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 you can imagine, preaching for Father O’Neill and I is one of the joys of our ministry to God’s people. I know that we both take it very seriously day after day and week after week. Last weekend for me was perhaps one of the hardest homilies I have ever had to give but it needed to be given. As the dark cloud of sexual abuse of minors by clergy continues to hang over our beloved church I, and Father O’Neill, felt it was necessary to speak about it directly.



The Scripture readings really provided us a basis from which to bring this message home. Remember as Saint Paul said in the reading from Corinthians, “as a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ…and…if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.” There are many who are suffering, be they victims of abuse, their families, those of us attempting to serve the church today as priests, and those who love and serve our beloved church throughout the world. There is so much pain and anger, disappointment and embarrassment.


Remember what I said in my homily and Father O’Neill said in his, the work of renewal in our church has to begin with each and every one of us living authentic Christian lives. The work of renewal in our beloved church has to begin in living lives that are pleasing to the Lord. We owe the Lord nothing less than striving to live out His way of life in our own day to day lives. I am convinced that the Spirit of God will work through you to renew the Church, and through the Church to renew the face of the earth!


These days are indeed very difficult and challenging for all of us as members of the Catholic Church. My friends, these are difficult days for Father O’Neill and I as well, and we ask for your prayers for us and we promise you our prayers daily! Further, to any parishioner who may be a victim survivor of abuse by a member of the clergy, we offer you our apology! We are sorry for what you endured and perhaps continue to endure. It is a cause of profound sorrow. We pray in a special way for you.



The Cold Season is upon us both in terms of weather and in terms of the number of people coming down with some sort of a cold. Please remember a couple of things:


1. As we announced in January, at this time we have suspended distribution of the Communion Cup at all Masses. The Connecticut Department of Public Health established that the Influenza Activity is NOW widespread in the State of Connecticut. Therefore, at this time, I have decided that it would be prudent to suspend the distribution of the Communion Cup until such time that it appears the flu outbreak is over.


2. Other precautions for you to consider during this time include:


a. If you are ill or suspect you are ill with a contagious illness, please stay home and watch the Mass on television. You can get the local Mass from the Office of Radio and Television on WTXX(Channel 10 or 11 on most providers) and also on EWTN.


b. Perhaps not hold hands with those around you during the Lord’s Prayer.


c. At the Sign of Peace consider a verbal greeting to those around you, or exchange peace with a bow or wave instead of a handshake.


DON’T FORGET YOU CAN HELP OUR PARISH SCHOOL…a reminder that we NEED YOUR HELP to make our Annual School Auction a success…This is the MAJOR fundraiser of the year and we need your support and help!


1. You can mark your calendars and plan to join us at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville on Friday, March 1st, 2019, for a great night of food and fellowship as well as the chance to win a raffle item, or an auction item.


2. You can place an ad in the evening’s program book or become a sponsor. Ads run anywhere between $50-550 and the sponsorships costs between $500-5,000.


3. You can donate an item for the silent or live auction, such as sporting event tickets, theatre tickets, bikes, grills, jewelry, televisions or electronics of all kinds, golf foursomes to local golf courses or Country Clubs, overnight stays to a nice place, or any item you think will solicit support for our school.



For more information about the auction or to sponsor us, please visit the school’s website at

https://stbridgetschool.ejoinme.org/sbsauction2019


Italy! So many have commented that they are excited we are planning a pilgrimage to Italy. And yet there is still room! Want to join us? We are going October 1-10, 2019 to visit the Almalfi Coast and Rome! We will be seeing a lot during these days! We will visit the Floral Gardens of Caesar Augustus in Capri, the Saint Andrew Cathedral along the Amalfi Coast, the excavations in Pompeii, the sites of the life of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio). We will also visit Lanciano, a town most noted for the Eucharistic Miracle which became the foundation for the Feast of Corpus Christi. Finally, we will spend a couple of days in Rome, the Eternal City, where we will see the Vatican Museums, Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Catacombs, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and more including plans for the weekly Papal Audience on Wednesday in Saint Peter’s Square.



