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:


2018 Annual Report…This weekend I am pleased to present to you the 2018 Annual Report for Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish and to provide you with a highlight booklet found at the ends of your pews for you to take home and read.

I will be sharing some highlights with you all at the Masses this weekend, but I would like to make a couple of significant comments at this time as well.

I think it is safe to say that the calendar year of 2018 was a year of blessings for our parish family in many different ways, some of which will be clear in these printed pages, others are known only to God.



The year 2018 was the first full year for our new parish family. “The Parish is where the Church lives.” This profound statement was in the document Communities of Salt and Light by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It went on to state, “parishes are communities of faith, of action, and of hope. They are where the Gospel is proclaimed and celebrated, where believers are formed and sent to renew the earth. Parishes are the home of the Christian community; they are the heart of our Church.”

It really does build up our family when we come together whether it be for spiritual or social activities. Families need to be together, whether we are speaking of our particular families or our parish family. Families need time to “be” together, to spend time with one another, to encourage one another, to support one another, and to care for one another.


It is in light of this that we as a Pastoral Team continually seek ways to bring our parish community together both socially and spiritually to grow together as a family. So many of the programs and events we offer throughout the year help each of us to grow in our understanding of the faith so that we may be nourished by word and Sacrament to go into our world and renew the earth. Each of us fulfills this mission each and every day by the way we live our lives, by the way our words and our actions show others that God is present within us, and by the way we share the joy and the love of Jesus with those we encounter. We are sent from each and every Mass to “Go, and announce the Gospel of the Lord,” or to “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”


The Church is truly the gathered believers being sent out on mission. Pope Francis reminds us of this when he calls us to be missionary disciples. We are called to do this each and every day! We do this when we work together to serve the poor in our community and beyond, when we serve one another as brothers and sisters of the Lord, and when we reach out to those in need out of love. The opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others as a family of faith are endless.


To strengthen us for our role as missionary disciples I encourage everyone to join us for our upcoming spiritual and social events so that together we can be strengthened by one another and God’s Word to truly go forth and bring others to the Lord by our lives. More information on the events and activities that we have planned will be in our bulletins in the weeks ahead, posted on our social media sites as well as on our user-friendly website www.stbridgetcheshire.org.


One major highlight of 2018 was the creation of our new Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish Pastoral Council made up of representatives from the three former parishes in town. This consultative body has been hard at work discerning a parish mission statement, a parish vision statement, and a strategic plan for our parish family. This strategic plan narrows down to three important points or targets for us as a parish family to work toward:

  1. The promotion of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish in our local area.

  2. Bringing parish youth into a more active role.

  3. Increasing participation of parishioners in the life of the parish.

I must also express a word of profound gratitude to our Parish Finance Council and our Parish Trustees. I rely heavily on their counsel and remain appreciative of their desire to support our parish family and help me in my duties to ensure we fulfill our mission as a Roman Catholic parish by bringing the Gospel to the community and truly making disciples. They are dedicated to ensuring we properly utilize the gifts God has blessed our parish family with to further the vibrancy of our parish and enhance the life of our family of faith.



There are many factors that are not reflected in our 2018 Annual Report that define us as a parish family.

  • We are a family that reaches out to those in need beyond our parish boundaries, we collect tons of food, clothing, and other items for the clients of the Cheshire Community Food Pantry, the Saint Vincent DePaul Mission in Waterbury, and countless other organizations throughout the Archdiocese and beyond.

  • We are a parish family that has dedicated parishioners ready and willing to lend a hand to any number of programs and events to make a difference in the lives of their fellow parishioners and the less fortunate.

  • We are also a parish family blessed with the dedication of hundreds of volunteers who serve their fellow parishioners through various ministries here in the parish.

  • We are blessed with a competent and, dare I say, extraordinary Pastoral Staff and support staff who are always ready to give one hundred and ten percent to anything and everything they do.

The bottom line is that we are blessed.


Finally, I hope you will not just focus on the financial report but that you will look through this Annual Report and see that we are doing so much as a community of faith. We educate future generations, we gather in groups, we work together to enhance our liturgies, and we reach out to those most in need. That is what makes us such a strong family of faith! May God bless our efforts in the years ahead. Thank you for all that you do to make Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish such an amazing family of faith.


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:


“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you!” WOW! Those words were heard in our first reading last weekend and I couldn’t help but be moved. While the focus of my homily was on the second reading and seeing the words of Saint Paul as a job description for us as Christians, I couldn’t help but be struck by these words at each Mass I celebrated.


Jeremiah didn’t ask to be a prophet. Jeremiah didn’t want to be a prophet. Jeremiah knew very well that he wasn’t qualified to be a prophet. But God made him a prophet anyway. God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” And that was true.



