Reflections and news from our Pastor and Youth Minister

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

HAPPY EASTER! With great joy in my heart I announce to you: Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! This ancient greeting sums up what we celebrate this Easter Sunday: the joy of Christ risen and alive in our midst. This is such amazing news that we actually celebrate this reality for eight full days! Each day in this octave of Easter is an occasion to celebrate the most important event in human history! Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

There is much to be joyful about today!

First, and foremost, Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. He has conquered death forever!

Second, we are able to be together this year to celebrate this central mystery of our faith. One year ago, we were unable to celebrate Easter in-person together in Church due to the emerging coronavirus pandemic. We were not even able to gather with our family and friends as we were so accustomed to doing.

Throughout this time of pandemic so much has taken place that has really changed the world around us. There have been so many losses that people have experienced due to this pandemic.

We think of the numbers of people infected with the virus and the significant number of deaths associated with the virus. We think of their families and friends whose lives were so impacted.

We think also of what we have witnessed throughout our country and world in this past year in terms of tragedies. We think of the various acts of racism we have witnessed, the increase in the level of poverty, the destruction of the family, the riots in the streets, the gun violence across the land, and, of course, the great divisiveness we have all witnessed since the Election in the Fall.

In the midst of all of that we gather, both in-person and virtually, on this Easter Sunday because we are UNITED in FAITH. A faith that calls us together. A faith that reminds us that no matter how dark things can get, a new day is dawning.

After the darkness of Good Friday, the brilliant light of Easter Sunday bursts into the world. Christ has conquered sin and death and opened to us the gates of eternal life!

May this Easter message of hope renew our spirits and help us to see the challenges we face through that lens of Easter, knowing that with the power and love of God, any obstacle can be overcome, any challenge can be met with success.

The challenge for each of us is to face each day, even as we start to emerge from the pandemic slowly but surely, with the hope that Easter gives. Each and every one of us face challenges, whether big or small, whether difficult to handle or not, and in these days perhaps we face more than ever, and yet, the joy and hope we have in the Risen Lord allows us to face these challenges with a different focus. We do not face life with a dim and bleak outlook; rather, we face it with hope! For what we celebrate today, namely Easter, gives us hope!

At the Great Vigil on Holy Saturday night, we hear the Easter Proclamation, Exsultet, which so beautifully describes the Resurrection of Jesus. We hear “the sanctifying power of this night dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.”

Yes! But why? “Because this is the night when Christ broke the prison bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld. This is the night that even now, throughout the world, sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin, and this is the night that leads us to grace and joins us to His holy ones.”

That, my friends, is why the resurrection of Jesus gives us the greatest hope! That is why today Christians throughout the world say with great joy “Alleluia, He is risen!”

This great news is in fact something we celebrate each and every week, not only on Easter Sunday, but every Sunday as we gather to celebrate our faith in Jesus Christ. We celebrate this each week as we read and listen to Sacred Scripture, as we pray for our brothers and sisters in need, as we praise and thank God the Father in the midst of the Church, and ultimately as we offer the bread and wine each week which in His great love for us God changes into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Jesus which strengthens us to carry out our mission to “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” That is why every Sunday is so special and that is why when we gather as God’s family we feel so blessed and renewed for our mission!

May our encounter with the risen Lord on our journey of faith touch us deeply and transform us as He did for His Disciples. May the resurrection lead us to be the best version of ourselves; committed to live out our Baptismal covenant. May we become what St Augustine referred to as an “Easter People,” a people transformed into disciples ready to do all we can with the gifts God has blessed us with to Go, and announce the Gospel of the Lord in the world that so longs for the Good News of Jesus Christ.

NEXT weekend we celebrate, as we do every year on the Sunday following Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope John Paul II declared this Divine Mercy Sunday while he was Pope. This devotion is a popular devotion in the life of the church and perhaps it is part of your own regular prayers. This devotion was initiated through the writings of now Saint Faustina, a young Polish nun, who sought to remind others that God is merciful and forgiving and we too must show mercy and forgiveness. This is what the Church has always taught through scripture and tradition, but her writings call us to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone — especially the greatest sinners. The message of mercy is that God loves us — all of us — no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. As our Gospel this Sunday reminds us nothing could stop the Lord from sharing His mercy and peace with His disciples, not even a locked door. “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” I want that peace, don’t you?

So join us next Sunday at 2:30 PM for the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to conclude the Novena we began on Good Friday. Please join us on our Livestream as well!

