Dear Friends in Christ:
One of my favorite days of the year is here—the Saint Bridget of Sweden Annual Parish Picnic!!! I am even more excited this year than ever before since we were not able to gather together in 2020 for our Annual Parish Picnic.
The Parish Picnic provides us a relaxed setting to gather together, outside and as safely as possible, to come together as a family of faith and share a wonderful afternoon of food, fellowship, and fun. How excited I am to see our parishioners gather together for an outdoor Mass and then spend the afternoon enjoying our vast field whether relaxing with one another and catching up in small groups, playing in the Corn Hole Competition, or enjoying a variety of sports and other activities. Each year, during the picnic, I find myself spending a moment or two just looking out over the field and feeling such warmth as I witness our parishioners of all ages coming together and building relationships.
I pray that we may use this time to come to know one another better, to strengthen old friendships and create new ones, to share a meal together and build up our family of faith. I realize there still may be some apprehension about gathering together in such number but we do so outside and respecting the space of one another and the individual choice of whether to wear a mask or not since we are outside.
An event like the Parish Picnic really does build up our family of faith as we are able to come together whether it be for spiritual activities or social. Families need to be together, whether we are speaking of our particular families or our parish family. Families need time to “be” together, to spend time with one another, to encourage one another, to support one another, and to care for one another. It is indeed a joy to come together today as the family of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish!
Each year this occasion gets me thinking about who we are as a parish family! In particular this year, as we continue to emerge from the pandemic and begin to slowly return to some “normalcy” in the day-to-day life of our parish family, I am thinking about the many ministries, programs, and events we have in our parish family. Think of the many ways we are growing together in faith through bible studies, book clubs, adult education programs, religious education classes, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and Theology on Tap. But we also have a very active Knights of Columbus Council, as well as, the Men’s Club, the Women’s Society, our Cheshire Catholic Youth Ministry (NGD—Next Generation of Disciples), our Parish Pro-Life Ministry. In addition, we also have the ministry of St. Bridget School that serves our parish family and those from surrounding towns. So many of our programs, which we strive to offer throughout the year, are aimed at helping us to know Jesus personally, to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ, and to grow in our understanding of the faith.
And even in the midst of a pandemic, we continued to GROW. During the months of the pandemic, our Young Adult Ministry i.d.9:16 was being formed together by Peter Burak and the staff of i.d.9:16 and Renewal Ministries. If you are in your 20’s through 50’s, whether you are married, single, with or without kids, i.d.9:16 invites you to join our community! i.d.9:16 exists to help men and women become intentional disciples of Jesus Christ. Meeting on a monthly basis, our young adults will grow deeper in faith and learn to live out the call to be followers of Christ. See their article in the bulletin for more information on when they gather and PLEASE consider joining them on this journey.
And we also saw in recent weeks the addition of another ministry for high school aged girls in our community. The Handmaids of the Lord is a new ministry in our parish family aimed at helping young woman talk about and learn more about what it means to be a daughter of Christ and how to live authentic Catholic femininity in this crazy world. They meet on the Second Friday of the month and any high school aged girl is invited to attend.
And in the coming weeks we will begin to see a new support group for divorced Catholics begin to meet on Mondays. We are also beginning a new weekly men’s group that is open to ALL Catholic men over 18 beginning on Saturday, October 2nd. This group will include a 12-episode DVD Series with small group discussions on Into the Breach. This video series seeks to answer the question of what it means to be a man and how to live as a man in today’s world covering topics such as, Masculinity, Brotherhood, Leadership, Fatherhood, Family, Life, Prayer, Suffering, Sacramental Life, Spiritual Warfare, Evangelization, and more.
We are also connecting with hundreds of people through our use of social media and the Parish App, as well as livestreaming Mass, devotions, and other events for those still not comfortable to return to in-person gatherings:
Parish Facebook Page @stbridgetofswedenparish. We are going LIVE every Tuesday morning with #beyondthebulletin and on Thursday morning with #apologetics101. We also post a picture of my dog Fenway every Friday helping out around the parish and school called #fenwayfriday! And currently we are doing a special program on Getting to Know our Heavenly Family and Hidden Miracles. Check out our page! Follow us!
We have a Parish Instagram Account @sboscheshire! We have begun to use Instagram in an effort to reach out to those not on Facebook. We send out motivational and scriptural messages periodically as a way to connect with our parishioners and their spiritual lives.
Parish App…If you haven’t signed up for the Parish App yet please do so TODAY! Text APP to phone number 88202. You will receive a link, click on it, open it in the store, download, search, and enter St. Bridget of Sweden and then click get started! It is that easy! It is a phenomenal source of information for the life and activity of our parish family and it offers resources helping us to grow in our faith as well.
