Pastor's Corner

2024 05/26   We Pray for the Repose of the Souls who Sacrificed their Lives for Our Freedom

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

We celebrate Memorial Day as a nation this Monday.  On this day, we remember in a special way those men and women in the armed forces who have made the supreme sacrifice in defense of our nation.  We pray for the repose of their souls, and for all those who mourn their passing from this world.  Many of them died in wars and terrorist attacks.  Some were military chaplains who faithfully served the spiritual needs of our men and women in the armed forces and also served the spiritual needs of their families.  They all sacrificed their lives and their freedom and helped make it possible for us to enjoy our lives and our freedom.  They were prematurely separated from family members and friends, and a grateful nation pays them homage and respect.

The following prayer of remembrance by Micah Klug, was provided by the media outlet “Home Faith Family” for this special day.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded to truly appreciate our precious faith and freedom which we should never take for granted.  This is especially important in these difficult and uncertain times when we have witnessed dramatic changes in the fabric of our society and our world over the last few years.  These changes were due primarily to the wars in Ukraine and Israel, tensions with Russia and China and other nations, concerns over immigration policies and a rapid increase in crime and illegal drugs in many of our large cities and even in many of our small rural areas.  Such changes have caused us to view our faith and our freedom in a different light and made us more acutely aware of the reality that there are events and circumstances that are beyond our control.

Dear God,
on this day we offer this special prayer of remembrance
for all those who have given their lives in service to our nation.
We thank You for the courage and strength they showed in defending our freedoms,
and we remember them with admiration and gratitude.
Please bless their families with comfort and peace
as they think about the ones they love on this day.
In Your name.  Amen.

As we consider these changes, and as we celebrate this day and take time for picnics and various forms of recreation, we are encouraged to also make time for prayer.  We can join our brothers and sisters who pray for the repose of the souls of these men and women who have gone before us.  In addition, we can pray for stability in our nation, and we can continue to pray for peace in our world, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts.

 

2024 05-19  Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for us. Mary, our mother, pray for us.
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2024 05-19  Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for us. Mary, our mother, pray for us.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost.  We witness on this day the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus to send the Holy Spirit upon His Apostles.  The Holy Spirit will transform the lives of these Apostles.  These frightened men who abandoned Jesus at His Passion will be transformed into bold witnesses who will endure persecution, suffering, ridicule and others forms of trial as they preach His Good News.  As we celebrate this feast, we are encouraged to allow the Holy Spirit to come into our minds, and into our lives, and into our hearts.

In addition, during the month of May, we honor Mary in a special way.  Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus, but also the Mother of our Church.  The Church presents Mary as a model of love in its fullness.  The love she had for Jesus and Joseph was lived out through the joys and sorrows of everyday life.  It is the same precious love that she has for us, the same precious love she shares with us.  If we remain close to Mary, hopefully we will remain close to her Son.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has a special appreciation for Mary as a model and mother.  He stated, “Mary is a mother, and a mother is concerned above all about the health of her children.  Our Lady watches over our health.  What does this mean?  I am thinking above all of the three aspects: she helps us to grow, to face life, to be free.”  He also noted that Mary “…educates her children to realism and strength in the face of the obstacles that are inherent in life itself and which she herself suffered by sharing in the sufferings of her Son.”

The following “Prayer to Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of our Faith”, provided by Pope Francis, asks for Mary’s special intercession.

Open our ears to hear God’s word and recognize His voice and call.
Awaken in us a desire to follow in His footsteps, to go from our own land and to receive His promise.
Help us to be touched by His love, that we may touch Him in faith.
Help us to entrust ourselves fully to Him and to believe in His love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature.
Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.
Remind us that those who believe are never alone.
Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that He may be light for our path.  And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ Himself, your Son, our Lord!

As we reflect on this prayer, this month we are encouraged to make a special effort to honor Mary through our prayers, reflections, appropriate liturgies and spiritual encounters, and by striving to embrace her example of compassion, generosity, and gentleness.

Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for us. 

Mary, our mother, pray for us.

Mother, help our faith!

 

 

2024 05/26   We Pray for the Repose of the Souls who Sacrificed their Lives for Our Freedom
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2024 05-12  God Bless All Mothers, Far and Wide
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2024 05-12  God Bless All Mothers, Far and Wide

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and families traditionally gather together on this day to remember and honor their mothers in a special way.  Many people take time to reflect on how much mothers do for their families and the many sacrifices they make on behalf of their spouse, children, and other loved ones.  Primarily through their teaching and their example, they also play an essential role in passing down their faith to their children.  They also often guide their children through their formative years with great love, patience, and kindness.

Pope Francis has a great respect for the vocation of motherhood.  The media outlet, “Vatican News”, reported that Pope Francis “expressed his appreciation for women who have given birth to children, and entrusted them to the protection of Our Lady” as he stated, “Let us recall with gratitude and affection all mothers, those who are still with us and those who have gone to Heaven.  Let us entrust them to Mary, the mother of Jesus.”

The following prayer called “A Prayer for All Mothers” asks God to bless all mothers for all that they do.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are encouraged to give thanks to our mothers.  It is fitting to thank them for all that they do, and for the example they set for us.  We may continue to honor them primarily by obeying them in our younger years, and by graciously taking care of them in their advancing years.  It is also appropriate to thank them for all the spiritual guidance they have provided to us.  In addition, we can also remember those mothers who have died, but still have a special place in our hearts.

Dear God, we come to You in prayer,
for all mothers, everywhere, the love for their child so pure, a bond that nothing can obscure.
In countries near and far, mothers are our guiding star.
In languages and cultures distant, their love for children is consistent.
Mothers who guide and shape, the future of each landscape,
they weave together tomorrow’s song and raise their children to be strong.
To be kind and compassionate, to build a world that’s just and great,
their love is a beacon of light, guiding us through each dark night.
May God bless all mothers, far and wide, with strength, grace,
and peace inside, may their love shine brighter than the sun,
the ones who make life, one by one.  Amen.

On behalf of the clergy, staff, and parishioners of Saint Brigid, we wish all mothers a happy, healthy, and holy Mother’s Day.   We hope they enjoy their special day.

 

2024 05-19  Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for us. Mary, our mother, pray for us.
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2024 05-04   First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid
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2024 05-04   First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Saturday, many of the children in our faith community will make their First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid.   They will share with us in the fullness of the Lord’s Supper for the first time, and they are excited.  Many of their parents and other loved ones will watch proudly as these children, with great devotion, take this important step on their journey of faith.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church “…reserves admission to Holy Communion to those who have attained the age of reason”, which is traditionally considered to be the age of seven.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in a homily, addressed a group of children receiving their First Holy Communion.  He stated, “Making your first Holy Communion shows that you want to be closer to Jesus every day, to grow in friendship with him and to lead other people to share in the joy he wants us to feel.  The Lord needs you because he wants to work the miracle of bringing his joy to many of your friends and family members.”  Pope Francis further stated, “I am happy to share this great moment with you and to help you meet Jesus.”

As we reflect on these words of Pope Francis, and as we celebrate the First Holy Communion of our children at Saint Brigid, we are reminded that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.  We are invited to bond with each other by nourishing together on the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, and then by going forth in loving service of our brothers and sisters, especially our brothers and sisters in need.

This following prayer expresses our thanks for the great gift of Holy Communion from the perspective of a child.

As we take this prayer to heart, we are reminded that the word “Eucharist” means “giving thanks.”  And on the very special day of First Holy Communion, we can once again thank the Lord for the great gift of the Eucharist.  We can also thank the Lord for our wonderful children, and for our vibrant faith community of Saint Brigid.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for my Holy Communion.
Through the Mass You come to us as You came on the first Christmas.
In the Mass You repeat the wonderful Sacrifice of Calvary.
During the Mass You give Yourself to me in Holy Communion.
Dear Jesus, help me love Holy Communion.
Make me thoughtful and prayerful at Mass.
Come to me and remain with me all the days of my life. Amen 

 

2024 05-12  God Bless All Mothers, Far and Wide
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2024 04-29   Can You Not Spend One Hour With Me?
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2024 04-29   Can You Not Spend One Hour With Me?

