Comment

August 11, 2019

Dear Friends,

This week finds at the mid􏰁point of August. The summer is passing quickly and we are beginning to turn our thoughts to the fall season ahead. Schools will open in two weeks and the pace of normal life will resume. I would like to call your attention to sev- eral upcoming events here in the parish.

This Thursday, August 15, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a holy day of obligation. On this day we celebrate the dogma of our faith that holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, owing to her unique and graced status as the Mother of God, at the end of her earthly life was assumed, body and soul, into heaven. Her body did not undergo the corruption of the grave, and as such she was the first to share in the fruits of the redemption wrought by her Son. Masses will be celebrated at St. Mary’s on Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM, and on Thursday morning at 7:00 and 9:00 AM. Masses at St. Agnes will be celebrated on Thursday morning at 9:00 AM and Thursday evening at 5:30 PM.

With the coming of the fall season, the annual St. Mary School Carnival will be held on the weekend of September 2022. In conjunction with the carnival, the traditional raffle will take place. This year, the grand prize is a Chevrolet Trax. Tickets are $5.00 each and are available after Masses on the weekend and the rectory on Gulf Street. The drawing takes place at the end of the carnival on Sunday afternoon.

Next Saturday, August 17, is the annual Mil- ford Oyster Festival, and with that, there will be hoards of visitors in town. The traffic in our area of town, particularly here on Gulf Street, could prove to be a nightmare. While we will still have the 4:30 PM Mass at St. Mary’s, it is suggested that many who go to that Mass consider going to the 5:30 PM Mass at St. Agnes. It should prove to be far easier and more expeditious getting in and out of there on Saturday.

As regards the Oyster Festival, the Santa Maria Council of the Knights of Columbus will be offering parking here on the grounds of St. Mary’s for $5.00 per car. This is an important fund raiser for the council and if you are going to the festival we urge your sup- port of it.

We have received word that the Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated here on Saturday, September 28. There will be two ceremonies, both outside of Mass, and the sacrament will be conferred by Msgr. Joseph Donnelly, the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Southbury and the episcopal vicar for the western portion of the Archdiocese, representing the Archbishop.

Finally, this is the final weekend we will have Sean Yates, our seminarian, with us. He must report to Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit on Tuesday, August 20. He will be leaving here on August 15. We have

enjoyed having him with us and we hope that his time with us has been beneficial to him. It certainly was for us. We wish him well in his studies for the priest- hood and as soon as we have an address for him we will publish it in the bulletin.

Have a good week!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

July 7, 2019

Dear Friends,

It hardly seems possible that the month of June passed so quickly and here we are at the beginning of July with the Fourth of July celebration already behind us. Notwithstanding the old saying that when the Fourth of July is over, there goes the summer, in reality the summer has barely started. Seven or eight weeks lie ahead of us before school begins in late August, the signal that the summer is over and the fall season has come.

The summer is a time for “down time,” a time for relaxation, for catching up on reading, for doing things that we cannot do during the rest of the year. Many of you will be traveling on vacation to various destinations. I wish you safe travels to and from your vacation spots. Of course, the summer is not a time for vacation from God, from prayer, from our spiritual life. Please make every effort to participate in Sunday Mass wherever you might go, and do not neglect daily prayer, our life line to God, a great source of sustenance and strength for the stresses and strains that life throws at us, even in the summer months.

As regards the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, the news for Precious Blood Parish in encouraging. As of last week, the people of our parish have pledged some $112,000, which means that we have exceeded our goal by $2,000. I am grateful to all who have made a gift or pledge. On the level of the wider Archdiocese, the Appeal is down some $700,000 from the same time last year. The reasons for that could range from changes in the federal tax laws, to the disturbing news of past sexual abuse of children in the Church, to a sense of dissatisfaction with the recent merger of so many parishes in the Archdiocese. While these reasons are understandable, the needs of the Archdiocese for funding its ministries and helping local agencies across the Archdiocese serve the poor and needy remain. No funds from the Appeal are allotted to settlements or legal fees. All funds are used for the purpose for which they are collected. If you have made a gift in the past but not yet have done so for this year, please consider doing so. If we all make an effort, God can turn what we offer into a real miracle of love and service to so many across the three counties that make up the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Have a great week!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

June 9, 2019

Dear Friends,

Our celebration of Pentecost this weekend brings to a climactic end our fifty days long celebration and pondering of the mystery of Easter. Pentecost, one of the great liturgical festivals in the Church year, is outranked in importance only by Easter itself and Christmas. We remember today the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the first disciples and the beginning of the life and mission of the Church, a mission which goes on even now, and of which we are all part.

Pope Francis likes to speak of Christians as “missionary disciples,” and rightly so. All of us, by virtue of our baptism and confirmation, have been clothed in Christ and sealed with the power and the grace of the Spirit of God so that we can live effective lives of witness, lives built on the fundamental commandment of love that the Lord asks of all of us. Each day, more through our actions and the way of life that we model, the moral choices we make and defend, we can actually become missionary disciples, leading others to Christ and in the process, leading them to salvation. This is not the task only for clergy and religious. The laity, more and more, have to step up and make Christ and his presence in the world known by their way of life. The laity can b e so much more effective in this since they live and work in areas where clergy and religious cannot go.

So, as the Easter Season ends, and as Ordinary Time begins anew, we ask the Holy Spirit to remain with us, to give us strength, to deepen our faith, and to help us grow in love for God, a love that is best shown by the love, the care, and the reverence we show for others, especially the lowliest and most vulnerable in our society who are often marginalized and forgotten.

I am happy to say that I received word from Bishop Juan Miguel Betancourt this week that we will be privileged to have seminarian assigned to Precious Blood Parish for this summer. Sean Yates, who comes from South Windsor, has completed his pre- theology studies, which largely consist of courses in philosophy, at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and will begin his theological studies this fall at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit.. During the eight or nine weeks that Sean is with us, he will participate as much as possible in the life of the parish, assisting at Masses, reading, distributing Communion, visiting the hospital and convalescent homes, sitting in on meetings, and more. All of this is meant to help him come to an appreciation of what

life is a parish is like for a priest. I am sure that you will give him a warm welcome. We are happy to have him!

