My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! You have heard our plea and are responding to YOUR parish family and for that, as your Pastor, I thank you!
I was amazed this past week and by now perhaps I should not have been amazed. You always respond when there is a need. For that I thank you! When Madelyn Banti shared with me the numbers from our On-Line Offertory and the Mailed-In Offertory, I was blown away! Both On-Line and Mailed-In more than doubled from the previous week. Now we are still not where we need to be to meet our budgeted needs but your generosity is certainly closing the gap, and is truly remarkable. It is such a sign of your love and commitment to our parish family! Thank you also for easing the stress level I have been feeling lately.
Thank you for understanding that there are still bills to be paid—lights, gas, payroll, insurance, etc. If you have donated this past week I ask that you continue to do so as you are able. If you have yet to send in your donations or offertory please prayerfully consider helping your parish family out now! Here are ways you can give to your Parish:
1. Mail in your offertory! Thank you to the many who sent in their envelopes these past few days. Your generosity makes a real difference!
2. Give online—sign-up for our Online Giving Program by clicking the link on our website.
a. Donations can be made directly from your checking account or by using any major credit card - so you can earn "points" while giving!
b. Donations can be scheduled for whatever frequency (weekly or monthly) you prefer (and if monthly, on whatever day is most convenient), or can be made on a one-time basis.
c. You can designate donations for different purposes: weekly, monthly, and holy day collections, diocesan/national collections, Easter/Christmas flowers, and more!
d. Your bank or credit card information is stored on secure servers contained behind firewalls and other defense systems to prevent unauthorized access. Parish staff cannot access your account information.
Want to learn more about Online Giving? Visit our website www.stbridgetcheshire.org and click the Donate button in the menu on our homepage.
TODAY we celebrate PALM SUNDAY albeit a little differently than perhaps we had planned. Yet the celebration continues despite our not being able to physically be together for this beginning of Holy Week.
TODAY our celebration reminds us that we cannot get to Easter but by the way of Our Lord’s Passion and Cross. This is the week in which we remember and celebrate the foundations of our faith. These are the days of God’s grace and the days in which we are strengthened by the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This week’s liturgies bring out into the open that our hope of resurrection, our entrance into Heaven, which, as Christ so clearly revealed, depends not only on His dying and rising, but also on us taking up our own individual crosses and following Him.
These are the days, above any other day of the year, when we are reminded that:
· if there is no cross, then there is no conquering death;
· if there is no suffering, then there is no rejoicing;
· if there is no faithful following in His path, then there is no spending eternity with Him!
This is Holy Week when shouts of triumph and joy as we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem quickly change to shouts of “Crucify him.”
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!
We have many choices in life.The most important of these is our decision to accept Jesus Christ. But accepting the Lord means being united to him both in his glory and in his passion. Accepting the Lord means being united to him in the joyful times of our lives and through the challenges of our lives such as this pandemic we are in the midst of this very moment. Come! Follow Jesus! May this truly be a holy week for you and your families, and for our parish family as well.
Next Sunday, EASTER SUNDAY, we will hear proclaimed via livestreamed and televised Masses throughout the world, the message of Easter, He is not here, for He has been raised just as he said. This is a message of Hope for the world. This is a message that must be shared! And shared NOW!
THIS is our role in the Hope and Joy of Easter! We are not simply to walk this week with Jesus through His passion, death, and resurrection, nor are we simply to just celebrate these great mysteries of our faith, but we are called to be moved by them, to be motivated, to be empowered to then go out, when times permit it once again, and find ways to proclaim this Good News to all the world.
We are called to find ways to proclaim that Jesus is NOT found among the dead, nor in an empty tomb! No Jesus is alive: He is living, He has been 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. Jesus is here in our parish family. He is in 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. He is present in each of us who desire to share in the glory of the Resurrection!
Come and join us this Holy Week! Come join us via Livestream! We are working with some parishioners who are very talented with technology to make these liturgies available on various formats. LINKS WILL BE POSTED ON THE PARISH WEBSITE at www.stbridgetcheshire.org.
Come join us on the walk with Jesus! Come join us as we journey with the Lord through His Passion and Death to the Glory of the Resurrection! This will be a different Holy Week that is for sure. It will be like none other we have ever experienced. For through this holy week we find ourselves in lock down, hunkered in our homes, trying to reduce the spread of this horrific virus. These are NOT the days we expected them to be. We may not be able to be together physically for these celebrations, but we can be together spiritually thanks to the efforts of so many and the tools of social media. Join us LIVESTREAM on Facebook, our Parish Website, and YouTube. See inset below for schedule of services.
As we have for the last couple of weeks, so again this week, you will find in the pages of this bulletin activities, prayers, and suggestions for you and your family during this time of unrest. I have asked the Pastoral Staff to offer you materials to assist you in growing together in faith. I hope you find these resources helpful. In this time without the usual rush to places to be and things to do, read together, pray together, and grow together in faith, hope, and love!
FINALLY, PLEASE BE SURE TO PRAY!Utilize this time, as individuals and as families, to pray for an end to the spreading of Coronavirus.We will get through this together!Please keep in your prayers those caring for others throughout this pandemic especially healthcare providers, nurses, doctors, firefighters, police personnel, and EMT’s that the Lord will bless them, protect them from harm, and keep them healthy!
As always, remember to pray for our parish family and ask God’s blessings upon us all in this time of pandemic. With the gracious intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, may we be united with one another in prayer! Please pray for me and know that I am praying for you!