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator.  It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil.   Adoration is homage of the spirit to the ‘King of Glory’, respectful silence in the presence of the ‘ever greater’ God.  Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and give assurance to our supplications.” (CCC 2628)

According to the media outlet, “Catholic-Link”, “when Catholics say they are ‘going to adoration’, they are typically referring to Eucharistic Adoration.  Which, in the most basic terms, is the worship of the Eucharist outside of the Mass.  The Eucharistic Host is displayed in a monstrance on the altar so that all can see and pray in the presence of Christ.”

Eucharistic Adoration at Saint Brigid, which takes place primarily in our Day Chapel, drives the spiritual vitality of our parish.  An invitation to be a “Eucharistic Guardian” is presented in our parish bulletin on a regular basis.  It states, “Please prayerfully consider saying YES to spending just one hour of your week with Jesus, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.”    One parishioner described his hour spent each week in Eucharistic Adoration as “the best hour of my week.”

Author and psychologist, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, as reported in the publication, “Our Sunday Visitor,” stated that there are “four kinds of prayer most appropriate in the presence of the Eucharist, namely adoration and praise, Thanksgiving, >repentance, and trusting intercession.” 


He offered the following eight options of activities during Eucharistic Adoration:

“Pray the psalms or the Liturgy of the Hours.”  
They contain pearls of wisdom for us to consider.

Recite the ‘Jesus Prayer”.
Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.”  It reminds us that the Lord came to call sinners, not the self-righteous.

“Meditate using Scripture.” The gospels especially provide us with great insight into Our Lord’s ministry, message, and mission.

“Read the life of a saint and pray with him or her.” 
We can learn about our great saints who set such a good example for us to follow.

“Pour out your heart to Christ and adore Him.” 
Let Him hear about your struggles and crosses at this time in your life.

“Ask for forgiveness and intercede for others.” 
We all need the pardon, mercy, and forgiveness that the Lord so generously offers to us.

“Pray the rosary.” 
Mother Teresa urged us to pray to Jesus “with Mary.”

“Sit quietly and ‘be’ in the presence of God.”
We can permit the Lord to speak to us in the silence of our hearts.

As we reflect on these recommendations of Fr. Groeschel, we are strongly encouraged to spend one hour each week as a Eucharistic Guardian, adoring the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This time can enhance our spiritual well-being in many special ways.

 

2024 05-04   First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid
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2024 04-21 “Growing In Faith”, A Campaign for Saint Brigid Catholic Church
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2024 04-21 “Growing In Faith”, A Campaign for Saint Brigid Catholic Church

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

www.saintbrigid.org/faith to watch video.

For more than two decades, Saint Brigid Catholic Church has served the spiritual needs of Catholics in the North Atlanta area.  We have provided a spiritual home where our people could find fellowship in Christ, raise their children in a spiritual environment, expand their knowledge and understanding of their faith, and work to fulfill their God-given purpose.

Our existing parish facilities have served us well, and now we are a thriving faith community with over 4,000 households, blessed with active lay leaders and dynamic ministries.  As our parish has grown, we have struggled to accommodate the over eighty parish ministries and organizations seeking space for meetings, activities, and fellowship.  Scheduling events and functions can be difficult due to space limitations.   Our limited space hinders our ability to add new ministries and expand existing ones.

Our parish leadership, including our expansion committee, has reminded us that we have not entered into a major expansion project in close to twenty years.  After careful study and discussion over the last few years, our leadership has asked us as a faith community to consider and evaluate the feasibility of the construction of a Pastoral Life Center.  This proposed large free standing two-story Pastoral Life Center would serve as an investment in the spiritual vitality of our Parish and strengthen our efforts to enhance our faith and fellowship.  It would also serve as a legacy to our children and grandchildren.  The new Center would enable us to enhance our ministries and programs, helping to ensure that our Parish will continue to be vibrant and flourish.

Our parish leadership, in coordination with professional advisory firms, has prepared a summary of the proposed project including a brief video.  The video is also accessible on our Parish website.  We are poised to go forward with the project.  Since the project will require a capital campaign, we will need your cooperation and support, spiritually and financially.  We invite you to attend one of our information sessions scheduled for –

Thursday, April 25th, or Monday, April 29th at 7:00pm in Corbett Hall, or you may contact one of our Parish representatives:

– John Revell: jrevell@saintbrigid.org, Chief Operating Officer

– Brian Dooling: brian.t.dooling@gmail.com, Campaign Chairperson

– Jim Shields:  jrsx5@bellsouth.net, Expansion Chairperson

– Nancy Ketchum:  nancy.ketchum@att.net, Expansion Committee

Please also be assured that we are challenged to be good stewards of Church funds.  Due to your generosity and the prudent management of our parish leadership, our Church is debt free.  We do not intend to initiate the project unless we can remain debt free after utilizing a small bridge loan from the Archdiocese of Atlanta during the period of construction, which is standard operating practice.

I genuinely appreciate all you do to enhance the spiritual vitality of our faith community.

Thank you all and God bless you.

 

2024 04-29   Can You Not Spend One Hour With Me?
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2024 04-17 Seek the Intercession of St. Peregrine for Those Suffering of Cancer
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2024 04-17 Seek the Intercession of St. Peregrine for Those Suffering of Cancer

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As we know, cancer can be a debilitating disease and can impact people of all ages.  There are many different types of cancer. Among the more common types are breast cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer.  Many of us know someone who is struggling with some form of cancer.  It has affected many of our adult parishioners and some of their children and their other loved ones.

As reported in the media publication, “Vatican News”, Pope Francis expressed his closeness with children suffering from cancer. He stated, “May the Lord inspire everyone to draw near to those who suffer, especially children, and to put the weakest in first place.  I entrust the doctors and all sick children to the Virgin Mary so that with her motherly affection she might look after them.”  As we reflect on these words of Our Holy Father, it is interesting to note that our nation has made great strides in addressing the disease of cancer.  As
reported in the media publication, “Verywell Health”, considerable progress has been made in reducing cancer rates and improving cancer survival in the United States since the 1990’s.  A greater understanding of the immune system, genetics, and cancer pathology has opened the doors to an ever-increasing range of new cancer treatments and diagnostic tools.  Advances in cancer care have been
highly specific in terms of the diagnostic and treatment modalities that are recommended for each type of cancer.”

The following “St. Jude Prayer for the Healing of Cancer” from the National Shrine of St. Jude, asks the Lord to guide and support those afflicted with some type of cancer:

God of healing mercy, in Jesus Your Son, you stretch out Your hand in compassion,
restoring the sinner, healing the sick, and lifting up those bowed down.
Embrace us now in Your loving care,
particularly those afflicted with cancer,
for whom this intention is offered.
May the Spirit of Jesus bring us all health in soul and body,
that with joy and thanksgiving we may praise You for Your goodness,
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded that those suffering can seek the intercession of St. Peregrine.  He is the Patron Saint of Cancer.  Among the many statues of saints in our Church is a statue of Saint Peregrine.  We are invited to learn more about Saint Peregrine and ask for his special intercession, especially in these difficult and uncertain times when cancer, in many different forms, is so prevalent in our society.  As a faith community, we are encouraged to be more sensitive to those struggling with some form of cancer and reach out to them in their time of need.

2024 04-21 “Growing In Faith”, A Campaign for Saint Brigid Catholic Church
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2024 05-07  There Is No Limit to the Lord’s Mercy for those who Believe.
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2024 05-07  There Is No Limit to the Lord’s Mercy for those who Believe.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, and our Church has stated the following about this great feast: “During the Church’s millennium celebration in 2000, Pope John Paul II declared that the Second Sunday of Easter be known as ‘Divine Mercy Sunday’.  Prior to this celebration, the Pope also wrote a profound encyclical called ‘Rich in Mercy’.  This encyclical explained the doctrinal and scriptural foundations for our understanding of mercy.  Our Holy Father looked to a holy woman of Poland, Sr. Faustina, for inspiration. He canonized Sr. Faustina at that same Mass in 2000 at which he instituted the observance of Divine Mercy Sunday.  He also clearly articulated the essential message that Jesus gave to Sr. Faustina and the message is that the graces of His mercy are greater than the stains of our sins.”

Pope Francis expressed his devotion to the spirituality of mercy promoted by Pope John Paul II. In a recent address for Divine Mercy Sunday, as reported in the media publication, “Aleteia”, Pope Francis stated, “Today, when the world is being afflicted more and more by wars and is moving away from God, we need the Mercy of the Father above all.”  He also noted, “The Lord never ceases to be merciful.  Let us think of the mercy of God who always welcomes us, always accompanies us, never leaves us alone.”

