Updated: Jan 9
Dear Friends in Christ:
What a great weekend we had marking Memorial Day! From the weather, to the parade, to the Mass in our cemetery, it was a packed weekend to remember the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the freedoms of our land.
Our school was excited to participate in the annual Memorial Day Parade last Sunday as we do every year. It was such a beautiful day and it is always a privilege to represent our parish and school as we honor, we remember, and we give thanks for the sacrifices made by so many! Special gratitude to all who made it possible from our faculty and administration, to our students who both marched and rode the float, to the Ostuno Family for use of the float, and to Sean Strollo and Strollo’s Towing Service for pulling it along the route. Father O’Neill and I were excited to bring Fenway along for the parade as well as to use the parish golf cart.
What a beautiful morning it was on Monday, Memorial Day, for our annual outdoor Mass in the Parish Cemetery on Higgins Road! We had a wonderful crowd and it seems to me that each year the crowd gets larger and larger. It is a moving experience to be outside on sacred ground as we celebrate Mass, to look out over the cemetery and see the many flags at the tombs of our parishioners who have served our country through the years. Special gratitude to all who helped coordinate this celebration: those who placed the flags at the gravestones, our contemporary music ensemble and Alan Smith for leading us in song, and our maintenance staff and Tony Ginnetti for ensuring all that we needed was there for our celebration! It was a beautiful morning to give praise and thanks to God!
As I announced last weekend, we had the closing on the Epiphany Church with the Holy Theotokos and Saint Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Church on Thursday, May 16th! I was also very privileged to be present on Saturday, May 18th when their bishop came to dedicate the parish to the new church name of Holy Theotokos and Saint Athanasius Church. Holy Theotokos is Greek for Holy Mother of God a term that we use, as well, in our own tradition. Saint Athanasius is also called Athanasius the Great, Athanasius the Confessor, or primarily in the Coptic Orthodox Church, Athanasius the Apostolic who was the 20th Bishop of Alexandria. We honor him as a confessor and doctor of the Church and he is renowned as the greatest champion of Catholic belief on the subject of the Incarnation (that is the belief that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son, was made flesh by being conceived in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, also known as the Theotokos or God-bearer.) Here you see two pictures one of me with Father Isaac their Pastor, and the other of the altar they dedicated along with the Icon of Jesus. We wish them well in their new spiritual home and look forward to collaborating with them in our community in the years ahead.
This coming Friday is a day of significant meaning for me.
First, it is the day we celebrate the graduation of our Saint Bridget School Class of 2019. This is a special class. Some of these students were in the lower wing (grade 3) when I arrived here in 2014 and now are ready to embark on the next chapter of their education. I have watched many of these students mature through the years and am so proud to have had the privilege to make this journey with them. We are blessed to welcome this Class of 2019 to our esteemed alumni of Saint Bridget School. You have made us proud by your joy, your seriousness to study, your kindness to one another, your respect for others, your concern for the less fortunate, and your ability to provide a good example to our student body. To the Class of 2019 of Saint Bridget School I say I am so proud of you, and promise you my prayers as you begin the next chapter in your lives.
This weekend I also wish to mention an early Happiest Congratulations to the Class of 2019 who will be graduating from Cheshire High School, a variety of other Catholic and private High Schools, and to all who will graduate this year. I cannot believe it but it is graduation season already. As I get older it seems the year goes by at rapid speed.
Second, this coming Friday is also the 16th Anniversary of my Ordination as a Priest of Jesus Christ. It is really hard to believe that I have been privileged to share in this priesthood of Jesus Christ for sixteen years. It does not seem possible that it has been that long. Time flies!
I am thankful for each and every assignment, even those that may have proved challenging, because through each of them I have met phenomenal people, people excited about their faith, and people hungry for the Lord. I have journeyed with people through the good times and the bad, through sickness and health, doing my best to be there for them and be an instrument through which Jesus Himself is present to them. I have been inspired by you, loved by you, challenged by you, consoled by you, lifted up by you, and I have been awed by your faith!
It is a privilege to serve as a Priest! I hope the young men of our parish family are open to their own calling. I know there are some among us the Lord is calling to the Priesthood and I hope and pray they open their hearts to His call and respond with confidence in His love. What a privilege it is each and every day to be able to bring the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ to others in the Eucharist, to be able to preach His word, baptize His sons and daughters, and minister to those in need of His mercy or His healing. Simply to be the presence of Christ in the everyday lives of His people is such a mystery, such a miracle, and such a joy!
Thank you for allowing me to serve you, to absolve you, to feed you, to preach to you, to anoint you, to love you, and thank you for simply allowing me to be your priest! I ask for your prayers!
We are holding another poster contest! This time we are looking for students of all ages to design our parish Christmas card. We invite all school aged children to think of Christmas and send us their design. The winner’s artwork will be the cover of our parish Christmas card which is sent to all parishioners and friends of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish. All artwork must be submitted to the rectory by June 30th for consideration! We look forward to many submissions!
As always, remember to pray for our parish families 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.