Dear Friends:

Now that our observance of Christmas has concluded, I must make some observations. Our first Christmas as a newly-merged parish went well, very well. Attendance at Christmas Masses was excellent. The music was very good and the decoration of both St. Agnes’ Church and St. Mary’s Church quite beautiful. I would put either church up against any other in the Archdiocese and would bet that we had the most beautiful decorations of all churches. Thanks to all who helped to make our parish observance of Advent and Christmas so beautiful.

I have noted in recent weeks a drop-off in the number of Mass intentions at St. Agnes. I wonder if it has to do with the merger of the parish offices and the transfer of parish records, including the Mass Books, to St. Mary’s Rectory on Gulf Street which took place at the directive of Archbishop Blair when the merger took effect on June 29. I take this opportunity to remind everyone that Mass intentions are available at both St. Mary’s and at St. Agnes’ both for 2018 and 2019. Contrary to what was previously announced, the 2019 Mass Book will be opened for intentions beginning next Tuesday, January 16. Please contact the parish office at (203) 878-3571 during regular hours to arrange for scheduled Masses. The usual rules apply.

The 2017 Annual Collection was a great success. Our final total for the collection stands at $54,472, which exceeds our goal of $50,000. I thank all who contributed to the collection.

Next Sunday, January 21, is the feast of St. Agnes and we will be celebrating that feast at all Masses at St. Agnes. We will be using the Mass prayers for St. Agnes and the readings for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. St. Agnes was an early martyr of the Church, martyred at a young age according to tradition rather than surrender her virginity which she had sworn to Christ alone. For ages, St. Agnes has been remembered in the first Eucharistic Prayer, known as the Roman Canon, as one of the esteemed martyrs of the Roman Church. In our age of senseless sensuality and unbridled sexual licentiousness, the example of Agnes, who devoted the entirety of her life to the Lord, even to the shedding of her blood, stands before us as a model.

The review of the input supplied by parishioners regarding the new weekend Mass schedule has been completed. I will announce that schedule in early February, having chosen to postpone it so as to avoid any confusion. Again, the new weekend schedule will go into effect the first weekend of January next year, that is January 5-6, 2019. All remains as it is until then. Effective immediately, I am implementing a new policy regarding the celebration of daily Mass in the event of bad weather, a sound policy that is already the norm at St. Agnes and was the norm when I was pastor of Sacred Heart in Bloomfield. Going forward, on those days when the weather is bad and the Milford Public Schools are closed, the morning Masses are cancelled and any intentions will be rescheduled. This policy applies only to weekday Masses. Sunday Masses will be celebrated as scheduled and will only be cancelled on the directive of the Archbishop. I hope that all will understand that this policy has as its sole intent the safety of those coming to Mass. In any event, whenever the weather is bad and the roads are in precarious condition, please use common sense and stay home. It is not worth the possible harm that could come to anyone who is out on the roads and need not be there.

Finally, please note that there will be NO MASS and NO FUNERALS scheduled for St. Agnes this coming Wednesday, January 17. We will need to have the church free so that the soot and stains caused by years of candle usage may be cleaned from the walls in preparation for the painting of the church.

Have a good week.