Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you know, August 15 is the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is a holy day of obligation. This particular day dedicated to Our Lady has special significance for our parish, and not only because there are two parishes of that name in close proximity or because the Fairfield/Westport deanery is under the patronage of Mary, Queen of the Assumption. Our parish chapel was dedicated on this day in 2014. Of even greater significance, the first Mass ever celebrated in St. Pius X Church was on August 15, 1958. Though the parish was established in 1955, the community gathered for Mass at Fairfield University until construction on the church building was completed. Thus, sixty years ago this week, our parish family began to worship in our beautiful church.
For sixty years, generations of St. Pius parishioners have gathered at the altar to receive Jesus, the Bread of Life, in the Eucharist. For sixty years, this parish family has celebrated life milestones, joys, sorrows, ups, and downs. For sixty years, the story of our faith has been heard, proclaimed, and passed down. The cycle of the liturgical year reminds us that the annual celebrations of the mysteries of the life of Christ are not meant to be viewed once only, but rather celebrated again and again. So returning to the Church week after week provides us with the opportunity to celebrate and receive the gift of God’s merciful love for his people.
Much has changed in these sixty years, especially in the area of catechesis. What was once taken for granted in the teaching of the faith can no longer be presumed. Greater effort than ever is needed so that every generation represented in our parish population can engage their faith and be familiar with our history of salvation, rooted as it is in Christ, the Bread of Life. Once again, I invite you to participate in our monthly gatherings for faith formation, that as a community of faith, we would be better able to articulate our faith and understand what it is we do in this church building every week. To sign up, visit: https://www.st-pius.org/lff-monthly/
As things have changed in these sixty years, much has also been done to prepare for the future. What will the next sixty years look like for St. Pius X Parish? I reflected recently on the fact that I was a new pastor during the sixtieth anniversary year of the parish. As I thought about it, it dawned on me that, God-willing, I will be approaching retirement sometime around the 100th anniversary of the parish. I prayed that I would be invited to come back to visit the parish for that jubilee. And then I was struck by the hope that something of the work I do here will be worth keeping around for so many years. What will we each leave to this parish and to the generations of Catholics who will come after us? What is God asking us to do to ensure that the story of our faith will still be told even after we are gone?
Sixty years ago, the holy sacrifice of the Mass was offered in St. Pius X Church for the first time. May Mary, the Queen of the Assumption, who first enjoyed the fullness of heavenly union with God, intercede for us as we gather at the altar again. May each Mass we offer be for God’s greater glory. May our faith continue to grow in our own hearts, and in the hearts of those who will come after.