In these difficult and uncertain times, we are challenged to truly appreciate this day and reflect a spirit of mercy, repentance and reconciliation in our lives.  Jesus’ message to Faustina reminds us that there is no limit to the Lord’s mercy for those who truly believe, for those who humbly ask for forgiveness.

The following “Prayer for Divine Mercy” provided by the media outlet, “Heart of the Nation”, reflects the desire for the mercy that God extends to us:

Lord Jesus,
Risen Savior, born to redeem Your sheep gone astray, as a shepherd desiring that none be lost,
You gave Your love and earthly life, forgiving even as You died on the Cross.
In faith, I ask for Your Divine Mercy.
In humble prayer, I come before You, undeserving of the compassion desired.
For sin, although forgiven, leaves a mark upon perfect Creation defiled.
In hope, I ask for Your Divine Mercy.
With Easter joy that You have risen and belief that You will not abandon me,
may Your words echo in my heart, overcoming my fears and bringing peace.
In love, I ask for Your Divine Mercy. Amen.

 

As we reflect on this prayer, and on the profound words of Our Holy Father, we invite our parishioners and friends to join us to embrace the generous gift of God’s mercy in a humble spirit of thanksgiving.

 

2024 04-17 Seek the Intercession of St. Peregrine for Those Suffering of Cancer
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On this Easter Sunday, we welcome all to our vibrant Parish community.
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On this Easter Sunday, we welcome all to our vibrant Parish community.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Today we celebrate Easter Sunday and the Resurrection of Jesus.  In an Easter message, as reported by the media outlet “Vatican News”, Our Holy Father, Pope Francis stated, “Brothers, sisters, may we rediscover the enjoyment of the journey, quicken the heartbeat of hope and experience a foretaste of the beauty of heaven!  Today, let us summon the energy to advance in goodness towards Goodness itself, which never disappoints…May you, the Lord of life, encourage us on our journey and repeat to us, as you did to the disciples on the evening of Easter: ‘Peace be with you!’”

Today, our Holy Father invites us to embrace this message.  In a world growing more and more secular, we are challenged to strive to focus on the heavenly kingdom that awaits those who are faithful.  Pope Francis calls on us to live for Christ, to love for Christ, to take risks for Christ, and to witness for Christ.  When we embrace this call, we can show by our witness and by our actions that we are truly the body of Christ, the community of hope, and the Easter people of faith.

At Easter we proclaim the glory of the Resurrection.  The suffering of the cross gives way to the glory of the Resurrection.  Just as we share in the suffering of Christ in this life, we hope to one day share in His glory.  Through his Resurrection, Jesus has conquered sin.  He has conquered death.  This is the message of his Good News.

On this Easter Sunday, we welcome all to our vibrant Parish community.  We especially welcome all those who have completed a thorough period of inquiry, education and catechesis, and will be receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, or the Eucharist for the first time.  During their period of study, they have grown closer together, and they will be invited to go forth and preach the Good News of Jesus by word and example.

We also welcome all those who are attending our Church for the first time, and those who do not attend our Church on a regular basis.  We invite you to become part of our community of faith.

I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all who participated in our Holy Week liturgies and other services.  As we celebrate this day, I also want to thank you for all that you do to enhance the spiritual vitality of our wonderful Parish, and on behalf of our priests, deacons and staff, I wish you and your families a holy, happy and healthy Easter season.

 

2024 05-07  There Is No Limit to the Lord’s Mercy for those who Believe.
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2024 03-24 Palm Sunday, we begin our journey toward Easter.
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2024 03-24 Palm Sunday, we begin our journey toward Easter.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday and focus on the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Palms are blessed and distributed to the faithful on this day to be used for personal devotion throughout the year.  Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week during which we commemorate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.

Commenting on Palm Sunday in a recent message, as reported by the media outlet “Catholic News Agency”, Pope Francis invited Catholics to live Holy Week “as the tradition of God’s holy faithful people teaches us, that is, accompanying the Lord Jesus with faith and love.”  He pointed to Mary as a model as he stated, “Let us learn from our Mother, the Virgin Mary.  She followed her Son with the closeness of her heart; she was one soul with him and, although she did not understand everything, together with him she surrendered herself fully to the will of God the Father.”  Pope Francis then wished all “a happy journey toward Easter.”

The following prayer from the media outlet “Prayerist” invites us to truly embrace a spiritual focus as we begin this journey during Holy Week:

Lord God,
I give you thanks, for You are good, and Your mercy is endless.
Here I stand, at the start of this holy week, this week in which your church remembers Jesus’ passion and death, and I am distracted by many things.
Turn my eyes now to the One who comes in Your name, the One who opens the gates of righteousness, the One who answers when we call.
I bless you, Lord, for shining Your light upon me, and for sending Your son to us, in human frailty, to open the road we walk.
Open my eyes that I may see Him coming, and may praise Him with a pure heart, and may walk in the way of His suffering, and share in His resurrection.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, and on the words of Pope Francis, Our Holy Father has asked us to focus on the sacredness of Holy Week, and take time to pray, reflect, and discern. He wants us to more fully understand what Jesus did for us, what Jesus means to us. Pursuant to this request, we are strongly encouraged to participate in our upcoming liturgical services during Holy Week if we are physically able. We are also strongly encouraged to invite family members and friends to join us. Please carefully review the schedule of our Masses and our other liturgical services for the week and plan to participate to the extent possible. Details can be found in the Parish bulletin and on the Parish website.
Today, as we celebrate and experience the joy of Palm Sunday, as we shout “Hosanna”, we are challenged to truly appreciate this special time of grace.

 

On this Easter Sunday, we welcome all to our vibrant Parish community.
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2024 03-17 Congratulations to Tricia Borah and Ben Whitehead, the Saint Brigid Woman and Teen of the Year
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2024 03-17 Congratulations to Tricia Borah and Ben Whitehead, the Saint Brigid Woman and Teen of the Year

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Archbishop Hartmayer will celebrate Mass at 10:30 am at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church on Saturday, April 6th honoring the Woman and Teen of the Year for each of those parishes which are members of the Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women.  Tricia Borah has been chosen as Woman of the Year, and Ben Whitehead has been chosen as Teen of the Year for Saint Brigid Parish.   We truly appreciate their many important contributions to our parish as we strive to sustain and enhance the spiritual vitality of our faith community.  They inspire us with their example of generous and unselfish service.  Tricia and Ben have certainly exhibited love of God and love of neighbor as they continue their journey of faith.

Tricia serves our faith community in many different ways.  She supervises our Special Needs Ministry and serves as a faithful volunteer in our Youth Ministry program.  Tricia is also active in our Mustard Seed and Women of Saint Brigid Ministries.  She has served as a guardian for Eucharistic Adoration and has actively participated in Christ Renews His Parish, now known as our “Welcome” program.  In all that she does, Tricia finds great joy in serving the Lord and serving the faith community of Saint Brigid.

Ben serves as a teen leader for our Youth Ministry and Confirmation programs.  He also ushers and lectors at Mass.  Ben has a great appreciation for the Eucharist and constantly seeks ways to grow in holiness and invites others to grow with him.  He shares the gospel message in word and deed through bible studies and summer mission trips.  In his words and in his actions, he gives witness as a true disciple of Christ.  Ben interacts well with his peers and sets a great example for them.  He is held in high esteem by his Youth Ministry coordinators and core group.

On behalf of the priests, deacons, staff and parishioners of Saint Brigid, I congratulate Tricia and Ben for the honors they will soon receive.

 

2024 03-24 Palm Sunday, we begin our journey toward Easter.
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2024 03-10  The Feast of Saint Patrick
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2024 03-10  The Feast of Saint Patrick

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Sunday we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.  Major parades take place in New York, Savannah, Atlanta and many other cities celebrating the life and contributions of Saint Patrick to the Catholic faith and to Irish culture. It is a special day for Msgr. Marren and many other of our priests who were born in Ireland and who faithfully serve the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Saint Patrick was a priest and later became a bishop in the fifth century. As a youth, he lived in Britain, was kidnapped and taken to Ireland where he lived as a servant.  After about six years, he escaped and went back to Britain.  He later returned to Ireland as a missionary and taught the people about the Christian God and prepared many of them for baptism and entrance into the Catholic Church.  He often made use of a shamrock, a three-leaf clover, to teach about the Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  He worked tirelessly in his ministry and won a very special place in the hearts of the Irish people.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded that the bishops of Ireland stated that Saint Patrick was called to serve and bring God to a people far from his homeland. They quoted from “The Confession of St. Patrick” in which Saint Patrick said,

“May it never befall me to be separated by my God from His people whom He has won in this remote land. I pray God gives me perseverance, and that He will deign that I should be a faithful witness for His sake right up to the time of my passing.”