Have a good week!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

May 12, 2019

Dear Friends,

Traditionally, the Fourth Sunday of Easter is known as “Good Shepherd Sunday” and takes that designation from the Gospel read on that day, usually from the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John. The image of a shepherd and his sheep is probably foreign to our experience, given the fact that we live in an urban environment. But the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep is grounded in trust, loyalty, and a willingness to follow wherever he leads them, wherever he goes. The shepherd supplies access to sufficient food and water, security from attacks by coyotes or wild dogs, and care when wounded or sick. The relationship between a shepherd and his sheep was so intimate that the sheep could recognize the shepherd by his smell and by the sound of his voice. Jesus himself, in the Gospel today, indicates this whenhesays,“  à   and they follow me.”

The Lord is our shepherd indeed, our Good Shepherd. He supplies all that we need. He gives us life, food, protection from danger, love, hope for the future, and so much more. All we are asked to do is to recognize him, to hear his voice, and to follow him wherever he leads us. It takes an act of trust and faith to do so, yes, but again, as he is the “Good” Shepherd, we have no reason to fear following him or doing whatever he tells us.

This Sunday is also a day given to prayer for vocations to the priesthood, as well as the religious life (the consecrated life) and the diaconate. The Church is weathering some difficult times as we all know. The sins of some clergy and religious of the past have been laid bare and the Church as a whole has been wounded by it. Nonetheless, the Church, as we believe it to be, is holy, even if there is sinfulness in her members, because the Church is the very Body of Christ in the world. As the Body of Christ, the Church has to be holy in itself. Some have said that the Church is a community of sinners on its way to sainthood, or as Pope Francis calls it, a “field hospital” for sinners.

In order to do the work entrusted to it by the Lord, the Church has great need for priests, consecrated religious and deacons. These do not grow on trees, nor do they drop down magically from the heavens. The seed of a religious vocation is sown in family life, in devout Catholic living, in a simple invitation to a young person who seems so disposed to consider life as a priest, consecrated religious, or deacon. Pray for more vocations, but also keep your

eyes and ears open looking for signs of a possible vocation in young (or not so young) people you may know.

On this Mother’s Day, we pray for all mothers and grandmothers, be they living or deceased. May we not forget, too, those women who have been like mothers to us at one time or another in life, those who have helped us and inspired us in their roles as teachers, day care workers, nurses, doctors, counselors, and more. May God bless them all!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

April 21, 2019

Dear Friends,

Now that our forty-day observance of Lent has ended, we launch into the celebration of Easter, a celebration that extends across a period of fifty days, ending with Pentecost on June 9. Easter is the culmination of the entire liturgical year, the bedrock of our faith, the hinge on which everything else we do and believe as Christians swings. As St. Paul puts it so well in his First Letter to the Corinthians: “For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins. And what is more serious, all who have died in Christ have perished. If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are the most unfortunate of all people” (cf. 1 Cor 15:17-19). St. Paul was writing to a community of Greek Christians who had great difficulty accepting in faith the truth of bodily resurrection after death. They had serious doubts about it and questioned not only the truth of Christ’s resurrection, but that of themselves and their loved ones as well. For his part, St. Paul does a masterful job in setting the record straight. On this Easter Day we affirm the ages-old faith proclaimed by the Church, namely that “Christ has died, Christ is risen from the dead, and Christ will come again.”

I welcome warmly all who gather for worship with us this Easter Sunday, especially the occasional or first-time visitor. Your presence with us is a blessing. Please know that you are always most welcome and I hope that many of you will come to see Precious Blood Parish as your spiritual home, be it at either church, St. Mary’s or St. Agnes’.

Next Sunday is the Second Sunday of Easter. It is also celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday and at 2:00 PM at St. Agnes Church, there will be Divine Mercy devotions offered. I hope many will participate in these devotions.

I have looked at the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal progress report, and I am encouraged by what I saw. As of this writing, our parish has raised some $58,000 toward its goal of $110,000. If you have not yet made a gift or a pledge to the Appeal, please consider doing so. The monies raised serve to fund the ministries of the Archdiocese and a significant portion also goes to help local charitable efforts. Here in Milford, our own John Rigely Food Pantry as well as Helping Hands for Hurting Hearts receive funding from the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal. If we all contribute something, a great deal of good can be done for so many people throughout the three counties that comprise the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Finally, as there have been more than ample opportunities for confession, especially in the last week or two of Lent, there will be no confessions heard Monday night, April 22, at St. Mary’s. Regular Monday evening confessions will resume April 29.

Have a great week!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

March 24, 2019

Dear Friends,

Included in this week’s bulletin is an important insert which I encourage all of you to read with care. The insert details the financial state of the parish for 2018. A reading of this report will indicate several things.

First of all, we are all members of a very large and complex parish community. Our parish hosts a wide variety of ministries for the benefit not only of the people of the parish but also people outside of the parish. All of this requires adequate funding, and I am pleased to note with deep gratitude that you once again have risen to the challenge. Your support of Precious Blood Parish during the past year has been generous, even exceptional. I thank all who have contributed from their means to help us keep our parish both alive with vigor and financially sound.

A second point to note is that, looking forward, we face some challenges. Costs are increasing for us, as they are for you. A significant cost increase is to be seen in the provision of benefits to the full-time employees of the parish. Health care and retirement costs are rising, and we have to be able to meet those expenses.

Thirdly, our parish plant, now consisting of two parish complexes, is aging and in need of constant upkeep and repairs. This, too, costs money as we seek to repair parish facilities and replace things as needed. As we do that, we try our best to look for savings through the purchase and installation of more energy efficient items. To that end, I would ask that, if at all possible from within your means, that you consider a small increase in your weekly offertory contribution. If everyone would consider donating an additional five dollars per week, the result would go a long way toward helping us meet our financial obligations. If you cannot contribute that much more, an increase of even two or three dollars more per week would be most appreciated. In any event, please know that I am aware of the sacrifices you make on behalf of the parish and that I deeply appreciate your generosity.

