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:


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!


Happy Easter! We want to welcome each and every one of you to our Easter Masses. We welcome those of you who come to worship with us regularly. We welcome those of you who felt a tug on your heart to come back to the Church this Easter. We welcome those who are searching for a parish to call your spiritual home. We welcome those of you who are visiting family and friends and have come here today. We welcome you all! We hope and pray your experience with us this Easter will help you to know that you are invited, welcomed, loved, and respected as part of our parish family! And we pray that you and your family will experience the joy of this wonderful Easter season as we proclaim with joy the good news echoed by followers of Christ throughout the world: Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!



This morning we come together to celebrate the most important event in human history: the resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth. This event, recorded in history, verified by eyewitnesses, confirmed by revelation and testified to by God Himself, is the one on which human destiny stands or falls. His Resurrection from the dead means that death no longer has the last say on our lives. Yes, death is still tragic and it is painful when a loved one dies, but it is no longer final. Jesus found a way to come back from the dead, never to die again. He has found a way to defeat death FOREVER. But more than that, he has promised that what has happened to him will happen to each one of us! Like Jesus, we will die—what the New Testament Apostles writing after the resurrection of Jesus referred to as “sleep”—but we will also rise to a new life that does not end.



There can be no greater promise, no greater source of joy and indescribable pleasure than to know that death has been defeated. Set free from the fear of death, you and I can live lives in service to the God of our salvation by sharing this good news with others!


What we do as a church on this Easter feast is to celebrate life: the life of the Risen Christ, the life of the newly baptized, and the renewal of life that has taken place hopefully within each of us as a result of our Lenten journey. With a focus on life, we also have a new found focus on hope for our future. The resurrection of Jesus reminds each and every one of us that death is not an end for us who believe!


The challenge for each of us is to face each day 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 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 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.



On behalf of myself, Father O’Neill, Sister Patricia, our deacons, the pastoral staff, and all the parish staff, I want to wish you and your families a Blessed Easter. May this Easter Season be a time of great grace for you and those you love, and may you experience the presence of the Risen Christ in new and unexpected ways.


Have you met? Recently I was thinking, “Isn’t it wonderful that we have so many ministries in our parish family and so many people involved in the day to day life of our parish?” Then it dawned on me, we need to do something to get the word out about our ministries and help our parishioners to get to know one another better. To meet these objectives I am pleased to announce that today we begin a new section to our weekly bulletin as we launch Have you met? This is a section of the bulletin which will be dedicated each week to highlight a parishioner who is involved in the life of our parish family. Each week we will include a picture of the person, some personal information about them, and information on the ministry they are highlighting that week. It is my hope that this section will help us get to know one another better and perhaps encourage us to meet one another. Further, I hope this section may help us all learn more about the many ministries we have in our parish family, what they do, and how we might be able to become more involved in the life of our parish as we seek to Go, and announce the Gospel of the Lord.


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 Patroness, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world. A Happy and Blessed Easter to you and your family!!!



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Dear Friends in Christ:


Holy Week has arrived. Our Lenten season draws to a close and reaches its climax in the liturgies that we will be celebrating in these holy days. The spotlight falls fully on the passion, death, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how good, bad or indifferent our Lent has been; no matter if we have kept our Lenten fast; no matter if we have utilized these weeks to truly draw ourselves closer to the Lord through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving; we NOW ponder more deeply the infinite Love of God as we anticipate, celebrate, and contemplate the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord.



We now come to the holiest of weeks in our liturgical calendar ready to contemplate the gift of the Eucharist and the call to service (Holy Thursday—Mass of the Lord’s Supper); ready to contemplate all that the Lord endured so that we may be free from our sins (Good Friday—The Passion of the Lord); and, finally, we gather ready to contemplate the gift of everlasting life (Holy Saturday Night and Easter Sunday—Sunday of the Resurrection). In all of these liturgies we contemplate how it is that God has revealed His great love for us as we journey with Jesus through His Passion, His Death, and His Resurrection.


