Dear Friends in Christ:
As we continue in this Month of Remembrance I hope many of you have taken the time to visit your loved ones cemetery sites. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, the Vatican has extended the Plenary Indulgence normally obtained from November 1 to 8 to the entire month. The necessary requirements for the Indulgence are: to visit the cemetery, have a spirit detached from sin, go to confession as soon as possible, receive the Eucharist as soon as possible, pray for the pope's intentions, and be united spiritually with all the faithful. By fulfilling these requirements, an indulgence can be obtained for our loved ones who are in Purgatory and get them closer to their entrance to the heavenly kingdom!
Perhaps you have visited our own St. Bridget Cemetery on Higgins Road and noticed some changes? As I announced in May, in the midst of the Pandemic, we had put together a New Cemetery Advisory Committee for St. Bridget Cemetery, a mission of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish. Even during a Pandemic our new committee hit the ground running and began making improvements that were long overdue. I am so grateful to each and every one of them for their tremendous efforts in improving the condition of our parish cemetery and ensuring that it is a comforting and prayerful setting for our parishioners to visit and pray for their loved ones.
Some of the improvements have been very visible from painting the maintenance garage there to installing a wrought iron fence along the roadside in the front. Other improvements have been noticeable but not as visible such as clearing land in the back and behind the maintenance garage, seeding it, and preparing it for future gravesites. They also have plans to repair and replace other sections of the fencing where damage has occurred through the years. And they have been working diligently on the Cemetery Rules and Regulations. This is no small project. A week does not go by when I do not receive an email from someone who wishes to complain about the trinkets, overgrown plantings, or other decorations on some of the headstones.
I realize that implementing new Rules and Regulations is not going to be an easy project but I am confident once they are implemented many of these issues will be resolved. As final drafts are being put together, I wanted to let you know that we will be announcing these Rules and Regulations in the Bulletin, on our Social Media, and through an Ad in the Cheshire Herald. It is my hope that we can start publishing the new Rules and Regulations by January sometime and then have an effective date sometime in March or April as to when we will begin to enforce them so families have time to get their loved ones gravesites within code.
A question about Perpetual Care Funds for the Cemetery. Recently I have been questioned regarding the perpetual care funds and what their purpose is. There is confusion about the idea of perpetual care and it is important to know what is and what is not covered. Perpetual Care Funds are used for the general maintenance, care, and management of the cemetery and grounds. For example, mowing and lawn care during the growing months, and snow clearing and road treatment during the winter months would fall under perpetual care, as would the up-keep of our maintenance garage in the cemetery, fencing, road work, signage and record keeping. What is NOT covered is the upkeep of family monuments or flesh markers, nor the planting, cutting, watering or care of any privately planted shrub, flowers, or ornamental plants. I hope this clears up what is the responsibility of the cemetery and proper use of perpetual funds, and what is the responsibility of the family who owns a plot in the cemetery.
LAST SUNDAY WAS AMAZING! Father Federico and I were very ex-cited about the special opportunity we were offering our parishioners to come and receive Holy Communion. Even a couple hours before we were talking with Tony, our Sacristan, and trying to figure out how many would come and guessing of course. We decided to consecrate a few hundred hosts thinking well maybe we will get a good crowd. It was even said that even if only a few come who really de-sired to receive the Eucharist then the effort would be worth it. WOW were we blown away when we had about 150 cars come through! Some had only one or two people in them, others had whole families and multi-generations. Some people were crying, others were almost speechless. Some were vocal about their appreciation, others were visibly touched by the whole experience. We were so touched too. The whole experience and the looks on our people’s faces as they came through just made all the planning and effort so worth it.
WE WILL BE DOING IT AGAIN! STAY TUNED!!!
Happiest Congratulations...go to Meghan C., age 6, from our parish family whose artwork has been chosen as this year’s parish Christmas card. It is well done! It is bright and colorful and a wonderful expression from one of our young artists of the birth of Jesus Christ. Expect to see one in your mail-box this coming Christmas! Congratulations Meghan! We hope you spend your Amazon Gift Card on something you can enjoy! A special word of gratitude to you and the many others from our school and parish families who contributed artwork for consideration. We are blessed with so many young artists!
JOIN ME ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30th AT 7PM for a short video and discussion on the life of Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney! As a parish priest and as the State Chaplain of the Knights of Co-lumbus, I am very excited to welcome you to join me in viewing a short video on the life of Father Michael McGivney: An American Blessed. This powerful documentary highlights Father McGivney’s inspiring example of fraternal charity, evangelization, and empowerment of the laity, from his humble beginnings as the son of Irish immigrants to his founding of the Knights of Columbus. The video also explores the heartwarming story of Michael McGivney Schachle, the child whose healing is attributed to the inter-cession of Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney.
DUE TO COVID PHASE 2.1 regulations, we are limited to the first 25 people to sign-up, so sign-up today through the parish web-site. CALLING ALL PARISHIONERS TO CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING AT MASS!!! As you are aware, with COVID and the rules surrounding our re-opening, we are in need of volunteers at EVERY Mass to check people in, sanitize the pews following Mass, and assist in other small tasks associated with our opening. We have a core group of people who volunteer frequently and for that I am most grateful. But as this pandemic continues I realize we need more volunteers to lighten the load. Most especially as we approach Christmas and prepare to make plans for Christmas Eve Masses and Christmas Day Masses, we will need additional volunteers. Please consider helping out! Email Jim Mitchell at Jim@mydglm.com and let him know what times work for your schedule. Thank you for considering helping your parish family through this time of pandemic.
Finally, I must make a comment on the release this past week of a report from the Vatican regarding Theodore McCarrick. What another tragic and sad occasion for the Catholic Church and a stark re-minder of the importance of ensuring we ALL do our part to offer safe environments for our people. I am sure this document over 400 pages in total is a very painful reminder to the many victims of clerical sexual abuse. I have no doubt that this has retriggered their horrific experiences. This is a very clear indicator that past practices and policies failed to ensure the safety of God’s children. It also underscores the painful realization that some in the Church did what they could to ignore problems they knew existed. I hope and pray that this report reminds us all that in a sinful world each of us has a role to play in protecting and safe-guarding the people entrusted to our care. Let us ALL pledge to pray for the victims, protect the children and vulnerable of today, and continue to seek to bring healing to the Church we all love.
As always, remember to pray and ask God’s blessings upon our family of faith 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.