Dear Friends in Christ:
Don’t forget this weekend, on Sunday from 2-3PM, we are offering an opportunity for our parishioners who have yet to return to “in-person” Mass to come by and receive Holy Communion without even leaving your car!
So many of our beloved parishioners have been joining us “virtually” for Sunday Mass since the shutdown all the way back in March. I have spoken to many of them, either by phone or written communication, and have heard directly how they miss receiving the Eucharist! We have been talking about what we could do to help meet this need while at the same time not requiring people to come into the church building with others present at the same time…and we have come up with a plan that has me super excited!
It is as safe as we can possibly make it. You don’t even need to leave the car! Drive in and follow the signs. These signs will guide you through some preparation prayers, then to a station where Father Federico and I will be there one on each side of the car, roll down the windows and receive the Holy Eucharist, then pull forward to do your prayer of thanksgiving and be on your way.
PLEASE COME BY AND RECEIVE JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST!
CONNECTICUT RETURNS TO PHASE 2…well now known as Phase 2.1…this past week we received word that the Governor has decided to revert back to the restrictions of Phase 2 once again. What does this mean for us? It means, beginning this past Friday, November 6th, our capacity is back down to 50% capacity or 100, whichever is less. For us that means we can only have 100 people at every Mass! This is disappointing news to say the least. And as I said the weekend in early September when I announced an additional Mass, as with all COVID-19 related things are constantly changing and we will continue to adjust based on the guidelines issued from the State and from the Archdiocese.
Therefore, the pews have already been reconfigured to provide that extra spacing we had early on, though it is more than the required amount. But since we cannot have more than 100 people, providing that extra spacing between pews puts a little extra distance between people and, hopefully, helps us all be extra cautious and safe.
Once again, I wish to publicly thank, on your behalf, Lynn Krieg and Jim Mitchell, Co-Chairs of our Parish Pastoral Council for all that they have been doing to assist us in this process of reopening! They are on top of things and are always there to lend advice, help in planning, assist in ensuring a safe environment for those who come to Mass and coordinate all our awesome volunteers at each Mass. We simply could not be doing what we are doing without their phenomenal assistance.
NOW MORE THAN EVER the importance of signing up for Mass is evident. We ask all who attend Mass here at Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish, either weekday or weekend, to continue to make a reservation online through our SignUpGenius available through our website at www.stbridgetcheshire.org, or by calling the parish office to have one of our staff members assist you in signing up in advance, enter by the front door or south door entrances only to check in, and that while in church PLEASE REMEMBER masks must be worn at all times.
Also, just by way of reminder when receiving the host in the hand, please place one hand on top of the other, keeping the palm fully open, and waiting for the priest or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion to place the host in your hand before moving. Please do not cup your hand, try to take the host between your fingers from the minister, or move quickly. We all have to do our part to avoid contact with the communion minister for the safety of all.
Donations for the collections may continue to be put in the corresponding offering baskets on the communion rail (they are covered with a red cloth) or by using our online giving portal, available on the parish website at www.stbridgetcheshire.org.
Again, I personally thank you all for your flexibility and patience as we navigate these uncharted waters of the pandemic. It is a constantly changing situation and we will get through this together as long as we all continue to be patient and understanding.
Let us continue to pray for all those affected by COVID, and those working diligently for treatments, vaccines, and other remedies-physical, financial and emotional-that one day soon we can return to our regular worship practices and daily routines. Finally, if you or someone you know is in need of any assistance during this time, please contact me to let me know so that we may reach out to them with whatever help we may be able to provide. May God continue to bless us all!
PLEASE NOTE…Archbishop Blair has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass… I know that relieves some stress for those among us who are worried about returning to Mass “in-person” during these times due to underlying health conditions and/or nervousness. With notice of this change back to Phase 2.1, we also received word from the Archbishop’s Office that said:
“Dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is hereby extended for all the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Hartford through Tuesday, February 16, 2021, which is the eve of Ash Wednesday.”
LAST WEEKEND WE CELEBRATED WITH GREAT JOY THE BEATIFICATION OF MICHAEL J. MCGIVNEY. What a great blessing to the local church to have one of our own, born and raised in Waterbury, Connecticut, declared a Blessed!
As I said in my homily last weekend on the Solemnity of All Saints, nobody is born a saint. That is the simple and reassuring fact of the Solemnity of All Saints, and it shows us, or better reminds us, that we can all become saints!
Think about it someone born 10 miles from here is officially declared a Blessed, and we pray, please God, one day a Saint. He was a simple parish priest of our Archdiocese. He never tired in serving the people entrusted to his care with great devotion and love and NOW he is a Blessed. It could happen for any one of us!
The Saints were just like us—ordinary men and women who dared to live in an extraordinary way in faithfulness to the Gospel. Flesh and blood, strength and weakness. They were people of appetites and longings, ambitions and disappointments. They were simple sinners just like the rest of us. They have struggled with sin and temptation, they’ve walked the journey toward holiness, sometimes stumbling, sometimes falling. The difference between a saint and the rest of us is that saints get up one more time after they fall. They get back up—they move on—they resolve to do better, to be better, to aim higher. The potential is within each of us, and with the help of God’s grace, and the intercession of Blessed Michael J. McGivney, I pray each of us will strive to be a Saint.
Shown above are two more pictures from the amazing weekend…the one on the left is Michael McGivney Schachle who was the baby healed in utero of a life threatening illness known as fetal hydrops diagnosis. Little Michael was with us at the Cathedral for the Beatification and there was not a dry eye in the Cathedral as he handed Cardinal Tobin the relic of Blessed Michael J. McGivney. The picture to the right is of the relic in Saint Mary’s Church in New Haven where Blessed Michael McGivney’s body is enshrined. It was a busy weekend but one filled with many graced moments as one of our own shows us that the path to sainthood is possible even for people born in Connecticut!
The Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Project for the Cheshire Community Food Pantry. I have to say one of my highlights each year as Pastor is seeing our parishioners work together with people of the other houses of worship in Cheshire to serve our brothers and sisters in need for Thanksgiving. I have loved it. I remember the times we gathered here to assembly the boxes in the school gym and gather in prayer in the Church. I remember how after the new pantry was built we moved this to be an on-site event at the Food Pantry and how we still prayed together.
This year, due to the pandemic, the Pantry asked us to collect gift cards for their clients rather than food. After much prayer and consideration, I informed the Pantry that our parish would not participate this year. Before you say, WHAT? Why would you do that? I need you to understand. They are collecting gift cards this weekend and then NEXT WEEKEND we will be kicking off our Annual Advent Giving Tree Program. I did not feel right asking the people of our parish family to do both BACK TO BACK. If you would like to make a donation to the Thanksgiving Meal Project by all means please do but I could not, as your Pastor, ask you one weekend for gift cards for this project knowing that the following weekend we are launching an extensive giving program and requesting from you, once again, help to meet the requests of these families served by the Food Pantry. The Advent Giving Program will be much different than years past and I am hoping, even with this new way of doing it, we will be able to meet the needs of those we serve.
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.