Pastor’s Weekly Message

Alleluia! He is risen as he said. Alleluia!Fr. Joe DiSciacca

Jesus Christ is risen today, let us rejoice and be glad!

Happy Easter to all.

Easter is a joyous day for all people. Every one of us shares in the great love that is shown by God in the Resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

The gospel reading for the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night is from the gospel of St. Matthew. In that gospel passage we are told that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary come to the tomb. There is an earthquake and the angel of the Lord rolls back the stone from Jesus’ tomb. The words of the angel: “Do not be afraid…he has been raised…tell the disciples…he is going before you to Galilee…you will see him” leave them “fearful yet overjoyed”.

We, too, may be somewhat confused by the meaning and implications of what the Resurrection means. Yet, we come to church today trusting in the goodness of God, the faith that has been given to us in Baptism and our desire to “see” the Risen Christ. Look to the goodness of other people. See the kindness of people caring for one another. See in a person who is in need because of illness, poverty, lack of physical or mental ability the face of Jesus. See that a person who is homeless or one who is an immigrant living without security or safety is loved by God. See that a person who is gay or an outcast of society is a child of God. See people in war torn places as deserving of peace in Christ. It is the Resurrection of Jesus that challenges us but also gives us hope.

We are challenged to see beyond the physical reality of a person, our world and our situation to see with the eyes of faith the goodness, beauty, wonder, peace, freedom and love of God present everywhere in the Risen Lord Jesus.

May whatever fear we have give way to being overjoyed in the Risen Jesus. May all people experience being received, welcomed and blessed in the Risen Christ.

FrJoeSig[ The Parish Bulletin for 04/20/2014 can be obtained here. ]

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Pastor’s Weekly Message

Today, Passion Sunday,  we begin the most sacred week of the Church calendar: Holy Fr. Joe DiSciaccaWeek.  During this Lent along with reading the book Living the Mass, I have been reading Aidan Nocent’s book The Liturgical Year: Lent, the Sacred Paschal Triduum, Easter Time. Living the Mass is the book we have suggested that everyone in the parish read as part of our 150th Anniversary celebration. The Liturgical Year is a series of books recently reissued that explains in great detail the church’s calendar and its history. We will have a chance to discuss Living the Mass in May, but for now I would like to spend some time on Holy Week.

We begin today with commemorating the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem with shouts of “Hosanna, to the Son of David” and palms waving to greet Jesus riding on a donkey. At today’s Mass we will also read the Passion account of Jesus’ death from the gospel of Matthew. Jesus gives his life that we might live….

Holy Thursday we hear from St. Paul of the Institution of the Eucharist and the beginning of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ. The account from the gospel of St. John tells us of Jesus washing the feet of his apostles and giving the exhortation to serve others in love as Jesus has done. We conclude the evening with the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament to the altar of repose and watch and pray with Jesus in the dark hours of night.

Good Friday is a very solemn day. At the afternoon continuation of the Liturgy that started on Holy Thursday night we read the Passion of Jesus from St. John’s gospel. We will pray the ten prayers of intercession for all the world and venerate the cross of Jesus. Finally, we will receive Communion that was consecrated the evening before.

Holy Saturday will begin with the blessing of fire, the lighting of the Easter candle and the singing of the Exultet, the great hymn in praise of all God has done for his universe in his beloved Son, Jesus. We proceed to tell the story of creation, the crossing of the Red Sea and  the solemn proclamation of the Resurrection of Jesus. After we have blessed water, renewed our Baptismal promises and formally welcomed new members to our community, we will be sprinkled with Holy Water. Then, these new members will be Confirmed. The celebration of the Eucharist will continue and bring to a conclusion the one Liturgy that began on Holy Thursday night. We will be dismissed into our world with the great triple Alleluia to bring the message of Good News into the world “Jesus Christ is Risen today”.

Celebrate this Holy Week with us. May all have a blessed Easter.

[ ThFrJoeSige Parish Bulletin for 04/13/2014 can be obtained here. ]

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Pastor’s Weekly Message

This weekend we begin our deanery-wide Parish Mission. Frs. Patrick Keyes and Ted Fr. Joe DiSciaccaLawson will be leading the Mission. St. Joseph will host the Mission on Tuesday, April 8th. The presentation will be in English, in the upper Church and in Spanish in Guild Hall at 7:00 p.m. Refreshments will follow the presentations in Guild Hall. Join us and bring a friend.

Lent is more than half over and has moved by very quickly. For many of us we will say, “where did the time go?” Some others might say, “I had the best intentions for Lent, but did not follow through fully on what I had hoped.” The Mission might be just the thing for all of us to celebrate a meaningful Lenten and Easter season.

The Mission theme is: Living our Lives in His Spirit. How do we live our lives trusting in God’s Spirit? Join us each evening to get a better understanding of all that Jesus Christ,  our Savior, has done. God’s Spirit of Love and Mercy leads us, may we be attentive to His Spirit.

If you are not able to attend in the evening, please come to the weekday Mass in the morning or at noon of the host parish. The schedule for weekday Mass is in the bulletin today.