While we do much to Grow in our faith we also do much to Live out that faith. We truly put our Faith into Action as a parish family as well! Together we work to reach out to those who are in need, we work with the Cheshire Community Food Pantry by donating items each week, harvesting the Garden at our South Campus, organizing our Stuff-a-Bus with St. Bridget School, and through our Advent Giving Tree Program. We serve at the Saint Vincent DePaul Mission in Waterbury through our cooking a meal once-a-month for the Shelter and through our Friends Feeding Friends at the Soup Kitchen. We also hold collections of items for Carolyn’s Place in Waterbury and do the Baby Bottle Boomerang collection to support their ministry and good works. We work together on the Sandwich Ministry, and we have ministries designed to meet particular needs in the lives of others such as our Ministry of Praying Hands and their prayer shawls, the Ministry of Hope and Healing and their bereavement programs and group, and the Parish Visiting Program and their outreach to the homebound. We truly strive to work together and find ways to meet the needs of others in our community and beyond. The opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others as a family of faith are endless.
Won’t you consider getting involved? There is something for people of all ages, and we hope and pray you will hear the Lord calling you to get active in the life of our parish as we grow together in faith! Where is God calling you to get involved?
You can watch the bulletin for information regarding all of our new organizations and ministries, or you can join their particular group on our parish App and keep informed that way. I invite, and encourage, every member of our parish family to become more involved in the ministries of our parish!
Visit our new and improved parish website and see all that is going on in our parish family. Check it out at www.cheshirecatholic.org. You can find all sorts of information about the day-to-day programs, events, and activities taking place in our parish on the events page as well as an updated calendar. It is my hope that you will find an event or numerous events to come to and join your fellow parishioners as we continue to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.
DON’T FORGET BEGINNING NEXT WEEKEND we have a NEW MASS SCHEDULE! As announced back in June of this year, the Parish Pastoral Council was asked to create a new Mass schedule that would be realistic and provide the chance for our parish to be a church characterized by spiritual vitality. I believe the Council discerned a way forward that is spiritually fruitful, vibrant, and sustainable for the near future. The New Schedule beginning next weekend will be:
4PM in Saint Bridget Church
5:15PM in Saint Thomas Becket Church
7:30AM, 9AM, and 10:30AM in Saint Bridget Church
4PM in Saint Bridget Church (9/26/2021-5/22/2022)
1. The 7:30AM will continue to be the “quiet Mass” without the use of music for that liturgy each Sunday.
2. Yes, it is correct that there will now only be one Mass in Saint Thomas Becket Church. The numbers prior to the pandemic just did not warrant having two Masses at our South Campus. Having the second Vigil will be one of the things continuing to be closely monitored. If people come in good number, we will keep it, otherwise we may not.
3. The same can be said for the 4PM on Sunday afternoons. We will be closely monitoring the attendance at this Mass as well. Prior to the pandemic, the numbers at this Mass fluctuated a great deal. While we have two priests here serving, we can continue to offer this option and see if the numbers increase. If they do not, or if we are reduced to be a one-priest parish, then this Mass will likely be the first removed.
What will this mean for intentions scheduled through December 31, 2021? Father, what about my intention for my mother for the 11AM Mass? Here is a chart to help you figure this out:
Intention from old Mass time New Mass Time
4PM, Saturday 4PM, Saturday
5:30PM, Saturday 5:15PM, Saturday
7:30AM, Sunday 7:30AM, Sunday
9AM, Sunday 9AM, Sunday
10AM, Sunday 10:30AM, Sunday
11AM, Sunday 4PM, Sunday
Smart Boards…last but not least, as we prepare for the upcoming year of Religious Education classes in our parish family, I am thinking about 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 death. 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 who might be willing to donate a Smart Board 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 here. If you are interested in donating one, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish is hiring for two positions:
1. Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish is still accepting applications for a NEW position in our Parish Office. We are seeking an individual to work a few hours on the weekend to be more accessible to our parishioners who are seeking Mass cards, sponsor certificates, or any other hosts of items. This is a Part-Time Position for Saturdays from 9:30a.m. until 12:30p.m. year-round. Applicants must be over the age of 18, have phenomenal interpersonal skills, basic computer skills, and have a desire to help others. Any interested persons are asked to email a resume to email@example.com. Applicants also must be comfortable with dogs since Fenway spends most of the day in the office.
2. Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish is also seeking applications for a Part-Time position in our Maintenance Department. A part-time position exists for a maintenance worker who will perform general cleaning and minor maintenance duties in maintaining the many facilities of our parish to a clean and orderly functional condition, under the direction of the Facilities and Grounds Coordinator. Duties include but are not limited to: cleaning of bathrooms, cleaning of churches, vacuuming and mopping floors, emptying trash receptacles, outside grounds maintenance, light painting, snow removal during the winter months, and other tasks as arise within the parish and school facilities. The position is 25 hours a week. Previous maintenance and/or custodial experience is preferred. Any candidate interested is asked to contact the parish office at firstname.lastname@example.org for a more detailed job description.
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.