Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Labor Day weekend is synonymous with the end of summer and the official start of the year. The real calendar year begins now, no matter what January might claim to the contrary! I hope that the summer months have been restful for you and your families and that the start of regular work and school is filled with blessings!
In this first week of September, lots of exciting things will be happening for us at St. Pius. First, Bishop Caggiano will be with us twice this week to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to our young people. This great sacrament bestows the gifts of the Holy Spirit in abundance, equipping those who receive it with the spiritual tools necessary to live their faith with integrity, and to face the challenges of life with God’s grace. A few years ago the Diocese of Bridgeport invited all parishes to reimagine the way they approach faith formation. Part of our reimagining involved moving the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation to the fall of sixth grade. As students begin middle school, they face a host of challenges that previous generations never had to face. Thus, it seemed that if what was said before about Confirmation is true, then students need this great sacrament earlier than ever before! I am so happy that Bishop Caggiano will be with us to celebrate this great gift.
Once Confirmations are celebrated, we will begin the renovation of our beautiful Church. This long-deferred project was part of the original building project that gave us our Faith Center building. The renovation work will remove the asbestos floor tile, install new pews, improve our lighting and sound, and be an overall renewal of a truly beautiful building. It is fitting that renovation begins during the week in which we (in the old liturgical calendar) celebrate our parish patron, Pope St. Pius X. His papal motto was “To Restore All Things In Christ,” and so this week we begin the process of restoring our spiritual home. I would like to again thank all who gave to the We Stand With Christ campaign and who served on our campaign committee for making this entire restoration possible! During the renovation project, Masses will be celebrated in the Community Room. It will be a tight squeeze, but as a family of faith, I know we can make it work.
We wrap up a busy first week of September with our Parish Festival on Sunday, Sept. 8. The festival begins with an outdoor Mass at 10:30. Please join us to celebrate our parish and bring summer to a happy close!
Finally, in honor of our patron’s feast in the old calendar, I am excited to offer a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the first time tonight (September 1) at 7 PM here in the Church. I invite you, if you have never attended a Mass in Latin, to come experience this part of our Catholic heritage. I have no lived experience of attending this form of the Mass (I was born eleven years after the new, vernacular 1972 Order of Mass came into use), but learning about the Traditional Latin Mass has been a fascinating undertaking. I know that it is impossible to travel back in time and I have no desire to rewind or regress. That said, in the Traditional Mass, I have the sense of discovering a family heirloom that had been forgotten. In this discovery, I feel a desire to honor the past and allow this inheritance to influence and inform me even in the present. Even more, it inspires me to learn more, to think more seriously and profoundly about what it means to attend Mass, to celebrate Mass, to worship God as a community, and about what is really happening at the altar. In our Catholic faith, the liturgy can never really grow old – rather our liturgical worship sweeps us along in a current of grace, deeper into a relationship with the Lord. It requires some effort and cooperation on our part, but when we make the effort and open our hearts to the Lord, truly, we can be restored in Christ.
Peace, Fr. Sam