This pilgrimage includes round-trip air from JFK, four-star hotels in Sorrento, San Giovanni Rotondo, and Rome, 6 dinners, breakfast daily, English-speaking licensed tour escort throughout, private motorcoach transportation, Daily Mass, and more. Cost per person in double occupancy is $3,779.00. Space is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Initial deposit of $500 is due at time of registration. To register, please call Candy at Elite Travel at 203-271-0623 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I hope you will join us!


Finally, I ask for your prayers for my project that I am working on for the Archdiocese. The Synod 2020: Grow and Go is gearing up and running full steam at this point. It is both exciting and stressful but I do believe that the Lord will work through the Archdiocesan Synod to put our Archdiocesan family of faith on the right path for a future filled with life, love, and faithful discipleship.

Please join me in prayer for the success of this Synod. Here is the Synod Prayer which Archbishop Blair wrote for our Synod which I hope you will say with me as often as you can:


Lord Jesus Christ, in the Gospel we hear the voice of the Father telling us to listen to you. It is your voice that we heed. It is your way that we follow. It is your Spirit who leads us into all the truth. Look kindly upon your Church in the Archdiocese of Hartford and upon the work of our Archdiocesan Synod. We pray that through the Synod our souls may be stirred and our hearts set on fire in order to bring new energy and zeal to the mission of our local Church. May the Synod inspire us to missionary discipleship, so that filled with the faith and boldness of the Apostles and first Christians, we may draw others to you and to your body and bride, the Church. At Pentecost Mary your Mother joined the Apostles in imploring the gift of the Holy Spirit. By her prayers, and those of her spouse, Saint Joseph, our Patron, may the same Holy Spirit inspire and direct us and the work of our Synod. Through you, Lord Jesus, we give glory to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen!



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:


Catholic Schools Week…as I wrote about last week, today we begin Catholic Schools Week throughout the Archdiocese and, in fact, throughout the country. WE INVITE YOU to our Open House TODAY (Sunday, January 29th) from 10AM to 1PM. Come tour our school. This is a great opportunity for parents, grandparents, and extended family members to visit our parish school and see all that we offer in a safe and nurturing environment. I want every family to feel that Saint Bridget School is an option for you! We educate students from PreK3 to Grade 8. Come and learn firsthand from our faculty, staff, and current students why you should consider Saint Bridget School for your child(ren).



We are charged with exceeding national standards and so continue to implement curriculum that provides a challenging course, grounded in basic skills necessary for students to develop foundational skills that lead to higher, more complex thinking skills, rooted in Gospel values, and integrating Catholic social teaching across all disciplines, ensuring the development of the whole child. Students graduating from St. Bridget School exceed state and national benchmarks, evidenced by our exemplary standardized test scores and high performance on high school placement exams. Most importantly, we truly educate the whole child: academically, socially, physically, and spiritually. Our students enter to learn, and leave to serve! Come see how! Hope to see you at the Open House!



This Wednesday I will celebrate the LIVE Television Mass with some of our students from Saint Bridget School in celebration of Catholic Schools Week. You can watch us live at 10AM on WTXX (Channel 10 or 11 on most carriers). The school students will be serving, reading, and leading us in song!


Also part of Catholic Schools Week will be a visit from the Connecticut Science Center! A special word of gratitude to parishioner Frank Loehmann for coordinating a grant for our Saint Bridget School from The John G. Martin Foundation that makes this visit possible. It is through this generous grant that Saint Bridget School has been able to have the opportunity to have the Connecticut Science Center’s Science in Motion Program brought to our school in celebration of Catholic Schools Week. I am sure it will be an educational and entertaining visit as our PreK3 through Grade 8 are offered various programs. Thank you Frank and thank you to the Board of Directors of The John G. Martin Foundation for this phenomenal opportunity! We are blessed by your generosity!



Last Saturday I was able to visit the men from our parish family who were on retreat. Each year Father O’Neill and I make it a priority that one of us get to the retreat that our parish men and women attend, if possible, depending on funerals, weddings, and other commitments. This past Saturday I was pleased to join the men of our parish at lunch during their retreat. It was great to hear from them about the theme of the retreat which very much worked well with the book we gave out at Christmas and how much they were enjoying a little time away for spiritual refreshment and renewal. There is still to come in 2019 another weekend for the men of our parish in early May and a weekend for the women of our parish in early March. Would you consider joining them? Details will be in future bulletins.