St. Patrick prepared the following prayer asking for the Lord’s protection and guidance:

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ below me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left hand,
Christ in the hearts of all who think of me,
Christ in the mouths of all who speak of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

As we celebrate this day, we are reminded to focus on Christ and our faith as we continue on our Lenten journey and reflect on the glory of the Resurrection that awaits us. The season of Lent is a good time to enhance our spiritual life in the spirit of St. Patrick and bear good fruit in our lives. We are invited and challenged to follow the example of St. Patrick and truly be faithful witnesses to the Gospel as we continue to answer our call to discipleship.

2024 03-17 Congratulations to Tricia Borah and Ben Whitehead, the Saint Brigid Woman and Teen of the Year
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2024 03-04  Widowed are encouraged to be vibrant members of our faith community.
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2024 03-04  Widowed are encouraged to be vibrant members of our faith community.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

We have many widows and widowers as part of our Saint Brigid faith community.  As reported in the publication, “U.S. Catholic”, the Catholic Church “has a long history of ministry to and by widows.”  The publication further notes that the Church’s “own long tradition of giving care to widows and receiving it from them suggests that we need to remember and celebrate the widows and widowers in our midst with more attention.”  The Church is aware of the need to truly appreciate widows and widowers, many of whom have lost their spouses after many years of faithful service to the Church.

At Saint Brigid, our widows and widowers are encouraged to be vibrant members of our faith community.  They are invited to come together to participate in our New Beginnings Ministry, a ministry formed for widows and widowers.  The group meets for dinner and fellowship, usually on the first Thursday of each month.  Members share experiences and memories.  In addition, at appropriate times of the year, they attend Mass for their deceased spouses prior to their monthly dinner.  Widows and widowers from other faith communities are also welcomed.

Many of us know someone in our community who is grieving at this time over the loss of a spouse.  We may know parishioners, friends, neighbors, relatives, and others who are in mourning.  As reported by Vatican News, Pope Francis stated that “widowhood is a particularly difficult experience.”

Widows, as well as widowers, may feel lonely and isolated.  They may have trouble coping after many years of being at the side of a loving spouse and sharing a life together.

In the spirit of Pope Francis, we can especially reach out to widows and widowers.  As Catholics, and as a faith community, most of us are usually attentive to those who have recently lost a spouse.  But as time passes, our attention may wane.  We are encouraged to be more aware that people grieve in different ways, and they grieve for different lengths of time.  At Saint Brigid, in addition to our New Beginnings Ministry, we have a Grief Care support ministry in which widows and widowers, as well as others who have lost loved ones, meet periodically during the year to discuss how they are coping with life after their loss.

We are encouraged to strive to become more sensitive to those widows and widowers who are truly grieving and assist them in their time of healing.  Maybe can we visit them on a periodic basis, or call them occasionally, or invite them to a Church or community function.  What may seem as small gestures by us may be viewed as thoughtful acts of kindness by them.  In these and many other ways, as a faith community, we can continue to answer our call to discipleship.

2024 03-10  The Feast of Saint Patrick
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2022 02-25 The Stations of the Cross
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2022 02-25 The Stations of the Cross

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

During the season of Lent, Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, invites us to enter more fully into the spirit of sacrifice, renewal, and repentance.  We may embrace this invitation in various ways, such as by praying the “Stations of the Cross”.  As reported in the publication, “The Catholic World Report”, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to pray the “Stations” and stated, “The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own.”  The publication “Catholic Online” noted that “The Stations of the Cross are a 14-step Catholic devotion that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man.  The 14 devotions, or stations, focus on specific events of His last day, beginning with His condemnation.  The stations are commonly used as a mini pilgrimage as the individual moves from station to station.  At each station, the individual recalls and meditates on a specific event from Christ’s last day.”  The publication further states, “The Stations of the Cross are commonly found in churches as a series of 14 small icons or images.”  They are prayed “… especially on Good Friday, the day of the year upon which the events actually occurred.”

In August 2023, in his address on World Youth Day, Pope Francis, commenting on the Stations of the Cross, stated, “Today we are going to journey with Jesus along the path of His suffering, along the path of our worries, the path of our loneliness.  Now, in a further moment of silence, let each of us think about our own sufferings, our own worries, our own weaknesses.  Do not be afraid, just think about them. And think of the desire our souls have to shine once more…And Jesus journeys to the Cross, dies on the cross, to enable our souls to shine.”

As we reflect on these profound words, we may note that each Friday during Lent we are invited to come together as a faith community to pray the “Stations of the Cross.”  We begin at 7:00 pm with a brief reflection by one of our deacons.  The reflection focuses on a theme that addresses our Lenten challenges
and concerns.  “Stations” then follow at 7:15 pm.  Praying the “Stations” can provide us with an opportunity to avail ourselves of abundant spiritual graces.  Commemorating the Passion of Jesus through the “Stations” can help us to more clearly witness our faith and assist us on our spiritual journey.

We are strongly encouraged to prayerfully consider making the “Stations” an integral part of our Lenten observance.

2024 03-04  Widowed are encouraged to be vibrant members of our faith community.
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2024 02-18   Our Lenten Renewal – Parish Mission and Reconciliation
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2024 02-18   Our Lenten Renewal – Parish Mission and Reconciliation

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This week we will offer a Lenten Parish Mission on Monday, February 19th and Tuesday, February 20th. A Parish Mission can provide an opportunity for spiritual growth as we strive to renew and strengthen our relationship with the Lord. The Mission will be presented by Monsignor Hugh Marren. He will focus on “The Mass and Our Lenten Renewal” as he explains various elements of the Mass, and how the Mass can help us renew or revive our faith, and lead to spiritual healing as we strive to return to the Lord’s loving embrace at this special time of the Church Year.

Lent is a good time to consider which way we are heading, and how we may be able to alter our spiritual course. Lent is also a good time to seek healing and reconciliation. It is a time to reflect on the wounds and slights that all too often impact our relationships with family members and friends. It is also an appropriate time to confront the temptations that are all around us. These temptations are very real and very powerful. The Mission can help us embrace the Eucharist, and assist us in our efforts to resist these temptations, as we strive to make real and substantive progress on our Lenten journey.

At this time of the year, our Church places a special emphasis on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We are invited to avail ourselves of this sacrament during the Lenten season. The sacrament is here to heal, not to condemn. Our Holy Father Pope Francis has called Confession, “the sacrament of tenderness” and has urged those who have been away from the sacrament to be not afraid to reach out to the Lord who will receive you with open arms. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we can cleanse our souls as we prepare for the commemoration of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We offer the sacrament on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings, and by appointment.

We will also have what is traditionally called a Penance Service on Tuesday, March 12th with additional priests available to serve as instruments of the Lord’s pardon, mercy, and forgiveness.

We are invited to attend the Mission and gain some practical insights on how we can better live our lives as followers of Christ. We will offer morning and evening sessions. Details concerning the Mission and Confession times can be obtained from the Parish bulletin and website as well as from the Parish office.

I hope that you will prayerfully consider participating in the Parish Mission, and avail yourself of great opportunities to enhance your spiritual life during this special season of Lent.

This week we will offer a Lenten Parish Mission on Monday, February 19th and Tuesday, February 20th. A Parish Mission can provide an opportunity for spiritual growth as we strive to renew and strengthen our relationship with the Lord. The Mission will be presented by Monsignor Hugh Marren. He will focus on “The Mass and Our Lenten Renewal” as he explains various elements of the Mass, and how the Mass can help us renew or revive our faith, and lead to spiritual healing as we strive to return to the Lord’s loving embrace at this special time of the Church Year.
Lent is a good time to consider which way we are heading, and how we may be able to alter our spiritual course. Lent is also a good time to seek healing and reconciliation. It is a time to reflect on the wounds and slights that all too often impact our relationships with family members and friends. It is also an appropriate time to confront the temptations that are all around us. These temptations are very real and very powerful. The Mission can help us embrace the Eucharist, and assist us in our efforts to resist these temptations, as we strive to make real and substantive progress on our Lenten journey.