I am pleased to announce that Diane and Tony Candido have been selected to receive the St. Joseph Archdiocesan Medal of Appreciation. They will receive the medal from Archbishop Blair at a ceremony next Sunday, March 31, at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford. On behalf of our parish, I congratulate them both and thank them for all that they do for us.

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

March 3, 2019

Dear Friends,

Each year the pastor is required by Church law to supply a report to the people of the parish on the financial and spiritual state of the parish. We have just completed the annual financial report required by the Archdiocese of Hartford and in the near future I will speak to the people of the parish at both St. Mary and St. Agnes about the financial state of the parish. This will take place when a summary regarding parish finances is ready for distribution.

This weekend, I will supply a brief report on the spiritual state of the parish, both in terms of numbers and an overall assessment of the state of parish life now that we are well into our second year as a newly-merged parish community. Precious Blood Parish is one of the largest parishes in the Archdiocese of Hartford with a census approaching five thousand households and Mass attendance in excess of 2000 people per weekend. We are an active parish with many events taking place, almost it seems on a daily basis. I once heard that a pastor said that one sign of a healthy parish (surely there are others) is seen in that the lights are on most week nights in one building or another with cars in the parking lot. While there have been challenges in the merger of St. Mary’s and St. Agnes’ parishes, I think that the overall spirit of understanding and cooperation has been exceptional. The combining and strengthening of the parish religious education programs is one highlight, as is the merger of two parish ladies’ guilds into one. I also note with happiness the number of people originally from either St. Mary or St. Agnes who, when necessary, feel comfortable going to either church for Mass. All of this underscores the fact that we are a new parish with two churches for worship and other activities.

For the year 2018, we baptized ninety (90) infants and two (2) adults. We received into full communion with the Catholic Church eleven (11) adults and children. These were baptized originally in other Christian churches and communities and they decided to become members of the Catholic Church. One hundred thirty-six (136) young children received their First Communion. Sixty-six (66) young people celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation with Bishop Peter Rosazza in October. Twelve (12) couples were joined in marriage, and one hundred fifty-one (151) parishioners were commended to God as their funerals were celebrated.

This Wednesday, March 6, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the annual season in the Church for repentance and spiritual renewal. Please take a bulletin by way of reminder regarding Masses and times for the distribution of ashes. Please note that the 9:00 AM Mass at St. Mary’s will be exceptionally crowded as the children from the school will be present. There is another Mass, also at 9:00 AM on Wednesday at St. Agnes. A collection will be taken at all Masses and services on Ash Wednesday. In the spirit of almsgiving, an important Lenten practice, the entire proceeds will be donated to the Beth-El Shelter for serving the poor here in Milford.

Through the weeks of Lent, there will be an additional Mass at 12:05 PM at St. Mary’s each weekday, Monday through Friday. For the month of March, there are still a number of Masses available for intentions. One can have a Mass celebrated in memory of a deceased loved one, in thanksgiving to God for favors received, and on the occasion of a birthday or wedding anniversary as well. Contact the rectory at (203) 878-3571 to make arrangements for a Mass to be celebrated.

May this season of Lent be one of spiritual refreshment and renewal for us all!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

February 3, 2019

Dear Friends,

As I announced at Masses last weekend, the news coming from the Chancellery on Tuesday, January 22 regarding the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy was sobering. Thirty-six priests of the Archdiocese have been listed as credibly accused of minors since the establishment of the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1953. In addition, six priest from other diocese and six more from religious orders who served at one time or another in the Archdiocese have also been credibly accused. Twenty-three of the thirty-six Archdiocesan priests have died, and number of those still alive have been removed entirely from priesthood. Again as I stated last weekend, we must continue to pray for all victims of abuse of any kind, and support the efforts of the Archdiocese to help victims and to take steps to prevent abuse from happening again in the future.

By way of transparency, there are five priests named who at one time or another have been assigned to either the former St. Mary Parish or the former St. Agnes Parish. The priest named who were assigned to St. Mary include Joseph Rozint, Robert Ladamus, and Stephen Byzdyra. Those who were assigned to St. Agnes include Howard Nash and George Raffaeta. Of these five, four are deceased, and one Stephen Byzdyra has been laicized. which means he has been returned to the lay state from which he came prior to ordination. As such, he can no longer represent himself as a priest in any way and he cannot celebrate the sacraments. I have no personal knowledge of any improper behavior having taken place on the part of any of these men while they were assigned to either St. Mary or St. Agnes.

Please be assured that the Archdiocese has put into place an extensive series of requirements and expectations for all who work for the Archdiocese in any way, be they members of the clergy(priests or deacons), religious, laity, or even volunteers. These requirements include background checks which must be renewed every five years, participation in VIRTUS training, and adherence to a strict code of ministerial conduct. These requirements have been in place since 2003, and it is important to note that in the 16 years since, only two cases of sexual abuse have surfaced, and both cases resulted in criminal prosecution.

If you have any concerns, please feel free to speak with me, to call me at the rectory, or to contact the Archdiocesan Director of Safe Environment, Kathleen Nowosadko, at (860) 242-5573.

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

January 27, 2019

Dear Friends,

We have concluded our annual celebration of Christmas and its accompanying feasts and now we return to what is known liturgically as ordinary time. The word “ordinary” does not mean ho-hum, so-so, or uneventful. Rather it is used to denote those Sundays of the Church year, some thirty-four in all which are number ordinally, such as that which we celebrate this weekend, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The weeks of Ordinary Time have us, in the reading of the Gospels, accompany Jesus in his ministry from its beginnings in Galilee immediately following his baptism by John, and then through Judea, ending just before he enters in triumph into Jerusalem to accomplish the wonder of our salvation through his death and resurrection.

