Dear Friends in Christ:

This weekend we gather to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, it takes its name from the sign above the head of Jesus on the cross (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews). The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ's royalty over our lives, and over all individuals, families, society, governments, and nations thus becoming an antidote to the secularism of society.

This is not a kingship in the ordinary understanding. Rather Christ is the King of the Universe, a king who came to serve rather than be served, and a king who calls all to follow His example. Rather than executing His opponents, He forgave them; rather than dominating His subjects, He exalted them; rather than calling others His servants, He called them His friends. He died willingly to save His people, and His death was not a battle lost or a plan gone amiss but was a glorious victory planned before the world began. His Kingdom is not of this world!

Don’t let this be just another obscure celebration which we go through every year at this time. Contemplate how Jesus Christ is King of your life…how you are a seed of His kingdom scattered in the world and called to bear fruit…how you are called to a deeper encounter with Jesus our King so that you too can bring others to encounter Him in their own lives. How is Jesus, the King of the Universe, calling you to be His instrument…how is He calling you to bring others into His Kingdom? That deeper encounter…this continual invitation along with all the graces truly needed to live as a member of His Kingdom is what lies at the heart of our Catholic Christian faith. Jesus Christ is King…He is Lord of All…He is meant to become the Lord of our whole lives, and inform the very pattern of our lives. The early Christians, before they were even referred to as Christians, were referred to as the Way; see the Acts of the Apostles chapters 9 and 11. That was because they lived a different way of life. A Way of Life that drew men and women to the ONE whose name they were soon privileged to bear, Jesus the Christ. Do we live in such a way?

A Blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family! This coming Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving Day! Families and friends will gather around tables bursting with good food, sharing stories and memories which are bound to bring some laughs and perhaps some tears at the empty seat where one of our loved ones sat before they passed away. If this is your first Thanksgiving since the loss of a loved one know I am keeping you in my prayers in a special way on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving Day has always been a special day for me. I love it. Perhaps it is the food, perhaps it is the gathering of family and friends, perhaps it is the football games on TV, or perhaps it is simply the beauty of setting a day aside each year to reflect on the blessings of God in our lives and to GIVE THANKS.

This past week we asked through our Facebook page and our #beyondthebulletin#beyondthebulletin what is your family’s signature dish for the holidays? So much of what we do centers around food as families at our dinner tables and as a family of faith at the Table of the Lord! As I have shared on past Thanksgivings my early memories of Thanksgiving include the family meal at my paternal grandmother’s home. Grandma loved having the whole family together in her home. We filled every nook and cranny with adults, grandchildren, and friends. It was awesome. Two dishes make my Thanksgiving: my mother’s broccoli bake, and my grandmother’s Lobster Bisque. Oh my mouth is drooling already. Since grandma’s death when I was only in grammar school, my aunts and now my mother continue to make the bisque. Each year when I have that bisque it brings back such memories of Thanksgivings past and loved ones who used to be at the table with us. This year I am looking forward to hosting our annual Thanksgiving meal and to having my parents, my brothers, my sister-in-law, nieces and nephew, Aunt Lynne and Uncle Keith, and maybe a priest friend or two will join us at the table as we make new memories both at the table and around the fireplace.

As we gather at the table I pray you know that you are one of the major blessings in my life for which I will be thanking God at this Thanksgiving. I will thank Him for the privilege I have to serve as your Pastor. I will thank Him for your presence, your faith, your trust in me as your priest, and for your prayers. I will thank Him for the gift of Father Federico who in these early days of his own priesthood strives to share with us his love for the priesthood and his deep love and commitment to Jesus Christ as he works so hard each day to assist me in meeting the needs of those we are fortunate to serve together. I am also grateful to God for the blessings of Sister Patricia, Deacon Paul, Deacon Wilber, Julia Atwood, Donna Yatcko, Marilù Rochefort, and Judy Rowinski, the members of our Pastoral Staff, who work so hard to assist Father Federico and me in proclaiming the Gospel message and ministering to the families of our parishes. At the same time I am grateful to our musicians, office staff, maintenance personnel, and the countless volunteers who serve our parish in so many different capacities, without whom we could not do all that we are doing to be the vibrant presence of the Catholic faith here in Cheshire. I ask God’s blessings upon us all that we may always be found to have a grateful heart, ready and willing to serve the Lord.

