Dear Friends in Christ:
Back to Ordinary Time…can I get an AMEN! Please don’t get me wrong. I do love all the preparation of Advent, the hearing of Christmas carols on the radio, the increased care and concern for the less fortunate, and the joy and celebration of Christmas.
While this past Christmas came amidst the pandemic and a time when life is so different from “normal,” there was still so much to witness and be thankful for.
· I think of the overwhelming generosity of you, our parishioners, displayed in your care and concern for your parish family, in your love for our neighbors served through the Advent Giving Tree, and in your many kindnesses to Father Federico and me.
· I think of the amazing day we had on Sunday, December 20th, when we had our “Drive-Thru Confessions and Communion” and over 160 cars (the majority with multiple people in them). The snow did not stop our parishioners from seeking the mercy of God, and our priest friends, while none of us could feel our toes, were all really moved by this experience.
· I think of the 17 Masses we scheduled for Christmas so as many as wanted to could come “in-person” for the celebration of the birth of our Savior.
· I think of our parish choir and school choir who prepared virtual choir songs for our Christmas Virtual Concert and brought such joy to so many.
And while I am overwhelmed with joy reflecting back on these experiences, I am so happy to be back in Ordinary Time even if just for a few weeks. It means I can see my desk again, the days are less cluttered with countless meetings, and it is a peaceful time when days are a little longer giving us some hope.
Ordinary Time brings us to reflect on Jesus’ earthly ministry and some of the major events in the Gospels we have come to know and to love. The miracles, the parables, the calling of the twelve, the sermon on the mount, the bread of life discourse… we get all that and more during this season. Truly, there is still much to celebrate even in Ordinary Time.
So why the term Ordinary? The term ‘ordinary’ in our common use typically refers to something being plain, unimpressive, or unexciting. A kind of ‘it is what it is’ mentality (by the way this is a line I have said often throughout the pandemic when there has been no other reasoning for things…it is what it is). For that reason, many people hear ‘Ordinary Time’ and they immediately think of the season as such. However, that understanding does not reflect the true meaning of the season.
Ordinary, in this context, comes from the Latin term ordinalis, meaning ‘numbered’ or ‘ruled’. This title simply refers to the ongoing and rhythmical nature of the season. Just like everyday life, there is a rhythm to the days and the weeks. Sure, we have holidays and special occasions that we look forward to that change the pace, just like we have holy days and feasts in the Church year, but those special occasions are not the whole picture, just like there is more to the life of Christ than what we celebrate in other liturgical seasons.
Ordinary Time has two parts, but it remains one season…the first part begins right after the Baptism of the Lord (so this past Monday) and continues until the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, and the second part begins the Monday after Pentecost and continues to the First Sunday of Advent. In total, there are about 33 or 34 weeks in Ordinary Time depending on how other feast days fall within the liturgical calendar. Each of these weeks is denoted by time, such as this Sunday is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Ordinary Time is a time for us to live as disciples of Jesus. Denoted by the color green, which symbolizes growth and new life, Ordinary Time is the time for us to live this new life as followers of Jesus Christ, the Newborn King. This is a time for living the life of Christ! It is a time for growth and maturity as disciples. It is a time in which the mystery of Christ should shape and form every moment of our lives. Often in the midst of the mundane is a call to develop lasting habits in life; do we hear that call in our faith life?
It is a time for us to get caught up in Christ. One of the realities of life is that it is so easy for us to get caught up in things like politics (ugh!), social media, schedules, work, worry, and the list could go on. But what this time of year asks of us is to get caught up in Christ. What would life look like if instead of spending the time we “normally” would spend each day on the items above, we spent that time with Christ, reflecting on His life? Hmmm. An intriguing question! Why not give it a shot these weeks of Ordinary Time and see what happens?
THIS TIME OF YEAR IS USUALLY THE SCHOOL AUCTION…The St. Bridget School Home and School Association is normally gearing up for the annual Auction which, of course, is the major fundraiser of the year. However, as you can imagine with COVID 19 it is not possible to have a large gathering. Therefore, they have many fun events planned which we can ALL participate in safely from our homes in the coming months. The first one announced is the BINGO WITH A KICK on Thursday, February 4th at 7PM via ZOOM. Won’t you join us for an evening of fun from the comfort of your home?
Here is how it works…You purchase bingo cards to play bingo:
1. Single Card for all 6 games= $20
2. 3-Pack of Cards for all 6 games=$35
3. 6-Pack of Cards for all 6 games=$50
Each game the winner will have a choice between a Designer Hand Bag from brands like Michael Kors, Coach, Kate Spade, and Dooney & Bourke or choose a $100 Gift Card from national chains like Amazon.
The item not chosen will then be put into a KICK RAFFLE. You can participate in all 6 Kick Raffles by purchasing a Kick Raffle Ticket for $10. One purchase gets you in all the raffles, or you can purchase more to increase your chances of winning.
This will no doubt be a fun evening that people of all ages can participate in and at the same time be supporting our parish school. I hope you will join us! For information on how to order your bingo cards etc. please see the notice in this bulletin.
There are many more exciting events being planned in the coming months that will be fun for parishioners of all ages, stay tuned!
Annual Family Commitment 2020 Well, thank you does not seem to express the gratitude in my heart for your overwhelming and generous response, once again, to our 2020 Annual Family Commitment. It is such an amazing sign of your commitment to our parish family. I cannot adequately express the gratitude in my heart to the 837 families who pledged $270,426.50. This represents a 27% participation of our registered families! Even more importantly this Annual Family Commitment consistently year to year provides such necessary funds to help our family of faith address capital repairs that would simply not be possible without a special collection. As a family of faith we have a responsibility and an obligation to ensure our facilities are up-to-date and running efficiently and your generosity to the 2020 Annual Family Commitment makes this possible! Your generosity, this year, will certainly help us to address the deterioration of the pews in Saint Bridget Church, while at the same time address some parking lot repairs at Saint Thomas Becket Campus. On behalf of our Finance Council, our Pastoral Council, our Trustees, and myself, THANK YOU for your generosity!
As you know 2020 was the year we were launching two new ministries, vital and important ministries, our new Youth Ministry and our Young Adult Ministry. While COVID 19 certainly has put an obstacle in the way of truly allowing these ministries to flourish, I am still encouraged that both ministries continued during the pandemic.
Our Youth Ministry quickly turned to tools like ZOOM to continue the momentum as a group. They participated in many projects as able, such as the Lights of Hope here in the parish collecting monies and illuminating our properties. They also have begun to meet in-person, once again, and have changed their meeting day to Sunday evenings from 6:30-8:30PM. I ENCOURAGE ALL HIGH SCHOOL AGED parishioners to come and check it out. Please contact our Youth Minister, Regis O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the Youth Ministry Next Generation of Disciples.
Our Young Adult Ministry also began just before COVID 19 and instead of putting their efforts on hold, our leadership team decided to put their official training with id 9:16 Ministry on pause and take the time to get to know one another and build relationship with one another via social media tools and when possible in-person. I was so pleased to see them one Saturday evening in their lawn chairs, socially distant, in our rectory parking lot getting together, sharing about a book they were all reading, and building those relationships. They are now in the midst of their training with id 9:16 Ministry and I am excited to see this ministry take off and be an effective tool among the young adults of our parish.
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, our Patroness, and Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world. Have a blessed week and stay safe!!!