From the Pastor’s Desk | May 28, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As many of you know, an important part of the training and formation of seminarians is the summer residence experience in a parish. Living daily parish life helps the man understand better what a priest does each day, experience some of the typical moments of parish life, and clarify the question of his own vocation. In the summer of 2006, I spent time here at St. Pius as a seminarian, never imagining that I would come back as a priest! Last year, Deacon Tim Iannacone, who will soon be ordained to the priesthood (June 24 – save the date!), spent the summer with us and had his first taste of regular preaching and sacramental ministry.

This summer, I am pleased to welcome Chris Mannion as our summer seminarian. Chris is a second-year seminarian at St. John Fisher Seminary in Stamford and will arrive here on June 1. Chris is from New Fairfield originally, and was an active member at his home parish of St. Edward the Confessor before entering seminary last year.  This is his first summer assignment, and I am honored that our parish was chosen to host him. You will have a chance to meet and welcome Chris next weekend at all Masses.

Please pray for Chris as he spends this time with us, that his experience of parish life will help him to know the will of God more clearly and will help prepare him for future ministry to God’s people in the Diocese of Bridgeport. Let us also pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life, especially among the young people of our parish. Please visit www.bridgeportpriest.org to learn more about the vocation program in the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Peace

Fr. Sam

From the Pastor’s Desk | May 21, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This weekend we celebrated two First Communion Masses. On June 4, 107 young men and women from our parish will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.  With these events, our Religious Education year draws to a close. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Religious Education Staff – Kara Clegg, Shari Garcia, and Denise Heady – for their hard work throughout this year. These women generously give of themselves, coordinating schedules, materials, classrooms, catechists, and curricula for over 850 children in grades 1-8 who attend at least 12 of our local schools. Much of their work is unseen, but its value cannot be overstated! Thank you for your tireless dedication!

The work of our Religious Education staff is supported by our generous volunteer catechists and adult group leaders. This is the largest volunteer corps in our parish, and is made up of long-time parish catechists, high school and college students, parents, grandparents, and everyone in between. Without you catechists, the important work of evangelizing the young people of our parish would be impossible! Thank you!

Finally, I would like to thank all who participated in Religious Education this year. Parents, when you make your faith a priority in your home, it shows! By attending Mass every Sunday with your children and bringing them for our catechetical programs, you are teaching your children by example that a vibrant relationship with God is valuable and something you desire for them. To our young people who participated – thank you for your faith and your joy. You are a sign of hope to our whole parish.

Let us all continue to pray for our young people who are preparing to receive sacraments, and strive each day to be living examples of life-long discipleship, following Christ and seeking to love Him with our whole hearts!

Peace

Fr. Sam

From the Pastor’s Desk | May 14, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We give thanks to God today for the gift of our mothers: biological, adopted, spiritual, living, and deceased. On behalf of the whole parish family, I wish all of the mother’s of our parish a very happy Mother’s Day!  The gift, the vocation, the privilege of motherhood is beautifully exemplified in the Blessed Virgin Mary. May 13 marked the 100th anniversary of Mary’s apparition at Fatima, in Portugal. There, as a mother, she tenderly asked the children to whom she appeared to pray for peace and for the conversion of sinners. Pope Francis recently echoed Our Lady’s request, asking all Catholics to pray the Rosary for peace this month.

Our mothers teach us so much throughout our lives. A fascinating element in the life of Jesus comes by way of the customs observed by Jewish people in his time. In Jewish families, it was the father’s responsibility to take the children to the synagogue on the Sabbath, and so teach the children how to worship with their community.  St. Joseph would have taken Jesus to their synagogue in Nazareth and taught him the practice of Judaic sacred rituals. The mother’s role was to teach the children the Psalms and to pray with them in the home. From the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus would have become familiar with the great hymns of King David. When we pray the Psalms during Mass, we are praying the very words that Jesus learned from His Blessed Mother. Let us pray today that all who are mothers and fathers would devotedly teach the beauty of our faith to their children.

In the Gospel today, Jesus tells us that He is the way, the truth, and the life. The Church, often described as our Holy Mother, exists for the sole purpose of helping us to follow Jesus and be firmly in the truth and life of Christ as we follow Him on the way. When we think of the Church, we should think of a tender mother who loves and cares for her children. We should see in the Church a maternal guide who assists us as we walk with Jesus who is truly our way, our truth, and our life.

Peace,

Fr. Sam

From the Pastor’s Desk | May 4, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On this Good Shepherd Sunday, Jesus uses the image of a shepherd who knows and cares for his flock to illustrate the love and devotion He has toward each of us. We are loved infinitely by our Good Shepherd. Like sheep, though, we sometimes wander where we should not go, and find ourselves lost and in need of help. Jesus the Good Shepherd seeks us out and desires to lead us back.

This work of leading His flock is something that Jesus entrusts to others, namely the bishops and priests of the Church. He sends out the Apostles to shepherd, to guide, to challenge, to care for, and to sanctify his flock. Priests are called to serve their flock and guide them daily closer to Christ and holy obedience to His will.

Let us pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, especially from our own parish. May I offer this prayer:

“Father, in your plan for our salvation you provide shepherds for your people. Fill your church with the spirit of courage and charity. Raise up worthy priests for your altars, and ardent, but gentle servants of the Gospel. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Peace

Fr. Sam

From the Pastor’s Desk | April 30, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The familiar story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus whose eyes are opened when they sit at table with Jesus and He breaks bread is a reminder that the Risen Jesus walks with us, stays with us, and longs to continue to feed us with the gift of the Eucharist. Though the disciples are leaving Jerusalem, God’s city, Jesus goes after them and catches up with them on the road. Though they are having a private conversation, Jesus does not hesitate to insert himself into their conversation. Though they do not recognize him, Jesus stays with them patiently and tenderly reveals himself to them.

As we walk on the road, who are we talking to and what are we talking about? Do we pay attention carefully enough to notice that Jesus is walking alongside? How often do we have conversations about God and his merciful love? Are we willing to allow Jesus to approach us on the road, join our conversation, and walk with us?

Perhaps the best part of this Gospel story is not Jesus’ self-revelation, but the joy that fills the disciples and sends them back out on the road to share their joy with others. Filled with the joy of the Easter message we have heard this weekend, let us go out and share the Good News with our friends, family members and everyone we meet.

Peace,

Fr. Sam