Instead, the Church labels people based on their inestimable human dignity. Every human being is made in the image and likeness of God. This is the Church’s stance on homosexuality: people who struggle with same-sex attraction are beloved sons and daughters of the Father.


And because the Church seeks to enlarge and expand people’s humanity, the Church calls all people to chastity and some people to chastity and celibacy.


Chastity is using our sexuality in a holy way. Each of us is a sexual being. Our sexuality is one of the most beautiful and powerful gifts God has given us. The Church asks chastity from all people from every walk of life.


Using our sexuality in a holy way takes place in the context of our unique vocation in life. A marriage between a husband and wife is the only context God designed to create human life. This means that for a married husband and wife, to come together in the sexual act and to be open to new life, sex is holy. Think about that. It increases their humanity and leads them closer to God. On the other hand, to come together sexually outside of a marriage between a man and a woman which is open to life (which is the only way for sex to be holy) leads them further from God. This is true for all people who are not married – including single people, people who identify as gay, priests, and nuns.

Thus, the Church also calls some people to chastity and celibacy. Celibacy is the beautiful and difficult calling to abstain from the good of marriage and the physical expression of our sexuality. Celibate people have been invited by the Lord to live lives which do not include sexual intimacy but instead are filled and overflowing with other kinds of love and intimacy. Priests and nuns are called to celibacy and choose to embrace it as part of their vocations. The Church also calls single people and people who struggle with same-sex attraction to celibacy. Those who are celibate do not cease to be sexual beings nor do they repress their sexuality; instead, with God’s help, they use the beautiful gift of their sexuality in a way that leads to true freedom, inner peace, confidence and deep happiness.


Remember, Jesus was celibate. Celibacy is not natural. It is supernatural.


Being celibate is difficult at times but it is not a life of loneliness. All people get lonely in this life. Being celibate opens up your heart to love in more powerful ways than what society offers.


The world wants you to believe that indulging in sexual pleasure is the ultimate happiness and goal of this life. It is not. Learning to make a total gift of yourself for the glory of God and the salvation of souls is the ultimate goal of this life and that which leads to perfect happiness.


Two organizations that offer support and resources to Catholics who experience same-sex attraction are Eden Invitation and Courage.


Check out the Catechism numbers 2358 and 2359 for more on the official teaching of the Church.

Dear Friends in Christ:


What a prayer! I don't know about you, but today's Gospel contains my most common prayer. I pray it more often than the Our Father. It is the simple prayer, "Lord, help me." I say it in the morning as I think about the coming day. I say it going into difficult situations in ministry and as I am entering meetings I expect to be difficult. And I find myself saying it often throughout the course of the day.


Interestingly enough, the prayer was expressed by a non-Jewish woman - a Canaanite. She lived in the sea coast region, just outside of Israel. When Jesus came into that territory, something about him caused her to place her trust in him - and ask for a favor, the healing of her tormented daughter. She got a negative response at first, twice! First when Jesus “did not say a word in answer to her,” and then when Jesus said “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The disciples even wanted to brush her off, but she did not give up. She kept saying, "Lord, help me."


This beautiful woman gives a lesson in respectful perseverance. She kept asking with faith, "Lord, help me." And Jesus did answer her plea.


If we keep asking like the Canaanite woman, God will answer our prayer. Now, we might not always recognize the answer. God sometimes answers prayers not with a simple answer, but by sending a puzzle. The solution requires every ounce of concentration and patience a person can muster. Do not give up.


The Canaanite woman gives us an example: she knew what she wanted - the healing of her child. She did not get discouraged, even in the face of put downs and negative responses. And she heard from Jesus those wonderful words, "Great is your faith. Let it be done for you as you desire." So, my friends, persevere in your prayer!

Last Tuesday and Wednesday I was privileged to participate in the 138th Annual Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus. As you can imagine Covid 19 caused plans for this yearly celebration and gathering to be quite drastically different than planned. We were supposed to be gathered with thousands of knights and their families in Washington, D.C. That could not happen. So the Supreme Office decided to have the first virtual convention ever in the history of the Order. The Connecticut State Officers and Delegation were privileged to attend in person since it was held in New Haven. We held the meeting portion in the Knights of Columbus Museum and the Masses in the newly renovated Saint Mary Church in New Haven where our Founder, soon to be Blessed, the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney founded the Order. It was quite special.


The Knights of Columbus grew from a small group of men in the basement of Saint Mary’s in New Haven to now over 2 million members worldwide! These men have donated over $187 million dollars to charities in 2019, and over 77 million hours of service! The Knights were originally founded to help the men of his (Father McGivney) parish to grow in their faith, to provide financial security for the widows and orphans of deceased members, and to perform acts of charity! The Knights are based on four guiding principles: Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism.


This year the theme for the Supreme Convention was Knights of Fraternity. It is part of a three year focus on the founding principles of the Order. This theme helps to focus our thoughts on how we Knights are united in faith and charity and exhibit a fraternal concern for others.


