Dear Friends in Christ:
Happy Memorial Day…Remember what we celebrate…as you gather with family and friends this weekend to celebrate Memorial Day please remember what this holiday is about. It is about remembering. It is about being grateful. It is about honoring those who served in pursuit of peace and to ensure our freedoms.
Remember the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation, to ensure our freedoms, and in the pursuit of peace. Remember also the countless men and women who have gone into battle all over the world. Remember those who have suffered the ravages of war, those who suffered bodily injury, and those who continue to suffer from emotional or psychological wounds.
We express profound gratitude for the unselfish sacrifices the men and women in our armed forces have made through the years to God, for country, and for us. We express gratitude for those who support and aid our veterans and those who work to advocate for a greater respect for and recognition of those who have served us.
We honor those who have served in the pursuit of peace and to ensure our freedom. We honor both those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, who have literally laid down their lives for us, and we honor all those men and women who proudly bear the title “Veteran,” who are still with us. This honor is not merely about monuments and memorials, nor simply the placing of flags in a cemetery; this honor is about showing them the respect and support they deserve.
To all our parishioners who serve and have served, I say “Thank you” for your service and you have the promise of our prayers for you!
Here is a Memorial Day Prayer I found that I think says it all…
Dear Lord, on this day, we remember those who have served us by protecting our freedoms. When we celebrate our long weekend with our friends and family, help us remember, that our freedom to speak of you, and our freedom to worship you, and our freedom to do that which we ought to do, have all been bought at the price and sacrifice of many lives. Your Son died for our eternal life in heaven. So too, our military personnel often gave their lives to protect us here on earth. Help us be mindful this weekend always of the sacrifices made by those in uniform for all of us to enjoy our freedoms. Amen.
Ascension Thursday is a Holy Day of Obligation…How is it possible that nearly 40 days have passed since Easter? Time certainly flies! This coming Thursday is Ascension Thursday when we recall and celebrate Jesus ascending into heaven. In the opening verses of The Acts of the Apostles, Luke gives us a detailed description of this event introduced by these words: “In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” Before Jesus began his public ministry, he prepared himself through 40 days of fasting in the desert. After his resurrection, but before returning to the Father, Jesus prepared his apostles for their public ministry through 40 days of instruction and accompaniment.
The Ascension is one of six Holy Days of Obligation observed by the Catholic Church in the United States, along with the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1), The Assumption of Mary (August 15), All Saints Day (November 1), the Immaculate Conception (December 8) and Christmas Day (December 25 of course). Due to the significance in our faith of each of these events in the life of our Savior Jesus Christ and that of His Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, they are observed as Holy Days of Obligation, with the same expectation that we attend Mass as we do on Sundays. Please see our Mass schedule on Page Two of the bulletin for the listing of Masses for Ascension Thursday.
Thank you, Father Philip O’Neill, for your extraordinary service and ministry to the people of our parish family. As announced last weekend we received word that Father O’Neill will be leaving the parish family on June 13th to make his way to Alabama for his military training.
Father O’Neill will be missed by us all—of that I am sure! I will personally miss him significantly. He has been a constant support to me in my own ministry here and a good friend to me and Fenway in the rectory. He was always a great sounding board for me to run something by, get advice on, or was just there for me to vent to. We were privileged with the presence of this young priest who possesses a priestly heart, a deep passion for the Lord, and profound love for sharing the faith with others young and older. I know we all are grateful for the opportunity to have experienced his ministry among us as he shared the faith with us in his gifted homilies and various other ministries he performed while here.
It is very hard to say “good-bye” to your first assignment as a priest, I know from my own experience. He has built many friendships here, ministered to so many in times of need, and has truly become a part of the fabric of life here in his three years of ministry among us. He will treasure all of these moments in his years ahead, and, no matter where his priestly ministry brings him, Cheshire will always be with him. What a blessing it has been to be his first priestly assignment and to watch him grow in his ministry and in his experience of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Archbishop Emeritus Daniel A. Cronin told my class at our Ordination to “blossom where you are planted.” I am confident Father O’Neill will do just that in his new position.
lWe will host a “good-bye reception” for him on SUNDAY, June 9, 2019, from 12PM-3PM in Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish Center. We will be serving wine and cheese, as well as some appetizers. Please come by and say thank you and wish him well.
Archbishop’s Annual Appeal needs YOU…as announced last weekend, the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal is behind by over one million dollars where it was at the same time last year. This money is vital to the many ministries the Archdiocese does in our name. In Catholic theology and tradition, the local Church is the archdiocese. The Bishop, or in our case Archbishop Blair, is the successor of the apostles chosen by Pope Francis to teach, to govern, and to sanctify. He is our Chief Shepherd in the faith. Our parishes are very important, but they are part of a wider whole which provides amazing ministries and services across the three counties – New Haven, Litchfield, and Hartford – of our Archdiocese. Every single day our Archdiocese is a support and a resource to the parishes of the Archdiocese: our Archdiocese offers counseling services and health care ministries, our Archdiocese educates young men for the priesthood, others for the diaconate, and lay people for ministry in their parishes. Every day, through the funds of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, the Archdiocese supports organizations and non-profits in all our communities who provide services to the sick, the elderly, the addicted, the hungry, and the forgotten.
Our parish goal is $205,000.00 and, as of Friday, May 17th, we had $183,291.00 donated from 598 families representing 19.37% participation! If you have not made a gift thus far, I ask you to prayerfully consider doing so today. Commitment forms are available at the doors of the Church as you leave today. Fill one out, drop it in the collection basket next week, or drop it in the mail. Thank you for your understanding of the importance of supporting the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal and the difference it makes in the lives of our brothers and sisters throughout the Archdiocese of Hartford.
Summer Camp at Saint Bridget School…are you looking for summer care opportunities for your children while you are at work? Saint Bridget School offers a weekly camp for all Saint Bridget School students as well as all Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish children from grade PreK3 through grade 4. This camp will run from June 17th through August 9th. This year we will have a different theme each week. Themes include Disney, Carnival, Dinosaurs, and more! The Summer Camp is run by teachers from Saint Bridget School and support staff and, as you know, the entire building is air-conditioned. You can register for one week or all of them depending on your needs, and we offer Before and After Care to accommodate your work schedule. For more information and registration, please call Christina Cummings at 203-272-5860 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are holding another poster contest! It is that time of year again when we need to prepare for our annual parish Christmas card. We are looking for children of all ages to design our parish Christmas card. Last year it was a huge hit. I heard from so many people how much they loved that we used artwork from one of our young parishioners. We invite all school aged children to think of Christmas and send us their design. The winner’s artwork will be the cover of our parish Christmas card which is sent to all parishioners and friends of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish. All artwork must be submitted to the rectory by June 30th for consideration! We look forward to many submissions!
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.