LAST SATURDAY we also welcomed Bishop Juan Miguel Betancourt, the new Auxiliary Bishop of our Archdiocese, to our parish for a visit and the celebration of evening Mass at Saint Thomas Becket Church. One line that really stuck out in his homily to me is that “wherever the Blessed Mother is, there all will be ok.” It was said regarding the story of the Wedding at Cana where they ran out of wine for the wedding party and Mary interceded on their behalf to her Son, and then she instructed the waiters to “do whatever He tells you.” Then, as we know, the water was turned into wine and all had a good time. So, wherever the Mother of Jesus is, there is our intercessor! Photos are one of Bishop Betancourt offering his inspiring homily at the pulpit and the other is one with the Negron Family. Nicholas, their youngest, was really intrigued by the Bishop’s Crozier!



The Parish Pastoral Staff is busy now that we are in Ordinary Time. The one thing Ordinary Time does for us is to provide the chance to catch up on projects and day-to-day life before Lent begins! Yes I said it, Lent is not too far away and we are already making plans for our parish journey of Lent. I have said it before but I say it again, we want to hear from you! Is there a particular ministry you would like the Pastoral Staff to work toward forming? Is there a particular devotion you would like to see us offer? Is there a particular topic you would like covered in an evening Adult Education Talk? Let us know. Write it out and email it to rectory@stbridgetcheshire.org or drop it in an envelope marked Pastoral Staff in the collection on the weekend. All ideas are possible for consideration.



A reminder that we NEED YOUR HELP to make our Annual School Auction a success…As I mentioned last weekend I am hoping that the parish family will truly come out and support the Annual Auction for our parish school. IT IS the major fundraiser of the year for our school. There are a variety of ways you can help:


1. You can mark your calendars and plan to join us at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville on Friday, March 1st, 2019, for a great night of food and fellowship as well as the chance to win a raffle item, or an auction item.


2. You can place an ad in the evening’s program book or become a sponsor. Ads run anywhere between $50-550 and the sponsorships costs between $500-5,000.

You can donate an item for the silent or live auction, such as sporting event tickets, theatre tickets, bikes, grills, jewelry, televisions or electronics of all kinds, golf foursomes to local golf courses or Country Clubs, overnight stays to a nice place, or any item you think will solicit support for our school.


For more information about the auction or to sponsor us, please visit the school’s website at

https://stbridgetschool.ejoinme.org/sbsauction2019



A few words must be said about the announcement earlier this week from the Archdiocese of Hartford. Back in December the Archbishop wrote a letter to all the people living in the Archdiocese in which he promised that in “January the Archdiocese of Hartford will be publishing the names of archdiocesan clergy who have been the object of lawsuits and legal settlements, or otherwise credibly accused, and the names of religious order priests and priests from other dioceses who have been credibly accused of an offense that took place in the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese will also contract for a further independent review of all our clergy files to identify any additional names from the present going back to 1953, the year in which the Archdiocese of Hartford as such was established. The publication of names will be updated as any new information becomes available. Finally, the Archdiocese will be publishing the financial outlay that has been made as a result of the abuse of minors by clergy and the sources of these funds.”


The announcement this week was the fulfillment of these promises. The Archdiocese released the names and assignments of the 36 (out of over 1,000) Hartford priests who have been the objects of legal settlements or otherwise credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor from 1953 to the present. Also released were the names of another 6 priests from religious orders and 6 priests from another diocese who also were the objects of legal settlements or otherwise credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor from 1953 to the present.


Further, it was announced that retired Connecticut Superior Court Judge Antonio Robaina, of the firm McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP, will be hired to perform an independent review of all our clergy files going back to 1953 to identify any additional names.


Finally, the financial outlay in relation to the payment of settlements of these allegations of abuse of minors by clergy was also shared with the faithful .

More detailed information can be found on the website: promise.archdioceseofhartford.org.


These days are indeed very difficult and challenging for all of us as members of the Catholic Church as the great crime and sin of sexual abuse continues to cast a very dark cloud over the Church’s leadership and its clergy. My friends, these are difficult days for Father O’Neill and me as well. We ask for your prayers for us and we promise you our prayers daily! Further, to any parishioner who may be a victim survivor of abuse by a member of the clergy, we offer you our apology! We are sorry for what you endured and perhaps continue to endure. It is a cause of profound sorrow. We pray in a special way for you.


