Dear Friends in Christ:
A continued prayer for Easter blessings to you all! This weekend we hear the familiar story known as the Road to Emmaus. We have heard it repeated countless times in our lives, haven’t we? And yet each time we pick up something new to contemplate, we hear something we think we have never heard before, or our experiences permit us to reflect on it in a new way.
Certainly this time of pandemic has us all considering things differently, doesn’t it? As I have been thinking about this passage the last couple of days two things really hit me!
First, it is understandable how much the Eucharist meant to those disciples! Jesus first spoke to them, and then He broke the bread as He did during the Last Supper. They said that their hearts were on fire when He explained Scripture to them, but they recognized Him in the breaking of the bread.
The second thing to hit me was that Jesus really gave two gifts to these disciples on that path to Emmaus, the gift of understanding the new significance of the Word of God, and the gift of the Eucharist.
I want to consider briefly each of these gifts.
I am sure that all of your homes have bibles, and perhaps during this time of quarantine you have actually taken them off the shelf and contemplated the Word of God. Please check to make sure it is a Catholic Bible. This is important because the Catholic Bible includes books such as Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and Tobit which are not found in the non-Catholic bibles. Every home with little children should also have a children’s bible, or at least a book with bible stories for children.
We should actually read our bibles, study our bibles, but the most important thing we should do is pray with our bibles. Instead of being all bogged down with footnotes and various interpretations, we should read a passage and just ask ourselves, “What is this passage saying to me?” “God, what are You saying to me in these words?”
The Word of God is a living and effective Word, as Hebrews says, it is “sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”
Scripture should be read and then we should talk to the Lord about what we read. We should pray. And, perhaps, when we realize that God is speaking to us through the Word, our hearts will also be on fire like the hearts of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
It is important that we have bibles, and pray with our bibles, but we have been given a gift that is greater than even our bibles. This COVID 19 time of self-isolation has really brought this next point to our hearts, namely, the importance of the gift of the Eucharist. We have been given the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. When we receive communion, we are united to Jesus offering Himself as the Eternal Sacrifice on the Cross and filling us with the Eternal Life of the Resurrection.
This pandemic has caused so many to long for the Eucharist! I cannot tell you how many people have said to me, texted, emailed, or called to say how much they long to be back in church and receive the Eucharist again! I wrote a few weeks ago saying that “one of my hopes is that during this time when we are not able to come together to celebrate the Eucharist in our churches, a stronger desire, respect, and yearning will develop in our hearts for the gift of the Eucharist.” I am seeing that happen NOW.
Our modern world has a difficult time dealing with the concept of mystery. And the Eucharist is a mystery. Our modern world thinks that everything either has an explanation or it doesn’t exist. As a result, the world deprives itself of that which is beyond the imagination of man. It deprives itself of the ability to be one with God in the Eucharist. It deprives itself of the joy of recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread.
Some of our families consider the reception of the Eucharist just as something that they do, equating it with every action they perform in Church. They don’t realize that receiving the Eucharist is entering an encounter with the Lord. It is something that Jesus does. Reception of the Eucharist is an encounter with mystery, a mystical encounter with Jesus Christ.
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were open to mystery. They had heard that something had happened after the crucifixion. They talked about their hope in this Jesus of Nazareth. They were open to the mysterious stranger’s explanation of scripture. And then they were open to recognizing the Lord in the Breaking of the Bread.
Last week our readings on Divine Mercy called us to faith. This week we are called into a mystery. We are called to come to a deeper appreciation and reverence for the wonders Jesus, our Savior, has provided for us in the Breaking of the Bread; in the Eucharist. How our hearts yearn to be reunited with one another in church and reunited with the Lord Jesus in the gift of the Eucharist!
This coming week here is what you can expect to find on our various social media tools at 1PM each day!
Monday— Get to know our heavenly family—a brief talk on the life of Saint Maximilian Kolbe
Tuesday—the celebration of daily Mass
Wednesday—Half Hour of Adoration
Thursday—the celebration of daily Mass
Friday—Stations of the Resurrection
Saturday—Casual Conversations with the parish priests
Each Sunday we will livestream the celebration of Mass at 11AM live from Saint Bridget Church. Please continue to join us as we do what we can with the tools of social media to bring our family of faith together. Join us when you can! I know we all LONG for the day we can be together once again in church, but until then please know that Father Federico and I are going to do all that we can to connect with you spiritually and virtually.
BEGINNING THIS WEEK! NOT TOO LATE TO SIGN-UP! As announced last week, we will be offering TWO PROGRAMS VIA ZOOM for you to join us. This is another attempt for us to remain connected during these unprecedented times.
We will be offering a Book Study on the book given out at Christmas, Rediscover the Saints, and a Bible Study on Acts of the Apostles. The Book Study will take place on three Tuesdays, April 28, May 5, and May 12 at both 10AM and 7PM, and the Bible Study will take place on three Thursdays, April 30, May 7, and May 14 at both 10AM and 7PM. To sign-up please visit our sign-up genius at:
Rediscover the Saints:
Acts Bible Study:
Once you have registered, you will receive an email with an invitation to the ZOOM meeting the day before the meeting. These will have a waiting room and we will have a facilitator watching the waiting room to bring you into the ZOOM meeting as soon as possible. We hope you will join us for both of these studies in this new format.
ST. BRIDGET SCHOOL is continuing to live out its mission! Students, faculty, and parents of St. Bridget School continue to live out the school’s mission to serve the parish community and make a positive difference in the lives of others by using its two 3D printers to help area hospitals in producing mask extenders and mask adapters for frontline staff. Both printers are currently being run at the homes of St. Bridget School families with the extenders and adapters being given out as needed. St. Bridget students have also sent handmade hearts to area hospitals to decorate the rooms and brighten the spirits of patients. Our school community strives to find new ways to serve during this most stressful time.
I am so pleased that we have been able to utilize the gift of these two 3D printers to help support our healthcare professionals during this crucial time. Just this past week I reached out to one of our parishioners, Dr. Louis Pito, and he brought the extenders to his co-workers at Bradley Memorial in Southington and Midstate Hospital in Meriden. If you know of anyone who could benefit from the adapters or extenders please reach out to me and we will put more in the making.
Please continue to pray! Continue to pray for one another. Let us pray for our parishioners who are dealing with Coronavirus and for their families. Pray for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one during these difficult times. Pray for those who are alone and feel isolated. Pray for those who are working to care for others such as health care providers, doctors and nurses, aides, EMTs, first responders, police and fire personnel, all whom are the heroes of our day. Pray for those workers who are showing up every day to do their jobs of grocery store workers, postal workers, bank tellers, gas station attendants, etc., who are providing essential services for us despite any fears they might have. Pray for all who are in need of our prayers that in some way the Risen Lord may bring them hope, peace, and comfort during this time.
This week you will see in front of our North Campus, since it gets the greater amount of passersby, two large banners letting the world know that we, as a Parish Family, are praying for our first responders and healthcare workers who are on the front lines day in and day out to serve those who are ill with this virus and to protect us all. Thank you to each and every one of you, we are praying for you!
As always, remember to pray for our parish family and ask God’s blessings upon us all in this time of pandemic. With the gracious intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, may we be united with one another in prayer! Please pray for me and know that I am praying for you! Continued prayers for you all to know and experience the joy, the peace, and the hope of the Risen Christ!