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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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.