In these weeks of Ordinary Time, we are invited to walk along with Jesus, to see what he does, and to hear what he says by way of teaching. It is an ongoing invitation to discipleship, which essentially is an invitation to get to know Jesus better and better, to model our lives on his own example and teaching, and in turn to become better signs of his presence and activity in the world of our day. As we work our way through these weeks of Ordinary Time, a salutary spiritual discipline we can all undertake is to read the Gospel passage of each day and to spend some time in quiet prayer and reflection, inviting the Lord to come into our hearts through his word and to help us conform ourselves to him by putting his word into practice concretely in our own ordinary daily lives. All we have to do is to take the time, open the door, and let the Lord in, and then watch what can happen. You can be sure that if we do that, our experiences during these weeks may well be anything but ordinary.

Next Sunday, February 3, liturgically is the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, but also traditionally the memorial of St. Blase, who is invoked as the protector against diseases of the throat. At all Masses next weekend, there will be a general blessing of throats over the whole assembly that will take the place of the ordinary blessing that concludes the Mass. According to the regulations of the Church, such a blessing can now be given and it is no longer absolutely required to give the blessing individually with crossed candles.

Have a good week!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

January 20, 2019

Dear Friends,

Now that our annual celebration of Christmas and its attending feasts has concluded, I want to thank all those who helped to make this Christmas both beautiful and special here at Precious Blood Parish. The decorations at both churches were magnificent and festive, worthy of the mystery we celebrate at Christmas. The music in both churches was also beautiful and served to help us lift our hearts to God in wonder and worship. To all who helped to decorate and to clean both St. Mary’s and St. Agnes’ churches, and to all who worked to make the music of the season so beautiful, in the name of the parish I offer profound gratitude. I also want to thank you, the people of the parish, for your ongoing presence and generous support of our parish.

The first two weekends under the revised Mass and confession schedule have gone quite well. It seems that we all have adapted and adjusted to a new situation with very few glitches. Your understanding, cooperation, and flexibility are most appreciated.

As I write these words, the meteorologists are warning of a possible major winter storm that will affect this weekend. By way of reminder, we have a policy in effect regarding weekday Masses and parish meetings. If the Milford Public Schools are closed because of inclement and dangerous weather conditions, the morning Masses at both St. Mary’s and St. Agnes’ will be cancelled as will all parish meetings. If the Masses have intentions attached to them, the intentions will be moved to the next available Mass. Regarding Saturday evening and Sunday Masses, we will celebrate them as scheduled. Weekend Masses will be cancelled only on the rare occasion that the Archbishop dispenses the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass due to severe weather conditions. All of this is aimed at insuring the safety of everyone. Of course, if there is ever a question of personal safety on a given weekend, use your best judgement with a good conscience.

Have a good week!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

January 13, 2019

Dear Friends,

With this weekend’s celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the liturgical celebration of the fullness of the Christmas mystery draws to a close. We hear today the story of Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan by John. John’s baptism was a “baptism of repentance for sin,” and we well may wonder just why Jesus, who was sinless, accepted such a baptism. The answer to that question is found in who Jesus really is and what his mission is. In accepting the baptism of repentance by John, Jesus is accepting his role and his mission as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” The baptism of Jesus in the waters of the Jordan foreshadows another baptism of which Jesus himself speaks, the bloody baptism that he would undergo on the cross so that sins might be forgiven and the world might be saved. We would do well to remember also that in the Fourth Gospel, John reports that “blood and water” came forth from the pierced side of Jesus, the blood being a symbol of the Eucharist, the water a symbol of baptism.

Additionally, the Gospel today tells us that the Spirit descended upon Jesus “in bodily form like a dove” and that he was proclaimed to be the beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased. This dimension of Jesus’ baptism is another “epiphany” story, a manifestation or showing forth of Jesus to the world. He is anointed by the Spirit, and thus is the “Christ” which means “anointed one.” He is also clearly identified as Son of God, who comes in the flesh to save us and show us the way to salvation.

On this Sunday when we remember the Lord’s baptism, we would do well to remember that each of us, too, has been baptized. We, too, have been anointed with the Holy Spirit, both at Baptism and again at Confirmation. We, too, are beloved children of God, brothers and sisters one to another and to Christ himself. We, too, have a mission, and that is to, in some way, be the eyes, the ears, the hands, the feet, the very heart of Christ in the world of today.

Next weekend, January 19-20, at St. Agnes we will be celebrating the feast of St. Agnes. After the 10:30 AM Mass next Sunday, the parish hall at St. Agnes will be formally dedicated to the honor of Father Francis X. Callahan in recognition of and gratitude for his many years of dedicated service as the pastor of St. Agnes’ Parish, The St. Joseph’s Men’s Society will be supplying coffee and refreshments at that occasion.

Finally, I want to announce that I have appointed two new trustees who will serve as lay members of the parish corporation for a term of up to two years. They are Suzanne Beliveau and Earl Whiskeyman. I thank them for their willingness to serve the parish in this capacity and I also thank the outgoing trustees, Mary Bissell and Jay Mraz, for their service.

Have a great week.

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

December 30, 2018

Dear Friends,

This week we come again to the “turning of the year” as New Year’s once was called. The end of an old year filled with a curious, even strange, mixture of the good and the bad, the mundane and the extraordinary, and in some cases, even the bizarre, calls one to recollection, to remembrance, to pondering what life means, where we have come from and what lies ahead of us. The dawn of 2019 on Tuesday brings with it the freshness of a new beginning, the hope of a brighter future, a year that will again be filled with a mixture of the good and bad, blessings and sorrows, hopes and disappointments. As we prepare to begin the New Year, it might be good for us to stop and reflect on the year just ending, being thankful for its joys and blessings, and to look forward to the year ahead with a prayer of hope-filled anticipation of what is to come, asking the timeless Lord of the ages to bless us with all that is good and all that we need.