At this time of the year, our Church places a special emphasis on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We are invited to avail ourselves of this sacrament during the Lenten season. The sacrament is here to heal, not to condemn.  Our Holy Father Pope Francis has called Confession, “the sacrament of tenderness” and has urged those who have been away from the sacrament to be not afraid to reach out to the Lord who will receive you with open arms.  Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we can cleanse our souls as we prepare for the commemoration of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  We offer the sacrament on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings, and by appointment.

We will also have what is traditionally called a Penance Service on Tuesday, March 12th with additional priests available to serve as instruments of the Lord’s pardon, mercy, and forgiveness.  We are invited to attend the Mission and gain some practical insights on how we can better live our lives as followers of Christ. We will offer morning and evening sessions. Details concerning the Mission and Confession times can be obtained from the Parish bulletin and website as well as from the Parish office.

I hope that you will prayerfully consider participating in the Parish Mission, and avail yourself of great opportunities to enhance your spiritual life during this special season of Lent.

2022 02-25 The Stations of the Cross
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2024 02-11  Our Lenten Journey Begins
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2024 02-11  Our Lenten Journey Begins

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Wednesday in the Church year is Ash Wednesday.  It is a day of fasting and abstinence.  Guidelines concerning fasting and abstinence are included in our Parish bulletin and on our Parish website.  Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of people as a reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of repentance and contrition.  It marks the beginning of the Lenten season.  Lent is the time, approximating forty days of reflection and penance leading up to Easter.  Many people will attend Church on this day to receive ashes as they strive to enter into the spirit of the season.

In a recent address as reported by the media outlet, “Catholic News Agency”, Pope Francis reminded the faithful that we need to listen to Jesus.

As we reflect on these insightful words of Our Holy Father, we are encouraged to strive to unite our hearts with the Lord in a very substantive way.  During this special time in the Church year, we can therefore turn to God and seek spiritual renewal in heart, mind, and body through the disciplines of Lent: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting if we are physically able.

We can respond to the challenge to truly strive to turn away from sin and toward the living God, and we can avail ourselves of the sacrament of Reconciliation.  The sacrament is not here to punish us, but rather to get us closer to the God who loves us.  It is here to heal, not to condemn, and to get us back on track spiritually.  We will provide additional opportunities for the sacrament of Reconciliation during the Lenten season.

As an aid to our Lenten journey, a schedule of important dates, events and liturgies during Lent and during Holy Week can be found on the Parish website.  During this journey, we are challenged to go beyond our comfort zones and experience the love and mercy of the Lord in a very profound way.  Please take every opportunity to avail yourself of this special time of grace as we prepare to celebrate the Easter Resurrection of Our Lord.

 

 

2024 02-18   Our Lenten Renewal – Parish Mission and Reconciliation
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2024 02-04 “In His Presence – All Things are Possible
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2024 02-04 “In His Presence – All Things are Possible

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As a parish community, we are blessed to be a part of the vibrant Archdiocese of Atlanta.  The Archdiocese shares in the mission of the universal Church.  One way it does this is through the  Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.

This weekend we initiate discussion of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal for 2024 at our Masses.   The theme of the Appeal is “In His Presence – All Things Are Possible.”  Archbishop Hartmayer stated, “In His Presence is where we all find joy and peace, as well as comfort and consolation.  Just as Christ gives Himself to us in the Eucharist, by your sacrificial giving to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal to serve our brothers and sisters, you become Eucharist to others, making His love present throughout north and central Georgia.”

At this time, Catholics are invited to make a significant pledge so that we can meet the spiritual, educational, and temporal needs of our parishes and its people.  Specifically, a substantial portion of our contributions to the Appeal provide funds that go directly to the training and support of future happy, holy, and healthy priests needed to serve the Church of tomorrow.  Our contributions are also used for the training and formation of permanent deacons and others in religious life.  Through your generosity and your prayers, vocations are being embraced as we go forth in service of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

In addition, the Appeal supports Catholic Charities which continues to make a focused effort to assist homeless military veterans in the Atlanta area and in other local areas, and to help to stabilize their lives with housing and employment assistance.  The Appeal also supports priest retirement programs as well as other Archdiocesan pastoral outreach, education, and formation programs that serve our Parish as well as our larger Church community.

We invite you to prayerfully consider making a pledge to the 2024 Appeal and ask you to give generously and sacrificially.  We thank all who have already given.  Administrative procedures for the collection and processing of pledges this year have been streamlined.  Information about the Appeal has been provided in the Church Bulletin and on the Parish website.  Any questions concerning the Appeal can be directed to John Revell in the Parish office.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, we are challenged to respond in faith to this invitation and request.  Your continued generosity is truly appreciated.

Thank you for all you do to support our Church community.

https://archatl.com/appeal/

2024 02-11  Our Lenten Journey Begins
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2024 01-28 The Feast Day of Saint Brigid, and Catholic Schools Week
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2024 01-28 The Feast Day of Saint Brigid, and Catholic Schools Week

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Thursday, February 1st, we celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Brigid, the patron saint of our Parish.  She joins Saint Patrick as one of the patron saints of Ireland.    Saint Brigid is known for her extraordinary spirituality and prayer life.  She is also known for her Christian charity.  Her ministry involved healing and feeding the poor and she is celebrated for her generosity to those in need.   It was said that she could not bear to see anyone cold or hungry since she truly believed that Christ dwelt in every person.  Saint Brigid strived to work with the less fortunate with love and compassion.  Her love of God and love of neighbor were obvious to all who knew her. Through her words and example, she serves as a wonderful model for us.

This week we also celebrate National Catholic Schools Week, with the theme of “Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community”.  Catholic education has always been a priority for the Catholic bishops of our nation.  For many years, Catholic schools had been staffed primarily by dedicated nuns, religious brothers, and priests.  They are now staffed primarily by dedicated lay teachers who truly view teaching as their vocation.  These teachers strive to educate and form students who will embrace and spread the faith.  Catholic education was also very important to Saint Brigid.  She is the patron saint of students and worked to see that the Catholic faith was taught clearly and thoroughly, and she founded several Catholic schools.

This Sunday we also focus on the work of Mustard Seed Communities (MSC).  Mustard Seed was founded by Msgr. Gregory Ramkissoon, a Catholic priest in Jamaica.  MSC started in Jamaica and expanded to Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Africa.  It cares for several hundred children with special physical and mental health needs, many of whom have been abandoned.

Pope Francis stated, “We need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished, and protected.”  Mustard Seed strives to love and protect the most vulnerable of our children.  It strives to focus on these children as gifts from God.

MSC also manages a number of community outreach programs to combat poverty and provide educational opportunities to local populations.

Saint Brigid Parish supports MSC primarily through its spiritual and financial assistance.  Our parishioners also participate in mission trips to assist in the construction of appropriate housing for the children in need.  Some of our parishioners have also adopted children from various communities of Mustard Seed.  Representatives of MSC will be available after the Masses this weekend to answer questions about the Community and the work it does.

 

2024 02-04 “In His Presence – All Things are Possible
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2024 01-20   The Gift of Life
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2024 01-20   The Gift of Life

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Our Holy Father Pope Francis has spoken often and eloquently about the value of human life and the dignity of the human person.  As reported in the media outlet, “The Catholic World Report”, he recently criticized the “throw away” culture that is often found in more affluent societies.  He stated, “Every person is a sacred and unique gift, no matter what their age and condition.  Let us always respect and promote life! Let us not throw life away.”

As Catholics, we are called to respect the fundamental dignity of the human person and hope to see that dignity be granted to all of God’s children, including our preborn brothers and sisters.  This support for the fundamental dignity of the human person and the sanctity of life was emphasized on Saturday, January 20th as Bishop Tran celebrated a special Mass for the Preborn at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Atlanta. Many of our parishioners were in attendance.  The bishop spoke about how all of God’s children deserve our love and support, and that we should pray that God will change the hearts and minds of those who fail to value the gift of life.