There is a Plenary Indulgence attached to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for Divine Mercy Sunday which can be offered for another person or even someone who has died. A Plenary Indulgence is the cancellation of ALL temporal punishment that we owe to God due to our sins! To receive a Plenary Indulgence, you must go to confession, receive holy Communion and pray for the intentions of the pope. That should be done in the days leading up to the feast. Then, on Divine Mercy Sunday, you must “in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus.”

On behalf of myself, Father Federico, Sister Patricia, our deacons, the pastoral staff, and all the parish staff, I want to wish you and your families a blessed Easter. I pray that the Lord will bless each of us with new hope! I pray that each of us will experience an Easter season like never before. I pray this Easter season may be a time of great grace for you and those you love. May the joy and hope that Easter brings into our lives help to quell our fears and strengthen our trust in God and His great love for us. May you experience the presence of the Risen Christ in new and unexpected ways in the weeks to come. Have a blessed Easter and be assured of our love and prayers!

As always, remember to pray for our parish family and ask God’s blessings upon us all in this time of pandemic. With the gracious intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, and Blessed Michael McGivney, and united in the Eucharist, may we be united with one another in prayer and reflect the presence of Jesus to the world! Please pray for me and know that I am praying for you! Continued prayers for you all to know and experience the joy, the peace, and the hope of the Risen Christ! A Happy and Blessed Easter to you and your family!

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Dear Friends in Christ:

TODAY we celebrate PALM SUNDAY albeit a little different than perhaps we had planned. It will not be the normal but we CAN be together! That, in and of itself, provides some sense of normalcy in a year that has been anything but normal. We continue with the masking and the social distancing but being able to be together to celebrate this most holy of weeks is a true gift, especially since we were not able to be together in church this time last year. Please note that today from 10AM until 12Noon parishioners will be outside the South Entrance to distribute Palms to our Virtual Parishioners. Simply drive into the church lot and around the building, and receive your palm staying in your car and be on your way!

TODAY our celebration reminds us that we cannot get to Easter but by the way of Our Lord’s Passion and Cross. This is the week in which we remember and celebrate the foundations of our faith. These are the days of God’s grace and the days in which we are strengthened by the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This week’s liturgies bring out into the open our hope of resurrection, our entrance into Heaven, which, as Christ so clearly revealed, depends not only on His dying and rising, but also on us taking up our own individual crosses and following Him.

These are the days, above any other day of the year, when we are reminded that:

· if there is no cross, then there is no conquering death;

· if there is no suffering, then there is no rejoicing;

· if there is no faithful following in His path, then there is no spending eternity with Him!

Perhaps more than ever we can appreciate these statements. Perhaps the suffering of this past year has opened our hearts and our minds a little bit more to see the fruits that come from our sharing in the passion of Christ.

This is Holy Week when shouts of triumph and joy as we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem quickly change to shouts of “Crucify him.”

We move today into the most solemn week, Holy Week, and prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. We begin this week’s long journey with Christ, aware that each of us was in His mind and heart as He endured His suffering to be the sacrifice that takes away our sins. Through His wounds we are healed. Through His resurrection each of us has the hope and promise of sharing in that new life of the resurrection. The renewal of our Baptismal Promises on Easter Sunday will remind us of our hope of forgiveness and our hope in the resurrection!

We have many choices in life. The most important of these is our decision to accept Jesus Christ. But accepting the Lord means being united to him both in his glory AND in his passion. Accepting the Lord means being united to him in the joyful times of our lives AND through the challenges of our lives such as this pandemic we are in the midst of this very moment. Come! Follow Jesus! May this truly be a holy week for you and your families, and for our parish family as well.

As we approach the holiest week of the year for us as Christians, we look forward to the Paschal Celebrations of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. But how will these take place this year, and what will be different due to precautions being taken in consideration of the coronavirus pandemic?

First, I want to express how humbled and grateful to God I am that we are even able to gather for these celebrations this year. That we can come together, even with some modifications, is much better than where we were last year.

Yes there will be some differences from our pre-pandemic liturgies of holy week. As you are already aware, we will not be able to gather in large numbers as we have in the past for the Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Despite the loosening of some restrictions last week, we must still maintain proper social distancing which means we continue with the capacity of 200 for this week and on Easter Sunday we move to a capacity of 250 which we truly believe we can accommodate while still respecting the need for social distancing.

Everyone wishing to attend the Triduum and Easter celebrations must make a reservation online in advance on our website We likely will not be able to accommodate walk-ins, so please be sure to sign-up early! The Masses have all been added to the registration for Masses link on our website. We will also be opening our Saint Thomas Becket Church for Easter Sunday Masses only! This will allow us to accommodate 100 people in the Church for those two Masses and an additional 30 people in the Father Frisbie Hall. I thank you in advance for your understanding with this.