As the New Year dawns upon us, I again remind everyone the new schedule for weekend Masses and confessions takes effect. You should have received in the mail a refrigerator magnet with the new schedule printed on it for reference. Even at the risk of being repetitious, I remind everyone of the new schedule that goes into effect next weekend, January 5-6:

SATURDAY VIGIL MASSES
4:30 PM at St. Mary’s and 5:00 PM at St. Agnes’ SUNDAY MASSES
8:30, 10:00, 11:30 AM and 4:30 PM at St. Mary’s 7:30 and 10:30 AM at St. Agnes’ CONFESSIONS
Saturdays from 3:30-4:30 PM at St. Agnes’ Mondays from 6:00-7:00 PM at St. Mary’s.

The weekday Mass schedule remains the same at both churches. Some of you will have to make adjustments in your routines, but in no time, it will seem normal. With eight Masses each weekend, there is no reason for anyone to miss Mass.

A word of explanation regarding the St. Joseph Sunday Missals which had been used at St. Agnes’ for a number of years. Upon review of those missals, I determined that they were inadequate for our needs in that the music supplied in them was insufficient. Thus, I decided to discontinue using them and to replace them with the Breaking Bread hymnals that are now in the pews. These hymnals contain the parts of the Mass, the Sunday readings, some prayers, a wide and excellent selection of hymns, and even the responses for weekday Masses. For some of you, these hymnals will require some time so that you can get used to using them. I ask for your cooperation as we seek to make our worship even better and more meaningful.

I wish you all a blessed New Year. May 2019 be a year filled with many joys and blessings for you and those you love!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

December 2, 2018

Dear Friends,

With the coming of this First Sunday of Advent, a new Church year dawns and we launch into our annual season of spiritual preparation for celebrating the birth of Christ. This time of year can be very stressful with many demands made on our time. We are called to do our best with the demands made on us, but at the same time not to neglect the important spiritual dimension of Advent. Often Advent is ignored altogether or celebrated improperly or incompletely. A proper celebration of Advent calls for setting aside each day some personal quiet time for prayer, making use of the Scripture readings of the day, which are quite powerful. Another possibility is to pick up your rosary beads and each day pray the Joyful Mysteries in anticipation of the coming feast of the Lord’s birth. Above all, it is crucial that we make time for some introspection, to take stock of our lives, and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There will be additional opportunities for confession as Advent unfolds. To all of you, I wish a holy and peaceful Advent, a time when we can make our own the ancient last words of the Book of Revelation which mean “Come, O Lord!” (“Marana tha!”).

This Saturday, December 8, is the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patronal feast of the Church in the United States, and a holy day of obligation. Masses to satisfy the obligation for the holy day will be celebrated on at St. Mary’s on Friday evening at 7:00 PM, and on Saturday morning at 7:30 and 9:00 AM. There will also be a Mass at St. Agnes on Saturday morning at 10:00 AM. In these times of scandal and stress in the Church, we can come before the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Church, our Mother, to seek her intercession so that the Church and the clergy will be purified, and those wounded by sexual abuse by clergy will find healing and hope.

All registered parish households will soon receive in the mail a schedule of Masses, confessions and other activities for the Advent and Christmas seasons. Please save it for future reference. You will also receive in the same mailing a refrigerator magnet on which is printed the new weekend Mass and confession schedule that will take effect on January 5-6, 2019. Please keep that handy for future reference. Finally, in the same mailing, you will receive a parish survey form. We want to know how

we are doing and what you think some eighteen months or so into the life of our new parish. Please take the time to fill out the survey and drop it in any collection basket or the mail by the designated return date. We will be compiling the results of the survey and studying them for purposes of future decision- making.

With the dawn of the new year in January, some changes regarding the distribution of Communion will take effect at St. Agnes. The ministers of Holy Communion will no longer vest in robes and sit in the sanctuary. Instead, as lay ministers they will sit in the church among the assembly of the laity and come forth at the “Lamb of God” to the sanctuary to assist in the distribution of Communion. When they have finished, they will return to their place in the assembly. This change stresses the importance of lay ministry in the Church and the rightful place that the laity have in the life and ministry of the Church. Beginning in January, there will be no more than two ministers of Holy Communion assigned to any Mass, and thus everyone in the assembly will be asked to come forward to receive Communion. Ministers will no longer be sent to the back of the church. If there is anyone who has difficulty walking, there are two pews reserved for the handicapped in the front of the church for purposes of convenience.

Finally, the Annual Collection is going quite well. As of last Monday, we have received almost $31,000 in donations, well along toward our goal of $50,000. If you have not yet made a gift, please do so before December 31 for credit for income tax purposes. I thank you for your generous support of this collection and the parish in general.

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

November 18, 2018

Dear Friends,

As amazing as it is, the year has passed so quickly and Thanksgiving, the preeminent American festival, is upon us. The days immediately before us afford us all the opportunity to step back and to count our blessings, which for most of us are many. Having done that, we then are able to offer sincere prayers and sentiments of gratitude to the God who is so good, the God who is present and active in our lives although in ways we often scarcely notice, the God who blesses us with everything that is good, filling us with happiness in the good times and sustaining us with his grace and strength in difficult times. May these days ahead which will, for many of us, be taken up with travel, with times of feasting and time with family and friends, be safe for all of you. The refrain for this week in our prayer is taken from the Psalms: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love is everlasting.”

Reflecting on yet another year here in the parish, I personally want to express my sincere gratitude to all of you, the good people of Precious Blood Parish, for your generosity which you have demonstrated in so many ways, inclusive of your financial support of the parish as well as your sharing of your time and talents as well. I also deeply appreciate the spirit of cooperation that so many of you have shown as we work to come together in a new parish. Change is never easy, but with a spirit of openness and flexibility, we will make good things happen.

The Annual Collection is underway and the results have been encouraging. To date, we have received over $24,000 in gifts, almost halfway to our goal of $50,000. The proceeds of this collection are used to make improvements on the parish plant both on Gulf Street and on Merwin Avenue. Please consider making a gift and do so by December 31 is you wish your gift to be credited for income tax purposes.