Celebrating Holy Week is not an obligation, but it is an opportunity! It is a chance to walk with the Church as she walks with the Lord, her Bridegroom, through the most important week in the history of the world. It is a chance to focus our minds on, and seek to intensify our affection for, the most important and timeless of realities.


Without any arm-twisting or conscience-pressing, I encourage you to consider how YOU might make the most of this week. These are some of the darkest and brightest days in the history of the world, rich with soul-sustaining food and life-clarifying vision. Holy Week is an opportunity for us to pause and ponder, to carefully mark each day and not let this greatest of all weeks fly by us like every other.


During these holy days, in particular Holy Saturday night, we also celebrate the Easter Sacraments for those who have been preparing, as adults, to enter into the Catholic faith. Each year I stand and watch this miracle unfold and every year I am moved and inspired by the love and commitment of those who have chosen to become a part of our faith. Their becoming Catholic, whether through the waters of Baptism or by a Profession of Faith connects beautifully to the message of Easter: that you will not find the Lord among the dead, nor will you find Him in an empty tomb. No He is living, He is 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. He is in our parish family, He is among our catechumens, our candidates, and 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, and in those who desire to share in the glory of the Resurrection!


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!


Come and join us as we journey with the Lord. Please take time this week to join us for the special liturgies that will take place, a list of which can be found on page 8 of this bulletin.



Final Penance Opportunities before Easter…we will offer two additional options for the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Easter. This Tuesday from 6-7PM in the classrooms of Saint Thomas Becket Church we will have Father O’Neill, myself, and a few other priests present for the opportunity for individual confession while Julia will be in the Church playing prayerful music. Come spend time with the Lord in prayer and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Also, we will hear confessions beginning at 9:30AM on Saturday morning in St. Bridget Church.

Our Parish Corporal Works of Mercy Update…thank you for your donations last weekend to Shelter the Homeless. We collected $5,402.00, which will be sent to Saint Vincent DePaul Shelter this week! Thank you for your great generosity to helping the homeless. This weekend we are working to Visit the Imprisoned by donating Good News Bibles and/or Pocket Dictionaries. Thank you for all you have done this Lent through these Corporal Works of Mercy to make a difference in the lives of so many.


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 Patroness, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.



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Dear Friends in Christ:


This weekend we are reflecting on the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. As I think about that sacrament I am immediately drawn to thoughts of health institutions calling at the last moments of a person’s life asking for a priest for “Last Rites.” But this Sacrament is so much more than simply last rights. The teaching on this Sacrament used to be that one could only receive this Anointing once, hence the terminology that became popular was “Last Rites.” Now the Church teaches that the sacrament can be received more than once. Let’s look at this sacrament in a bit more detail.



If you have ever been sick, then you know what it is like to want to recover and feel better. If you have ever been so sick that recovery might not be possible, then you know what it is like to want to be at peace. Every moment in the span between both of these situations and conditions is taken into consideration as the Roman Catholic Church offers the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to those who are ill or suffering.


Sickness is a fact of human life and experience. Like death itself, it makes no distinction among persons confronted by its grasp. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Lord Jesus Christ reached out to those who were sick in his day and offered them courage, healing, strength and peace. We read many such occasions in the pages of the Gospels. He likewise invited and directed his Apostles to do the same; a practice that continues in the Roman Catholic Church to the present day through the successors of the Apostles, that is, our bishops, and through our priests who minister to us in the name of our bishops.


The ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles to the sick and suffering is the foundation and origin of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick finds its most specific foundation in the Letter of James which is read during the Rite itself when the priest says, “My dear friends, we are gathered here in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who is present among us. As the gospels relate, the sick came to him for healing; moreover, he loves us so much that he died for our sake. Through the apostle James, he has commanded us: ‘Are there any who are sick among you? Let them send for the priests of the Church, and let the priests pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick persons, and the Lord will raise them up; and if they have committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven them.’ Let us therefore commend our sick brother/sister N. to the grace and power of Christ, that he may save him/her and raise him/her up.”



