PARISH BLOG

Reflections and news from our Pastor and Youth Minister

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

Dear Friends in Christ:


As we continue in this Month of Remembrance I hope many of you have taken the time to visit your loved ones cemetery sites. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, the Vatican has extended the Plenary Indulgence normally obtained from November 1 to 8 to the entire month. The necessary requirements for the Indulgence are: to visit the cemetery, have a spirit detached from sin, go to confession as soon as possible, receive the Eucharist as soon as possible, pray for the pope's intentions, and be united spiritually with all the faithful. By fulfilling these requirements, an indulgence can be obtained for our loved ones who are in Purgatory and get them closer to their entrance to the heavenly kingdom!


Perhaps you have visited our own St. Bridget Cemetery on Higgins Road and noticed some changes? As I announced in May, in the midst of the Pandemic, we had put together a New Cemetery Advisory Committee for St. Bridget Cemetery, a mission of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish. Even during a Pandemic our new committee hit the ground running and began making improvements that were long overdue. I am so grateful to each and every one of them for their tremendous efforts in improving the condition of our parish cemetery and ensuring that it is a comforting and prayerful setting for our parishioners to visit and pray for their loved ones.



Some of the improvements have been very visible from painting the maintenance garage there to installing a wrought iron fence along the roadside in the front. Other improvements have been noticeable but not as visible such as clearing land in the back and behind the maintenance garage, seeding it, and preparing it for future gravesites. They also have plans to repair and replace other sections of the fencing where damage has occurred through the years. And they have been working diligently on the Cemetery Rules and Regulations. This is no small project. A week does not go by when I do not receive an email from someone who wishes to complain about the trinkets, overgrown plantings, or other decorations on some of the headstones.


I realize that implementing new Rules and Regulations is not going to be an easy project but I am confident once they are implemented many of these issues will be resolved. As final drafts are being put together, I wanted to let you know that we will be announcing these Rules and Regulations in the Bulletin, on our Social Media, and through an Ad in the Cheshire Herald. It is my hope that we can start publishing the new Rules and Regulations by January sometime and then have an effective date sometime in March or April as to when we will begin to enforce them so families have time to get their loved ones gravesites within code.


A question about Perpetual Care Funds for the Cemetery. Recently I have been questioned regarding the perpetual care funds and what their purpose is. There is confusion about the idea of perpetual care and it is important to know what is and what is not covered. Perpetual Care Funds are used for the general maintenance, care, and management of the cemetery and grounds. For example, mowing and lawn care during the growing months, and snow clearing and road treatment during the winter months would fall under perpetual care, as would the up-keep of our maintenance garage in the cemetery, fencing, road work, signage and record keeping. What is NOT covered is the upkeep of family monuments or flesh markers, nor the planting, cutting, watering or care of any privately planted shrub, flowers, or ornamental plants. I hope this clears up what is the responsibility of the cemetery and proper use of perpetual funds, and what is the responsibility of the family who owns a plot in the cemetery.


LAST SUNDAY WAS AMAZING! Father Federico and I were very ex-cited about the special opportunity we were offering our parishioners to come and receive Holy Communion. Even a couple hours before we were talking with Tony, our Sacristan, and trying to figure out how many would come and guessing of course. We decided to consecrate a few hundred hosts thinking well maybe we will get a good crowd. It was even said that even if only a few come who really de-sired to receive the Eucharist then the effort would be worth it. WOW were we blown away when we had about 150 cars come through! Some had only one or two people in them, others had whole families and multi-generations. Some people were crying, others were almost speechless. Some were vocal about their appreciation, others were visibly touched by the whole experience. We were so touched too. The whole experience and the looks on our people’s faces as they came through just made all the planning and effort so worth it.


WE WILL BE DOING IT AGAIN! STAY TUNED!!!


Happiest Congratulations...go to Meghan C., age 6, from our parish family whose artwork has been chosen as this year’s parish Christmas card. It is well done! It is bright and colorful and a wonderful expression from one of our young artists of the birth of Jesus Christ. Expect to see one in your mail-box this coming Christmas! Congratulations Meghan! We hope you spend your Amazon Gift Card on something you can enjoy! A special word of gratitude to you and the many others from our school and parish families who contributed artwork for consideration. We are blessed with so many young artists!