Some liturgical changes will have to take place too due to the restrictions. On Holy Thursday, we will not be able to celebrate the foot washing ceremony as part of the Mass, and there will be no altar of repose or Eucharistic procession.

On Good Friday, we will have the veneration of the cross, but without touching it or kissing it. We will provide the opportunity for those who wish to venerate the cross to approach as we do during communion in a single file, remaining properly distanced while in line, and then venerating the cross with a profound bow or genuflection.

The Easter Vigil, again to avoid the crowding that can occur with a procession, will begin with everyone seated in church and no outdoor fire or lighting of individual candles during the Service of Light. But we WILL be able to celebrate the Sacraments for those in our Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program so it will still be a beautiful, moving, and meaningful service!

Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday 10:30AM Mass will all be livestreamed for those still not comfortable attending in person.

SOMETHING NEW! Worth a try! One additional feature of the 10:30AM Mass this year will be the opportunity to join us from your car with the use of your car radio. Tune to station 89.5FM and join us for the celebration of Mass and then, at the time of Holy Communion, two Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will come outside behind the Church building. Simply leave your car, and approach the Extraordinary Ministers to receive Holy Communion. Please maintain social distancing as you make your way to receive Holy Communion and please keep your mask on! Finally, please be sure to consume the consecrated hosts while near the Extraordinary Ministers. Do not carry the Lord back to your car with you!

Again, I thank you in advance for your cooperation with these procedures. And as we have been doing already, we will refrain from congregational and choir singing until it is determined it is safe to resume, and everyone in attendance is expected to wear a mask. With these necessary concessions, we will be able to celebrate these special liturgies this year in person, contemplating the Lord’s passion and death, and rejoicing together in his resurrection on Easter Sunday!

Another important message of the liturgies this week is our call to proclaim the message of Easter, He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said. This is a message of Hope for the world. This is a message that must be shared! And shared NOW!

THIS is our role in the Hope and Joy of Easter! We are not simply to walk this week with Jesus through His passion, death, and resurrection, nor are we simply to just celebrate these great mysteries of our faith, but we are called to be moved by them, to be motivated, to be empowered to then go out and find ways to proclaim this Good News to all the world.

We are called to find ways to proclaim that Jesus is NOT found among the dead, nor in an empty tomb! No, Jesus is alive: He is living, He has been raised from the dead, He is among you!

He is everywhere His people are, you will find Him where hope fights despair, where love battles injustice, where compassion dries the tears of the suffering.

Jesus is here in our parish family. He is in each of our parishioners who desire to spread His light in the darkness of our world, who desire to be instruments of His love and mercy in the lives of those around them. He is present in each of us who desire to share in the glory of the Resurrection!

Come and join us this Holy Week! Come join us in person or via Livestream!

FINALLY, PLEASE BE SURE TO PRAY! Utilize this time, as individuals and as families, to pray for an end to the spreading of Coronavirus. We will get through this together! Please keep in your prayers those caring for others throughout this pandemic especially healthcare providers, nurses, doctors, firefighters, police personnel, and EMT’s that the Lord will bless them, protect them from harm, and keep them healthy!

Lastly, a word of gratitude to the Knights of Columbus Santa Fe Council 2978 for helping to organize our Confession and Communion afternoon last Sunday. God gave us a beautiful day to celebrate this opportunity, and their assistance made it a very stress-free and smooth experience for all. We are so grateful to the Knights for their willingness to serve our parish in so many ways, such as this, throughout this time of pandemic.

As always, please 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 Patroness, and Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.Have a Blessed Holy Week!

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Dear Friends in Christ:

DON’T BELIEVE IT…or at least hear it all!!!

I cannot go anywhere without this question, “So, Father, you are finally going to open up fully Friday the 19th, how does that feel?” That would be awesome but it’s NOT TRUE. The Executive Order from the Governor of our State says that as of March 19, 2021, and I quote “capacity limits are eliminated for religious gatherings, providing all other health and safety measures, such as social distancing and face coverings, are observed.” So the Governor is telling everyone that he is no longer restricting those who wish to gather in our church and other houses of worship, but in reality he still is! By requiring social distancing we cannot fully open so there is a limitation of how many we can allow to gather for Mass.

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but those are the facts and, therefore, March 19th doesn’t change anything for us. The bottom line is I am more than content with moving slowly in reopening in order to keep our parishioners and priests safe. Do I miss a full church? Of course! Do I miss seeing everyone gathering together in prayer? Of course I do! Do I miss seeing young families gathering after Mass to talk to one another and build friendships? Of course I do! But I just keep reminding myself that it will come, some day!