Before Jeremiah was conceived, God knew all about Jeremiah’s life. God knew that Jeremiah was going to preach during Judah’s most troubled times. God knew how much Jeremiah would suffer for saying what God sent him to say. God knew that Jeremiah would be jailed, persecuted, and nearly put to death by the very people who should have been protecting him. Before he formed him in his mother’s womb, God knew how hard life would be for Jeremiah. But God also knew how he would carry Jeremiah through all those troubles. He knew that Jeremiah would serve his Lord on earth with suffering but then rejoice with his Lord in heavenly joy.


“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” Those words that the Father spoke to Jeremiah also apply to Jesus. Before Jesus was born, God the Father also had a gracious, loving plan for him; He didn’t wait until his Son was hanging on the cross and then say, “well, I might be able to do something saving with that death.” The Father had the crucifixion all planned out in advance. Before he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, the Father knew Jesus. The Father knew:


1. That Jesus would get into trouble for speaking the Lord’s Word

2. That Jesus’ hometown people would try to throw him off a cliff

3. That the religious leaders of the time would keep scheming to kill his Son — and eventually, in His own time, they would succeed

4. That Jesus’ friends would desert Him just when He needed them the most

5. That His Son would be mocked and flogged and finally crucified.


But God the Father also knew that Jesus’ death was the way He would keep us sinners from having to spend all eternity in hell. He knew that Jesus would take our sin, take our guilt, take our death, and give us His life.



These words could also be spoken about each of us! God knew each of us before we were born. God had every reason to give up on us, to wash his hands of all humanity, to simply scrap this world that He created so well and we messed up so badly. But instead of aborting us worthless people, he decided to adopt us. Before you were born, before you were even conceived, God knew exactly how he was going to bring you to faith. Maybe it was when he adopted you by water and His Word at the font of Baptism. Or maybe someone told you that Jesus died for your sins. Maybe you don’t even remember when you first came to faith. It doesn’t matter. God remembers. He had it all planned out.


Think about it for real. Take a moment and reflect on this! Before your parents ever laid eyes on each other, before your grandparents had ever heard of each other, God knew you! God loves you so deeply that he had your salvation planned before you were a twinkle in your father’s eye!


Before God forms any child in the womb, He knows him or her already! God has a plan for every child he has ever formed in the womb. Sometimes we think of abortion as a political issue that has no place in the pulpit. And if abortion were purely a political issue, it would have no place in the pulpit. But God’s Word has something to say about abortion. Abortion may be legal in American courts, but it is certainly not acceptable in God’s courts. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that unborn children are not persons “in the whole sense.” Not persons in the whole sense? That’s essentially what Hitler said about Jewish people—that they aren’t persons in the same sense. NO NOT ACCEPTABLE!


Every life, from the moment of conception until natural death, is part of God’s plan! WAKE UP PEOPLE OF AMERICA. I was horrified to read the articles recently regarding the State of New York’s Reproductive Health Act which was signed into law by a governor who claims to be Catholic. This bill no longer has limits. No time limit. No limit as to who can perform an abortion. We cannot sit by callously as one to two million babies a year are aborted. We cannot just sit by while such laws, that would have been considered incomprehensible twenty to forty years ago, are being presented and discussed in office dwellings and public places. This is murder. They can shield it in whatever terminology they want but to pass a law that allows someone to abort their baby up until and including the day of his or her birth—this is murder. There is no question about it. THIS IS NOT A MATTER OF CHOICE. If so then what are they choosing? Life? No they are looking to call it choice to take the stigma away from the fact that they are looking for the choice to kill a life that God formed in the womb! Please my friends stir up and advocate for life! Help build a culture of life here in our parish, in our community, and indeed in our country and world. Let us do our part whether by prayer or actual activity to build a culture of life! Let us help others see that there are other life-giving alternatives.


While I write this I also am reminded that I know people, and perhaps you do too, who either had an abortion or assisted in an abortion who continue to grieve over that fact. I have heard from friends, and parishioners, who have been involved in abortions about the pain. I have heard of their feeling trapped by being angry with themselves, and of the emotional and spiritual wounds of a past abortion that prevent them from experiencing the joy of our faith. There is a program designed to help men and women who are experiencing this type of pain and suffering! Rachel’s Vineyard, www.rachelsvineyard.org, offers a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. I know from those who have attended these retreats of the healing it can bring into one’s life, of the experience of God’s love and compassion, and of the sense of hope and meaning for the future that is rediscovered. To anyone and everyone in this situation please know of my prayers for you!



Let us be people who not only respect life, but do what we can to build a deeper appreciation for the gift it is, a gift from God.


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:


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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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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