Dear Friends in Christ:
This time of year we are normally very busy planning for our Annual Parish Picnic which is yet another event that sadly needs to be cancelled due to the pandemic. It is normally my favorite event of the year. To see all the parishioners coming together for our outdoor Mass, seeing the hundreds of volunteers working to provide an enjoying afternoon of family, fun, and fellowship, as well as seeing our young people enjoying the field activities and the bouncy houses makes this day one of the highlights of the year for me as your Pastor! It is so edifying to see the over one thousand parishioners who come each year to grow together as a family of faith.
COVID-19 may have taken that experience away from being a possibility in 2020, but it CANNOT and WILL NOT take the memories away!
This pandemic has certainly robbed us of many usual experiences. It has robbed us of our ability to gather in big numbers whether it is a picnic, or an event, or even a vacation in some cases. I know lately I have been dealing with my own issues around this pandemic and it is not easy. COVID-19 robbed me of a vacation to Florida, a pilgrimage to Germany with our parishioners, and so many other things I would normally do in the summer but happen to be prohibited at this time. I have been feeling the pandemic fatigue lately but, as I remind myself and others in my day-to-day interactions, this will pass…it is not forever…we will get through this together!
So while the pandemic can rob us of being together in great numbers, it cannot rob us of being together spiritually as a family of faith. We are united as a family of faith even if we are not able to be united in one another’s presence. Remember to pray for our parish family.
This pandemic has taught us that we are a family of families. Certainly being home for so many weeks and “watching or attending” Mass via the livestream has certainly been odd and painful for so many who long to be “in” their parish church. This whole experience during the pandemic reminds me that in the early church there were no public churches but, rather, the disciples gathered in homes to hear the word of God and share in the Eucharist. So this pandemic has reminded us that the home, the family home, is the domestic church, that privileged place where faith is lived, taught, and transmitted from one generation to the next.
We certainly have tried our best week after week through these past months to provide you with resources and tools to help in that mission. We have shared these resources in our bulletins in the hopes that we could aid in transmitting the faith even in a time of pandemic. If you missed some of them you can look at past bulletins on the myParish App and on our website at www.stbridgetcheshire.org
As we move to the end of summer, this past Wednesday we began to see our parish school re-open to “in-person” learning! It was so amazing to welcome our students back to their school and see them in their chairs.
YES, things are a bit different this school year but the kids embraced it with such ease. I was so pleased with the first day! I am writing this article on Wednesday which is the first day of school and we only had half the students today; the other half are coming Thursday, and then on Friday we will have all students present. This was a great way to ease everyone (students, teachers, and staff) back into the routine of school since we have been out for so long! I was just outside at dismissal and overheard a new third grade boy saying to his father “dad, the first day was AWESOME!” I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to hear him say that with such excitement and joy!
Here are some pictures from our first day!
I am so grateful to Dr. Testa, the faculty and staff, and especially those who worked so hard on our Return to In-Person Instruction Strategy over the summer months to prepare for this day, making sure that all the details of our plan incorporated the steps recommended by the Office of Education, Evangelization, and Catechesis, as well as the State!
IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO register your child for St. Bridget School! St. Bridget School is offering our families the option to send your child(ren) full-time for in-person instruction or choose to have them learn remotely. We are prepared for both processes to be successful in ensuring we are educating our students to the fullest of our potential.
If you want your child to be “in” school in a safe and nurturing environment focused on educating the whole child, then St. Bridget School is the place for you. I do hope you would come for a tour and see all that we have in store for the new academic year. I want every family to consider St. Bridget School as an option for you and your children.
Let nothing stop you from coming for a visit, and considering our parish school as the place for your child or children or grandchildren to excel in academics within a faith-based environment. Remember, we are offering small class sizes in a fully air-conditioned facility that enables us to meet the guidelines for fresh air being brought into the building as much as possible. Please contact our Admissions Director, Mrs. Christina Cummings, or our Principal, Dr. Nancy Testa, at the school office at 203.272.5860 for more information or to schedule a tour.
THIS YEAR MORE THAN EVER WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT OF OUR PARISH SCHOOL. One of the ways you can help is to support the upcoming 7th Annual St. Bridget School Golf Tournament on Monday, September 21st, at the Waterbury Country Club. This is one of the two major fundraisers for our parish school, please consider assisting us in any way you can.
See the inset for a number of ways you can assist us:
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ANSWERED THE CALL…a couple weeks ago I mentioned some ministries in the parish that needed more volunteers and WOW did you respond! The Saint Bridget of Sweden Shelter Sandwich Ministry was one example. We, as a parish family, provide sandwiches every Thursday to the Saint Vincent De Paul Shelter in Waterbury. Parishioners who are able purchase the needed items, make the sandwiches, and drop them off at a central location here in Cheshire. Another parishioner then delivers the sandwiches to the shelter. The response was amazing!
Here we see Kyle and Dalila Vasas who worked with their parents to help make sandwiches for the first time! Their mother, Rachel, wrote “the kids had a blast this morning! Never too young to join the sandwich ministry!” What a great ministry for families to join that you can do at home and take the time to teach your children about the importance of feeding the hungry. What a teachable experience that shows the children one way in which a family can show care for others they don’t even know as a way of living out your faith. For more information or to become involved in this ministry, please contact Pat McKinley at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the parish office.
On this weekend known as Labor Day Weekend…we as Americans pause to reflect and relax from our labors. Labor Day constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
It is also good to think about work from a Catholic perspective. Work honors the Creator's gifts and the talents received from Him. It can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary for us, we collaborate with the Son of God in his redemptive work by our own labor. We show ourselves to be Disciples of Christ by carrying the cross, daily, in the work we are called to accomplish.
Let us always remember that work is for us, and not the other way around; we were not created for work. Everyone should be able to draw from their work the means of providing for his/her life and that of his/her family, and of serving the wider human community. Let us always remember to pray for those who are unemployed or underemployed that they may find a steady job with sufficient wages to care for themselves and their families.
This weekend is indeed a time to celebrate! So, Happy Labor Day!
Let’s also say a special prayer as we mark Labor Day!
Prayer for Labor Day
Lord God, Master of the Vineyard, how wonderful that You have invited us who labor by the sweat of our brow to be workers in the vineyard and assist your work to shape the world around us.
On this weekend, when we rest from our usual labors, loving Father, we pray for all who shoulder the tasks of human labor—in the marketplace, in factories and offices, in the professions, and in family living.
We thank You, Lord, for the gift and opportunity of work; may our efforts always be pure of heart, for the good of others and for the glory of Your name.
We lift up to you all who long for just employment and those who work to defend the rights and needs of workers everywhere.
May those of us who are now retired always remember that they still make a valuable contribution to our Church and our world by their prayers and deeds of charity.
May our working and our resting all give praise to You until the day we share together in eternal rest with all our departed loved ones in Your Kingdom as You live and reign Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
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.