Updated: Jan 9
Dear Friends in Christ:
Welcome to your new home Father Anthony Federico! It is a joy, privilege, and honor to welcome you among us. As your brother priest and your first Pastor, I look forward to our time together working in the Lord’s vineyard serving the people of God entrusted to our care and bringing the love and light of Jesus into our community and beyond. I pray that your ministry will bear much fruit for the Lord.
Preparing to welcome Father Federico this past week, it dawned on me that he arrives this weekend when the Lord Jesus says “the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” YES! We need to do this daily! We as a parish family always pray at Mass for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. We as a parish family offer our first hour of Eucharistic Adoration EVERY Friday for that very intention. We as a parish family also have the Vocations Prayer Chalice Program as well where one family each week signs up to take a chalice home and pray each day of that week as a family for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Interested sign up today at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c044fa8aa2fa3f94-vocations. We also MUST as individuals make it part of our prayer to ask the Master of the harvest to send more laborers into his vineyard.
The call to the priesthood can come at different times in people’s lives. Young men hearing this call should never be afraid to explore it, even if it risks putting another career path, or even a close relationship, aside. Father Federico worked as a sports writer for ESPN before answering his call to the Priesthood. Father Gancarz, ordained with him two weeks ago and here last summer, studied engineering in college and worked for several years in that field before answering his call to study for the priesthood. It’s not at all unusual today for seminarians and priests to have studied for and worked in other careers and professions prior to entering the seminary. Deacon Jaime Maldonado, who is to be ordained next year, heard his call while working as a neuroscience researcher at Yale.
God has dreams for us all, and when we discover God’s dream for us and willingly choose to follow that path, we find great fulfillment and joy. But how does one hear God’s call amid the disharmony of modern life? I heard my call both through an inner desire to know the Lord better and the outward “confirmation” of that desire through the comments of other people in my life. I heard things like, “You know, you would make a great priest!” God doesn’t literally “call,” or instant message, or even text you. We don’t literally “hear a voice.” For someone to “hear” a call to priesthood, religious life, the diaconate or lay ministry in our Church, God needs to use our voices. Look around, do you notice a young person (or maybe even an established career person) who has that desire to grow closer to the Lord and be of service to others? Maybe that person is wrestling with a decision to enter religious life or priesthood. Maybe you saying something to them is the voice they need to hear to “confirm” the calling for them. It could be someone in our parish. It could be someone in our own family: a son, daughter, granddaughter, grandson, nephew or niece. Who is God asking you to reach out to and support in their call to service in the Church? Those discerning a call to the priesthood and religious life need to know we support them. We need to encourage our young people to hear His call and respond with courage. To answer such a call at this time in the life of the Church is both incredibly challenging requiring strong personal, intellectual and spiritual gifts, and, at the same time, incredibly satisfying and fulfilling.
On Corpus Christi Sunday I reminded you that without priests there is no Eucharist! For the Body and Blood of Christ to be available to us, it requires that some will answer a call to priesthood, and for some to have the courage to answer that call may require your voice of encouragement and support. We all have a role in “asking the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Ask yourself, am I doing all I can to fulfill that role? What is the Lord asking YOU to do?
Synod 2020 Grow and Go! The Archdiocesan Synod process is continuing with the preparation phase of instructing all the delegates on their responsibilities and providing background information which will help them in their role. I really hope you heeded the call I offered in this article a couple of weeks ago and visited the website www.growandgo.com to watch the video presentations. You will not regret taking the time to do so!
I am most grateful to our two parish delegates, Teallia Gorman and Shawn Simpson who are actively preparing for the upcoming Synod Meeting in October by prayer and study. I thank them for answering the call to serve the Church in this way and accepting the responsibility to participate in this momentous event in our Archdiocese. Please continue to pray for the success of the Synod. Prayer cards are available at all church entrances. For more information on the Synod, including the videos of preparatory sessions, please visit www.growandgo.com.
THERE IS STILL ROOM! 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!
The summer months are here and that means many are on vacation which each year means we see a drop in the offertory during these months each year. As you consider your commitment to regular, intentional giving to our parish, you may want to consider Online Giving in your plans. It simplifies giving (no checks to write), and it ensures that your gift is received even if you are away or cannot attend Mass on a particular Sunday. Online Giving provides multiple options and other features for your convenience.
Donations can be made directly from your checking account or by using any major credit card - so you can earn "points" while giving!
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.
You can designate donations for different purposes: weekly, monthly, and holy day collections, diocesan/national collections, Easter/Christmas flowers, even Religious Education registration!
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.
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.