We will celebrate a special Mass on Thanksgiving Day for our parish families to come together and give thanks. It will be held in Saint Bridget Church at 9 AM. There is no better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than to come to Mass and offer thanks and praise to God for all the many blessings He has given us and to pray that He will continue to pour out His blessings upon us. Mass also provides us the opportunity to pray for those in need. We remember those in need of the basic necessities of life, as well as pray for those in need of support and love.

A special word of gratitude to all of you for your generosity to the Cheshire Interfaith Thanksgiving Project…we collected well over 300 boxes of Potatoes and well over 200 cans of Fried Onions. THANK YOU! Thank you also to the many parishioners who gathered at the Food Pantry last Sunday to assist in assembling the bags for the client families. It was so edifying to see our community come together to pray with one another as we worked to assist those in need among us. This really is one of the greatest traditions we have as a Cheshire community. What a testament to our concern and care for our neighbors in need. From the bottom of my heart I thank the parishioners of our parish family who donate so much to this project and to the pantry throughout the year as we strive to serve the Lord Jesus in our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, in their time of need.

In the spirit of giving thanks, I wish to express my profound gratitude to the 434 families who have contributed, as of November 18, 2019, to our Annual Family Commitment. Their generosity of $124,385.00, reflects the generosity of 14.07% of our families. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to our parish family.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving with your families, please remember that your parish family is grateful for your participation in the life of our parish and for your support of our parish in so many ways. Each family contributes so much by the gift of their time, their talent, and their treasure to the good of our entire parish family. As we look to address major issues through your generosity to the Annual Family Commitment I remind you that your parish family needs your help! We can meet the needs of our parish family when we all come together and support the parish. 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 given yet please prayerfully consider doing so. We are hoping to address some major roofing projects and we 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.

ADVENT WILL BE HERE BEFORE YOU KNOW IT and so will the busyness of the

weeks preceding Christmas. Don’t allow this season, these short weeks of Advent, to simply be a busy time in your lives spending all your time buying and wrapping gifts, decorating your homes, baking Christmas cookies, entertaining and attending Christmas parties. TAKE TIME TO PREPARE FOR JESUS! Our theme as a parish family this year for the weeks of Advent will be Longing for Light? Follow the Star! I pray that each of us, after the weeks of Advent, will be prepared for the coming of Christ.

Here are some suggestions for using this time of Advent to its fullest potential:

1. Stop by Saint Bridget Church during the day to spend some time in quiet prayer with Jesus in the Eucharist.

2. Come to daily Mass once, twice, or more each week. Come on your way to work.

3. Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and be freed from the weight of sin.

4. Light an Advent wreath at your home each evening at dinner time.

Use the Little Blue Bookwhich will be at all the doors of both Churches THIS weekend. These are little blue prayer books which contain short reflections for all the days of Advent based on the daily Gospels of Advent. We hope you will take one and use it throughout this holy season.

Remember it is up to us to make Advent a time of spiritual growth and renewal even in the midst of the busyness these weeks bring. More to come on Advent in next weekend’s bulletin.

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 Patron, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.

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.

Dear Friends in Christ:

Last weekend I received some very disheartening and sad news. At the recommendation of her doctors, Mrs. Szerszen stepped down as Principal of St. Bridget School. In her short time with us, Mrs. Szerszen has been an invaluable member of our leadership team, worked to make St. Bridget School even stronger, led us through the NEASC accreditation, and has made a lasting impact on our school family. We extend our deepest gratitude to her for her leadership and promise her our prayers going forward.

I along with our dedicated administration, faculty and staff will continue to be fully committed to making sure that there is a seamless transition in the months ahead for the students of St. Bridget School. We are committed to ensuring that the positive year we are having continues to be a success.

I have asked Mrs. Marilu Rochefort, Assistant Principal of Academics, to take on the role of Interim Principal until the next Principal is appointed. I am most grateful to her for her willingness to fill this role as we begin the search process immediately for a new Principal for our beloved parish school.

