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!