As Easter approaches, may we be well prepared to celebrate the Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil – the solemn celebration of Easter.

FrJoeSig[ The Parish Bulletin for 04/06/2014 can be obtained here. ]

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Pastor’s Weekly Message

Next weekend our Deanery Parish Mission will begin.Fr. Joe DiSciacca

This is now the third year that we are having a Parish Mission that involves all the parishes of the Bristol Deanery. We have put out a schedule for the Mission for each evening. St. Joseph will host on Tuesday, April 8th. In the upper church there will be an English presentation and in Guild Hall there will be a Spanish talk. We will all gather in Guild Hall after the presentations for refreshments. Please join us and bring a friend or neighbor.

This year’s theme is “Living our Lives in His Spirit”. Fr. Patrick Keyes and Fr. Ted Lawson, both Redemptorist priests, will be the presenters. The season of Lent is a time for us to be renewed in our faith, to recommit ourselves as disciples of Jesus and to invite others to come to know the Risen Lord, Jesus. At our Baptism we were given the gift of faith in Jesus Christ, may this Lent renew us and give us great joy at our Easter celebrations.

If you are not able to join us for the Mission talks in the evening, please make an effort to attend daily Mass that week. The priests will celebrate the daily Masses in our churches and give an over view of the evening talk. We will have the schedule in next Sunday’s bulletin.

Let us be renewed in our faith by “Living our Lives in His Spirit”.

FrJoeSig[ The Parish Bulletin for 03/30/2014 can be obtained here. ]

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Pastor’s Weekly Message

This weekend will be the first scrutiny for our candidates in the Rite of Christian Initiation Fr. Joe DiSciaccafor Adults (RCIA/RICA).

The RCIA/RICA process assists candidates who were baptized in the Catholic Church but never celebrated the Sacraments of Communion and Confirmation. The process also welcomes into the Catholic Church those who were baptized in other Christian denominations.

On the First Sunday in Lent our candidates were welcomed by Archbishop Blair at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford and became members of the Elect. Now they are completing their formation before being formally welcomed into the Catholic Church and completing the Sacraments of Initiation to take place at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday
night April 19th.

In the first scrutiny we read the gospel of the woman of Samaria speaking with Jesus at Jacob’s well. This interchange is an encounter of faith. The woman expresses her faith and belief in Jesus and invites others to experience him also. The prayers of the first scrutiny are for the Elect to continue on the road of faith and to grow in their belief and trust in Jesus Christ. At Mass the candidates are presented with the Creed, the formal statement of what we believe as Catholics.

Please pray for all our candidates and all our young children and teens who will celebrate the Sacraments of Communion and Confirmation this Spring.

[ The Parish Bulletin for 03/23/2014 can be obtained here. ]FrJoeSig

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Lent – A Time for Conversion

Lent is a time of penance.  We traditionally associate penance with “giving up” something.  Rick SwentonFor me, I like fish, so giving up meat is not a particular hardship.  When we get beyond this simple concept we try to do something more meaningful such as “doing something.”  Doing something good is more rewarding than just giving something up.

The Church likes to use non-English words from Latin or Greek to explain old things.  The Greek word for today is metanoia.   Metanoia means repentance but more importantly it means a change of mind and heart.

If you look up metanoia you will find the word conveys the essence of the Gospel:

  • John the Baptist proclaimed a “baptism of repentance” (Mark 1:4)
  • Jesus called on people to “repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”  (Matthew 4:17)
  • Jesus’ disciples “proclaimed that people should repent”  (Mark 6:12)
  • St. Paul’s asserted that God commands “all men everywhere to repent”  (Acts 17:30)

Using the scripture-based meaning of metanoia our change of mind and heart should inspire us to whole new ways of thinking and acting.

  • Where are we in our lives right now?
  • Where should we be?
  • Did we test our values?
  • How do our values stack up against the values Jesus and his disciples offered us?

Two words come to mind.  We hear these words all the time:  transformation and conversion.  The change of heart we are looking for should transform us and convert us into something radically different from what we were before.

Lent is also the season of final preparation for those in RCIA who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. The Church invites us to pray for these catechumens. The Church also invites us to renew our own commitment to the life that began in us when we were baptized and became members of  the Body of Christ.

Finally, we are all in this together.  We don’t do all of this alone.  We do this among ourselves surrounded by the love of Jesus Christ, who loved us so much that he “emptied” himself so that we could be “emptied” of sin.

May God bless you and transform you during this Lenten season.

-Rick Swenton

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Pastor’s Weekly Message

This week, in the season of Lent, there are two saints’ feast days that are of special Fr. Joe DiSciaccasignificance: St. Patrick, March 17th, and St. Joseph, March 19th.

St. Patrick is significant because many of the founding families of St. Joseph Church were of Irish descent. St. Patrick’s Day, in many places in the United States, is celebrated with great fanfare, parades, green beer and corned beef. As we celebrate, let us also remember the faith in the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that Patrick brought to Ireland. Patrick was a man of great holiness and deep theological insight. He may not have been the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, but his deep faith and devotion were instrumental in
the widespread acceptance of Christianity there.