Dr. Marge Palmeri and I are reaching out to the Principal Search Committee and asking them to reconvene to begin the process. We will be working closely with Sister Mary Grace, Provost for Education of the Archdiocese, and the staff of the Office of Education, Evangelization, and Catechesis as we begin this search. I am confident with Sister Mary Grace’s assistance, guidance, and support we will find the best candidate possible to lead our parish school.

I ask that you join us in keeping in prayer Mrs. Szerszen and her family. Please also pray for Mrs. Rochefort, Mrs. Rowinski, and the administration, faculty, staff, and students during this time of transition. I also ask that you pray that the Holy Spirit will guide the work of the Search Committee. Thank you for your prayerful support.

As announced last weekend we are in the process of replacing all of the SMART Boards thanks to the generosity of the John G. Martin Foundation and the donors to the St. Bridget School Annual Fund. Here is a picture of one of the boards the day it was installed. This past week we installed the first 13 of the 23 that will be replaced this coming year. The school was filled with excitement as the students came in each morning to see where the new boards were installed. Here you see the PreK3 SMART Board prepared to teach them a song, and you see the third graders so excited to show Frank Loehmann how to use the SMART Board.

Thank you, once again, to Frank Loehmann and the Board of Directors of the John G. Martin Foundation as well as to the many who donated to the Annual Fund who have helped to make this possible. You have made a difference in the lives of our students and for that I am most grateful.

The Annual Mass of Remembrance was held on Sunday, November 3rd. I express a distinct word of gratitude to Sister Patricia, our Pastoral Associate, and Joan Roczynski, from our Ministry for Hope and Healing, for all of their efforts in coordinating this

year’s Mass of Remembrance. At this Mass we lit a candle for each of the deceased parishioners who have died in the past year. Each candle had a picture on it of the Lord embracing another with the parishioners name below the picture. After the Mass, the families who were present were given these candles as a token of remembrance, and as a reminder of our prayers for them as they continue to mourn the loss of their loved one. If you have a relative whose funeral Mass was celebrated here in our parish this past year and you were unable to be present for the Mass you can obtain the candle from Tony Ginnetti in the Sacristy after Mass at Saint Bridget Church or you can call the rectory to arrange picking it up during the week. Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

All are invited to attend the Interfaith Thanksgiving Meal Project Assembly which will take place on Sunday November 17th from 2-4PM at the Cheshire Community Food Pantry at 175 Sandbank Road. Those present will form an assembly line and prepare the boxes for the clients of the Cheshire Community Food Pantry with the items collected from all the houses of worship in Cheshire.

Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish Family is responsible for collecting boxed mashed potatoes and canned fried onions. The baskets in front of the altar THIS WEEKEND are for the donation of such items; please help us help others! If you did not bring an item with you this weekend but would like to help out please drop it off at Saint Bridget Church on Monday. The Church is open 7AM until 4:30PM. Thank you for your generosity to the less fortunate.

JOIN US!!! Our "No Turkey Parish Thanksgiving Dinner" will be held on Saturday, November 23rd! Please sign up to join us by filling out the registration form on page 13 or by calling the rectory as soon as possible.

In addition to a delicious Italian dinner we will have activities for the children in the school gymnasium and entertainment for you to enjoy in the Parish Center. Please make an effort to come and join us as we gather as a parish family to give thanks to God for all His blessings.

Last year the children of the parish wrote essays about what they were grateful for, and a few were selected to be shared at the Parish Dinner. It was very well received so we are doing it again this year! We are asking all school aged children to write a paragraph or more about what they are grateful for this Thanksgiving. We will select a few of them to be read by the children at our No Turkey Parish Thanksgiving Dinner by the student authors themselves! Essays must be turned in by Thursday, November 14th, to be considered and children must be attending the dinner to be chosen. These can be turned in through the collection, dropped off at the rectory, emailed to office@stbridgetcheshire.org, or given to the school or religious education office.

Don’t forget this coming Saturday is the Saint Bridget of Sweden Women’s Society Shopper’s Delite in St. Bridget School from 9AM-3PM. Come and check out the many vendors who will be present! There will be over 50 vendors, a food truck for lunch, and a raffle of gift baskets throughout the day. You can get some of your Christmas shopping done early! Your participation assists the Women’s Society and their scholarship fund. Thank you for your support! Hope to see you there!

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.