Dear Friends in Christ:
It was a phenomenal feeling last weekend to be able to welcome home those who came to Mass. Since March 15th we had not been together for Sunday Mass. I have to tell you what an amazing feeling it was to have a schedule of Masses WITH PEOPLE!!! If I am honest I was a bit tired Sunday afternoon but it was worth it. I am so excited that we are returning to somewhat of a “normal” schedule. As you know I am very structured and for the past almost four months it has been a struggle to not have a regular schedule.
THANK YOU to the Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish Pastoral Council and the countless volunteers who are welcoming our parishioners as they arrive, ensuring that those who enter our spiritual home are familiar with the safety protocols and guidelines of the Archdiocese, and then after Mass assist in sanitizing the church so we are ready for the next Mass. It really has been an experience to see (and sometimes hear) people reconnecting after all these weeks. It warms the heart to see how excited people are to be back in the church and, once again, to receive the Eucharist.
I am grateful to all those who have been coming to daily Mass and those who came last weekend for Sunday Mass for the cooperation and understanding of all that is involved in our celebrations. We are doing EVERYTHING possible to ensure we are being attentive to the well-being and safety of all who enter our church.
YOUR COOPERATION IS STILL NEEDED…Masses ARE limited to 100 persons as of the time of this writing. One MUST sign-up to attend the Mass using the SignUp Genius found on our parish website at www.stbridgetcheshire.org. If you do not use a computer please contact the parish office to sign-up. The process has worked out fine for weekday Masses but it will be ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY that the Signup Genius be used for weekend Masses since the numbers will be that much greater. If we all do our part to register ahead of time it will work out just fine.
I remind you as I did last weekend of other items for your consideration:
1. The dispensation from the Sunday obligation has been extended through September 6th, and we will continue to livestream Mass (at 10AM now) for those who are uncomfortable returning just yet. Those in high-risk categories are encouraged to continue staying home, even as others begin to return to Mass. The decision to attend is yours. Please use prudence and good judgement in considering if you should attend a public Mass at this time.
2. Registration IS REQUIRED for both weekday and weekend Masses due to the limit of 100 people per worship service at this time.
3. Please familiarize yourself with the Guidelines issued by the Archdiocese by visiting their website www.archdioceseofhartford.org.
4. Remember the government is recommending the following persons to stay home and stay safe: anyone who has underlying health risks, anyone who feels sick, or has a cough or fever, those caring for an elderly or sick person, and those feeling anxious or fearful for their own health.
5. If you do come to Mass, please bring your own hand sanitizer and a mask, arrive early, and maintain 6 feet of social distancing when moving about the church.
6. The front entrance, and the south entrance, will continue to be the ONLY entrances utilized at this time.
7. Please remember there is to be NO gatherings in the church or the parking lot at this time. I know many will be tempted to want to catch up but please do so by calling one another on the telephone.
8. There will be NO congregational singing! This one hurts Father Federico and myself since we are always trying to encourage more participation, but it has been proven that singing and loud speech expel more excessive water droplets raising the potential for transmitting the virus. Therefore all hymnals have been removed for the time being.
9. At communion time, come forward single file, maintaining six feet with the person in front of you, put out your hands to receive Holy Communion, step to the side where the blue X has been put on the floor, lower your mask and consume the consecrated host, then put your mask back on, and return to your pew by the side aisle.
We promise you that we will be responsible, diligent, and cautious as we begin to reopen to ensure the safety and well-being of all of us, clergy and laity. While we are doing our best, it should be noted, that any gathering of people carries a risk, and we CANNOT provide an absolute guarantee of your safety. Please continue to be united in prayer and trust in God’s wisdom and God’s time as we begin to see a reopening of our parish for Public Masses.
PARISH OFFICE IS OPEN…we are back! Our office never fully closed but certainly it has been nothing close to normal with many people working at home and very few people calling or coming to the door. Our staff is back in their offices and gearing up for the fall. We are planning events and programs that will be able to be altered depending on the current situation with the virus. Our parish staff is also available to you daily Monday through Friday, 8:30-4:30. PLEASE UNDERSTAND that we are not permitting people into the rectory at this time. We are available by phone or email, and if you need a Mass card we are asking for the information ahead of time, the card will then be filled out, and we will place it in one of the mailboxes next to the rectory facing the church. This is the same process for anyone wishing to pick some-thing up or drop something off. Please call the office to inform us when you drop something off. Thank you for your understanding. We are protecting your health and well-being as well as that of our staff.
