Dear Friends in Christ:
Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, otherwise known as Corpus Christi Sunday.
This Feast goes back to the 13th century, but it celebrates something far older: the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the Last Supper. It is the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ—which we celebrate each time we come together for Mass—that provides us the grace and strength we need to live as followers of Christ in our world. We know that during the persecutions of the early Church, the disciples would meet in the Catacombs to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because the Eucharist was the source of their strength to remain steadfast in their newfound faith.
And so for us today the Eucharist, the Mass, is the very center of our lives as Catholic Christians; it is the source and summit of our Christian life. At Mass we are fed with the Word of God and nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ so that we can go forth glorifying the Lord by our lives, and announcing the Gospel in our own words and deeds. Take away the Mass and we lose our identity—it is the source and summit of our lives as Catholic Christians. I think that, although this is an annual celebration, this year, it perhaps takes on new meaning for us. You see, for almost three months we could not gather together to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. For these months of quarantine we hungered more than ever to receive Holy Communion. I heard from so many of you how the hardest part of these months was not being able to come to Mass and receive Holy Communion. I have watched as we distributed Holy Communion this week during our public Masses how so many were moved to tears as they said Amen. I think this time, during which we were deprived of regular reception of Holy Communion, has actually implanted in our souls a deeper and more profound appreciation for the gift of His Real Presence in the Eucharist. May we recognize the great gift the Eucharist is in our lives, and may we always hunger for this food!
A special word of gratitude to the Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish Pastoral Council and to all the volunteers who have assisted in helping us to safely reopen this past week for the public celebration of Mass. Your efforts are very much appreciated by us all!
SUMMER IS HERE!!! The end of the school year brings the excitement of summer and a lesson for us all…Yes I know that these past few months have been quite a different experience for our school children, but this week marks the end of their school time, whether it was in person or on ZOOM or Google Classroom. This is the week when I normally tell our school children that while summer is a time to relax, and enjoy some fun, they need to remember that summer is not time off from being a student or a disciple. Summer is always a good time for each of us to wind down a little, to enjoy some time outside, to visit with family and friends, and to simply “be”. Now this will all take on new meaning this summer given the pandemic and the precautions and limitations in place for our safety and well-being, but it is still possible to allow summer to reinvigorate us.
Summer brings long days and lots of sunshine, and that is great for all of us to take advantage of, whether with our families or on our own. Get outside and enjoy the sun. Pick up a good book and read it at the beach or out on your deck or in your hammock. Get outside and play some golf, do some fishing, or just take a walk!
Don’t forget summer can also be a sort of spiritual retreat for those who have the time to enjoy some peace and quiet and spend time reflecting on your lives. Perhaps grab a spiritual book to read over the summer by the pool.
But please never forget that we are followers of Jesus all year! Never forget that your words and actions are to reflect His presence in the lives of those around you, and never forget to attend Mass, whether in-person or virtually, throughout the summer so that you can be spiritually fed by the Word of God and His Body and Blood in the Eucharist.
My prayer for each of us throughout these coming weeks of summer is that we are rejuvenated physically and spiritually so that when the busyness of our fall schedules starts up again, we will have that strength we need to persevere.
A word of HAPPIEST CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2020 of St. Bridget School. This is a special class. These young men and women have experienced so much through their years with us, and we are grateful for all that they did to make our parish school such an amazing family. I have watched many of these students mature through the years and am so proud to have had the privilege to make this journey with them. We are blessed to welcome this Class of 2020 to our esteemed alumni of St. Bridget School. You have made us proud by your joy, your seriousness to study, your kindness to one another, your respect for others, your concern for the less fortunate, and your ability to provide a good example to our student body. Your acceptance of the recent pandemic and your seriousness with which you approached your remote learning environment are just evidence of your deep desire to continue to grow and be the best you can be. To the Class of 2020 of St. Bridget School I say I am so proud of you, and promise you my prayers as you begin the next chapter in your lives. I look forward to celebrating a graduation ceremony soon to celebrate your accomplishments. Well done, my friends, well done!
This weekend I also wish to mention a Happiest Congratulations to the Class of 2020 from Cheshire High School, those from a variety of other Catholic and private High Schools, and to all who will graduate this year at any level. Know of our continued prayers for each and every one of you as embark on the next journey of your lives.
This weekend I also wish to express a word of gratitude to all involved in our Religious Education Program…This has been no ordinary year for any of us and yet the students of our program continued to grow in knowledge and love of God and the Church and for that you deserve our deepest gratitude.
While we have yet to schedule the First Holy Communions and Confirmation, we have come to the official end of our Religious Education Year, and I have really been impressed to hear how our volunteers excelled even in a time of pandemic.
I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Mrs. Donna Yatcko for all that she does as our Director of Religious Education. Her joy for bringing others closer to the Lord and guiding others to grow into a deeper relationship with the Lord is evident in her daily work. I am most grateful to her, to our Youth Minister Regis O’Neill, as well as our office assistant Pamela Todman and our site-coordinator Tonya Baril Pelletier, who work so hard to ensure our program runs smoothly and efficiently.
To our many volunteer catechists who give of their own time and talent as they share our faith with our young people, I say thank you! We could never educate all of our children in the faith without the help of the countless men, women, and high school students who assist in our religious education program. May you all be blessed for your generosity!
WE ARE HIRING! Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish has an opening in our Maintenance Department. Mr. Matthew Vitello who has been with us for many years and recently was the Facilities and Grounds Coordinator has accepted a position elsewhere and will leave our parish staff by the end of the month. We thank him for his years of service to our parish family. In particular, and on behalf of the priest who have served here with me, I thank Matt for his constant willingness to assist us in every which way through the past few years. Good luck and know our prayers accompany you.
We are looking for candidates seeking full-time employment to join our staff. The Facilities and Grounds Coordinator is responsible for managing the maintenance, housekeeping, and custodial staff in the maintaining of church buildings, parish school, rectories and all other buildings belonging to the parish to ensure that all facilities and grounds are clean and well-maintained. Any candidate interested is asked to contact the parish office at email@example.com for a more detailed job description.
SEND US YOUR RECIPES…SAINT BRIDGET OF SWEDEN PARISH COOKBOOK 2020…as we hear from so many during this time of pandemic, it has been a time we are all growing in our culinary expertise. If you have tuned in to our Casual Conversations live from our living room on Saturdays, you probably have noticed that a lot of inquiries have been made about what we have eaten, what we have cooked, and a cooking challenge has even arisen from these discussions!
That said, Father Federico and I thought it would be a great idea to take this time to create a Parish Cookbook with your family recipes or your favorites from this time of pandemic. I know cookbooks have been done in the past, but now seems like a perfect time to create a new one for our parish family. Send us your recipes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DON’T FORGET WE ARE LOOKING FOR THE YOUNG ARTIST AMONG US…We are holding another art contest! It is that time of year again when we need to prepare for our annual parish Christmas card. We are looking for children of all ages to design our parish Christmas card. Last year it was a huge hit. I heard from so many people how much they loved that we used artwork from one of our young parishioners. We invite all school-aged children to think of Christmas and send us their design. The winner’s artwork will be the cover of our parish Christmas card which is sent to all parishioners and friends of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish. All artwork must be submitted to the rectory by June 30th for consideration! We look forward to many submissions!
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!