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:
The promotion of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish in our local area.
Bringing parish youth into a more active role.
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.