Pastor's Corner

2021 06-13 We Celebrate the Ordination Fr. Robert Cotta,

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Saturday, June 12, Robbie Cotta was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Atlanta by Archbishop Hartmayer at the Cathedral of Christ the King.  Fr. Cotta is a long-time parishioner of Saint Brigid.  We thank him for answering the call to serve as a shepherd and we pray that Our Lord will bless him and guide him in his priestly ministry.  He is challenged to embrace this call to priestly service with love and joy.  Fr. Cotta’s first assignment will be as parochial vicar at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Atlanta.  He will begin there on or about July 1.

As previously noted, during his time as Pope, Saint John Paul II published a powerful and insightful Apostolic Exhortation called, “Pastores Dabo Vobis” which means “I Will Give You Shepherds.”  In this writing, he reminded us that God promises His people that He will never leave them without shepherds to gather them together to guide them.  He also reminded us that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, entrusted to the Apostles and their successors the ministry of shepherding God’s flock.  He also stated that priests play a vital role in shepherding the flock and are essential to the mission of the Church.

The following “Prayer for a Newly Ordained Priest” provided by the media outlet “Prayerist” asks Jesus to guide and bless those He has chosen to embrace the priestly vocation:

O Jesus,  eternal Priest, keep Your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart, where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Your sacred body.
Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with Your precious Blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and shield them from the world’s contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in heaven their beautiful and everlasting crown.    Amen.

As we celebrate the ordination of Fr. Cotta, please continue to pray for priests and ask Our Lord for an abundance of holy, happy, and healthy priests to guide and shepherd the Church of tomorrow.

 

2021 06-06 We Are Blessed in High Regard for the Eucharist
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2021 06-06 We Are Blessed in High Regard for the Eucharist

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, The Holy Body, and the Blood of Christ.  On this great day, we focus on our devotion to the Eucharist.  The feast celebrates the Holy Eucharist and is marked by special displays of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, including Eucharistic processions.  About this time, the Archdiocese of Atlanta usually sponsors a Eucharistic Congress.  But due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus, the Eucharistic Congress will not take place this year.

We as Catholics, on this feast of Corpus Christi, are reminded that we are blessed to have such high regard for the Eucharist, 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.

As we celebrate this great feast, we also note that transition and change are part of the life of a priest.  As you may know, we have recently been informed that Fr. Michael Bremer will be leaving us on or about June 30 to become the Chaplain for St. Pius High School.  Fr. Michael has served us faithfully and well, especially in the area of youth ministry, and will be a good spiritual mentor and counselor for the students at St. Pius.  We hope to have Fr. Michael continue to assist us, at times, with Masses,     Confessions, and our youth retreats if his schedule at St. Pius permits.

Fr. Michael intends to speak at all Masses during the weekend of June 27 to say his “goodbyes” and we will have a farewell gathering for him after the 11:00 am Sunday Mass.

As we may remember, the word Eucharist means “giving thanks”.  May we truly give thanks for our faith, for Fr. Michael, and for the spiritual home, we call Saint Brigid.

 

2021 06-13 We Celebrate the Ordination Fr. Robert Cotta,
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2021 02/30/2021 We Should Never Take for Granted our Precious Faith and Freedom
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2021 02/30/2021 We Should Never Take for Granted our Precious Faith and Freedom

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

 

This Monday we celebrate Memorial Day, and 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.  Some of them 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.  Many of our servicemen and women died in wars and terrorist attacks.  They 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 Memorial Day prayer below,  “The Prepared Christian” was provided by the media outlet “Beliefnet” and may help us appreciate more fully the sacrifices made by so many.

As we reflect on this prayer, and as we enjoy this day, we are reminded to truly appreciate our precious faith and freedom which we should never take for granted.  As previously noted, this is especially important in these difficult and uncertain times when we have witnessed a dramatic change in the fabric of our society due to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  This change has caused us to view our faith and our freedom in a different light and made us more acutely aware of the reality that some events and circumstances are beyond our control.

In addition, on this day of picnics and various forms of recreation, we are urged to 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, and we can continue to pray for peace in our world, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts.

“On this Memorial Day, I am thankful for the sacrifice so many throughout our history have made, for the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, and for their families who had to carry on without them.

It is a sacrifice that is easy to forget.  For those who have it, freedom is like oxygen.  It is something we just have.  Many will not understand just how precious either is until they are at risk of being taken away.

Encroachments are being made on our freedoms right now by those who think they know better.  This is a conversation for another time.  Today I remember a sacrifice made and a debt I cannot repay.

Today I pray for the God of heaven to bless the families of those who have lost loved ones while serving our great nation.  I pray for Him to bless and comfort the walking wounded who are still with us, and bless their families as well.

It is also my prayer that we remember their service and the precious gift of freedom every day, not just once a year or when they are in danger of being taken away.”