The following “A Pro-Life Prayer” provided by ‘Creative Communications” reflects our concern for all human life:

God of all goodness, You have entrusted us with the gift of life.
Help us to appreciate that gift from the first moments of conception to the last breaths of old age.
Send Your strength to all those who defend the unborn, the weak, and the dying against attempts to cut short their lives.
May Your Holy Spirit touch the hearts of those who are tempted to choose the way of death rather than life.
Grant that Your people may always be a sign of your love in the world.
Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, Our Holy Father Pope Francis has challenged us to bear witness not only to the value and sacredness of the preborn, but also to the elderly, and the physically and mentally ill.  He also asked us to be compassionate toward those suffering from the painful trauma of abortion and to pray for their healing.

Our Church teaches that all life is precious and worthy of protection.  Therefore, we are invited to take to heart the profound words of Pope Francis and Bishop Tran and do our part in promoting the value of all human life and the dignity of the human person as we continue on our journey of faith.

 

 

 

2024 01-28 The Feast Day of Saint Brigid, and Catholic Schools Week
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2024 01-14   Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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2024 01-14   Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Thursday, January 18th, we begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  During this week, our bishops ask us to unite in prayer with our Christian brothers and sisters.

We are invited to pray for peace in our world, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts.  In addition, we are invited to pray in support of the inherent value of all human life.

Our Holy Father Pope Francis spoke of the bond of unity and sharing that should mark the lives of all Christians as we strive to spread our faith.  As mentioned in the past, he has issued a call for unity, stating, “If we do not walk together, if we do not pray for one another, if we do not collaborate in the many ways we can in this world, for the people of God, then unity will not come about.”  Pope Francis has also called on us to be announcers of the Gospel as we embrace the call for unity.

Unity was also an important part of the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he sought to unite all people through a message of love.  This Monday, January 15th, our nation celebrates the legacy of Dr. King.  We honor him for his work in promoting the fundamental dignity of the human person regardless of skin color.  In addition, we acknowledge the crucial role he played as he humbly responded in faith and worked tirelessly to lead the struggle for civil rights in this country.  He focused on a message of love, stating, “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it.  Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it.  Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”

Dr. King also stated, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.  That is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”

In honoring the legacy of Dr. King, we recognize the great strides that our country has made in overcoming the racial injustices of the past as many hearts and minds have been changed.  We also realize that much still needs to be done to heal the wounds and divisions that continue to exist.  Much still needs to be done to enhance the dignity of the human person and foster a true sense of unity.

As we reflect on the profound words of Pope Francis and Dr. King, and as we continue in this New Year, we are invited to pray that hearts and minds will continue to be changed and that a true sense of harmony and unity will be embraced.

 

 

2024 01-20   The Gift of Life
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2024 01-07  One meaning of the word “Epiphany” is “Manifestation” and refers to the manifestation of Jesus to the world. 
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2024 01-07  One meaning of the word “Epiphany” is “Manifestation” and refers to the manifestation of Jesus to the world. 

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord.  One meaning of the word “epiphany” is “manifestation” and refers to the manifestation of Jesus to the world.

On this day, we focus on the Wise Men, the Magi who were on a difficult journey of faith to encounter the Lord.  Commenting on this journey, as reported in the media outlet, “Vatican News”, Our Holy Father Pope Francis stated, “The exciting adventure of the Wise Men from the East teaches us that faith is not born of our own merits, thoughts, and theories.”  He noted that our faith is a “constant dialogue with the Lord.”

Progressing in faith, the Magi faced many risks and obstacles on their journey.  These risks and obstacles included the danger inherent in traveling on a difficult and arduous journey.  The Magi probably battled the hot blazing sun by day and the freezing cold at night.  They were probably, at times, hungry, frustrated, and tempted to turn back.  Yet, they persevered on their journey to encounter Christ.

As we reflect on their journey of faith, we realize that like the Wise Men we also are on a difficult journey of faith to encounter the Lord, and we also face many obstacles.  These obstacles come in the form of temptations that can easily lead us away from the Lord.  Such temptations may be very real and very powerful.  For example, we may encounter friends, co-workers and even loved ones who subject us to ridicule because we dare to search for a place for the Lord in our lives.  In addition, in this increasingly secular society, we may encounter those who do not want us to include a place for the Lord in our marriages, in our homes, or in our schools.

We may also have to deal with our own physical and spiritual complacency.  Pope Francis noted, “Often we try to soothe our hearts with creature comforts.  If the Magi had done that, they would never have encountered the Lord.”

Fortunately, like the Wise Men, we do not undertake our spiritual journey alone.  We journey and persevere as a community of faith, despite the risks and obstacles which we may encounter on a daily basis.  As a community of faith, we can assist each other in overcoming the many obstacles we face.  We need each other’s guidance; we need each other’s support; we need each other’s encouragement; we need each other’s prayers.

As previously noted, Pope Francis has challenged us, as Catholics, to be a more integral part of the Church.  He spoke of the need for community and the bond of unity and sharing that should mark the lives of all Christians on their spiritual journey.  Therefore, as we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, we are encouraged to embrace the bond of unity in the spirit of collaborative ministry: Our priests, deacons, and laity working together to build up the Kingdom of God.

 

2024 01-14   Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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2023 12-31   We celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus and the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
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2023 12-31   We celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus and the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Our Christmas Season continues, and this Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the family that makes this Season possible.  Our Holy Father Pope Francis has challenged us to strive for spiritual unity and for the strengthening of families by following the example of the Holy Family.  As previously noted, Vatican Radio reported that Pope Francis spoke of the Christian family as an institution that prays, keeps faith, and experiences joy.  Our Holy Father stated, “The family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally.”  He added, “That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world, it is the leaven of society.”

Then, this Monday, we begin the New Year, and we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.  As we well know, at this time, there is great turmoil and suffering in the Ukraine, Israel, Palestine, and other regions of the world.  As reported in the media outlet “Vatican News,” in a recent homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray to Mary “in a special way for her sons and daughters who are suffering and no longer have the strength to pray” as well as those suffering conflict and war.  He noted, “for all those who have no peace, let us invoke Mary, the woman who brought into the world the Prince of Peace.”

Pope Francis also has encouraged us to look to Mary as a model of hope in the midst of a troubled and violent world.  He stated that Mary “hears our petitions; holding her Son in her arms, she blesses us and brings us the tender love of God made flesh.  In a word, Mary gives us hope.”  Pope Francis also noted, “The year, which opens with the celebration of God’s Mother and our own, tells us that the key to hope is Mary, and that the antiphon of hope is the invocation ‘Holy Mother of God!’ “

As we begin the New Year, we are encouraged to take these words of Pope Francis to heart.  Many of us make resolutions to renew or revitalize our lives in certain ways.  We may resolve to lose weight, or exercise more frequently, or be more punctual.  But we can also reflect on ways that we can renew or revitalize our lives spiritually.  One way we can embrace spiritual renewal is by praying each day, especially as a family if circumstances permit.  It may be before meals.  It may be at a certain time in the day.  We are busy people, with different schedules, often going in different directions within our family unit.   It may require some discipline and structure to make the time to pray together but hopefully it will be spiritually beneficial.

On behalf of Fr. Darragh, Fr. Bill, our Deacons, and staff, we wish you and your families many spiritual blessings in the year to come.

2024 01-07  One meaning of the word “Epiphany” is “Manifestation” and refers to the manifestation of Jesus to the world. 
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2023 12-24   Christmas
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2023 12-24   Christmas

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

My brothers and sisters in Christ:

Jesus comes into our world at Christmas as a sign of the love God has for us. Our Advent liturgies, Parish Advent Mission, and emphasis on the Mass have helped us complete a wonderful time of preparation as we go forward in hope, thanksgiving, faith, and joy, and get ready to receive the Christ Child into lives and into our hearts.

In a Christmas homily, Pope Francis stated, “The Christmas manger, the first message of the divine Child, tells us that God is with us; He loves us and He seeks us.” Our Holy Father also noted, “The poverty of the manger shows us where the true riches in life are to be found not in money and power, but in relationships and persons.”

As we consider these insightful words of Our Holy Father, we are invited to focus on prayer, reflection, wonder, and silence, and allow the sacred mysteries of Christmas to take on a special meaning in our lives. My hope for all of us this Christmas is that we will take to heart these profound words of Psalm 32,

“Rejoice, rejoice in the Lord, exult, you just! O come ring out your joy, all you upright of heart.”