As you can imagine coming home Tuesday evening was a bit of a challenge since the Tropical Storm had hit our state that afternoon. A normal 30 minute drive took me over an hour to make it home safely. Roads were closed. Trees were on the ground and the streets everywhere. Detours galore. It was quite scary.


Returning home I learned very quickly we did not have power. I could not believe how bad the storm hit our town. As I was in New Haven there was some heavy rain and some winds but nowhere near the amount of damage I saw in our beloved town. Father Federico, Fenway, and I managed through the next few days, as many of you did, without having the comforts that electricity permits such as lights in the evening, access to computers or television, and of course air conditioning. It was a LONG FIVE DAYS. We persevered and were blessed that just before evening Masses on Saturday our electricity was put back on. Sites such as captured in this photo from down Maple Avenue were a very common scene in Cheshire for days. God bless the linemen who worked so hard to restore power to our homes!

Our Baptism Board is filling up!!! Such a great sign to me as your Pastor is to see the board in our parish office filling up once again with registrations for Baptism. We had done baptisms throughout the pandemic but we are really seeing a quick uptick in people coming now to schedule baptisms. I am so excited to see this part of parish life returning to some normalcy once again.


Baptisms are such special celebrations for the families but also for the parish family. At each baptism parents and godparents make a promise to bring that child up in the practice of the faith and to see that the divine life which God gives that child on the day of their baptism will be kept safe from the poison of sin and always grow stronger in their heart. The Church too makes a promise to help the parents and godparents in their role of being the child’s first educators in the way of faith. We, as a parish family, take our responsibility very seriously as we offer a parish school and our religious education program as a means to assist parents and godparents in helping their children know God and develop a relationship with Him.


I am so excited the numbers of baptisms are, once again, increasing in our parish family! Due to Covid 19, we are only having individual baptisms at this point which makes it even more special and such an intimate experience for the families. Pray for these babies who will be baptized in the coming weeks and for their families at this most important time.


With the power outage we also lost one of our air conditioners for the rectory. After the power returned it quickly became evident that one of our air conditioning units had seen its day. Thank God for F.F. Hitchcock’s quick response and phenomenal service to our parish! I cannot thank them enough for evaluating the unit which was over 30 years old and then replacing it so quickly. We certainly got our money’s worth with that old unit and hope we will with the new one as well. I know the women in the office who were most affected are most grateful as well.



Finally a word of gratitude to the men who came to assist Father Federico and myself in moving the furniture from our school classrooms onto the tractor trailer for the coming weeks or months. Due to Covid 19, we are limited as to what can occupy the space in our classrooms and so there was a great need to move A LOT of furniture from the school onto the tractor trailer. It was quite a project but I am so grateful to the men from our Over 30 Basketball Program, our Knights of Columbus, and parents and parishioners who came to help us out in the heat on Tuesday evening. We were also lucky to be assisted by three of the seminarians from the Legion of Christ College on Oak Avenue. With the number of people we had we were able to complete the whole project in just over 2 hours! It was quite amazing. Special gratitude to Pace Motor Lines, Inc., for the use of their trailer as we deal with these unprecedented times. Heartfelt gratitude to all the men who came to our aid and made this project so efficient!


As always, remember to pray for vocations, pray for our young people, pray for our parish families and ask God’s blessings as we strive to 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 Patroness, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.



Do you know that feeling of being tired in the middle of the day, of not wanting to do anything, of avoiding our spiritual and secular responsibilities? That’s called “acedia” otherwise known as the Noonday Devil. The Church has some practical tips for how to beat it.

  • Acedia comes from a Greek word which means “lack of care.” It’s when we are drained of our energy and are especially vulnerable to temptation and despair.

  • Acedia is more than laziness. Procrastination is not doing nothing, it’s doing everything except the one thing God wants us to do at that moment.

  • Saint Thomas Aquinas says of acedia: “we hate to be alone and quiet, and find innumerable ways to distract ourselves.”

  • Acedia causes us to become disgusted with spiritual things and desire the pleasures and comforts the world offers.

Here are some practical ways to fight Acedia:

  1. Make frequent acts of the will. This means doing things because we know we should rather than because we want to. The will is what makes us human. When we do things which we don’t really want to do (like exercising or taking medicine) we become more human and more resistant to vices like Acedia.

  2. Memento Mori: ‘remember your death.’ Each of us will die someday. When we meditate on this, the things which trouble us (or the things we are avoiding because of Acedia) become smaller and more manageable when we compare them with eternity.

  3. Move! The Noonday Devil wants us to lay down and languish and feel bad for ourselves. Motion creates emotion! Get up and do one thing.

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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St. Bridget School

203-272-5860

171 Main Street

Cheshire, CT

www.stbridgetschool.org

© 2018 by Communications for St. Bridget of Sweden Parish