Dear Friends:

As announced in last weekend’s bulletin, the report on the financial state of our newly-formed parish is being given at all Masses this weekend. Copies of the financial report are being made available to interested parishioners for purposes of following along with the report as it is being given. Should you have any questions, please feel free to speak with me or to call me or Meg Hayes at (203) 878-3571 for assistance.

In this space, I will present the spiritual statistics for the year 2017, which will include the number of baptisms, weddings, First Communions, Confirmations, and funerals. While these may seem to be little more than raw statistics, they do present a “snapshot” of the life of our parish in general and the lives of numbers of parishioners in particular. The numbers I present indicate that Precious Blood Parish is a large and active parish with a vibrant and rich liturgical life. What is not detailed is the social outreach of the parish, the efforts made at forming the people of the parish, young and old, in knowledge of their faith, and other aspects of parish life.

During the year 2017, there were one hundred ten (110) children baptized. One hundred twelve (112) received their First Communion. One hundred and forty (140) young people and adults were confirmed by Archbishop Blair in October. Eighteen (18) couples were joined in marriage and one hundred forty-three (143) parishioners were commended to God as their funerals were celebrated.

Reflection on these numbers leaves me with a clear sense of the size and the potential of this parish, but it also leaves me wondering if our potential is being reached. The weekend Mass attendance stands at just around two thousand (2000) between both churches. The parish census indicates that there are 5469 households who claim Precious Blood as their parish. The weekend Mass attendance should be much greater than what it is. How many of the newly-baptized will be raised properly in the faith, receiving religious formation at home as well as here in the parish? Should not our numbers in religious education be much larger than they are? Or is religious education for many tied only to the reception of the sacraments, such as First Communion and Confirmation? A consistent concern these days is the sharp drop in the number of weddings celebrated in the Church. Young

couples, if they marry at all, choose to celebrate their wedding at commercial venues rather than as a sacrament in Church before God. Another trend is the movement away from the Mass of Christian Burial as the proper way for Catholics to commend a departed loved one to God. Far too often, the choice is made of a funeral home service, or still worse, a graveside service, both of which in the mind of the Church are to be the exception, rather than the rule, for funeral celebrations.

Lest I seem too negative, I still remain encouraged by the number of parishioners who come to church regularly and try to live their daily lives grounded in the truths of the Catholic faith. Precious Blood remains an active, vibrant parish. Good things are happening in our section of Milford and all of you are to be thanked profusely for your support, both in terms of your presence and in terms of your generous financial sacrifices. Good things are happening, and even better things can happen if we put our minds and hearts into making this not just a good parish, but one of the best in the Archdiocese of Hartford.