The annual Milford Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will take place this Tuesday evening, November 20, at 7:00 at St. Mary’s. It is a time for the Milford community to come together before God in a service of prayer, Scripture, and songs of praise to thank God for the blessings we have received. A free-will offering will be taken and the proceeds will be given to “Milford Food 2 Kids”. Checks can be made payable to “Milford Food 2 Kids.”

Our parish will celebrate Thanksgiving with Masses offered at both St. Mary’s and at St. Agnes’

on Thursday morning at 9:00 AM. Please note that the parish office will be closed both Thursday and Friday in observance of the holiday. The office will reopen on Monday.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

November 4, 2018

Dear Friends,

Last Sunday at St. Agnes in the church hall, a wonderful reception was held in honor of Father Francis Callahan, thanking him for his many years of service to St. Agnes Parish and wishing him well in his retirement. Over three hundred people came to visit Fr. Callahan and to wish him the best. On behalf of Precious Blood Parish, I want to thank Deacon Nicholas Genovese as well as the other members of the committee who worked so hard to put the reception together.

On this past Monday evening at St. Agnes, I, along with Deacon John Hoffman met with the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who serve our parish. Fr. Sam and Fr. Deny as well as Deacon Nick Genovese were also present. At this meeting, we discussed some changes that will take place early in the new year so that the liturgical life and practice of our parish may be more streamlined and cohesive. To be sure, some of the changes may be unsettling to some of our ministers, but I am sure that over time, they will grow used to them and adapt to the new way of doing things liturgically. On behalf of the parish community, I thank all of them for their many years of selfless service and sacrifice in distributing the Eucharist to the people of the parish both in church as well as to those who are homebound, in the hospital or in one of the nursing facilities in town.

For some inexplicable reason, the coming Ladies’ Guild event scheduled for Tuesday, November 13 in Father Cronin Hall has not been publicized in the bulletin. On that evening, a “Paint Night” will be held. For the small sum of just $25.00, participants will receive a canvas, paints, and a paintbrush and be led to create masterpieces of their own. I know of other parishes and organizations that have held Paint Nights, and they are a great deal of fun. There are a few tickets still available. You can contact Tori Saxer at the rectory for more information.

Please remember our annual parish Mass of Remembrance which will be celebrated this coming Wednesday, November 7 at 7:30 PM at St. Agnes. The names of all who have died and have been buried from our parish will be read and they will be remembered in a special way. This is an opportunity for everyone to come together to remember their beloved deceased, commend them to God, and seek renewed comfort and consolation.

Have a good week!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

October 21, 2018

Dear Friends,

A word of explanation is in order regarding the recent rearrangement of some of the furnishings in the sanctuary at St. Agnes. Over a month ago, we moved the presider’s chair, the chair used by the priest at Mass, as well as the deacon’s chair down from behind the altar off to the right side of the sanctuary looking out. The reason for this is that the Church does not envision the entire Mass being celebrated at the altar. The altar is reserved for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the part of the Mass which commemorates the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross. This part of the Mass runs from the reception and preparation of the gifts until the reception of Communion by the people is completed, at which time the altar is cleared. During most of the rest of the Mass, the priest and the deacon perform their ministry from their place at their respective chairs. Of course, the Liturgy of the Word which entails the reading of the Scriptures as well as the homily is focused on the pulpit, also known as the ambo. While Father Callahan was in residence at St. Agnes and assisting with the celebration of Masses, we left the chairs where they were out of consideration for his age and ease of mobility. Since Father Callahan has moved to Fairfield, there is no longer a need for the chairs to remain where they were.

A reminder is in order regarding the reception in honor of Father Callahan which will take place next Sunday, October 28, from 1:00-3:00 PM in the hall at St. Agnes. Father Callahan served St. Agnes well as its pastor for thirty-four years and I hope that many of you will come to greet him, wish him well, and to thank him for his tireless service.

I mentioned last weekend the All Souls’ envelopes. Those of you who use parish support envelopes will find one in your packets this month. Those who do not use envelopes may nonetheless find some available at the entrances of both churches. Drop these into the collection basket. They will be collected and placed on the altar in both churches. Those whose names are written on them will be remembered in a special way at all Masses during the month of November.

On Wednesday, November 7, at 7:30 PM at St. Agnes, we will be celebrating the annual Mass of Remembrance for all who have died and were buried from either St. Mary’s or St. Agnes’ churches since last All Souls’ Day. After the homily, their names will be read and a candle will be lighted in their memory. A reception will follow in the hall.

Finally, once again this year the Milford Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will be held at St. Mary’s on Tuesday, November 20 at 7:00 PM. All are invited.

Have a good week!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

October 11, 2018

Dear Friends,

This Thursday, October 18, marks an historic day in the Archdiocese of Hartford. At 2:00 PM in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Father Juan Miguel Betancourt, SEMV, will be ordained as a bishop by Archbishop Blair and begin service as Auxiliary Bishop of Hartford. Bishop-elect Betancourt is a member of the Servants of the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary, an order based in Puerto Rico. He is a native of Puerto Rico, forty-eight years old, and was ordained as a priest in 2001. He is trained in Biblical studies, has served as a pastor in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, and has also served as Vice Dean of St. Paul Seminary, also in the St. Paul- Minneapolis archdiocese. We welcome him to the Archdiocese of Hartford. Please keep Bishop Betancourt in your prayers this week.

We are preparing to begin RCIA (The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) once again. If you know of anyone who is interested in exploring the possibility of becoming Catholic, please invite them to consider joining us. Contact Deacon John Hoffman for more information.

As the month of October unfolds, once again all registered households will be receiving a letter from me in the mail requesting your support of the Annual Collection. I hope that you will take the time to read the letter and consider making a gift to this collection. Its proceeds are vitally important for the financial health of our parish as well as our efforts to maintain and improve our beautiful parish buildings and grounds.

