Dear Friends in Christ:
Matthew 25—The Judgement of the Nations…was the Gospel I chose this past week for the funeral Mass for my dear friend Pamela McCue. Pam has been a good friend to me since my first assignment in Glastonbury. Pam was the owner and operator of The Gallery, a banquet facility located in downtown Glastonbury. She bought the place from Gordie Howe for you old Hartford Whalers fans. It was the place to go for any type of group gathering such as wedding receptions, retirement parties, civic organization events, after funeral receptions, and any other special occasion.
You see Pam fed people ALL the time. She cared for others in a special way. Everyone who came to her to plan a special occasion knew that they need not worry about any of the details for Pam was on top of it all. She was the unsung hero of Glastonbury. A joy-filled individual who loved to make special moments memorable for others and slide into the background and disappear. She hated to be the center of attention in any way, shape, or form. She was a humble woman who made the lives of others all the better.
I chose Matthew 25 because of her untiring effort to always be feeding others. It could be the guests and clients at The Gallery or it could be friends who invited her over for dinner only to find out that she was preparing the whole meal and brought it ready to cook. She was part of a group of friends who would go with me to a Red Sox game every year. We would get a limo, go to Boston, enjoy a meal and a game, and come home. We did this almost every year since 2006. When we picked up Pam, it would take two of us to help her get from her front door to the limo because of her coolers. She had prepared a feast for us to enjoy on the ride up to Boston. Hors d’oeuvres and beverages to give us food and drink while we caught up on the happenings in each other’s lives and shared some laughs.
Pam just found great joy in feeding others. So at her funeral this past Tuesday I used this Gospel in which Jesus says, “for I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink…whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Pam was faithful in giving food and drink to family and friends, to customers and guests, and even to the strangers who would come to her in a moment of need. She was faithful in caring for others and I pray she now hears the words of the Master, “come, you who are blessed by my Father…inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” May Pam rest in the peace of Christ.
We too are called to feed others. The reason for my sharing of the above experience is to remind each of us that the call of Jesus is clearly for each of us to do what we can to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty. We do this in a variety of ways as a parish family. Perhaps the most regular way we live out this calling is our support of the Cheshire Community Food Pantry. Week after week parishioners bring donations to the buckets at the doors of the church to be brought down to the food pantry to provide food and drink to our neighbors in their time of need. I am so grateful for your caring hearts and generous spirit that truly makes a difference in the lives of our neighbors in need. This pandemic has not reduced the need for food donations so if you are able to, please bring your donations with you to Mass, or you can drop them off directly at the food pantry at 175 Sandbank Road to the entrance marked Donations. The need is increasing as you can imagine, so please be as generous as you can. Thank you!
The Saint Bridget of Sweden Shelter Sandwich Ministry is another way we live out this call as a parish family. We, as a parish family, provide sandwiches every Thursday to the Saint Vincent DePaul Shelter in Waterbury. Parishioners who are able purchase the needed items, make the sandwiches, and drop them off at a central location here in Cheshire. Another parishioner then delivers the sandwiches to the shelter. There is a special need for help NOW. Some parishioners do not feel able to participate in this ministry during the pandemic so I am asking you to consider joining in this important ministry to feed the hungry. It is actually a great way a family can do something together to teach your children the importance of caring for others as a way of living out your faith. It is done at home so it is the perfect chance for some family time, and think of what a difference you can make in the lives of others. For more information or to become involved in this ministry please contact Pat McKinley at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the parish office.
The Saint Bridget of Sweden Harvest Garden Ministry is another way we live out this call as a parish family. Each year parishioners tend a garden in the front of our South Campus, the Saint Thomas Becket Campus. The first week of harvesting this year produced 53 pounds of cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and herbs for distribution to the clients of the Cheshire Community Food Pantry. Members of the Harvest Garden Ministry take turns watering, weeding, harvesting, and delivering to the pantry. If you have a green thumb, or simply love being in the garden this is another way you can live out this call from Jesus even in this time of pandemic. For more information or to become involved in this ministry please contact Mary Crane at email@example.com or call the parish office.
The Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish Social Ministry’s Sunday Shelter Supper is another way we live out this call as a parish family. This ministry and its many volunteers provide a home cooked meal once a month to the clients of Saint Vincent DePaul Shelter in Waterbury. An email is sent out to ALL members once a month and you sign up for what you feel you can do that month.
There are spots for people to prepare the main meal (recipe is always provided), prepare a side dish, prepare the dessert, provide condiments, and now during this time of pandemic be the one who delivers the goods from the church parking lot to the Shelter Employees who distribute the meal to their clients. (When it is not a time of pandemic we need 5 volunteers every month to serve the meal to the clients but right now they are not permitting volunteers into the building.) This is another great thing you can do as a family to care for the less fortunate and feed the hungry. All items are delivered to the church parking lot at 4:30 on Sunday afternoon and then one parishioner drives it into the shelter. For more information or to become involved in this ministry please contact Beth or Katelyn Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the parish office.
UPDATE ON THE CHURCH…I am very grateful to our maintenance staff and a volunteer from our Facilities and Grounds Committee who came up with a better way to block off our pews. For weeks we have struggled with the ribbon being pulled and the tape not sticking properly. It was quite driving me crazy to walk into church each day and have to reconnect the tape to the pew. Even putting new tape wasn’t the answer.
One of our parishioners suggested some type of a lattice would work nicely. He said we could buy longer pieces and cut it to the size we need to block off our pews without much waste. He was right and I think it looks amazingly better. Thank you to those who helped.
St. Bridget School 2020 Annual Fund…I want to share with you a letter (below) from Dr. Testa and myself regarding this year’s Annual Fund. Due to Covid 19 we did not have this mailed out this year but appreciate your generosity and support if you are able. The need is there. Thank you!
As always, remember to pray for vocations, pray for our young people, pray for our parish families and ask God’s blessings as we strive to 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.