Dear Friends in Christ:
THE TIME IS COMING…a day doesn’t go by when someone does not ask me “Father, when are we going to be together again for Mass on Sunday?” My routine answer was “soon I hope.” Well soon it is!
Archbishop Blair has announced that beginning July 4 and 5, 2020, we can begin, once again, to gather at the altar for Sunday Mass. I am so excited!
THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THIS TUNNEL WE CALL A PANDEMIC SEEMS TO BE GETTING BRIGHTER EACH DAY. This is cause for rejoicing! Praise God! Even if it will be a period of time, [and it will I assure you,] before things will be back to “normal,” the reopening of our Parish for weekend Mass is a cause for hope!
Now, as of this writing, plans are underway for how best to put into place the guidelines of the Archdiocese here at Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish. We want to ensure we follow the guidelines and do all in our power to ensure the safety and well-being of all our parishioners. We also want to make sure we are offering enough Masses so as many as wish to attend weekend Mass will have the opportunity to do so.
We will begin to offer weekend Masses on Saturday, July 4th, and Sunday, July 5th.
Masses will be limited to 100 persons as of the time of this writing. One MUST sign-up to attend the Mass using the SignUp Genius 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 Signup Genius 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 assure you that the Pastoral Staff, and the Pastoral Council, will do ALL we can to ensure we are ready to welcome the People of God back to the altar. That said we are changing the schedule a bit as well to ensure for two things:
1. First, and foremost, enough opportunities to enable as many as possible to join us.
2. Adequate time in between Masses for the necessary disinfecting and sanitizing of the church and restrooms.
The schedule will be as follows beginning July 4th with ALL MASSES in Saint Bridget Church for the time being:
- Saturday Vigil Masses at 4PM and 5:30PM
- Sunday Masses at 7AM, 8:30AM, 10AM, and 11:30AM.
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). 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. Use this link to sign up:
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 to 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 gatherings 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 six 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 back on your mask, and return to your pew by the side aisle.
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 would be remiss if, as your Pastor, I didn’t remind you that YOUR PARISH NEEDS YOU. Perhaps you have noticed that the last couple of weeks we have seen a drop in the Sunday offertory that is mailed in or given online. WE NEED YOUR HELP!
I am talking about something no priest likes to bring up, especially in a time of pandemic, but we need your financial support! While your spiritual well-being is my first priority, it is often the financial burdens of being a Pastor that keep me up at night. And boy has this been happening lately. I am like Martha in the scriptures and I worry about many things. 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 need to be paid, and your support during this time will enable that to happen.
Here are ways you can give to your Parish:
1. Mail in your offertory or drop it off at the office!
2. Give online—sign-up for our Online Giving Program by clicking this link on our website.
a. Donations can be made directly from your checking account or by using any major credit card - so you can earn "points" while giving!
b. 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.
c. You can designate donations for different purposes: weekly, monthly, and holy day collections, diocesan/national collections, Easter/Christmas flowers, even Religious Education registration!
d. 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.
SAINT BRIDGET SCHOOL IS ENROLLING NOW! Don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about what our parish school can offer your child(ren) or grandchild(ren). Since opening in 1994, Saint Bridget School offers students a faith-based, challenging curriculum designed to promote academic excellence in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and grades 1 through 8. Committed educators guide our students through the day with lessons in faith development, math, language arts, social studies, geography, science, Spanish (grades K-8), music, art, and physical education. Our curriculum includes the use of state-of-the-art computer and science labs as well as an extensive library.
Even in the midst of a pandemic our students continued their learning process. I am beyond thrilled and grateful to our extraordinary faculty who every day met with their students on various platforms such as, Google Meet or ZOOM, and continued the learning process, challenging our students daily, and helping them grow in knowledge. We did not miss a beat and that is thanks to our phenomenal faculty.
We still have room at all grade levels for the upcoming school year 2020-2021, and I hope you will consider Saint Bridget School for your child or children, grandchild or grandchildren. I would love for all families to consider coming in for a tour.
Please contact our Admissions Director, Mrs. Christina Cummings, or our Principal, Dr. Nancy Testa, at the school office at 203.272.5860. Be sure to visit our school website www.stbridgetschool.org as well to take a Virtual Tour to learn more!
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!