Updated: Jan 9, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ:
It is good to be home! The pilgrimage to Italy was amazing and a great spiritual experience but it is always good to be home. We were blessed with wonderful weather for the most part apart from a couple of moments of rain, but it never lasted long. Here is a group photo from the day we visited the Amalfi Coast. What a spectacular view!
At all of our Masses and stops to the holy sites throughout our pilgrimage we remembered the special intentions that were offered to us both personally and through our on-line submission form. We placed these special intentions on the altar each day and asked God to hear our prayers for you! I thank all those who submitted prayers and I thank you all for praying for our safe travels. It is good to be home!
Well a busy week is beginning and I ask for your prayers!
This Sunday we welcome the Visiting Committee from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges who are coming as part of the re-accreditation process of St. Bridget School. The faculty and administration have been preparing for this visit for the past two years. The process has included surveys, assessments, and strategic planning. This process has really helped us to see clearly what our strengths are and where there is room for some improvement. I am so grateful to all who have been involved with the process of our self-study and pray that the Visiting Committee will see what makes St. Bridget School such a special place of learning and discipleship. I am confident they will see that we are faithful to our mission, dedicated to forming the whole child, and committed to academic excellence. Your prayers these next few days are much appreciated.
This week also sees the reality of the Archdiocesan Synod Grow and Go. This coming Thursday through Sunday I will be away from the parish organizing and coordinating the Synod Meeting of Delegates. After months of prayer, study, and formation for the delegate representatives from throughout the Archdiocese we are just days away from this historic event.
This is also the culmination of almost two years of preparation for this event. Since my appointment as Secretary of the Synod in the Fall of 2017, I have been working with various staff members in the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center to coordinate a variety of efforts all pointing to this meeting. We held parish listening sessions in every parish throughout the Archdiocese. We met with priests and religious for listening sessions. We met on a deanery level with representatives of the parishes to give them an opportunity to share their thoughts with Archbishop Blair. All of that material was then prayed with and filtered down by the Archdiocesan Synod Preparatory Commission to form the four themes they felt we were being called to discern for our Archdiocesan Family of Faith. These four themes are:
1. Encountering Christ, personal conversion, with a real focus on the Liturgy and devotional life as well.
2. Becoming Missionary Disciples, formation as disciples, with a focus on vocations, and faith formation of clergy and laity.
3. Sent on Mission, evangelization, with focus on the proclamation of the Gospel, using the tools of today for effectively communicating the Gospel, and outreach ministry.
4. Collaborating in the local Church, understanding of what it means to be members of the Church, with a focus on moving beyond parochialism, coordinating and collaborating ministries, and finding communion in our diversity.
Working documents along with specific propositions were then written based on these themes in preparation for the delegate meeting. It is incumbent upon the Synod delegates to prayerfully read and study these working documents prior to arriving at the Synod meeting, where they will listen to inspiring speakers, and ask the Holy Spirit for the wisdom and insight to develop more specific propositions and discern how we might move forward as individuals, as families, as parishes, and as an Archdiocesan family of faith. Join us in praying for the success of this Synod. Come, Holy Spirit.
Also, I was recently asked why is the Synod called Synod 2020 when you are meeting in the Fall of 2019. It appears the Synod is always noted by its targeted end date, and our Synod will conclude with a Mass at the Oakdale Theatre in Yalesville on Pentecost Sunday of 2020, May 31st. At that Mass we will thank the Holy Spirit for the guidance and support of our work and Archbishop Blair will then officially promulgate a document known as a Pastoral Letter with the fruits of the Synod meeting. Great question!
Halloween Trick or Treat at the Rectory…Father Federico and I will be answering the door at the rectory at Saint Bridget on Thursday evening, Halloween, October 31st, to hand out candy to you and your children. Please come by the rectory door facing the Church building (sidewalk nearest the back of the rectory) and share in the excitement of the evening. We look forward to seeing all the costumes and welcoming you to our door. Be safe!
I imagine most have seen the large lift in front of Saint Bridget Church this past week…Work has begun on the façade of Saint Bridget Church. The leak issues we have had in the choir loft the last couple of years were determined to be masonry related. There is new flashing being put in behind layers of brick along with new mortar to ensure the structural integrity of the building façade and parapet. They are also removing the caulk at the coping stones and at the glass windows around the cross and replacing with new Urethane sealant. A new tapered EPDM roof with new edge metal at the front canopy is also being put in place to pitch the water to the sides of the canopy roof towards existing downspouts rather than letting it sit and collect thus causing ice issues below on the entryway. Thank you to all who donated to the 2018 Annual Family Commitment which is making this work possible.
YOUNG ARTISTS don’t forget we are hosting another art contest…we are asking all school age children to begin to think of this year’s Advent theme which is LONGING FOR LIGHT? FOLLOW THE STAR! After spending time with that theme we ask all school-aged children to think about an image that can capture the theme and to draw it. Submissions can be made to the rectory or school office prior to November 1, 2019. The winning artwork will be displayed on the banners which will be up in front of both of our church campuses.
All Souls’ Day…This year we celebrate the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day) on Saturday, November 2nd. This feast follows All Saints Day on November 1st. PLEASE NOTE---All Saints Day on Friday, November 1, is a Holy Day of Obligation and our Mass schedule is found on page 11 of this bulletin!
These two important feasts help us as a Catholic people to celebrate the “Communion of Saints” which we mention each and every time we recite the Creed at Mass. The Communion of Saints is the Church’s teaching that tells us that the Church consists not only of the living members who are still on this earth fighting the good fight, but also those who are triumphant in heaven (All Saints) and those in Purgatory (All Souls) who still need purification in order to enter heaven.
Each year when we celebrate these two feasts, we are provided the opportunity to teach our younger Catholics how special it is that we are united with all those who have gone before us in faith. Explain to children how in this month of November we unite in a special way, through the Communion of Saints, with our deceased family members and friends as we pray for them and they pray for us. This can be especially helpful to those who are younger and are experiencing a death of a loved one for the first time.
As we did last year, we as a parish family will be placing the All Souls’ Day envelopes (included in your offertory envelope package or available at the doors of both Churches) on the altar for the whole month of November at all the Masses. These envelopes allow you to list your loved ones names on the back so that their names will be remembered in a special way at all the Masses in this month.
We also invite you to attend a special Mass of Remembrance which will be held on Sunday, November 3rd at the 4PM Mass in Saint Bridget Church. At this Mass we remember all our parishioners who have died since the last Mass of Remembrance. Each family will be given a special candle with their loved ones name on it as a reminder of our prayers for them during this time of loss, and as a reminder of our need to pray for our deceased loved ones. ALL parishioners are welcome to join us in prayer for our parishioners who died this past year and for their families who mourn their loss. A reception will follow in the Parish Center. Please join us.
Finally, as always, please 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, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.