JOIN ME ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30th AT 7PM for a short video and discussion on the life of Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney! As a parish priest and as the State Chaplain of the Knights of Co-lumbus, I am very excited to welcome you to join me in viewing a short video on the life of Father Michael McGivney: An American Blessed. This powerful documentary highlights Father McGivney’s inspiring example of fraternal charity, evangelization, and empowerment of the laity, from his humble beginnings as the son of Irish immigrants to his founding of the Knights of Columbus. The video also explores the heartwarming story of Michael McGivney Schachle, the child whose healing is attributed to the inter-cession of Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney.


DUE TO COVID PHASE 2.1 regulations, we are limited to the first 25 people to sign-up, so sign-up today through the parish web-site. CALLING ALL PARISHIONERS TO CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING AT MASS!!! As you are aware, with COVID and the rules surrounding our re-opening, we are in need of volunteers at EVERY Mass to check people in, sanitize the pews following Mass, and assist in other small tasks associated with our opening. We have a core group of people who volunteer frequently and for that I am most grateful. But as this pandemic continues I realize we need more volunteers to lighten the load. Most especially as we approach Christmas and prepare to make plans for Christmas Eve Masses and Christmas Day Masses, we will need additional volunteers. Please consider helping out! Email Jim Mitchell at Jim@mydglm.com and let him know what times work for your schedule. Thank you for considering helping your parish family through this time of pandemic.


Finally, I must make a comment on the release this past week of a report from the Vatican regarding Theodore McCarrick. What another tragic and sad occasion for the Catholic Church and a stark re-minder of the importance of ensuring we ALL do our part to offer safe environments for our people. I am sure this document over 400 pages in total is a very painful reminder to the many victims of clerical sexual abuse. I have no doubt that this has retriggered their horrific experiences. This is a very clear indicator that past practices and policies failed to ensure the safety of God’s children. It also underscores the painful realization that some in the Church did what they could to ignore problems they knew existed. I hope and pray that this report reminds us all that in a sinful world each of us has a role to play in protecting and safe-guarding the people entrusted to our care. Let us ALL pledge to pray for the victims, protect the children and vulnerable of today, and continue to seek to bring healing to the Church we all love.


As always, remember to pray and ask God’s blessings upon our family of faith 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 united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.




"Hope is a dangerous thing, my friend, it can kill a man..."

"Hope is a good thing, maybe even the best of things. And good things never die."


If you don't recognize this quote, you need to stop reading this article and go watch The Shawshank Redemption right now. Trust me, you won't regret it. It's a beautifully told tale of redemption (go figure), friendship, and hope. Seriously, it's one of the 10 best movies ever made. Tell your dad you want to watch it, he'll be thrilled!


In the scene in question, Morgan Freeman's Otis "Red" Redding is speaking to Tim Robbins' Andy Dufresne in the first line. They're both inmates at Shawshank State Prison, and Red is suggesting to Andy that the hope of release or escape will drive a man mad, as it's immensely unlikely to come true. Andy disagrees.


Andy, in a mildly cheesy but still moving turn of phrase, argues that "hope is a good thing, maybe even the best of things. And good things never die." He's spot on about hope here; it is a good thing, perhaps the best of things. Hope keeps us going. Hope is the manifestation of our belief that God is in control and will use all things for His purposes.


Perhaps the most prolific writer of all time on this subject is Saint Paul. I want to draw your attention to two of his best writings on hope. Firstly, from his magnum opus: the Letter to the Romans. "We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)."


This is why we hope. We hope because we, as Christians, know that God is in control. Jesus has, in fact, taken the wheel. All things do indeed work for good for those who love God. For those who are called. Even if you don't consider yourself a Catholic, you're reading this for some reason! In some small way, you're being called.


The other passage I want to draw your attention to is the most prolific reading at weddings (and likely always will be): 1 Corinthians. This is the "Love is patient, love is kind" reading. In 1 Corinthians 13:13, St. Paul ends the passage by saying, "So faith, hope, love remain, these three." I believe that he's saying that all we need to live a joyful, Christ-centered life is these three things.


Alright, I've been talking about hope for a while without telling you why. So, why? Why bring this up now? Well, if it ain't obvious, allow me to clue you in. There's a lot of reasons that hope might be hard to come by right now. We are seeing a big surge of Covid cases, for starters. Some schools are moving to short-term virtual learning, and that's scary!


On top of this, there's the fallout from the election. While most major news outlets have projected a winner, we're facing a likely lengthy process of court challenges and discussions about alleged voter fraud and the like. Again, that's scary! This has been a contentious election, and the fact that it may drag out even longer is not a happy thought.


