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Divine Mercy Sunday—April 28, 2019

Updated: Jan 9, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ:

Happy Easter! We continue to bask in the glory of what we celebrated last weekend, namely, the resurrection of Jesus Christ! He is Risen! Alleluia!

The Church celebrates Easter over the next 50 days! We conclude this great Season of Easter on Pentecost Sunday, June 9th.

As I reflect on the experiences of Lent and, in particular, Holy Week, I am filled with gratitude to so many who pitched in and helped enhance our celebrations. I wish to take a moment to express my profound gratitude:

1. To Father O’Neill, Deacon Iadarola, Deacon Wilber, Sister Patricia, and the entire Pastoral Staff. I am so thankful to them for all of their work. The weeks of Lent and, in particular, Holy Week, are an intense time for collaborating to ensure our programs, activities, events, and, most importantly, our liturgies are prepared to best serve the people of our parish family and our visitors. I am so thankful for the many ways each of the members of our Pastoral Staff have worked to help make our journey truly a time in which we were able to Encounter Christ. For all their efforts, which often go unseen, for all they do to discern the needs of our parishioners in our weekly meetings, and for their advice and counsel to me, I am especially grateful to each of them.

2. To our parish staff…we are truly blessed with a dedicated team who work so hard each day to best serve the parishioners of our parish, assist the clergy, and ensure our buildings and grounds are cared for and properly maintained. I say thank you to each of them!

3. Thank you to Julia Atwood and all involved in our music ministry. The music this Season of Lent and Holy Week was just so moving! I have received countless comments and emails from parishioners saying how beautiful the music was and how it really enhanced our celebrations. The special choir formed for Holy Week was simply amazing as well! I am grateful to Julia, to Kathy Mahmood, to Alan Smith, to our choir members, to the contemporary ensemble members, to our cantors, and to each of our parishioners who shared their musical talents with our parish family. The music was superb! Thank you!

4. Thank you to all those who helped in preparing our liturgies. Thank you to our altar servers, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, as well as those who assisted behind the scenes to get us ready for each of the liturgies and Masses throughout Holy Week. A special and profound word of gratitude, on behalf of us all, to Tony Ginnetti who works so hard as our sacristan! You may not see him very often but I can tell you having someone serve our parish as a sacristan is beyond helpful to the clergy and all those involved in the liturgies. He is always aware of what is happening and makes sure our liturgies go so smoothly! I am most grateful!

5. Thank you to our Decorating Committee who worked to make sure both of our churches were ready for the celebration of Easter! The Holy Week time is a little stressful as a lot of changes need to be made. There is not a lot of time for the volunteers to come in and prepare our altars, but they do it so well. I love watching as they do their work and seeing such talent. This year our churches looked especially beautiful, many of you commented the same sentiments. For that I say “thank you” to all those involved in the decorating committee!

6. Thank you to those who sent cards and dropped off treats at the rectory. Your kindness is much appreciated. We thank you also for your kind emails of support and your posts in social media. For your deep faith and the way you reach out to others day in and day out I say, “thank you!”

A special word of happiest congratulations to Kayleigh Hinkle who was baptized at the Easter Vigil, and happiest congratulations also to Erin Brenes, Christopher Jones, Jacob Jones, and Emily Negron who were received into the Holy Catholic Church at the Vigil as well. It was a very moving ceremony. In fact, it was particularly moving for me this year and I continue to hear from others that they had the same feeling. What a blessing it is for us to welcome these new parishioners into the faith and especially into our parish family! Count on our continued prayers and please pray for us!

As we think about Easter and are moved to gratitude to God for the blessing of His Son, His Son’s Resurrection which conquers sin and death, let us also remember the many throughout the world who suffer persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. We only have to think of the news of Easter Day as word spread throughout the world of the attacks in Sri Lanka killing and injuring those gathered to celebrate the Mass of Easter. Let us pray for the people of Sri Lanka.

Let there be no mistake, though, that Christians are being persecuted around the whole world. Someone pointed out to me on Easter Sunday that the New York Times had no mention of Easter! Even though thousands and thousands of their readers believe in Jesus Christ and His Resurrection, there was no mention of it. Can you imagine? How sad.

This weekend we celebrate, as we do every year on the Sunday following Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday...This devotion was initiated through the writings of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, a young Polish nun, who sought to remind others that God is merciful and forgiving and we too must show mercy and forgiveness. Her writings call us to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone — especially the greatest sinners. The message of mercy is that God loves us — all of us — no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy.

This Sunday from 2-3 PM we will have Eucharistic Adoration during which Deacon Wilber will lead a prayer service and there will also be the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. At 3PM we will have the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy followed by Benediction and veneration of the relic of Saint Faustina. Please consider joining us for this devotion invoking God's mercy.

Saint Bridget School NEWS…On March 31st in this column I announced that our Principal Mrs. Jennifer Furlong has decided to resign as Principal of Saint Bridget School. In light of her resignation, I announced that I am forming a Search Committee to assist me in selecting the next principal for Saint Bridget Parish School. Working with School Board Chair, Dr. Margaret Palmeri, I wish to publicly thank those in our parish and community who have agreed to served on our search committee:

Dr. Margaret Palmeri, Chair of Search Committee

Mr. Carey Dupont, President and Chief Administrator, Saint Paul Catholic High School, Bristol

Mr. Mark Izzo, Trustee of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish, Business Manager Derby Schools

Mrs. Joan Roczynski, Parishioner and Retired Educator

Mr. Shawn Simpson, Parishioner and Principal, Alcott Elementary School, Wolcott

Our work has begun and I am confident, that with your prayers, we will choose the right person to be the next Principal of Saint Bridget School. Please pray for us through this process!

Mass book for first six months of 2020 is NOW OPEN…As Catholics we know that every Mass is offered for all the living and the dead, but it is our time honored tradition of offering the Mass for particular intentions. The donation for a weekday Mass is $15, and that for a weekend Mass or Holy Day is $25. We are opening our books on Monday for the first SIX MONTHS of calendar year 2020. We also still have some openings for Masses to be offered in 2019 if you so desire. The office will be open from 8:30AM to 4:30PM, Monday through Friday, to take your calls.

As always, 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 united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world. Since today we are still in the Octave of Easter, I say, once again, Happy Easter!

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