Dear Parishioners and Friends,
In just a little over a week’s time, the season of Lent will begin with Ash Wednesday on February 14. Yes, Valentine’s Day. While some folks may find this a bit ironic, I think it’s somewhat appropriate that we “open our hearts” to God’s love manifested in Jesus, who loves us and gave his very life for us. But just to let you know: no exemption has been granted from fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday; so if you wish to take your sweetheart out for a nice Valentine’s dinner, you might have to schedule it for February 13 or 15 instead. Next Sunday, February 11, we will celebrate Mardi Gras at our Community Sunday following the 8:00 and 10:00 AM Masses.
Now that it’s official, I am very excited to announce that Coadjutor Archbishop Christopher Coyne will be visiting our parish about a month from now – twice in one weekend, as a matter of fact!
On Friday, March 8, Archbishop Coyne has been invited to celebrate the annual St. Patrick’s Parade Mass, which is held on the evening prior to Hartford’s St. Patrick’s Parade which will be held on Saturday, March 9. Because the actual date of the feast of St. Patrick (March 17) falls on a Sunday in Lent this year, I invite all our parishioners to celebrate the feast of one of our patron saints at the Mass on March 8 with Archbishop Coyne.
As he has been making his rounds of parish visits over the past few months, Archbishop Coyne has requested to celebrate Mass at our parish on Sunday, March 10. Again, I invite everyone to join us at the 10:00 Mass that day, Laetare Sunday, as our next Archbishop leads us in worship. Hopefully, he will be able to join us for our monthly Community Sunday in the Franciscan Center afterwards for an opportunity to meet you personally.
Later that afternoon, the ceremony to award the St. Joseph Medal will be held at 3:00 PM in the Cathedral of St. Joseph. This year, the medal will be given to our parishioners Jack and Martha Murtaugh. Parishioners since 2005, Jack and Martha will be recognized for their years of service as Eucharistic Ministers, Pastoral Care ministry, Prayer Shawl Ministry, House of Bread Team members, and Hospitality Ministry Coordinators. Please join me in congratulating these worthy members of our parish for their dedication and commitment to our faith community!
Looking a bit further ahead, we are planning a special observance of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ from June 1 to 4. As our part of the U.S. Bishops’ program of Eucharistic Renewal, we are offering all of us an opportunity to celebrate the unique gift of the Eucharist.
On Saturday, June 1 at 7:00 PM our music ministry will present a choral concert, “O Sacrum Convivium,” with a performance of Eucharstic-themed works including the beautiful “Litaniae de venerabili altaris Sacramento” or “Litany of the venerable Sacrament of the altar” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composed for the cathedral of Salzburg.
On Sunday afternoon June 2, as well as on the evenings of Monday and Tuesday, June 3 and 4, we have invited Mr. Joseph Nuzzi, the Director of Evangelization at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in New York City, to present a series of reflections titled “Source and Summit, Sacrifice and Supper: The Meaning of the Eucharist.” Each of the three presentations will address these themes: “What happened at the Last Supper? Origins of the Eucharist”; “What happens at Mass”; and “Living the Eucharist in the Dying and Rising of Christ.”
Joe Nuzzi was a colleague of mine at St. Francis in New York, and he has been an instrumental part of their vibrant adult education program and young adult ministry, as well as their Order of Christian initiation. Joe is a talented young man whose adult education courses always attract large numbers of participants. Joe is also a founding member of NOVA Hope for Haiti, Inc., a medical mission that was established to provide health care in Cavaillon, Haiti.
I am confident that his presentations will be a unique opportunity for us to deepen our love for the Eucharist, and to help us grow closer as a faith community. So please mark your calendars for June 1-4 and make plans to be part of this exciting moment in the life of our parish.
Blessings on your week ahead!
Fr. Tim Shreenan, O.F.M., Pastor