You may have noticed an envelope in your packet for All Souls’ Day. Each year, during the month of November, the Church prays in a special and fervent way for all the faithful departed. It is the custom in many parishes for the faithful to make an offering and include on the envelope the names of loved ones they would like to remember. So please consider making an offering and dropping your envelope into the basket anytime during this month. These envelopes will be collected and placed on the altars both at St. Mary’s and St. Agnes’ for the entirety of the month of November and all those whose names are recorded there will be remembered in a special way at every Mass throughout the month.

Have a wonderful week!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

September 23, 2018

Dear Friends,

As a spiritual response to the terrible revelations of sexual abuse of minors by priests across six dioceses in Pennsylvania as well as the news concerning the now-former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and his misconduct, Archbishop Blair has mandated that every parish in the Archdiocese pray the Prayer to St. Michael at the end of every Mass and that every parish have an hour of Eucharistic Adoration for the purpose of reparation for the sins of the clergy which have wounded the Church as well as for the purification and renewal of both the Church and the clergy.

Here in our parish, we will begin to pray the Prayer to St. Michael once it is placed in the Journeysongs hymnal at St. Mary’s. Happily, it is already available on the back cover of the Breaking Bread hymnal used at St. Agnes. For those of you over the age of sixty, and certainly over the age of seventy, the Prayer to St. Michael will be very familiar, as it was prayed at Mass from the time of Pope Leo XIII, who died in 1903, until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960's. For the rest of us who are younger, we will become familiar with that prayer in short order. Once the prayer text is available at St. Mary’s, which I anticipate will be in the very near future, we will pray that prayer after the blessing and before the dismissal at every Mass until further notice.

The hour of Eucharistic Adoration will take place every Friday after the 9:00 AM Mass until 10:30 AM at St. Agnes Church. One of the priests or deacons will place the Blessed Sacrament on the altar in the monstrance. The rosary will be prayed and then there will be time for silent prayer until the Blessed Sacrament is reposed in the tabernacle. I urge as many of you to come to that hour of adoration as possible. Furthermore, I would also suggest that we undertake an additional penance each Friday, that we abstain from meat and fast by giving up one of the three meals that day. Prayer and fasting taken together are powerful means of penance and reparation, good for our own spiritual lives, but also good for the Church and its renewal and purification.

Looking ahead, we will be convening a meeting of the liturgy committee to plan the major events for the fall, including both the Advent and Christmas seasons, which it is hard to believe, are approaching. The liturgy committee will meet at St. Agnes on Wednesday, October 3, at 7:30 PM. Anyone who is interested or who has ideas is most welcome.

We will have the annual Blessing of Animals held in conjunction with the feast of St. Francis of Assisi at St. Mary’s on Saturday, October 6, at 12:30 PM. The blessing will be held on the church grounds outside of Fr. Cronin Hall where the statue of St. Francis of Assisi is located. Please have dogs on leashes and cats and other animals in crates.

Finally, I would like to thank the DeMarco Family for their hard and dedicated work in planting a new and beautiful garden near the statue of Our Lady on the grounds of St. Mary’s between the church and the rectory. Their efforts will bear much fruit for years to come and on behalf of the parish for their time and dedication to the task.

Have a great week!

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

September 9, 2018

Dear Friends,

As Catholics, we are living in very difficult and trying times. The recent news revealing the large-scale sexual abuse of so many innocent children and its cover-up by high-level leaders in six dioceses of Pennsylvania came as a bombshell when the long-expected grand jury report was released. Over a period spanning seventy years, well more than one thousand children were abused by over three hundred priests, and in most of the cases, little was done by bishops and high-level diocesan officials to stop it. Out of fear of scandal, or fear of harm being done to the Church or the reputations of her leaders, or fear of monetary losses, these cases were kept quiet, away from the eyes of law enforcement authorities. In many cases, priests who were accused of abuse were simply transferred from one parish to another, whether sent for treatment and evaluation or not, and in most cases, the people of the parishes were never informed. Thus, ongoing abuse was facilitated, more children were harmed, and as we see, far more damage was done over time, first to the many victims whose lives were forever altered and in many cases even ruined, and ironically, to the Church itself.

The situation laid out so starkly in the report of the Pennsylvania grand jury is indefensible and to be deplored at the deepest level. It cries out for acts of penance and reparation on the part of the Church of today and its leaders. While we cannot change or rewrite the past, we can do whatever we can to insure that this does not happen again. This calls for determination, for vigilance, for strict adherence to the standards in place for the protection of children and vulnerable adults. These standards have been in place since 2002, and have been reviewed and updated consistently since then. The only brightness in the gloom of this dark time in the Church is to be found in the fact that far fewer cases of sexual abuse have been reported in the years since 2002, and virtually all have been handled properly and not buried in the sand.

This can be attributed to the fact that many more people are aware of the scourge of sexual abuse, that people are likely to speak up about it, and report it to proper authorities both within the Church as well as in law enforcement. The admission standards to seminary and ministerial formation programs have been greatly strengthened. All employees of the Church, all members of the clergy, and even those who volunteer in the parish must have undergone a background check and completed training in recognition of what sexual abuse it and how to recognize signs of it. Our parish complies strictly with the requirements of the bishops of the United States and the Archdiocese of Hartford. By now, all registered Catholic households in the Archdiocese have received a mailing containing a letter from Archbishop Blair as well as a letter from Kathleen Nowasadko, the Archdiocesan Director of the Office of Safe Environment. I hope that you have taken the time to read these messages carefully.

The report of the Pennsylvania grand jury, taken with the other story of scandal that has emerged in recent weeks, namely the resignation of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington, from the College of Cardinals, after revelations of sexual misconduct with a teenaged boy in the 1950's as well as misconduct involving his own seminarians and young priests as Bishop of Metuchen and then Archbishop of Newark, both in New Jersey, indicate that more work needs to be done, namely in establishing ways for holding bishops accountable for their own misconduct or their inaction in the face of reports of sexual abuse. Until now, there has been no way for someone to raise the alarm in the Church about a bishop and his misconduct or improper handling of complaints. This needs to be addressed and corrected, and this should involve the laity in the Church. The Pope should also take action, drastic action as needed.

