Updated: Jan 9
Dear Friends in Christ:
This week I had a “first.” You would think that I have had all the firsts possible for my priestly ministry since I have been a priest for 16 years now, but no this past week I experienced a “first” and it got me thinking about priesthood. You see last Tuesday, July 23rd, Doreen Festa, a member of our parish staff passed away. This past Wednesday I celebrated her Funeral Mass. It was the first time I have had to celebrate a Funeral Mass for someone who worked for me. Doreen worked for the past couple of years assisting in our Religious Education Program and helping the little ones of our parish family.
So there I was at the altar, doing my thing-my priestly thing-when it dawned on me that this was the first time in my 16 years that this happened. It was a privileged opportunity to commend to the love and mercy of God the soul of someone who was such a joy to know and work with. It was a privileged opportunity to remind those in attendance, many of our fellow parish staff members, that Jesus is there for us in every moment of every day and certainly in the midst of our sorrow and grief. Jesus is there asking us to place our trust in His promise that all who live and believe in Him will never die!
Doreen’s sister gave the eulogy and she shared an experience which I had with everyone there, it was my last experience of being in the presence of Doreen. Last Tuesday I had planned to go to Yale-New Haven Hospital to see Doreen in the evening but in the middle of the day I was on the highway coming back from a funeral in Torrington and something (God) told me to just keep going down Route 8 and go see Doreen NOW. I am SO glad I listened to that prompting. As I arrived, it was clear that it was near the end of Doreen’s life. I told her I was there for her to pray for her and all of a sudden she opened her eyes wide, reached out to hold my hand, and tears came down her face. After a moment or two of comprehending this experience, we prayed the Prayers of Commendation of the Dying for Doreen and a little later that day she passed away.
I guess I share this story with you because it is one of those privileged moments we experience as priests and I want others to come to know what it is like for us as priests to enter into these moments, these sacred moments, with our parishioners. This experience reminded me how important our ministry is to the sick and the dying! We need more priests to be there for our loved ones in these fragile moments, these moments that can be an experience of profound faith. PLEASE PRAY FOR MORE VOCATIONS!!!
You can pray for more vocations through our Vocation Prayer Chalice Program which we started last summer! Now, more than ever, the Church is in need of young men and women eager to commit their lives to serving in a sacrificial way through the priesthood and consecrated life. As you know, this cannot be accomplished without prayer.
This Vocation Prayer Chalice Program is a way to encourage families to pray together for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. Each Saturday/Sunday at Mass, one volunteer family (whether it is a family of two or eighteen) will accept the responsibility of praying for vocations at home with their family during the coming week. We will call the family up to the altar after Communion to receive the Chalice and the program booklet. The booklet contains prayers and reflections for the family to share each day of the week as they pray for more vocations. The family takes the Chalice home and displays it in a prominent place of honor for all members to see during the week, perhaps on the dining room table. At a special time each day, maybe after dinner or before bed, the family will come together to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life and at the same time explain and prompt young children and teenagers to consider how God is calling them into a deeper relationship with Him.
We are looking for 52 families to commit to one week of prayer for an increase in Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life. One week of prayer is all I am asking of you to help ensure that a priest will be there for you and for me in our times of need. Will you consider this important ministry as a family? Sign up today at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c044fa8aa2fa3f94-vocations.
DID YOU KNOW?...This is a question that often gets asked. Did you know this or that? Well I want to ask you, did you know?
Did you know that our parish sends out a weekly message through myParish app?
Did you know you can access our bulletin, our events calendar, and prayer resources through the parish app?
Did you know that we are able to send out reminders for events through the app?
Did you know that our parish family is utilizing Facebook and Instagram as a tool to reach out to our parishioners?
Did you know that I do a Facebook live post on Tuesday mornings titled #beyondthebulletin commenting on a Monday poll question?
Did you know that Father Federico does a Facebook live post on Thursday mornings titled #triviathursday following a post on Wednesdays with Catholic Trivia?
Did you know that we post a fun #fenwayfriday with my dog Fenway helping around the parish and the school?
Did you know we also put out motivational messages on Facebook and Instagram?
Did you know we have updated our Parish Website to a newer, fresher, user-friendly design?
DON’T MISS IT! SIGN-UP TODAY! During the year we want you to stay informed and spiritually connected with our parish family! To do so we invite you to join our online presence. Visit our newly designed website www.stbridgetcheshire.org, check us out on Facebook @ St. Bridget of Sweden Parish, Follow us on Instagram @st.bridgetofsweden and of course DOWNLOAD THE NEW PARISH APP by texting App to 88202…download the app…search for our parish…and get started using this new tool of communication!!!
Don’t miss out! The pilgrimage to Italy is only a couple of months away and there is STILL ROOM BUT TIME IS RUNNING OUT---SIGN-UP TODAY! Want to join us on our pilgrimage to ITALY? There are TWO SEATS LEFT!!! 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.
CALLING ALL GOLFERS! CALLING ALL SUPPORTERS OF ST. BRIDGET SCHOOL! WE NEED YOUR HELP! This is the 25th Anniversary of the reopening of St. Bridget School and we are gearing up for the 6th Annual St. Bridget School Golf Tournament…will be held at the Country Club of Waterbury on Monday, September 23, 2019. This is one of the two major fundraisers for our parish school, please consider assisting us in any way you can.
Here are a number of ways you can assist us:
1. YOU can consider sponsoring our event. If you own a business or work for one who supports local charities consider asking them to be a sponsor or put an ad in our ad book for the tournament (we expect a pretty full field, and additional people to attend the dinner following the tournament which means these booklets will be dispersed to a good number of friends from the greater Cheshire area). We really could use as many sponsors as possible…sponsorships make the tournament a success. https://stbridgetschool.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/6thAnnualGolfOuting2019/RegistrationForSponsorship/tabid/1070914/Default.aspx
2. YOU can join us! We have available spots for golfers ($175 per golfer), and if you don’t golf you can still get in on the fun by getting some friends together to come for a nice dinner that evening and support our parish school by your participation at this event. You will also have an opportunity to win a raffle prize. Cost for dinner only option it is just $50.
3. YOU can donate an item for our raffle. We are in need of a variety of items for the raffle which is held during the dinner. Items such as: a grill, a big screen television, foursomes to local golf courses, any electronic equipment from entertainment to home improvement, gift cards to local restaurants, bottles of wine or spirits, or anything your creative minds can come up with. Items can be dropped off to the school office or rectory office any day during the week, or in the sacristy at Mass on the weekend. Please be sure your name is on it so we may properly thank you!
ANY AND ALL information including registration forms and sponsorship forms can be found online at https://stbridgetschool.ejoinme.org/golf2018. Thank you for whatever you can do to assist our parish school in this important fundraising effort.
THE PARISH PICNIC WILL BE HERE BEFORE YOU KNOW IT!!! SAVE THE DATE FOR OUR PARISH PICNIC! Our THIRD ANNUAL Parish Picnic will be on Sunday, September 15, 2019, beginning with the 11AM Mass which will be celebrated on the field behind Saint Bridget School! OUR PARISH PICNIC IS FREE TO ALL PARISHIONERS and will include games on the field, bounce houses, musical entertainment, tasty food, one or two surprises, as well as the opportunity to meet new friends and build up our parish family!!!
WE NEED YOUR HELP! Many hands make light work! We need help with the welcoming booth, set-up, kitchen, grilling, desserts, youth volunteers, kid’s games volunteers, and clean-up. If you can help in any way please or email the Picnic Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Father Federico and I are praying for good weather that day and we hope you will all join us as we come together as a Parish Family for this awesome day of faith, fun, and sun!
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.