As I write these words, the history of our new parish of the Precious Blood has just passed the two- month mark. On June 29, two venerable parishes, St. Mary and St. Agnes, ceased to exist and from them was formed a new parish that has a presence on two campuses, one on Gulf Street, the other on Merwin Avenue. The merger of St. Mary and St. Agnes was undertaken so that the Church in the middle and eastern parts of Milford might better be able to do the work that the Church is supposed to do: celebrate the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, preach the Gospel, form the faithful in the Christian way of life in accordance with the Catholic tradition, and serve those in need, be it materially or spiritually. All of this has been happening in excellent fashion since the establishment of St. Mary Parish, the mother parish of Milford, in 1874 and the establishment of St. Agnes, first as a mission of St. Mary from 1906 until 1954 when St. Agnes was established as a parish in its own right.
Thus far, seemingly little has changed and this has led some to think that a parish merger will mean no changes. That is not the case. Thus far, I have been deliberately slow, being very careful to observe and undertake a study of what both churches have by way of possibilities, both in terms of the people as well as the facilities.
We are well into a four-month count of weekend Mass attendance. Once we complete this count on the last weekend of October, we will compile the results and consider carefully how we can adjust the weekend Mass schedule so that the needs of the people will best be served. Whatever the results may be, there will be changes in the weekend Mass schedule that will go into effect in January of 2019. Some will have to change the time, and even perhaps the place where they will worship on Sunday. Some who go to St. Mary may decide that the new schedule determines that they go to St. Agnes. The opposite is also true
What will come is a new configuration of Mass schedule and parish ministries and services. Duplications will be eliminated and avoided as much as possible. All of this is done, not to inconvenience anyone, but to insure that the new parish can best carry out its sacred mission. As I have said before, I say it again: all of us, clergy and parishioners alike, will be asked to make changes and adjustments in how we do things, where we do things, and when we do things. It will not be easy. Not everyone will be happy. Change is never easy and always a challenge, and for some, a big challenge.
I am asking for parishioners who might be interested in sitting on the new Parish Council to let me know of their interest. This new Parish Council will be vitally important in a consultative role as we move forward. The task at hand, beginning with the setting of a new weekend Mass schedule, will set the tone of parish life as we move forward. Further along, the Parish Council will provide invaluable advice to me as we situate parish ministries and activities so as the best serve the needs of all the people of Precious Blood Parish. Again, if you are interested in being considered for appointment to the Parish Council, please call (203) 878-3571 and leave your name and telephone number for me. I hope to have the Parish Council appointed and in place for an initial meeting early in November.
One item that calls for immediate consideration is a meeting of anyone interested in membership on the Liturgy Committee. This committee sets the tone of liturgical life in the parish and it also establishes the parish liturgical schedule for the months ahead. We will meet on Monday, September 18, at 7:30 PM in the hall at St. Agnes. At this meeting, we will be considering the schedule for November and December, with particular attention given to the Advent Season and the schedule of Christmas Masses. Anyone interested is strongly encouraged to attend.