Masses of Reparation will be offered at various places in the Archdiocese. You are all invited to join Archbishop Blair as we celebrate three Masses of Reparation. The whole body of the Church is suffering as a result of these sins and crimes, and we all must recognize that the prayers of all God’s people are vital to the impact of healing and reparation. These Masses will be accompanied by Eucharistic Adoration and the recitation of the Holy Rosary and will be offered at the following dates, times, and locations:

Sunday, January 27th, 2PM—Saint Bartholomew Church, Manchester

Saturday, February 16th, 11AM—Saint George Church, Guilford

Tuesday, March 26th, 7PM—Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Harwinton


As always remember to pray for our parish families 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:



Back to Ordinary Time…while I love Christmas and all that occurs during the Christmas Season it is good to be back into Ordinary Time. I love Christmas! If you stopped by the rectory at all during Christmas you would have noticed in a small way that I love to decorate the house for Christmas. Over the years I have gathered quite a collection of nativity scenes from throughout the world and a large number of snowmen. In some way I wish the Christmas Season were longer to enjoy the collection I have gathered, but since it is so short I have decided there is no harm in leaving a few nativities up throughout the year to remind us that God loved us so much He sent His only Son into the world to show us the way to the Father! Jesus is Emmanuel, God is with us, and that is something we can celebrate throughout the year not just during the short weeks of the Christmas Season.


I, like so many of you, have experienced the whirlwind of non-stop activity between Thanksgiving and Christmas; so it is good to be back in Ordinary Time! Of course, for us in ministry there is nothing ordinary about any time of any day throughout the year. It is all new, it is all exciting, and it is all intriguing.



The one thing Ordinary Time does for me is to provide me the chance to catch up on projects and day-to-day life before Lent begins! Yes I said it, Lent is not too far away and we are already making plans for our parish journey of Lent. I have said it before, but I say it again, we want to hear from you! Is there a particular ministry you would like the Pastoral Staff to work toward forming? Is there a particular devotion you would like to see us offer? Is there a particular topic you would like covered in an evening Adult Education Talk? Let us know. Write it out and email it to rectory@stbridgetcheshire.org or drop it in an envelope marked Pastoral Staff in the collection on the weekend. All ideas are possible for consideration.


A reminder that we NEED YOUR HELP to make our Annual School Auction a success…As I mentioned last weekend I am hoping that the parish family will truly come out and support the Annual Auction for our parish school. IT IS the major fundraiser of the year for our school. There are a variety of ways you can help:


1. You can mark your calendars and plan to join us at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville on Friday, March 1st, 2019, for a great night of food and fellowship as well as the chance to win a raffle item, or an auction item.

2. You can place an ad in the evening’s program book or become a sponsor. Ads run anywhere between $50-550 and the sponsorships costs between $500-5,000.


You can donate an item for the silent or live auction, such as sporting event tickets, theatre tickets, bikes, grills, jewelry, televisions or electronics of all kinds, golf foursomes to local golf courses or Country Clubs, overnight stays to a nice place, or any item you think will solicit support for our school.


For more information about the auction or to sponsor us, please visit the school’s website at https://stbridgetschool.ejoinme.org/sbsauction2019



SPEAKING OF OUR AMAZING CATHOLIC SCHOOL I am reminded that next Sunday we celebrate the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. Saint Bridget School will be holding an OPEN HOUSE NEXT SUNDAY from 10AM-1PM. I personally invite every parishioner to come and visit our school during this open house. Our extraordinary and dedicated faculty and staff will be on hand to answer any questions you may have and tours will be offered by our current students. Please come and see what Saint Bridget School could offer your child or children. All families in Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish should know that Saint Bridget School is an option for YOU.


In Saint Bridget Parish School, our young people learn that faith in God is at the heart of their total education and has an essential place in their everyday lives. It is of course obvious to all that not all of our Catholic young people have the opportunity to attend a Catholic school, as I myself did not. In fact, the majority of our school-age children attend public schools and a fair number of families choose to educate their children at home. In these cases, they rely on the religious education that is so diligently provided in our parish and in our family homes. The Church’s regard for these students and their families is also clear and unambiguous.


