Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Between the time I write this message and the time you read it we will probably have gone through all four seasons of weather! The past few weeks have been rather strange – warm and sunny one day followed by several days of clouds, rain and very brisk, chilly winds. Fortunately, the weather has not dampened any of our recent parish activities!
Back on April 30th our First Communion candidates and their parents gathered for a day-long retreat and Mass in preparation for their big day this past weekend. It was delightful to hear the youngsters laughing and running around the garden areas between the Church and Friary as they enjoyed the warm sunshine. It was also delightful to see them participate in many ways during the 4:00 PM Mass later that day. Following the Mass, everyone enjoyed an indoor picnic in the Franciscan Center with each family spreading out on the floor on what looked like a giant quilt.
On Sunday, May 1st, the floor of the Franciscan Center was changed into a large labyrinth, and parishioners of all ages were invited to come over after the morning Masses to engage in a Labyrinth Prayer Experience. Here is how one participant described it: “As I watched an expectant couple, a religious ed class with their teacher, and a woman who was moved to tears, I was touched to witness their journey, each experiencing the labyrinth in their own way. Later, when I, too, walked the sacred path, I felt the presence of all who had walked it before me.”
In addition to the labyrinth walk, May 1st also included the Crowning of the Virgin Mary statue at the end of the 10:00 Mass by members of the St. Patrick-St. Anthony Ladies Guild. Thanks especially to Marianne Midura for making the arrangements for this beautiful annual tribute to Our Lady. The first day of May also saw the visit of “Chew Chew,” a mascot of the Hartford Yard Goats baseball team, who greeted parishioners after Mass and reminded them of our Community Day at Dunkin’ Donuts Park on June 19th. Lastly, brief presentations were given at the end of each Mass to encourage our participation in the Walk Against Hunger on May 21st. That was certainly a weekend of many moving parts!
The highlight of last weekend, May 8-9, were the liturgies at which 34 children in our religious education program received the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Gathered with their families around them, each child came forward to eat the Bread of Life for the first of countless times as they grow in their relationship with the Lord. As they have been thoroughly taught: to remain part of the Vine which is Christ.
On a side note: our Organ Scholar, Zachary Schurman, played a spectacular Senior Recital at the Chapel of Trinity College on Friday evening, May 7th. I was duly impressed by this young man’s talent and musicality, and I am very glad that our parish was able to play a part in his training. I hope that Zac will be able to play a recital here before he leaves the Hartford area for further organ studies at the Juilliard School in New York City.
This weekend is a bit of a lull before more events next weekend. First, our Confirmation candidates will make their way to the Cathedral of St. Joseph on Saturday, May 21st, where they will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation with Archbishop Blair. This may well be their first experience of our archdiocese’s mother church with its extraordinary windows that depict the life of Christ. I pray that they will experience the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives as they complete their initiation into the Catholic faith. The world needs the witness of our young people who are enthusiastic about their faith and relationship with Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life! I will be there with them as they are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thanks to Faith Vos Winkel and Michelle White for bringing them to this day.
We will welcome back Deacon Art Miller to preach at all the Masses on May 22-22, and give presentations on Monday through Wednesday, May 23-25 at 7:00 PM. He will talk about building the Beloved Community in 2022. Everyone, including your friends, are invited to take part. We will also celebrate the Vigil of the Ascension of the Lord with a Mass at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, May 25th. Come for Mass and stay for Deacon Art’s presentation!
Blessings on your week ahead.
Fr. Tim Shreenan, O.F.M.