Clearly, there are reasons that some of us may be tempted to lose hope. That's okay. Temptation is a part of all of our lives. As I said in a previous blog post, the devil loves times of strife and difficulty because it's when we're at our weakest. And he's really good at his job of tempting us to despair. But, as I've also said before, God is infinitely better at His job.


Hope is not something we should forsake during times like these. On the contrary, hope is what allows us to weather these storms! Without hope, all is lost. Without hope, we are just like Red from The Shawshank Redemption. We become empty, hollow shells of ourselves. Even worse, we can even discourage others from hope like Red does with Andy.


Hope is a dangerous thing, but not to everyone. Hope is dangerous to those who sow fear and distress. Hope is dangerous to the naysayers, the rabble rousers, and those who want us to believe that the world and those who inhabit it are not fundamentally good. Yes, hope is dangerous. But it's dangerous like the Cross.


One of the reasons that the Jewish authorities wanted Jesus crucified was that He undermined their authority. If there's someone here who can heal the sick with a word, command nature itself, and forgive sins, what do the people need us Pharisees for, right? Jesus is the physical, incarnate embodiment of hope.


And so they crucified Him, and everyone thought that was the end. We, of course, know that it was not. The Cross, seemingly the darkest moment the followers of Christ could have imagined, worked for good for those who loved God and were called according to His purpose. Sounds like Saint Paul knew what he was talking about!

And so, even in these dark times, let us not lose hope. Let us remember that all of these things, no matter how terrible they may seem, are working together for the good of those who love God (that's us, hopefully). I don't know how. My guess is you don't either. But neither did those at the foot of the Cross. Look how it worked out for them! In my book, that's good company to be in.


Continue to pray for unity and peace in our country, no matter who you voted for. Remember that humble victory and charitable defeat are good ideals to strive for. Also, stay safe out there with these rising virus cases. Take proper precautions, and be charitable to each other. We will come out of this storm. You have God's Word on that.


God bless you,


Regis

Dear Friends in Christ:

Don’t forget this weekend, on Sunday from 2-3PM, we are offering an opportunity for our parishioners who have yet to return to “in-person” Mass to come by and receive Holy Communion without even leaving your car!


So many of our beloved parishioners have been joining us “virtually” for Sunday Mass since the shutdown all the way back in March. I have spoken to many of them, either by phone or written communication, and have heard directly how they miss receiving the Eucharist! We have been talking about what we could do to help meet this need while at the same time not requiring people to come into the church building with others present at the same time…and we have come up with a plan that has me super excited!


It is as safe as we can possibly make it. You don’t even need to leave the car! Drive in and follow the signs. These signs will guide you through some preparation prayers, then to a station where Father Federico and I will be there one on each side of the car, roll down the windows and receive the Holy Eucharist, then pull forward to do your prayer of thanksgiving and be on your way.


PLEASE COME BY AND RECEIVE JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST!


CONNECTICUT RETURNS TO PHASE 2…well now known as Phase 2.1…this past week we received word that the Governor has decided to revert back to the restrictions of Phase 2 once again. What does this mean for us? It means, beginning this past Friday, November 6th, our capacity is back down to 50% capacity or 100, whichever is less. For us that means we can only have 100 people at every Mass! This is disappointing news to say the least. And as I said the weekend in early September when I announced an additional Mass, as with all COVID-19 related things are constantly changing and we will continue to adjust based on the guidelines issued from the State and from the Archdiocese.


Therefore, the pews have already been reconfigured to provide that extra spacing we had early on, though it is more than the required amount. But since we cannot have more than 100 people, providing that extra spacing between pews puts a little extra distance between people and, hopefully, helps us all be extra cautious and safe.


Once again, I wish to publicly thank, on your behalf, Lynn Krieg and Jim Mitchell, Co-Chairs of our Parish Pastoral Council for all that they have been doing to assist us in this process of reopening! They are on top of things and are always there to lend advice, help in planning, assist in ensuring a safe environment for those who come to Mass and coordinate all our awesome volunteers at each Mass. We simply could not be doing what we are doing without their phenomenal assistance.


NOW MORE THAN EVER the importance of signing up for Mass is evident. We ask all who attend Mass here at Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish, either weekday or weekend, to continue to make a reservation online through our SignUpGenius available through our website at www.stbridgetcheshire.org, or by calling the parish office to have one of our staff members assist you in signing up in advance, enter by the front door or south door entrances only to check in, and that while in church PLEASE REMEMBER masks must be worn at all times.


