The Pastoral Staff has been looking for a resource for quite some time for our parishioners to use at home and for us to use in the course of our ministry in the school, in religious education, and other adult education programs. WE FOUND IT! It gives me great joy to share with you that our parish now has a subscription to FORMED, a premier online platform filled with over 4,000 Catholic studies, movies, audio dramas, talks, e-books, and even cartoons for our children. FORMED has content from over 60 apostolates, including Augustine Institute, Ignatius Press, and the Knights of Columbus, with material that is professionally produced, engaging, and solid in its catechism. BEST OF ALL, THIS MATERIAL IS FREE TO YOU! With the support of the Parish Finance Council, the Parish purchased a subscription to FORMED that provides any family in our parish FREE access to it as well.
Our parish Pastoral Staff will be using the material on FORMED to support our ministries and provide continuing education for staff members and parishioners, as well as outreach for our sick and homebound members. On FORMED you will find children’s programming, audio talks, e-books and more!
When you sign-up you will have easy access to all of the material on FORMED to support your own faith journey and that of your family members, for example:
· Are you hesitant to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation after a long absence? Watch Forgiven: The Transforming Power of Confession.
· Would you like to be more confident in answering your teenagers’ questions about the validity of the Gospels? Watch Lectio: The Case for Jesus.
· Do you search for a reliable source of Catholic teaching on current issues? Tune in each week to The Augustine Institute Show with Dr. Tim Gray.
· Have you despaired of finding good movies that your family can enjoy together on a Friday night? Start with Mother Teresa, the story of the selfless saint who brought hope and love to the poorest of the poor.
· Have you struggled to find a movie you are comfortable leaving on the television for your children while you were running to do the dishes in the kitchen? Check out the Kids Movies section of FORMED and you won’t need to worry about content or inappropriate language.
You can enjoy FORMED on your computer or on your television with an inexpensive Roku device or Apple TV. You can even listen on your phone as you commute to work or do chores. My hope and prayer is that the content on FORMED will enrich, deepen, and inspire your faith.
To gain access to all of FORMED’s content, follow these simple steps:
· Go to https://signup.formed.org/
· Enter our parish’s zip code or name to select our parish
· Enter your name and your email address
That’s it! You’re in. Now you can get the free FORMED app for your phone by searching FORMED Catholic in your app store.
I cannot wait to hear from our parishioners how you are using FORMED in your homes and from our catechists and teachers how it is being used in the education of our young people!
Smart Boards…as I announced last weekend in preparing for the upcoming year of Religious Education classes in our parish family and NOW with FORMED as a resource our catechists can utilize, we need additional Smart Boards. We have all new Smart Boards in our school but for those classes held in the Education Wing at Saint Thomas Becket Campus we only have one Smart Board, which was donated in memory of Doreen Festa, who you may remember worked in our religious education department before her passing. We are grateful to her family for donating this Smart Board, which is a real gift to the many programs and events that are held at this Campus, which utilize the technology available.
We are looking for five families, we have one already from last weekend so we need four more, who might be willing to donate a Smart Board ($5,000 for Board and Cart) in memory of a loved one for each of the classrooms in the Education Wing. These Smart Boards would enable our catechists the ability to use more technology in teaching our young people the faith. I know our catechists are hopeful for this possibility. We would put a plaque similar to the one seen in the bulletin. If you are interested in donating one, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE PARISH PICNIC WAS AMAZING! THANK YOU ONE AND ALL for making the Parish Picnic such a memorable experience. The day that God gave us to celebrate as a parish family was truly a gift! The Parish Picnic was simply amazing thanks to the beautiful day, the organizers, the volunteers, and EACH AND EVERY parishioner who came to be together for a day of faith, food, fellowship, and fun!
It is probably my favorite day of the year and this year, after the pandemic, even more so! As your Pastor, it warms my heart to see our parishioners coming together in such large numbers, to see people enjoying the afternoon on our parish grounds, to witness firsthand old friendships renewed and new friendships made, and to see our young people so excited whether at the bouncy houses, playing in the cornhole tournament, playing in the new GAGA pit, or playing out on the field. I love seeing everyone enjoying themselves and building up our parish family! That is what it is all about!
Here are some comments from those who attended:
One parishioner told me the other night at another event, “Thank you Father for the Parish Picnic. You know I was so happy it was a beautiful day and so many came to be together. After the pandemic, we all needed it!”
One of our volunteers said “Everyone was so happy to be there. It was wonderful to be able to simply be together. It’s events like this that make me proud to be part of such a vibrant parish family.”
One of our more seasoned parishioners told me at Mass the next day that she sat behind the altar and as she looked out on the field she was filled with joy to see so many young families coming to Mass. She loved seeing so many kids enjoying the afternoon together.
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and we were indeed blessed with this chance to finally be together and grow in our relationships with one another!
A huge thank you to Rebecca and Barry Berkowitz, Tracy and Vito Catalanotto, and Patty & Larry Richard our General Co-Chairs of this AMAZING Parish Picnic. I am sure I speak for all of us when I say THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK over the past months, your DEDICATION OF TIME, and your TREMENDOUS ORGANIZATION OF OUR PARISH PICNIC. It ran so smoothly. Words can never fully express our gratitude for all that you have done to organize such an amazing parish-building event, but THANK YOU!
Thank you to the countless volunteers who labored to make it all happen. Special shout out to Jeff Strange, our Chef Extraordinaire, and Patti Flynn-Harris who who organized a huge team of volunteers and worked so well all weekend chopping and dicing, as well as our Knights of Columbus, Rick Ciaburri our photographer, and so many others. You know who you are and I hope and pray you know my gratitude and that of our whole parish family!
Special Gratitude as well to our Musicians!!! Thank you to Mrs. Julia Atwood, our Director of Music, who coordinated such a large effort bringing together all musicians from our parish and school to make joyful song in praise of our Lord. Thanks to our cantor Laura Intravia, our instrumentalists, and our choir members from our Adult Choir, our Contemporary Choir, and our Children’s Choir who joined in offering the music for our outdoor Mass! It was such a special treat to see all the musicians working together to lead us in song. Your talents provided us with such a prayerful and powerful experience, thank you!
Finally, we offer profound thanks to the following individuals and companies whose generosity helped defray the cost of our picnic: Arisco Farms, Rebecca and Barry Berkowitz, Bozzuto’s, Tracy and Vito Catalanotto, CK Greenhouses, Jay Cunningham and Family at Holiday Hill, Hilzinger Farms, Napoli’s, Jeff Strange, AJ Wallinger of A.J. Waste Systems LLC, Powerstation, John LaRosa, Keith Erickson, Patty and Larry Richard, William and Sue DeVylder, Keith Erickson and AES Remedial Contracting, Dee Ferry and her team at Mad Tents, and the many parishioners who made special financial donations to assist the picnic as well. Thank you to each and every one of you!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to the many, many people who assisted in any and every way that day to help make it a success! Your kindness and generosity made it all possible. Thank you!
As always, remember to pray for vocations, pray for our young people, pray for our parish families and ask God’s blessings as we strive to 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.