Dear Friends in Christ:
Happy Feast Day! THURSDAY is the Feast Day of our Patroness Saint Bridget of Sweden! Saint Bridget of Sweden, also written Saint Birgitta, was a mystic and saint. She was the foundress of the Bridgettines nuns and monks. According to Saint John Paul II, Saint Bridget of Sweden “was a master in accepting the Cross as a central experience of the faith, she was an exemplary disciple of the Church, professing complete Catholicism; she was a model of the contemplative and active life and a tireless apostle in the search for unity among Christians!” As we celebrate the feast day of our Patroness, let us implore her intercession as we continue to grow as disciples of the Lord as a family of faith under her patronage. Saint Bridget of Sweden pray for us! Happy Feast Day!
It has been wonderful seeing people coming back to Mass. It really has been like a homecoming. Remember we are NOT returning to a normal routine in any way, shape, or form. We are coming back to a “new normal.” Things look different. People are wearing masks, hand sanitizer greets us at the doors, pews are marked off as to where people can sit, there are no hymnals, and it all seems so foreign, and yet we are HOME!
I received a phone call from one parishioner this past Monday and she shared with me that she wasn’t happy with all these new procedures, but she understands why they are being implemented; then she said even with all of that, she still had such a feeling of being home. Home is a great place isn’t it.
A home is not just a building. It is a place where we have close ties with others who accept us for who and what we are, and who give us a feeling of belonging. Home is where love is shared. Home is where lessons are learned. Home is where we feel we belong. And boy isn’t it good to be home in our spiritual home, once again, for the celebration of Masses.
YOUR COOPERATION IS STILL NEEDED as we return home as a family of faith…Masses ARE limited to 100 persons as of the time of this writing. One MUST sign-up to attend the Mass using the SignUpGenius found on our parish website at www.stbridgetcheshire.org. If you do not use a computer, please contact the parish office to sign-up. The process has worked out fine for weekday Masses, but it will be ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY that the SignUpGenius be used for weekend Masses since the numbers will be that much greater. If we all do our part to register ahead of time, it will work out just fine.
I remind you as I have in the last couple of bulletins other items for your consideration:
1. The dispensation from the Sunday obligation has been extended through September 6th, and we will continue to livestream Mass (at 10AM now) for those who are uncomfortable returning just yet. Those in high-risk categories are encouraged to continue staying home, even as others begin to return to Mass. The decision to attend is yours. Please use prudence and good judgement in considering if you should attend a public Mass at this time.
2. Registration IS REQUIRED for both weekday and weekend Masses due to the limit of 100 people per worship service at this time.
3. Please familiarize yourself with the Guidelines issued by the Archdiocese by visiting their website www.archdioceseofhartford.org.
4. Remember the government is recommending the following persons stay home and stay safe: anyone who has underlying health risks, anyone who feels sick or has a cough or fever, those caring for an elderly or sick person, and those feeling anxious or fearful for their own health.
5. If you do come to Mass, please bring your own hand sanitizer and a mask, arrive early, and maintain 6 feet of social distancing when moving about the church.
6. The front entrance, and the south entrance, will continue to be the ONLY entrances utilized at this time.
7. Please remember there is to be NO gathering in the church or the parking lot at this time. I know many will be tempted to want to catch up but please do so by calling one another on the telephone.
8. There will be NO congregational singing! This one hurts Father Federico and myself since we are always trying to encourage more participation, but it has been proven that singing and loud speech expel more excessive water droplets raising the potential for transmitting the virus. Therefore all hymnals have been removed for the time being.
9. At communion time, come forward single file, maintaining 6 feet with the person in front of you, put out your hands to receive Holy Communion, step to the side where the blue X has been put on the floor, lower your mask and consume the consecrated host, then put your mask back on, and return to your pew by the side aisle.
10. The Parish Office is OPEN but at this time we are still not permitting people, other than staff members, into the rectory for their safety and well-being and your own. We are available by phone or email, and if you need a Mass or sacramental record, we are asking for the information ahead of time, the proper form will be prepared, and we
will place it in one of the mailboxes next to the rectory facing the church. This is the same process for anyone wishing to pick something up or drop something off. Please call the office to inform us prior to your arrival to pick something up or drop something off. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
We promise you that we will be responsible, diligent, and cautious as we begin to reopen to ensure the safety and well-being of all of us, clergy and laity. While we are doing our best, it should be noted, that any gathering of people carries a risk, and we CANNOT provide an absolute guarantee of your safety. Please continue to be united in prayer and trust in God’s wisdom and God’s time as we begin to see a reopening of our parish for public Masses.
I have heard from a good number of our parishioners that they are still apprehensive to return to a public celebration and that is ok! If you are not comfortable please do not attend. We do not want coming to Mass to be a cause for anxiety. This is why the Archbishop has extended the dispensation from attending Sunday Mass through early September. Please, if you are able to come and feel comfortable, please sign-up; if you do not feel comfortable, please join us on our livestream on Sunday at 10AM available through the link on our homepage at www.stbridgetcheshire.org.
The joys of summer…even as we continue to deal with the pandemic, the summer provides us a chance to have a little lighter schedule. A time to recharge our batteries. While travel may not be possible for many, a day trip to the beach can be a HUGE game changer for one’s frame of mind. I hope you all find a way to recharge and gear up for the coming months during these days of summer.
While the summer normally provides us, your Parish Staff, a chance to catch up on projects, I do not think that is the case this year. In the coming weeks we will be busy preparing for Memorial Masses for our parishioners who died during the peak of the pandemic, planning proper celebrations for our young people to receive their First Holy Communion and their Confirmation before the new school year starts, and making sure we are ready to go when the school and religious education programs begin with all the proper protocols put in place. This will not be a restful summer for us, but it is ok because we are preparing programs to meet the needs of our parishioners to the best of our abilities and within the guidelines and procedures during this unprecedented time.
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 on-line presence. Visit our user-friendly website www.stbridgetcheshire.org, check us out on Facebook at St. Bridget of Sweden Parish, and of course DOWNLOAD THE PARISH APP!!! We are actively using all these tools of communication to reach our parishioners. Don’t miss it when Father Federico, Victoria, and I go LIVE on Facebook on Tuesdays and Thursdays!
The Parish App is used by many of our groups and ministries. It is a great way of communicating information to our parishioners and also an excellent resource to access daily Mass readings, prayers, confession and prayer reminders, and other Catholic news. You can even read the parish bulletin on the App. It is certain to become your “go-to” App for Catholic parish life.
You can download the app by texting APP to phone number 88202. You will receive a link, click on it, open it in the store, download, search, and enter St. Bridget of Sweden and then click get started!
I would be remiss if, as your Pastor, I didn’t remind you that YOUR PARISH NEEDS YOU. WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Please continue to remember your parish family needs your financial support. I realize these are hard times for a good number of our parishioners but we need your support to continue to provide for the spiritual needs of our parishioners. The longer this pandemic continues, the more I worry about what our future will look like.
So I beg every family to support your Parish Family during this time. Even if the building is not as full as it usually is, bills and salaries still need to be paid, and your support during this time will enable that to happen. Here are ways you can give to your Parish:
Mail in your offertory or drop it off at the office!
Give online—sign-up for our Online Giving Program by clicking this link on our website.
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!
6. 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.