Also, just by way of reminder when receiving the host in the hand, please place one hand on top of the other, keeping the palm fully open, and waiting for the priest or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion to place the host in your hand before moving. Please do not cup your hand, try to take the host between your fingers from the minister, or move quickly. We all have to do our part to avoid contact with the communion minister for the safety of all.


Donations for the collections may continue to be put in the corresponding offering baskets on the communion rail (they are covered with a red cloth) or by using our online giving portal, available on the parish website at www.stbridgetcheshire.org.


Again, I personally thank you all for your flexibility and patience as we navigate these uncharted waters of the pandemic. It is a constantly changing situation and we will get through this together as long as we all continue to be patient and understanding.


Let us continue to pray for all those affected by COVID, and those working diligently for treatments, vaccines, and other remedies-physical, financial and emotional-that one day soon we can return to our regular worship practices and daily routines. Finally, if you or someone you know is in need of any assistance during this time, please contact me to let me know so that we may reach out to them with whatever help we may be able to provide. May God continue to bless us all!


PLEASE NOTE…Archbishop Blair has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass… I know that relieves some stress for those among us who are worried about returning to Mass “in-person” during these times due to underlying health conditions and/or nervousness. With notice of this change back to Phase 2.1, we also received word from the Archbishop’s Office that said:


“Dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is hereby extended for all the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Hartford through Tuesday, February 16, 2021, which is the eve of Ash Wednesday.”


LAST WEEKEND WE CELEBRATED WITH GREAT JOY THE BEATIFICATION OF MICHAEL J. MCGIVNEY. What a great blessing to the local church to have one of our own, born and raised in Waterbury, Connecticut, declared a Blessed!


As I said in my homily last weekend on the Solemnity of All Saints, nobody is born a saint. That is the simple and reassuring fact of the Solemnity of All Saints, and it shows us, or better reminds us, that we can all become saints!


Think about it someone born 10 miles from here is officially declared a Blessed, and we pray, please God, one day a Saint. He was a simple parish priest of our Archdiocese. He never tired in serving the people entrusted to his care with great devotion and love and NOW he is a Blessed. It could happen for any one of us!


The Saints were just like us—ordinary men and women who dared to live in an extraordinary way in faithfulness to the Gospel. Flesh and blood, strength and weakness. They were people of appetites and longings, ambitions and disappointments. They were simple sinners just like the rest of us. They have struggled with sin and temptation, they’ve walked the journey toward holiness, sometimes stumbling, sometimes falling. The difference between a saint and the rest of us is that saints get up one more time after they fall. They get back up—they move on—they resolve to do better, to be better, to aim higher. The potential is within each of us, and with the help of God’s grace, and the intercession of Blessed Michael J. McGivney, I pray each of us will strive to be a Saint.


Shown above are two more pictures from the amazing weekend…the one on the left is Michael McGivney Schachle who was the baby healed in utero of a life threatening illness known as fetal hydrops diagnosis. Little Michael was with us at the Cathedral for the Beatification and there was not a dry eye in the Cathedral as he handed Cardinal Tobin the relic of Blessed Michael J. McGivney. The picture to the right is of the relic in Saint Mary’s Church in New Haven where Blessed Michael McGivney’s body is enshrined. It was a busy weekend but one filled with many graced moments as one of our own shows us that the path to sainthood is possible even for people born in Connecticut!


The Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Project for the Cheshire Community Food Pantry. I have to say one of my highlights each year as Pastor is seeing our parishioners work together with people of the other houses of worship in Cheshire to serve our brothers and sisters in need for Thanksgiving. I have loved it. I remember the times we gathered here to assembly the boxes in the school gym and gather in prayer in the Church. I remember how after the new pantry was built we moved this to be an on-site event at the Food Pantry and how we still prayed together.


This year, due to the pandemic, the Pantry asked us to collect gift cards for their clients rather than food. After much prayer and consideration, I informed the Pantry that our parish would not participate this year. Before you say, WHAT? Why would you do that? I need you to understand. They are collecting gift cards this weekend and then NEXT WEEKEND we will be kicking off our Annual Advent Giving Tree Program. I did not feel right asking the people of our parish family to do both BACK TO BACK. If you would like to make a donation to the Thanksgiving Meal Project by all means please do but I could not, as your Pastor, ask you one weekend for gift cards for this project knowing that the following weekend we are launching an extensive giving program and requesting from you, once again, help to meet the requests of these families served by the Food Pantry. The Advent Giving Program will be much different than years past and I am hoping, even with this new way of doing it, we will be able to meet the needs of those we serve.


As always, remember to pray and ask God’s blessings upon our family of faith 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 united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.



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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