Dear Friends in Christ:
Well, here we are gathered for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time…while I love
Christmas and all that occurs during the Christmas Season it is good to be back into Ordinary Time. I love Christmas! If you stopped by the rectory at all during Christmas you would have noticed in a small way that I love to decorate the house for Christmas. Over the years I have gathered quite a collection of nativity scenes from throughout the world and a large number of snowmen. In some way I wish the Christmas Season were longer to enjoy the collection I have gathered, but since it is so short I have decided there is no harm in leaving a few nativities up throughout the year to remind us that God loved us so much He sent His only Son into the world to show us the way to the Father! Jesus is Emmanuel, God is with us, and that is something we can celebrate throughout the year not just during the short weeks of the Christmas Season.
Sometimes we as Catholics can feel perhaps a bit disappointed when we arrive at Ordinary Time. After all, think what we just celebrated in rapid succession: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. WOW. We really celebrated during those weeks that God is with us! But you know what? God is with us in Ordinary Time, too. God is with us in the ordinary events of every day as well. There really is nothing ordinary about life as a Christian if we truly seek to find the Lord in one another whom we encounter. For me as a priest, this is one of the privileged moments of encounter. Whether it is a hospital visit, a sick call, a house blessing, or a simple meeting with a parishioner in the parish office, I am often awed by how Jesus is present in the midst of these moments of encounter. Do you see His presence in your daily encounters? Are you searching for Him like the magi? Look for Him for He is there!
So let’s make Ordinary Time this year Extraordinary! How? Here’s some things we can do to make this happen:
· Attend Sunday Mass as a family
- If you have young children sit in front so the children can see what is happening
· Plan ahead which Mass you will attend
· Read the Sacred Scriptures and get to know the Lord Jesus
- You can locate the daily Mass readings on our myParish app
· Come to daily Mass and begin your day at the Altar of God
· Read about and reflect on the lives of the Saints
· Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and experience the mercy of God
This year why not make Ordinary Time anything but ordinary. Be intentional about your growth in the spiritual life! Visit our parish website for a variety of other programs and events through which you can grow in your faith!
Speaking about Extraordinary encounters…this past Tuesday Father Federico and I gathered with about a dozen of our young adults to share with them our plan for Young Adult Ministry here at Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish. We were excited to share with them about our planned partnership with id 9:16 Ministry whose very existence is to form young adults into intentional disciples of Jesus Christ! We had a chance for them to hear from Peter Burak, Director of id 9:16, who has come to the Archdiocese a few times this past year to speak on a variety of topics including most recently at the meeting of the delegates for the Synod 2020: Grow and Go. Pete shared with them that this Ministry would be more than an event-based ministry. Through this Ministry, we hope to introduce people to Jesus Christ who is the door but also the path that leads to salvation. One of the aims of this ministry is to give young adults the tools necessary to grow in holiness. This will consist of prayer, study, connecting with others, and mission. PLEASE pray for our Young Adults as this group discerns whether God is calling them to be part of our leadership team as we launch this new Ministry in our Parish.
As will be announced this weekend, at this time we are suspending the distribution of the Precious Blood at all Masses. The Connecticut Department of Public Health has indicated that the Influenza Activity is NOW widespread in the State of Connecticut. Therefore, at this time, I have decided that it would be prudent to suspend the distribution of the Precious Blood until such time that it appears the flu outbreak is over.
Other precautions for you to consider during this time include:
1. If you are ill or suspect you are ill with a contagious illness, to stay home and watch the Mass on television. You can get the local Mass from the Office of Radio and Television on WTXX(Channel 10 or 11 on most providers) and also on EWTN.
2. Perhaps not hold hands with those around you during the Lord’s Prayer.
3. At the Sign of Peace consider a verbal greeting to those around you, or exchange peace with a bow and smile instead of a handshake.
That being said, it should also be noted that the whole and entire Christ and the true Sacrament are received under either species as the Council of Trent points out in its document Doctrine on Communion Under Both Species and on Communion of Little Children. “If one, therefore, receives either the Precious Blood or the Sacred Host, he or she receives the fullness of the grace of the Sacrament. That said, when we approach the altar of the Lord and receive the Body of Christ, the Sacred Host, we receive the full grace of the Eucharist just as if we had shared in the Cup of His Blood as well. So receiving only one species, either His Most Sacred Body or His Most Precious Blood we receive the whole Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity.”
The Annual School Auction…The Saint Bridget School Home and School Association is gearing up for the annual Auction with this year’s theme Country and Cocktails! This is the major fundraiser of the year for our school. WE NEED YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT!
We all need to come together and support our parish school and the Annual Auction. Ways you can help:
1. You can mark your calendars and plan to join us at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville on Friday, February 21st, 2020, for a great night of food and fellowship as well as the chance to win a raffle item, or an auction item.
2. You can place an ad in the evening’s program book or become a sponsor. Ads run anywhere between $50-550 and the sponsorships cost between $500-5,000.
3. You can donate an item for the silent or live auction, such as sporting event tickets, theatre tickets, bikes, grills, jewelry, televisions or electronics of all kinds, golf foursomes to local golf courses or Country Clubs, overnight stays to a nice place, or any item you think will solicit support for our school
PLEASE help us make this year’s Annual Auction a SUCCESS. It is the 25th year since the reopening of our parish school and helping to make this year’s auction a success will be a great way to celebrate these past years and prepare for a bright future.
For more information about the auction or to sponsor us, please visit the school’s website at: https://stbridgetschool.ejoinme.org/sbsauction2020.
SPEAKING OF OUR AMAZING CATHOLIC SCHOOL, I am reminded that next Sunday we celebrate the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. Saint Bridget School will be holding an OPEN HOUSE NEXT SUNDAY from 10AM-1PM. I personally invite every parishioner to come and visit our school during this open house. Our extraordinary and dedicated faculty and staff will be on hand to answer any questions you may have and tours will be offered by our current students. Please come and see what Saint Bridget School could offer your child or children or grandchildren. I want every family in our parish, with school age children, to feel that Saint Bridget School is an option for them. Hope to see you at the Open House!
St. Bridget School Principal Search…as you are aware we are still searching for the next Principal of St. Bridget School. I am most grateful to Mrs. Rochefort who has been serving the school as Interim Principal through this time of transition in leadership. The school is running smoothly and it is thanks in large part to her efforts, the support of our administrative team, and our extraordinary faculty and staff.
As announced in November, we are working closely with the Office of Education, Evangelization, and Catechesis. Recently we were given three resumes of experienced principals as potential candidates. We have scheduled the interview process to begin the last week of January. I am most grateful to the members of the Principal Search Committee for their willingness to serve our parish and school through this process.
The Search Committee members are:
Dr. Margaret Palmeri, Chair of Search Committee, Vice-Chair St. Bridget School Board
Mr. Carey Dupont, President and Chief Administrator, Saint Paul Catholic High, Bristol
Mr. Mark Izzo, Trustee of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish, Business Manager Derby Schools
Mrs. Joan Roczynski, Parishioner and Retired Educator
Mr. Shawn Simpson, Parishioner and Assistant Superintendent Wolcott Public Schools
Please pray for our efforts during this process. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us to the best possible candidate to lead our parish school in the coming years.
As always, remember to pray for our parish family 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!