Several weeks ago, Deacon Bob Magnuson delivered a magnificent homily at St. Mary’s on the effect of these recent scandals. He delivered essentially the same message last weekend at St. Agnes. While many are questioning why they are Catholic or why they should remain Catholic, Deacon Magnuson gave an eloquent witness why he is a Catholic and why he will remain. In no way did he sugar-coat or gloss over the effects of these terrible sins which we are facing. What he did do is to point out all that is good, that remains good in our Church and the faith we profess. We are challenged in these times to hold fast as the barque of Peter gets tossed to and fro by the storms our sins have wrought. And as Jesus came to the disciples that night on the Sea of Galilee, to a boat filled with men filled with fear for their lives, he comes to us and speaks the very same words he spoke then: “Do not be afraid! I am here.”

We must remember and hold fast to the promise that Jesus made. The Church was established by him. He will never abandon his Church. Nothing will destroy his Church, not even our worst sins. Our faith is only in Jesus Christ, who is Lord of history, Lord of the cosmos, and Lord of the Church. We do not put our faith in any one else, be that person be priest, bishop, or pope. Even as I say this, I will not deny the need for accountability, for transparency, for true repentance, for a firm determination to do whatever needs to be done to insure that our Church is a place where children, and where anyone can feel safe and loved. Nothing less than this will serve to properly address the crisis we now face.

FAD.png
 

Comment

Comment

August 5, 2018

Dear Friends,

This Wednesday, August 8, beginning at 7:00PM in the hall at St. Agnes, we will be holding a listening session open to all parishioners of Precious Blood Parish. This listening session is part of the synod process underway in the Archdiocese of Hartford as the Archdiocese continues the work of pastoral planning and looks to the future.

The purpose of the session is to focus on issues pertaining to the Archdiocese as a whole, and not the parish. While we know that Precious Blood is not a perfect parish and we know that not everyone in the new parish is entirely happy with the merger and subsequent developments, the meeting on Wednesday is not intended to be a “gripe session” on parish matters. Rather, the focus for all comments is centered on three questions that were raised by Archbishop Blair, again all having to do with the future direction of the Archdiocese of Hartford and its mission. By way of repetition, the questions are as follows: What is the Archdiocese of Hartford doing well? What is the Archdiocese not doing well? What is the Archdiocese not doing that it should be doing?

As Catholics, we tend to operate out of a very narrow understanding of what the Church really is. Most of us grow up in parishes and we become attached to the parish and its ways and customs. The parish is, after the family itself which Vatican II called “the domestic Church,” the center of the faith lives of most Catholics. The recent process of merging parishes and creating new parishes has not been without its difficulties precisely because of this. As parishes merge, things change, from Mass and confession schedules, to personnel, to religious education offerings, and more. Change is difficult for most people, but change is a reality, a part of life. The Church itself has changed markedly in the last fifty years alone. Nothing stays the same. While change may be disconcerting and even frightening to some people, in the midst of it, we know that God remains timeless and without change, and that, even as the incidentals around us may change, the Mass and the sacraments are still celebrated, the Gospel is preached, and works of charity are performed in the name of Christ for those in need.

But even as we acknowledge the centrality of the parish, we must also make it clear: the Church is much more than the parish. A parish is not and can never be an entity unto itself, for every parish is related to and connected to other parishes around it in what is for us the Archdiocese of Hartford. We are a family of parishes, a communion of local communities of faith united under the leadership of the principal shepherd of the Archdiocese, the Archbishop. This is what is known in theological terms as the local Church. For his part, the pastor of the local parish represents the parish to the Archbishop and the Archdiocese and represents the Archbishop and the Archdiocese to the parish. Thus, the pastor is appointed to serve the parish by the Archbishop. Beyond the Archdiocese, the local Church, we are also part of the Universal Church that exists everywhere in the world. The Universal Church is a communion, a family of local Churches, dioceses and archdioceses around the world, each under the leadership of a bishop. Each bishop receives his appointment from the Pope, the Holy Father, who is the Bishop of Rome, the earthly head of the Church and the Vicar of Christ. All bishops are members of a special body in the Church known as the college of bishops, united in communion with the Pope, who is the head of the college. As the bishops are in communion with the Pope, they represent their dioceses, the local churches, to the Pope and the Universal Church, and they also represent the Pope and the Universal Church to their dioceses. As the Archbishop of Hartford, Archbishop Blair has this role and function for us.

My point in all of this is that we need to think more broadly than we have become accustomed to thinking. We must stop limiting our vision to either St. Mary’s or St. Agnes’ and begin to think more in terms of Precious Blood, the wider Archdiocese of Hartford, and the Church Universal. The word “parochialism,” means “ a limited or narrow outlook, especially one focused on a local area, narrow-mindedness.” The root word of parochialism is parochus, which is the Latin word for “parish.” There is a great richness in parish life, its customs and traditions, but we must do whatever we can to avoid parochialism, which implies a resistance to change.

In the months since the merger of St. Agnes’ and St. Mary’s, there has been much cooperation on the part of the people of the parish. To be fair, little has changed in the first twelve months. I wanted to go slowly and deliberately without rocking the boat unduly and unnecessarily. However, as the approval of the new Mass schedule indicated, along with the appointment of a Parish Pastoral Council and a Parish Finance Council, things were not going to remain as they were forever. As we go forward in the next several months, there will be additional tweaking and changes that will go into effect, and these will affect the religious education program, the liturgical life and practices of the parish, and the social outreach ministries of the parish as well. Not everyone may necessarily be happy with or approve these changes. Nevertheless, I ask your cooperation, your understanding, and your open-mindedness as we seek to come closer together as a new parish community.

FAD.png
 

Comment