As disciples, we have much for which to rejoice and be thankful. As a community of faith, we join in thanking God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us, our families, and our nation. We especially thank Him for the gift of His Son.

I am truly grateful for your continued emphasis on the spiritual integrity and vitality of the Parish, for your active participation in our liturgical celebrations, and for your enthusiastic support. In addition, I am also deeply grateful for your generosity which, in so many ways, has enhanced and strengthened the many programs, ministries, and activities which we offer at Saint Brigid. I am especially thankful for your support of Eucharistic Adoration, your awareness of the poor and the sick, and your assistance and prayers in fostering vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life.

At this special time of the year, may we allow the light of Christ to shine through the darkness of our lives. May we truly experience the joy and love of the Lord this Christmas as we hear His voice in the silence of our hearts.

On behalf of Fr. Darragh, Fr. Bill, our Deacons, and staff, I wish you and your loved ones a blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy, and holy New Year. May you experience the wonder of the Lord’s presence in many profound and mysterious ways.

It is a privilege to serve you.

2023 12-31   We celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus and the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
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2023 12-16   Rejoice! The Third Sunday of Advent
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2023 12-16   Rejoice! The Third Sunday of Advent

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

We celebrate Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday on this Third Sunday of Advent as we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of the Christ Child.  In our Sunday gospels during Advent, the call to prepare for Christ comes primarily from John the Baptist.  He is the last of the Old Testament prophets who point the way to the Messiah.  John is also the first of the New Testament witnesses and martyrs.  He, in essence, tells us to prepare the way of the Lord, acknowledge our shortcomings and failures, repent of our sins, and change our hearts.  However, we can be preoccupied with shopping, social gatherings and parties, and travel plans which can easily distract us from focusing on this important message.  Distractions can be very real and very tempting and were addressed by Pope Francis.

As previously noted, the media outlet “Catholic News Service” reported that in a gathering with Vatican employees, Pope Francis asked “will people go to adore and be amazed by Jesus, or will they let themselves be detoured by distractions?”  As a way to avoid distractions, he invited the faithful to focus on the call to holiness.  He stated that one sign of holiness is being able to “be astonished, to feel the wonder before God’s gifts, his ‘surprises.’  And the greatest gift, the ever-new surprise is Jesus.”

As we reflect on these profound words of Our

Holy Father, and as we strive to prepare spiritually for the coming of the Lord, we are reminded that on Monday, December 18th at 9 am, we will celebrate a memorial Mass for our beloved former pastor, Monsignor Paul Reynolds.  He shepherded his congregation at Saint Brigid from 2006 until his death in 2010.     He was a priest of great wisdom, insight, and joy, and truly appreciated the opportunity to serve the people entrusted to his care.

Then on Wednesday, December 20th, we will have a Penance Service to assist us in spiritually preparing for the Christmas season.  We will have visiting priests available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The Sacrament is here to heal, not to condemn.  It is available to get us closer to the Lord who loves us.

As we reflect on our memory of Monsignor Reynolds, and on the example of John the Baptist, we know the Lord is ready to come to us.  We are encouraged to continue to do brief Advent scripture readings each day to better prepare ourselves for his coming.  In addition, we are challenged to avoid the distractions of the season which can easily overwhelm us and strive to truly open our hearts to receive the Christ Child in a spirit of holiness, and in a spirit of joy as we continue on our Advent journey of faith.          

2023 12-24   Christmas
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2023 12-10  We Continue our Advent Journey with Mother Mary and Advent Mission
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2023 12-10  We Continue our Advent Journey with Mother Mary and Advent Mission

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As a faith community, we continue on our Advent journey as we strive to remain watchful and alert as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Lord.  This past week we conducted our Advent Mission, and it was well received as Fr. Kevin Peek helped us to focus on the importance of the Eucharist and the joy we should experience during the Advent season as we await the coming of the Christ Child.

During Advent, we continue to honor our Mother Mary in special ways.  This past Friday, December 8th, we honored Mary as we celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception and affirmed our belief that Mary was blessed among women and was preserved from original sin from the moment of her conception.  As reported in the media outlet, “Vatican News”, reflecting on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis stated that “Mary, the only human creature without sin in history, is with us in the battle, she is our sister and above all Mother.”   He further noted, “We, who struggle to choose good, can entrust ourselves to her.”

Next Tuesday, December 12th, we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as we once again honor Mary, our Mother.  She is the patroness of the United States, Mexico, and all of the Americas, as well as the protector of the unborn.  She is a religious as well as a cultural figure to the people of Mexico.  In 1531, she appeared in a vision of a humble peasant farmer named Juan Diego near Mexico City.  The appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe helped generate the conversion of Mexico and Latin America to Catholicism.  Her feast is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm throughout the Americas.   Pope Francis reminded us that like Juan Diego, “we are under her shadow and protection, which is the source of joy.”

As we focus on these two great feasts of our Church and the words of Our Holy Father, please be aware that we will have additional opportunities during this season of Advent to avail ourselves of the great Sacrament of Reconciliation, including a Penance Service.  The Sacrament is here to heal us spiritually and get us closer to the Lord who loves us.  Please check below or the parish website for additional times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

During this great season of Advent, my hope is that through our devotion to Mary, through our prayers and spiritual reflections, through our acts of charity, and the healing provided by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our hearts will be made ready to receive Our Lord, Our Savior, Our King of Kings.

                                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we focus on these two great feasts of our Church and on the words of Our Holy Father, please be aware that we will have additional opportunities during this season of Advent to avail ourselves of the great Sacrament of Reconciliation, including a Penance Service.  The Sacrament is here to heal us spiritually and get us closer to the Lord who loves us.  Please check below or the parish website for additional times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

During this great season of Advent, my hope is that through our devotion to Mary, through our prayers and spiritual reflections, through our acts of charity, and through the healing provided by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our hearts will be made ready to receive Our Lord, Our Savior, Our King of Kings.

 

2023 12-16   Rejoice! The Third Sunday of Advent
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2023 12-03   Be watchful and vigilant as we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of the Lord.
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2023 12-03   Be watchful and vigilant as we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of the Lord.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday begins the Season of Advent.  It is a special time in the Church year as we prepare for the coming of the Lord.  Advent holds out the hope and desire to see the light of Christ shine through the darkness of our world.

As reported in the publication, “Vatican News”, in an Advent message, Pope Francis stated that Advent is the time we can be “shaken out” of our lethargy and awakened “from our slumber” to be vigilant always.  We can ask ourselves if we are alert and vigilant and if we “recognize God’s presence in daily situations” saying that if we are unaware of this reality today, we will be unprepared when He arrives at the end of times.

As we reflect on these words of Our Holy Father, and as we begin our Advent Season, we are pleased to sponsor an Advent Parish Mission presented by Fr. Kevin Peek, a priest in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  Fr. Peek is an articulate communicator and experienced spiritual leader.  He has also served as a military Chaplain, with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He currently serves as the Coordinator of the Prison Ministry for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

A Parish Mission can be viewed as an opportunity for spiritual reflection and conversion.  It also can provide an opportunity to change hearts and transform lives as we renew and strengthen our relationship with Our Lord.

At this special time, we are urged to remain watchful and vigilant as we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of the Lord.  This Christmas we are invited to give the Lord the gift of a pure heart by being spiritually prepared for His coming.  Fr. Peek will focus on Eucharistic Renewal and the coming of the Christ Child.  There will be time for prayer and reflection.  The message of Father Peek should resonate with all people of goodwill including families, young adults, and teens.

We invite you to come to this Mission.  Please invite your loved ones and friends, especially those Catholics who may have been away from the Church for some time and for some reason.  Through God’s grace, you may be instrumental in getting your loved ones and friends to return to the precious faith we love and cherish.

The Advent Mission will take place this Tuesday, December 5th to Wednesday, December 6th.  There will be both morning and evening sessions for your convenience.  Details concerning the Mission can be obtained from the Parish bulletin and website as well as from the Parish office.  We invite you to participate in the Parish Mission and avail yourself of this special time of grace.