THANK YOU to the Connecticut State Council of the Knights of Columbus who graciously donated the banner that hangs in front of Saint Bridget Church. As you may recall on May 27th, 2020, Pope Francis approved the miracle attributed to the intercession of Father Michael J. McGivney founder of the Knights of Columbus and a parish priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford. He will be officially named a Blessed in the life of the church at a ceremony expected to take place in the fall somewhere here in Connecticut. We are very excited about this announcement and want all the world to know, at least those who drive by, that one of our own, someone from Connecticut, will now be a Blessed in the eyes of the Church and is on their way to being canonized a Saint. Beatification is an act by which the Pope allows a candidate for sainthood to be venerated publicly. Another miracle attributed to their intercession is needed to be declared a Saint. Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney, soon to be Blessed, pray for us!
Update on the Church Roof Project…as you know back in the fall of 2019 we earmarked the monies raised in the Annual Family Commitment to address the roofing concerns at both church buildings. I am pleased to report that work is now beginning on the roof of Saint Bridget Church. The Parish Facilities and Grounds Committee and the Parish Finance Council unanimously approved moving forward with a General Contractor, Enterprise Builders, Inc., of Newington.
After Enterprise solicited five bids from different roofers the Facilities and Grounds Committee met with the representatives of C&M Roofing from East Windsor to address any concerns and questions they had about the work that needed to be done. It was determined to do an Infrared Thermal Scan of the roof which we did. It determined that about 400 square feet showed water damage which happens to be directly above the altar. It was then suggested replacing that area with a new roof and then installing a complete Fleece Back TPO Membrance Roof System over the entire existing roof. This new roof will have a 20-year Warranty. Following these meetings permission was sought from the Archbishop’s Office to proceed and was granted in late June. The work has begun this week on the church roof. This past week they had a company come to vacuum the pea stone from the roof surface and they have begun the repairs. This project is costing $124,929.00 and is completely funded by the 2019 Annual Family Commitment. Thank you, once again, for your tremendous generosity to our parish family which makes these special projects possible.
CALLING ALL PARENTS! These weeks of summer may provide some respite and relaxation, albeit differently this year, but for those with children it also brings the need to plan for the future. Of course, this year planning for the future provides us some great hope in the midst of what we face day in and day out.
I hope and pray ALL PARISHIONERS consider our own SAINT BRIDGET SCHOOL for your child or children. It is a vibrant thriving parish school which offers the very best in all aspects of educating our future generations. We build upon the legacy our school has each and every day as we seek to shape future citizens and future disciples. The greatest blessing is that we are a family who all do what we can with the gifts God has blessed us with to help one another grow academically, intellectually, physically, and above all spiritually. That is what makes our parish school the success that it is today!
Don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about what our parish school can offer your child(ren) or grandchild(ren). Since opening in 1994, Saint Bridget School offers students a faith-based, challenging curriculum designed to promote academic excellence in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and grades 1 through 8. Committed educators guide our students through the day with lessons in faith development, math, language arts, social studies, geography, science, Spanish (grades K-8), music, art, and physical education. Our curriculum includes the use of state-of-the-art computer and science labs as well as an extensive library.
Even in the midst of a pandemic our students continued their learning process. I am beyond thrilled and grateful to our extraordinary faculty who met with their students on various platforms such as, Google Meet or ZOOM, and continued the learning process, challenging our students daily, and helping them grow in knowledge. We did not miss a beat and that is thanks to our phenomenal faculty.
We still have room at all grade levels for the upcoming school year 2020-2021, and I hope you will consider Saint Bridget School for your child or children, grandchild or grandchildren. I would love for all families to consider coming in for a tour.
Please contact our Admissions Director, Mrs. Christina Cummings, or our Principal, Dr. Nancy Testa, at the school office at 203.272.5860. Be sure to visit our school website www.stbridgetschool.org as well to take a Virtual Tour to learn more!
WE ARE HIRING! Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish has a PART-TIME opening in our Maintenance Department. Since David Kipfer has accepted the full-time position of Facilities and Grounds Coordinator, we are now in need of hiring an additional part-time maintenance person to fill his former position. This person will work under Dave’s leadership and direction to ensure our facilities and grounds are in proper working condition and well-maintained. This position is 20 hours per week but hours are flexible. 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 our parish families 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.