For now, as we soon mark Catholic Schools Week in our parish school, we as a family of faith can only offer our admiration for the many fine teachers, administrators, staff, and benefactors of our parish school. They deserve our thanks for their commitment, and for the many sacrifices they make to teach and form the young people of our parish. And, I must personally express my gratitude to the many parents and families who make it possible for their children to attend Catholic schools. Without the high level of parental involvement that our school enjoys, they could not achieve the success we have seen for so many years.


As I said, and I say each year at this time, I myself am NOT the product of Catholic Schools. BUT I am a strong proponent of Catholic Schools and not just simply because I am a priest. I am a proponent of Catholic Schools because I have witnessed firsthand what makes Catholic Schools, and particularly our own Saint Bridget School, such a wonderful center for faith based learning and academic excellence.



Our parish school is ready and willing to assist ALL parishioners in educating your child or children. Saint Bridget School, which reopened in 1994, offers students a faith-based, challenging curriculum designed to promote academic excellence in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and grades 1 through 8. Committed educators guide our students through the day with lessons in faith development, math, language arts, social studies, geography, science, Spanish (grades K-8), music, art, and physical education.

Our curriculum includes the use of state-of-the-art computer and science labs as well as an extensive library. We are thrilled with the presence of three religious sisters in our day-to-day operations with two Sisters from the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist on faculty and, of course, Sister Patricia Cigrand, ASCJ, our Pastoral Associate from the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, whose office is located in the school. In addition, Father O’Neill and I visit classrooms and visit our students as often as we can and we are privileged to celebrate Mass with the entire school community on Fridays at 9a.m.


I believe the academic success, and the personal growth of our students is all accomplished because we as a Catholic School are a family. We are a family of faith, where the students are part of a larger school family; where they are taught the importance of caring for one another, showing respect for one another, and where they are taught to live out Jesus’ command to “love one another as I have loved you.” Nothing gives me greater joy than to see them caring for one another whether it be an older student helping a younger one with their homework in Homework Club, or an older student sitting with our youngest students at weekly Mass and teaching them about Mass. It is truly heartwarming to see the care and concern for one another displayed by our students, our faculty, and all our families.



A question often posed is: “Why should I consider a Catholic school when the public schools offer a great education?” I always begin with the long standing tradition the Catholic Church has in educating our young people to a higher degree of success. St. Bridget School is one of the highest scoring schools within the Archdiocese of Hartford in standardized tests. Catholic schools, and it is true for our parish school, establish a spirit of faith, family, and community in their students. The education our students receive at Saint Bridget School stays with them their entire lives and can be the basis from which they orient themselves with the world. It also encourages them to remain grounded in the Catholic faith while they reach to fulfill their dreams. Our students enter our school to learn, and leave to serve as disciples of Jesus.


What will you find in Saint Bridget School for your child or children?

· Faith Based Learning with a Real World Approach

· Spanish Language from PreK3 to Grade 8

· Advanced Studies and Curriculum Resources

· 1 to 1 iPads in the Middle School and technology in all other grades

· Athletic Fields and a Gymnasium

· Sports Programs including Basketball, Baseball, Cross-Country, Cheerleading, and Soccer

· Air-Conditioning throughout our facility

· Extra-curricular activities such as Robotics Club, LEGO Club, Chess Club, French Club & more

· A Diverse Student Body

· Small Class Sizes with Differentiated Learning at ALL Grade Levels

· Enrichment Programs and Family Events

· Tuition Assistance

· Weekly Mass as a school family and Adoration


I should also note, as I have said in the past, parishes with a school are provided unique opportunities for building up families and in particular for the building up of the parish family that other parishes without schools do not have. I have seen this transpire during the course of my time as Pastor here in Cheshire. It is a cause for encouragement and hope!


I want every family in our parish, with children of school age children, to feel that Saint Bridget School is an option for them. We have an Open House NEXT SUNDAY, January 27th, from 10AM until 1PM. Come and visit our school. I encourage all parents and extended family members to come and see all that Saint Bridget School offers. Hope to see you at the Open House!


As always, remember to pray for our parish families 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

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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203-272-5860

171 Main Street

Cheshire, CT

www.stbridgetschool.org

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