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Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time—November 10, 2019

Updated: Jan 9, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ:

Cheshire Lights of Hope was another success this year and we are so proud to be part of this testament of the unity in our Cheshire community. Thanks to each of those who donated to help us illuminate our properties.

On your behalf I express profound gratitude to all those who helped to illuminate our two campuses for this year’s event. I especially say thank you to Marie Jinks, Tina Poet, and Christine Rapillo who coordinated the efforts this year for our parish, and to all those who worked so hard to make the light shine on our parish properties for the Cheshire’s Lights of Hope. They were here prepping, setting up, lighting, and then, the next day, cleaning up. I am most grateful to each and every one of them. It was wonderful to see parishioners of all ages coming together to support such a great cause in our community.

Our volunteers put up over 1,500 luminaries on our two campuses! Here are two pictures from a drone of what the Saint Bridget Campus looked like that night and a picture from my own phone of the Saint Thomas Becket Campus that evening.

Friends of mine came to town for the Vigil Mass that evening and when they were leaving asked me what is up with all those lanterns on the church property? They gave me the opportunity to share with them what this special evening is all about for our town and how one night a year we light candles to show we are united in our efforts to help our neighbors through the various charities supported by the Lights of Hope. The Lights of Hope is always a wonderful sign of the unity of our community as one drives around town and sees so many homes, businesses, and places of worship lit up in solidarity and in hope.

As we continue in this Month of Remembrance I wish to encourage you to make a visit to the cemetery where your loved ones are buried, if you are able.

November is the month the Church especially dedicates to praying for the dead, remembering the passage of 2 Maccabees 12:46 where we read “it is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” To encourage this holy practice, the Church offers a daily plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory (in the period of November 1-8), under the usual conditions to those who visit a cemetery. The usual conditions are right intention, confession, Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Pope.

The good news is that the Church offers a partial indulgence at all other times of the year! So it is never too late to visit the cemetery and pray for our loved ones.

For many, one of the keys to their healing in the grieving process is visiting the grave site of their departed loved one. The chance to visit the cemetery or mausoleum provides for them a concrete way to exhibit that the deceased has not been forgotten. A visit to the grave of a deceased relative or friend is one way to show honor and respect for the deceased.

The cemetery is the place for family and friends to reflect on the lives of the deceased and the personal impact that person made upon their own life. It is fitting to visit the grave site during this Month of Remembrance but also on special anniversaries such as the birthday of the deceased, a wedding anniversary, or the anniversary of their death. Doing so preserves the memory of the deceased and assists the visitor in the grieving process.

DON’T MISS OUT! PLEASE JOIN US!!! Our "No Turkey Parish Thanksgiving Dinner"

will be held on NEXT Saturday, November 23rd! Please sign up to join us by filling out the registration form on page 5 or by calling the rectory as soon as possible.

As I wrote about a few weeks ago the major issue in the choir loft at Saint Bridget Church was an issue with the masonry work. I am pleased that the work on the church has now been completed. There is new flashing behind layers of brick along with new mortar to ensure the structural integrity of the building façade and parapet. They also removed the caulk at the coping stones and at the glass windows around the cross and replaced it with new Urethane sealant. A new tapered EPDM roof with new edge metal at the front canopy was also put in place to pitch the water to the sides of the canopy roof towards existing downspouts rather than letting it sit and collect thus causing ice issues below on the entryway. Thank you to all who donated to the 2018 Annual Family Commitment which is making this work possible.

G.L. Capasso will now focus their work on the rectory building in the coming days. The

rectory has been having issues with leaking for many years as well. It was determined by the Facilities and Grounds Committee that this leaking is also an issue with the mortar joints and in some cases the caulking around the windows. This past Thursday work began on the caulking of the windows and in the weeks to come it is expected that work will take place on the eight lentils circled in the photo you see here. They will be removing the brick in these areas and installing galvanized lintels and new bricks over the new lintels. While they are doing that work they will also be inspecting the mortar joints and spot point any open or deteriorated mortar joints around the entire building. They are actively searching for a matching brick for this project. We hope for it to be completed this fall but given the weather it may not be done until the early spring. Thank you again for making these projects possible with your generosity to the Annual Family Commitment.

Annual Family Commitment 2019…A quick update…as of Wednesday, November 13, 2019, we have received pledges in the amount of $106,890.00 from 388 of our families representing participation from only 12.59% of our families.

Thank you to those families who have made a commitment to our parish family. Facing these major capital projects we need the help of every family! Your gift, no matter its size, makes a difference, and 100% of all funds collected will be used here in Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish. We need your help! If you have not yet given, please prayerfully consider doing so. We are hoping to address some major roofing projects and need everyone’s help to do so. Thank you for what you do to make Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish such a phenomenal and vibrant family of faith.

Continued thoughts on the Synod Meeting of Delegates…as I continue to work on

the Synod, I cannot help but think of the many emails, calls, and in-person comments I have received from delegates from all over the Archdiocese. It really was a very powerful weekend for those who attended. Really, never in my 16 years as a priest have I witnessed such a gathering of priests, men and women religious, and lay faithful as diverse as this gathering, not only in terms of cultural diversity, but also generational diversity. It was so encouraging to see everyone come together for the greater good of helping discern a path forward for the local church of the Archdiocese of Hartford. Among the recent comments I have been receiving included some from delegates in one town who have decided to start meeting together and will be encouraging the leadership of each of their parishes to discern a path forward for their whole town. This is most encouraging.

I was struck by two comments in particular that were made during the Synod both of which have been coming back to me almost daily in my prayer. The first came from the opening remarks of Archbishop Blair to the delegates. “Disrupt the decline!” said Archbishop Blair. The statistics are staggering. Declines can be seen in those practicing the faith, those identifying as Catholics, and those answering the call to priesthood and religious life. Archbishop Blair challenged the delegates to not look at this Synod process as a way to figure out how to manage the decline, but look for a path forward to Disrupt the Decline. Disrupting the decline opens up new paths to Grow and Go. That really is something we have to think about and look at here in Cheshire as well. We are a growing parish, which in this region is a rarity, but as such we have a role to play in finding avenues for us to disrupt the decline as well. What are they? What can we do? These are questions we need to seriously pray over as a pastoral staff and parish leadership, but I am confident the Holy Spirit will put us on the right path.

The second comment coming back to me often in prayer came from the Master of Ceremonies for the Synod Meeting, Michael Coppotelli. Michael is the Associate Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York. He asked all the delegates to ponder what if the greatest contribution hasn’t happened yet? What if the greatest contribution in the history of the Archdiocese of Hartford hasn’t happened yet? He was not talking about monetary contributions. He was talking about making a difference, using one’s gifts, and truly making an impact on the life of the local Church. This has got me thinking and praying about what IF the greatest contribution in the history of Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish hasn’t happened yet? WOW. Great things are yet to come! Amen. PLEASE bring that to prayer and see how the Lord may be asking you to use your gifts and talents to serve the parish and community.

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.

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