Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” These words of the Responsorial Psalm this weekend are especially apt for our community this week, for on October 25, our parish turns 66 years old. When the parish was established in 1955, no church had yet been built, but 464 pioneering families took up the challenge to form a new Catholic community in Fairfield. Today, the parish has grown to over 2,400 families. The 11 acre parcel of land which the Diocese of Bridgeport purchased from Walter O’Malley (at the time, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and later, by moving them to California and thus forcing the Mets franchise to exist, the cause of my own personal purgatory in baseball fandom) has developed over the years to include a beautiful church building, a school, and the parish rectory. In 66 years, this land has seen the greatest joys and celebrations of our growing parish family, as well as the moments of greatest sadness and trial. This plot of Brookside Drive has welcomed visitors, strangers, missionaries, mourners, and revelers for all kinds of occasions. This has been a touchpoint for so many souls, a place and a community that helps them to reconnect with the Lord, remain truly rooted in faith, and launch out to the world carrying the Good News of Jesus Christ. Members of this parish family have not only been active participants in a Catholic community, but in the community life of our town as well. Time and again when called upon, the people of St. Pius respond generously with prayer, charity, and hands ready to serve.
As our novena to St. Pius X comes to a close and we mark our parochial anniversary, I am so grateful for this parish community. For many of you, this has been your family’s spiritual home for generations. Many of you have found a spiritual refuge here in more recent times. And many of you have made a habit of inviting friends and new acquaintances to find their community of faith and place to worship with this parish family. With all of this, we must echo with the Psalmist: “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy!”
And now to look forward. Our 66 years have truly been filled with God’s blessings, but there are countless years ahead. In his encyclical Iucunda Sane, Pope St. Pius X wrote “Kingdoms and empires have passed away; peoples once renowned for their history and civilization have disappeared; time and again the nations, as though overwhelmed by the weight of years, have fallen asunder; while the Church, indefectible in her essence, united by ties indissoluble with her heavenly Spouse, is here today radiant with eternal youth, strong with the same primitive vigor with which she came from the Heart of Christ…” To add to the saintly pope’s sentiments, it is not only the Church that endures, but the Gospel which She holds so dear. Indeed, it is the Good News of Jesus Christ that impels our entire mission as a parish. How privileged we are to be witnesses of the Gospel. In order for us to be faithful and effective witnesses, our own conviction of the lasting and saving power of Christ’s merciful love is necessary. It is when we recognize our own need for salvation, for mercy, and for God’s presence in our lives that we begin to see why the Catholic Church (and this parish) exists. The Church is here as God’s unique instrument. Through the Church’s mission and ministry, the presence of Christ is prolonged in the world through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; the voice of Christ is echoed in the world by the proclamation of the Gospel and the truth that flows from that Good News; the healing and merciful touch of Christ remains incarnate in the world by the works of charity and service offered to those who are most in need. This is why we are here – to make Jesus present, to make His voice heard, and to be His hands, feet, and face, especially for our town.
On October 25, I want to encourage you to take some time to offer a special prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of this parish community. Additionally, I encourage you to ask for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, asking the Lord how you are being called to take up the Church (and this parish)’s mission in your own life. Perhaps stop by our Chapel for a moment of prayer (it is open 24 hours a day), or attend the 8:30 AM Mass (English) or 7 PM Mass (Latin), as part of your private celebration of the anniversary. It is good to be united in faith and prayer, good to celebrate 66 years, and good to look forward to the years that are to come! St. Pius X, pray for us!