St. Joseph is the husband of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the patron of the Universal  Church. We know, from Scripture, that Joseph was a just but silent man. There are no recorded words of Joseph in the Bible. Joseph receives Mary into his home, though he does not fully understand how she is to give birth to the Son of God. He flees in haste with Mary and Jesus to Egypt. He raises the child Jesus with Mary in Nazareth but is not heard of after the finding of the Jesus in the temple. May Joseph, the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus, protect us and care for us.

Saints are a very important part of our Catholic tradition. May Patrick and Joseph inspire  us to have an ever-growing faith and devotion that leads us to truly care for all our sisters and brothers. St. Patrick and St. Joseph, pray for us.

FrJoeSig[ The Parish Bulletin for 03/16/2014 can be obtained here. ]

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Pastor’s Weekly Message

Yes, we have entered into the season of Lent. These are important days for us as Catholics. Fr. Joe DiSciaccaWe desire to strengthen the faith given to us in Baptism by following Jesus more closely. It is also the time when those in RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation) complete the process of being welcomed into the Catholic Church and celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation.

This Sunday our Candidates: Dolores Burritt, Eddie Cruz, Karla Cruz, Isaura Leon, Robin Lund, Jason Lund, Jr. and Virginia Ouellette will be sent from our community to be received in the Rite of Election by Archbishop Blair at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford. We ask that you pray for them in these final days of their preparation.

During the season of Lent they will also celebrate two scrutinies in which we, as a community, pray that they better understand their being received into the Catholic Church. These prayers will be said at Mass on two Sundays in Lent when they are
presented with the Nicene Creed and the Lord’s Prayer.

We also ask that you keep in your prayers two adults: Richard Boebel and Priscilla Miranda who are preparing for Confirmation. Bishop Peter Rosazza will be with us on April 26th for the Sacrament of Confirmation. He will confirm 40 of our high school students and 2 adults. Spring is a special time to celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Communion). Please keep in your prayers all who will be celebrating these Sacraments this season.

FrJoeSig[ The Parish Bulletin for 03/09/2014 can be obtained here. ]

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Pastor’s Weekly Message

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. It is a special time of year Fr. Joe DiSciaccafor us as Christians and Catholics. This holy season calls us to be on retreat with Jesus before the joyful season of Easter.

The word ‘lent’ has origins in the Latin word to ‘slow down’. It is also found in an early Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘spring’. Both meanings are helpful to us in our approach to Lent.

Lent is a time for all of us to slow down and take stock of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. As one of his disciples because of our Baptism, we desire to know him better and to live our lives according to his teachings. This takes reflection, prayer, being with other followers of Jesus and sharing our faith with others.

During this Lent spend some extra time reading Scripture. Read the Sunday Bible readings before Mass. Pray the Stations of the Cross or the rosary. Spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in Church or the chapel in the Parish Center. Reach out to those in need. Help  out preparing or serving a meal at Zion Lutheran’s Meals for the Needy or the Salvation Army. Volunteer at the hospital, a convalescent home or St. Vincent de Paul shelter. Fasting, too, has always been part of our Lenten practice. This is not just a spiritual time to lose weight, but a time to consider that one of the gifts of God is the food we eat. Do we over eat? Do we need to share more of what we have? Do we need to forego satisfying our every graving?

Most especially Lent is to be a season of joyful drawing closer to Jesus Christ, our God, Messiah, Savior and Lord. May knowledge of Him bring us peace, happiness, joy and deep love for all God’s people.

FrJoeSig[ The Parish Bulletin for 02/30/2014 can be obtained here. ]

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Pastor’s Weekly Message

This coming weekend February 28th through March 2nd a number of women from our Fr. Joe DiSciaccaparish will be on retreat at Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center, Farmington, CT. Each year women of our parish attend this retreat. We ask that you pray for them. I am sure that they will be keeping us in their prayers.

I would encourage all parishioners, who are able, to consider making a retreat. Men from our parish have attended the retreats at Holy Family Monastery, West Hartford. Couples retreats have also been held there and some of our parishioners have attended. There are
many other specific retreat experiences: Marriage Encounter – for strong marriages,
Retrouvaille – for struggling marriages, Engaged Encounter – for couples getting married, Juan XXIII – a retreat in Spanish, Cursillo – a renewal retreat in English and Spanish, ACTS retreat – also a renewal retreat. We can give you information on all of these retreats. Some have links on our website and there is information in the Church vestibule racks.

During the first week in April the Bristol Deanery of Catholic Churches will again sponsor a parish mission. This is similar to a retreat but is held locally. Watch the bulletin for details and plan on attending at least one evening.

Lent will begin on Wednesday March 5th. Lent is something of a retreat for the Church. As we follow Jesus praying in the desert, may we pray for the needs of our world as well as
personal needs.

FrJoeSig[ The Parish Bulletin for 02/23/2014 can be obtained here. ]

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