Updated: Jan 9, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ:
One of my favorite days of the year is here!!! The Third Annual Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish Family Picnic!!! What a terrific opportunity for us to come together as a community and share a wonderful afternoon of food, fellowship, and fun. I pray that we may use this time to come to know one another better, to strengthen old friendships and create new ones, to share a meal together and build up our family of faith.
It really does build up our family when we come together, whether it be for spiritual or social activities. Families need to be together, whether we are speaking of our particular families or our parish family. Families need time to “be” together, to spend time with one another, to encourage one another, to support one another, and to care for one another. It is indeed a joy to come together today as the family of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish!
Each year this occasion gets me thinking about who we are as a parish family! In particular this year, as I continue in my role with the Archdiocesan Synod, I am reflecting on what we do to Grow and Go. What we do as a parish family to grow together as disciples and what we do together to go and make disciples. So much happens each day.
To Grow as disciples we offer bible studies, book clubs, adult education programs, religious education classes, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and Theology on Tap. We have groups that include special programs to grow in our faith such as: the Men’s Club, the Women’s Society, the Knights of Columbus, our Cheshire Catholic Youth Ministry, and our Parish Pro-Life Ministry. In addition, we also have the ministry of St. Bridget School that serves our parish family and those from surrounding towns. So many of our programs which we strive to offer throughout the year are aimed at helping us to know Jesus personally, to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ, and to grow in our understanding of the faith.
To Go and make disciples we as a parish family work together to reach out to those who are in need: we work with the Cheshire Community Food Pantry by donating needed items each week, by harvesting the Garden at our South Campus, and through our Advent Giving Tree Program. We serve at the Saint Vincent DePaul Shelter and the Saint Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen, we hold collections for items needed for Safe Haven and Carolyn’s Place, we work together on the Sandwich Ministry, and we have ministries designed to meet particular needs in the lives of others such as: our Ministry of Praying Hands and their prayer shawls, the Ministry of Hope and Healing and their bereavement programs and group, and the Parish Visiting Program and their outreach to the homebound. We strive to go make disciples when we work together to serve others in our community and beyond, when we serve one another as brothers and sisters of the Lord, and when we reach out to those in need out of love, regardless of their race or creed. The opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others as a family are faith are endless.
This past year has been one of blessing for our parish family. We have welcomed Father Federico among us as our New Parochial Vicar and almost 100 new families into our parish since January 1, 2019. We are seeing so many young families in Mass each week. We are connecting with hundreds of people through our use of social media and the Parish App:
Parish Facebook Page @stbridgetofswedenparish. We are going LIVE every Tuesday morning with #beyondthebulletin and Thursday morning with the new #catholicconversations. We also post a picture of my dog Fenway every Friday helping out around the parish and school called #fenwayfriday! Check out our page! Follow us!
We have a Parish Instagram Account @sboscheshire! We have begun to use Instagram in an effort to reach out to those not on Facebook. We send out motivational and scriptural messages periodically as a way to connect with our parishioners and their spiritual lives.
Parish App…If you haven’t signed up for the Parish App yet please do so TODAY! Text APP to phone number 88202. You will receive a link, click on it, open it in the store, download, search, and enter St. Bridget of Sweden and then click get started! It is that easy! It is a phenomenal source of information for the life and activity of our parish family and it offers resources to help us grow in our faith as well.
This past year we have also expanded our weekly bulletin as we continue to use it as a means of communicating our faith in addition to it serving as a place to go for parish events and news. And NOW we are searching for a Youth Minister for our parish family to help us meet the spiritual needs of our youth. I am SO excited about what the future of our parish looks like. I am filled with hope as I think of all that is happening each day. I am overwhelmed with joy as I witness firsthand the work of God among us. What a blessing it is to be among you and serve as your Pastor. I truly love it.
I am profoundly grateful to you and all our faithful parishioners for your generosity of time, talent, and treasure that provides us the means necessary to be a vibrant presence of the Catholic faith here in Cheshire and beyond. I am humbled by the generosity of our parishioners each day that helps to make our parish family the warm, welcoming, and loving family of faith we have grown to be.
While we continue to face issues in our beloved Church and in society at large, we, at Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish, must also continue to do all that we can to come together as a family of faith to grow together, to spiritually and socially build up one another, and to fulfill our call to go and make disciples of all nations. This picnic provides us one occasion to do so, and I am so happy so many come each year. I know you believe, as do I, that together we must continue the journey, to live our lives in service and love to one another recognizing the presence of Jesus in each and every one we meet.
This weekend as we gather to rejoice as a parish family and to grow together in faith please consider how God may be calling you to become more active in the life of our parish family. You can watch the bulletin for information regarding all of our new organizations and ministries, or you can join their particular group on our parish App and keep informed that way. I invite, and encourage, every member of our parish family to become more involved in the ministries of our parish!
Visit our new and improved parish website…this past year we also redesigned our parish website to make it more user friendly. Check it out at www.stbridgetcheshire.org. You can find all sorts of information about the day to day programs, events, and activities taking place in our parish on the events page as well as an updated calendar. It is my hope that you will find an event or numerous events to come to and join your fellow parishioners as we continue to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.
ONE LAST BLESSING…due to the amount of programs, events, and activities taking place in our parish each day we are in need of an additional staff person. We are HIRING a Parish Facility Coordinator. It is envisioned that this person would be responsible for welcoming groups and organizations who utilize the school facilities from 5PM until 9PM Monday through Thursday as needed. If there are no events taking place on a particular evening then there are no hours. A schedule will be provided the week prior. This is a good problem to have, as one of the Parish Finance Council members said the other night in our meeting when I brought up the idea of hiring someone. She pointed out that it is great we have so much going on that we need to hire someone to help make sure the facility is ready for our groups and organizations. If you are interested in learning more please email us at email@example.com. It is envisioned that some light duties will be required in addition to welcoming and opening the facility.
ABOVE ALL, please 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.