Families are often confused about how and when to request the Sacrament of the Sick when a loved one falls ill. We encourage people to schedule an Anointing of the Sick when family and friends can be present for the sacrament. If you are scheduled for surgery and would like to be anointed, please call to schedule so we might anoint before you are in the hospital. Please do not wait until the last possible moment for the anointing of the sick because a priest may be unable to be present in time.


How can we decide if we should ask to be anointed? A good or reasonably sure judgment, without an uneasy feeling about the rightness of what one is doing or going to do, is sufficient for deciding on the seriousness of an illness. For example: A sick person may be anointed before surgery, whether or not a serious illness is the reason for the surgery.



Elderly people may be anointed if they have become notably weakened even though no serious illness is present. Sick children may be anointed if they have sufficient use of reason to be strengthened by this Sacrament. And, if you are still unsure, ask Father!

The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is administered by a bishop or priest to bring spiritual and even physical strength during an illness. This sacrament, unlike some of our other sacraments, can be administered more than once, especially if a person has a chronic illness.


"The special grace of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects: the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for their own good and that of the whole Church the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age, the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the Sacrament of Penance, the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of their soul, the preparation for passing over to eternal life" (CCC 1532).


Our Parish Corporal Works of Mercy Update…thank you for your donations last weekend to Visit the Sick. It is so encouraging to see so many cards that can be handed out to our homebound parishioners as well as those in nursing care facilities. This weekend we are working to Shelter the Homeless. All the donations to our second collection will be sent to Saint Vincent DePaul Shelter. Next weekend we will focus on the corporal work to Visit the Imprisoned by donating Good News Bibles and/or Pocket Dictionaries. These items can be purchased at any retailer or on Amazon. Please place them in front of the altar in the baskets before Mass or during the Offertory.


Next Sunday is PALM SUNDAY! Amazing to think how quickly these weeks of Lent have gone! Have we really taken advantage of Lent and its practices of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving so as to Encounter Christ in a deeper and more profound way? If the answer is yes, then praise the Lord. If the answer is no, then I say it is NOT TOO LATE. We still have this week and Holy Week to make sure we Encounter Christ! Don’t wait!



Join us for the services and liturgies of the Holiest of Weeks.


Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, April 13th and April 14th,

we will have our regular Mass schedule Saturday and Sunday! Join us!


Holy Thursday, Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, April 18th, 7 P.M., in Saint Bridget Church

Followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish Center until 10 P.M.


Good Friday, Service of the Lord’s Passion, April 19th, 3 P.M.

in both Saint Bridget Church and Saint Thomas Becket Church

Stations of the Cross, 7 P.M., in Saint Bridget Church


Holy Saturday, April 20th

Blessing of the Food, 11 A.M. in Saint Bridget Church

The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, 8 P.M. in Saint Bridget Church

Please note there is no 9 A.M., 4 P.M. or 5 P.M. Mass on Holy Saturday!


Easter Sunday, April 21st

Masses at 7:30, 9:00, and 11:00 A.M. in Saint Bridget Church

and 8:00 and 10:00 A.M. in Saint Thomas Becket Church

Please note there is NO 4 P.M. Mass on Easter Sunday!


Happiest Congratulations to Sandi Thomas…This past Sunday at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Hartford Sandi was awarded the Saint Joseph Medal of Appreciation in recognition for all that she has done and continues to do to support the many ministries of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish. We could not possibly accomplish so much in our mission without the countless volunteers, such as Sandi, who make so much possible with the generosity of their time, talent, and treasure. So, as we recognize Sandi for her efforts please know we also thank God for the many in our parish family who volunteer day in and day out to make our parish such a vibrant community of faith. Thank you!



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 Patroness, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.



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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

5:15PM St. Bridget Church

Sunday Masses:

7AM St. Bridget Church

8AM St. Bridget Church

9AM St. Bridget Church

10:30AM St. Bridget Church

12PM 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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