 

2023 12-10  We Continue our Advent Journey with Mother Mary and Advent Mission
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2023 11-25  Remember what Christ means to us, what Christ did for us, and that we are called to serve the King of Kings.
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2023 11-25  Remember what Christ means to us, what Christ did for us, and that we are called to serve the King of Kings.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe as we approach the end of the liturgical year of our Church.  We remember in a special way what Christ means to us, what Christ did for us, and that we are called to serve the King of Kings.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops calls us to acknowledge Christ’s kingship with our lives.  The bishops stated, “He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ.  He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God.  He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things and cleave to him alone.  He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, ‘as instruments of justice unto God.’ “

As we reflect on these words, we are reminded that Our King, Jesus Christ, invites us to eternal life in heaven.  His will is for our complete and eternal happiness, and we have the opportunity to respond to the gracious invitation He extends to us.  The way to eternal happiness is open to all, but we have free will as to how we will respond.  Our King wants us to be spiritually ready to come into His presence.  And so, we are invited and challenged to embrace His message, embrace His ministry, embrace His mission, and embrace His teaching.

The word “Eucharist” means “giving thanks” and the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.  Our Church leaders remind us that the Lord establishes a special bond with His community through the special Eucharistic meal.  It is the nourishment that fuels and sustains the spiritual vitality of our wonderful faith community.  We can thank the Lord for the opportunity to bond with each other by nourishing on the Bread of Life, especially on this day as we honor Christ Our King.

The following prayer, “Jesus Christ the King”, reflects the significance of this feast:

Almighty everlasting God,
who in Thy beloved Son, King of the whole world,
hast willed to restore all things.
Grant in thy mercy that all the families of the nations,
rent asunder by the wound of sin,
may be subjected to His gentle rule.
Who with Thee live and reign,  world without end.
Amen.

 

2023 12-03   Be watchful and vigilant as we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of the Lord.
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2023 11-18   We Give Thanks for the Spiritual Vitality of our Saint Brigid Faith Community.
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2023 11-18   We Give Thanks for the Spiritual Vitality of our Saint Brigid Faith Community.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This coming Thursday, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day and we are encouraged to give thanks for the many blessings that the Lord has bestowed on us.  As noted in the past, we pray that Thanksgiving Day will not be commercialized, but rather will truly be a time for reflection and thanksgiving.  As we enjoy a meal together, we can reflect on our blessings and thank God for the gifts of our life, our health, our family, our friends, and our vocations.  We can also give thanks for the gift of our precious faith, and for the opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters, especially our brothers and sisters in need at this time of the year.  In addition, we can remember our men and women in the armed forces who are serving our country, and who may not be able to share this special time with loved ones.

This need to be thankful is addressed in this Thanksgiving Day message from Bishop Anthony Taylor, of the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas.  He stated, “All genuine gratefulness begins in remembrance.  In remembering that the lion’s share of our good fortune comes to us through the goodness of others, or for Catholics, from the goodness of God.  So, as we celebrate around our Thanksgiving tables, let us be grateful and humble as we give thanks for the Lord’s blessings.  As the Bible says, ‘You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.’ (Corinthians 9:11)

The following “A Prayer of Thanksgiving” by Reverend Adrian Porter reflects our appreciation of our many gifts and blessings:

We thank you, God our Father,

for the shelter and comfort of our homes;

for the love and companionship of our family and friends;

for our health, and our many gifts and abilities; and for all the blessings we take for granted.

Hear our prayer for all who are less fortunate than we are and bless those who work to help them.

For Jesus Christ’s sake.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, our bishops suggest that beginning Monday, the days before Thanksgiving be set aside for deeds of charity, for penance, and for prayers for economic justice as we strive to embrace a spirit of appreciation and sacrifice.  We can also pray that Thanksgiving Day will truly be a time to thank God for prayers answered and blessings received.

On behalf of the priests, deacons, and staff at Saint Brigid, I give thanks for the spiritual vitality of our Saint Brigid faith community, and I pray that your Thanksgiving Day will be a blessed one.

 

2023 11-25  Remember what Christ means to us, what Christ did for us, and that we are called to serve the King of Kings.
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2023 11-12   Confirmation 2023
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2023 11-12   Confirmation 2023

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Saturday, Bishop Joel Konzen will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to approximately 130 of our teens.  Confirmation along with Baptism and the Holy Eucharist comprise the sacraments of Christian initiation.  Our Catechism states, “Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism by a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which seal or ‘confirm’ the baptized in union with Christ and equip them for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the Church.”

As previously noted, those who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation spend much time in instruction, reflection, and prayer.  Their preparation also includes time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and for a spiritual retreat.  Our Catechism reminds the faithful of the need for proper preparation for the sacrament.  It indicates, “Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a livelier familiarity with the Holy Spirit – his actions, his gifts, and responsibilities of Christian life.  To this end, catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community.”

Candidates for Confirmation are asked to select the name of a saint as their Confirmation name.  The saint can serve as an example of Christian living.  Candidates also receive the spiritual guidance and dedicated support of a sponsor.

Pope Francis has often spoken about the importance of the Sacrament of Confirmation in our spiritual journey.  As reported in the media outlet, “Vatican News”, he stated, “The rite of Confirmation recalls and renews the promises made at Baptism and invokes a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” He further noted that, “Sealed with the Holy Spirit, we are configured more closely to Christ and strengthened to bear witness to him in our world.”

This “Prayer for Confirmation Candidates” asks the Lord to guide those who will be receiving this important sacrament.

“Lord, You send out Your Spirit to touch the hearts of all people,
so that they may believe in You and in Jesus whom You sent.
Look kindly on all candidates for Confirmation as they listen to Your voice.
Open their hearts to Your Spirit and bring to fulfillment the good work You have begun in them.
As we prepare these children for Confirmation, make each one of us an instrument of Your love.
Teach us to appreciate what is holy in others, and to be patient with what we do not understand.
Deepen our faith in the Gospel and help us to pass it on by our example.
We pray that You will continue to guide us and sustain us. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.”      

As we reflect on this prayer, we are encouraged to continue to pray for these young men and women as they get ready to receive this great sacrament and take this profound step on their journey of faith.                                                                                           

 

 

2023 11-18   We Give Thanks for the Spiritual Vitality of our Saint Brigid Faith Community.
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2023 11-05   Let us Remember Those Who Have Unselfishly Served our Nation the Armed Forces.
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2023 11-05   Let us Remember Those Who Have Unselfishly Served our Nation the Armed Forces.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Saturday, November 11th, as a nation we celebrate Veterans Day.  In a special way on this day, we are encouraged to honor our men and women who have served in the armed forces and sacrificed so much on behalf of our country.  Many of us have loved ones who now have Veteran status.  Through their unselfishness and dedication, they made it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms provided in our nation.  We should appreciate their sacrifice and service, and never take them for granted.

As mentioned previously, the Johns Creek Veterans Association arranged for the construction of the Johns Creek Veterans Memorial Walk, located in Newtown Park.  The Walk serves as a vivid reminder of the contributions to the defense of our nation made by our men and women in the armed forces throughout the years.  Members of the Saint Brigid Knights of Columbus, many of whom are Veterans, assisted in the construction of the Walk.

We are also reminded that many of our recent Veterans continue to strive to adapt to civilian life.  Catholic Charities in Atlanta has made a concerted effort to assist Veterans in obtaining adequate housing and has also provided needed spiritual, emotional, and financial support.  In addition, our Veterans Administration hospitals and treatment centers continue to strive to make necessary improvements in order to provide appropriate ongoing care for Veterans in need.
The following “A Veterans Day Prayer” composed by Debbie Kay Hope captures the essence of our appreciation for the sacrifice of our Veterans:

As we reflect on this prayer, we are encouraged to remember our family members, relatives, friends, neighbors, and military chaplains who have unselfishly served our nation in the armed forces. We are encouraged to honor them by assuring them of our prayers, our gratitude, and our respect.

Dear Lord,
We know that freedom isn’t free and a special few pay the price for many.
We owe a debt of gratitude to all the courageous men and women who have served and sacrificed to protect us and our freedoms.
Today as we remember our Veterans, we ask you to bless each one and meet their every need, pray they will know how valued, respected, and appreciated they are.  Please bless their families for their many sacrifices as well.
We ask for your protection over all who are serving now and ask you to bring them home safely.
We also ask you to comfort all who are missing someone who served.
In Jesus’ name, we ask these things.  Amen.

2023 11-12   Confirmation 2023
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2023 10-29   All Saints Day and All Souls Day
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