From the Pastor’s Desk | July 16, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This weekend is Co-Op Mission Sunday in the Diocese of Bridgeport. We are reminded of the ongoing needs of Catholics all over the world, especially in poverty stricken areas, places afflicted by war and famine, and those lands where the Gospel has not yet been preached. All of us share in the Church’s mission to proclaim the Good News to all people and to serve those who are most in need, whatever their circumstances. With this in mind, let us reflect on our own participation in Jesus’ great commission, to go into all nations with the Gospel on our lips to be made tangible by our charitable works.

We welcome Fr. Sudhir D’Souza as our Co-Op Mission Sunday speaker. Unlike previous speakers we have had, Fr. Sudhir is local – he is the pastor of St. Philip Parish in Norwalk. Originally from India, Fr. Sudhir has been in the Diocese of Bridgeport for over ten years and is well known for his joyful attitude and generous service to the parishioners he has served. He will share the work done by a charity called The Giving Tree. Fr. Sudhir, you are most welcome here at St. Pius X!

Peace,

Fr. Sam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Pastor’s Desk | July 9, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

At the noon Mass (and the reception that follows) this weekend, we say thank you to Fr. Bob Crofut and Mr. John Donnelly, two men who have faithfully served our parish for a number of years. Both are retiring and they go with my immense gratitude for their steady presence and Christ-centered hearts.  Please join us in the Community Room after the noon Mass to send them off with a sign of our gratitude and affection.

John Donnelly came to St. Pius 15 years ago in the role of business manager. In these years, he has helped keep the parish running smoothly, largely with behind-the-scenes work. The operations of a campus this size are not easy and he handles contracts, requests, and so much more with grace and kindness. He is great sounding board, and with his years here, has become a treasure trove of institutional history. I am so grateful to have worked with John the past few years and to have benefitted from his guidance and help.

From my first day back at St. Pius as pastor, Fr. Bob Crofut made me feel right at home. With 45 years of priesthood under his belt, many of those years as a pastor, he has been a true mentor and friend. His years of priestly ministry give him a unique perspective on parish life, and he shared his words of wisdom and encouragement often. I am grateful that, with all he has endured in relation to his health, Fr. Crofut has always made himself available to help. His thoughtful homilies are among the finest I have ever heard, and I will miss listening to him while hiding in the sacristy on Sunday mornings.

Both of these men have generously given of themselves in service to our faith community. On behalf of this parish family, John and Fr. Crofut, thank you, and may God bless your retirement years abundantly!

Peace

Fr. Sam

From the Pastor’s Desk | July 2, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This weekend, 40 teens from our parish and St. Thomas Aquinas will depart for one week of service with Catholic Heart Workcamp in Groton, MA, where, with nearly 300 other teenagers, they will serve people in need. Their work will cover a broad spectrum of needs, and is accompanied by daily prayer, Mass, and time together. This week is truly formative for them, as they are able to see their faith being put into action firsthand. Moreover, our teens will be a few of over 14,000 Catholic teens serving the poor throughout the country this summer with Catholic Heart Workcamp!

Please keep our young people and their adult chaperones in your prayers this week. They are a great blessing to the people they serve, and an inspiring example for all of us.  Please also pray for Fr. Tim as he starts his assignment with us this week. I know that he will be a tremendous addition to our parish ministry team!

Peace

Fr. Sam

From the Pastor’s Desk | June 25, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Over the last week, one thought has weighed heavily on my heart and mind. We at St. Pius X are about to welcome a new parochial vicar, Fr. Tim Iannacone, who is not only new in priestly ministry to the parish, but who is a newly-ordained priest as well. I have said it before, and it bears repeating, a newly-ordained priest’s first assignment in parish ministry is extraordinarily important. It is a great honor for a parish to receive a new priest, for it is a sign that the parish is alive and active, a place where a new priest can truly learn from his people what priestly ministry really requires.

In the time that Father Tim spends with us (may the years be many and blessed!), he will experience many firsts – his first funerals, weddings, counseling sessions, confessions, parish ministry meetings, joys, and challenges – to be followed by many more throughout his life as a priest of Jesus Christ. You, the parishioners of St. Pius, will have a front row seat. More than a seat, though, you are an integral part of his growth in his priestly vocation. Your faith, your prayers, your support, your encouragement, will help him to grow as a shepherd of souls. Please keep Fr. Tim in your prayers, and know that you play a vital role in helping this new priest grow as a model of holiness and charity.

As I say all this, I am abundantly aware of the responsibility I have in supporting my new brother priest as he begins his priestly life. To be pastor to a newly-ordained man is a tremendous privilege. I am humbled to have this task entrusted to me. There are many conversations that we priests have with one another regarding parish ministry, successes and failures in our service to the People of God, and so much more. Especially between priests ministering together in a parish, and more so between a newly-ordained and his pastor, these conversations are formative and necessary. Already, Fr. Tim and I have had several discussions about priestly life and the parish, and I know we will have many more. I ask your prayers for me, that I would be a good example, mentor, and brother to Fr. Tim and help him to have a fruitful first assignment that will set him on the way for a joyful and holy priesthood for many years to come.

Peace,

Fr. Sam

From the Pastor’s Desk | June 18, 2017

frsamDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This weekend we celebrate the great solemnity of Corpus Christi, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.  Though, as St. Thomas Aquinas says in the great Eucharistic hymn the Tantum Ergo, our feeble senses fail – we are unable to visibly see the change or tangibly taste the change – we believe that at the words of consecration, the bread and wine are truly changed in their very substance to be the Body and Blood of Jesus.

If, then, the Eucharist is no mere symbol, our attitude toward the Eucharist must be one of greatest reverence, awe, and love. This is why we genuflect toward the Tabernacle prior to taking a seat in our pew. This is why each time we pass or cross in front of the sanctuary we should make a sign of reverence by genuflecting.  When we receive Holy Communion during Mass, our attitude and posture should be filled with reverence. Permit me here a few thoughts on how we receive Holy Communion.

The universal norm, observed by the Church in every country, is to receive Communion on the tongue. Only in certain countries (our own included) has permission been given to receive in the hand. Permission was granted in the US to receive communion in the hand in 1977. My personal preference would be for everyone to receive on the tongue. The reasons, as I teach our First Communion students, are very simple. First, receiving on the tongue reduces the chance that a host will inadvertently be dropped on the floor. Unfortunately, almost every week, a host is dropped during Mass – the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus is accidentally dropped on the ground. Receiving on the tongue means that, should a host ever fall to the ground, it is the fault of the priest or Extraordinary Minister, rather than the one receiving communion. I tell the second graders, “I want it to be my fault, never yours.” Second, receiving on the tongue guarantees that the Sacred Host is treated with appropriate reverence. Third, when a person receives on the tongue, there can be no mistaking their intention – there are many stories of people visiting famous churches who pocket the Eucharist during Mass so they can keep a souvenir, or worse, of people taking a host in the hand, only to abscond with it in order to desecrate our Lord. For these reasons, I personally prefer reception of Communion on the tongue.

If you are uncomfortable receiving on the tongue, please receive carefully in the hand. When we receive in the hand, we always use both hands. Left hand on top, right hand underneath, creating a throne for our Lord. We consume the host immediately. It is inappropriate to pinch the host from the minister’s hand, to receive one-handed, to do anything with the host other than consume it right away.

On this great feast of Corpus Christi, let us be renewed in our love for the Eucharist and our desire to receive Him worthily, reverently, and with hearts filled with love.

Peace

Fr. Sam