AMEN

2021 06-06 We Are Blessed in High Regard for the Eucharist
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2021 05-23 A Graduate’s Prayer
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2021 05-23 A Graduate’s Prayer

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost.  It marks the end of the Easter season.  On this day, we see the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus to send the Holy Spirit upon His Apostles.  As we know, 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 clearly show that they not only understand the teaching of Jesus but also are willing to put His teaching into practice.  They will endure persecution, suffering, ridicule, and other forms of trial as they preach his Good News.  They will heed the call of Jesus to go forth and make disciples of all nations.

As we celebrate this great feast, we also remember at this time of the year our loved ones and friends who are graduating from various levels of education.  Although the health environment has been gradually improving, some graduation exercises cannot take place in person.  For some graduates, there is still some form of online graduation exercises due primarily to the sustained impact of the Covid 19 virus.   However, we still strive to honor our graduates in a personal way for their accomplishments.

The following prayer below, “A Graduate’s Prayer” by Mary Fairchild, provided by “Jesuitresource.org”, asks Our Heavenly Father to guide and bless one who is graduating.  As we reflect on this prayer, and as we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, we are challenged to allow the Holy Spirit to come into our minds, and into our lives, and into our hearts as we continue to strive to cope spiritually in these difficult and uncertain times.

On behalf of our priests, deacons, and staff, we congratulate all our graduates at this special time of the year and wish them well in their future endeavors.

Dear Lord,
As I look to the future
Bright hope conducts this prayer,
For I know the plans You have for me
Were wrought with divine care.

Holy Spirit lead me.
Let me run at Your command.
You be still and know that You are God
When trouble is close at hand.

Your Word will be a lamp for me,
A guide to light my way,
A solid place to set my feet,
A compass when I stray.

May I live my life to please You,
Not for fortune, nor for fame.
May everything I say and do
Bring glory to Your name.

May my eyes stay fixed upon You,
As I seek the way that’s pure,
Tasting Your love and goodness
Sleeping and rising secure.

Planted by Your loving streams
I’ll delight in all Your ways,
Hidden by your sheltering wings
With new mercies by each day.

Even in a dangerous land
When storms threaten to destroy,
At the cross, I’ll stand upon the Rock
My Strength, my Hope, my Joy.

Dear Lord, show me Your favor.
At all times keep me blessed.
May Your face ever shine upon me,
With peace and perfect rest.

2021 02/30/2021 We Should Never Take for Granted our Precious Faith and Freedom
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2021 05-16 Mary, Mother of our Church, Intercede for Us
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2021 05-16 Mary, Mother of our Church, Intercede for Us

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

During the month of May, we honor Mary in a special way.  Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has invited us to look to Mary for inspiration.  His great devotion to Mary is well known.  He stated, “We ask her, the first disciple, to teach us to persevere, to accompany us in patience, to strengthen us in hope.  We ask her to lead us to an encounter with her Risen Son.”

As we reflect on these words of Our Holy Father, we are reminded that 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.

Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus but also the Mother of our Church.  As previously noted, as reported by the Catholic publication “CRUX”, Pope Francis declared, in the year 2018, a new feast for the Catholic Church which is dedicated to Mary as the “Mother of the Church.”  The feast is to be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost.  The publication reported, “With this decree, devotion to Mary as Mother of the Church now becomes an approved feast for the Universal Church.”  The publication also noted, “The decree observes that the veneration of Mary as Mother of the Church has ancient roots in the Catholic tradition, reaching back to St. Augustine and St. Leo the Great.  The title, the document says, is rooted in New Testament account about Mary.”

The following brief “Prayer to Mary, Mother of God”, provided by “Catholic Online”, reflects our appreciation for what Mary has done for us, for what Mary means to us:

Father, Source of Light in every age, the Virgin conceived and bore
Your Son, Who is called Wonderful God, Prince of Peace.
May her prayer, the gift of a mother’s love, be Your people’s joy through all ages.
May her response, born of a humble heart, draw Your Spirit to rest on Your people.
Grant this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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.

2021 05-23 A Graduate’s Prayer
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2021 05-09 Mothers Assist Their Children in Making Decisions That Help Them Lead Fruitful Lives
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2021 05-09 Mothers Assist Their Children in Making Decisions That Help Them Lead Fruitful Lives

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday is Mother’s Day and we are invited to remember and honor our mothers in a special way.  We can reflect on how much they do for their families and the many sacrifices they make on behalf of their spouse and children.  As often noted, mothers do many ordinary things and they do them extraordinarily well.  Primarily through their teaching and their example, they also play an essential role in passing down our faith to their children.

Pope Francis has great respect for the vocation of motherhood.  During an address in Rome, as reported in the publication “For Your Marriage”, Pope Francis specifically reflected on a mother’s demanding role in raising a child.  He stated that a mother “does not always take the child along the safe road, because in that way the child cannot develop, but neither does she leave the child only on the risky path because that is dangerous.”  He noted that a mother “knows how to balance things” as she cares for her child with love and affection. Our Holy Father also indicated that mothers assist their children in making decisions that may help lead them to a fruitful life.

The following prayer from the “Book of Blessings” asks God to bless mothers who will be attending Mass on Mother’s Day:

Loving God, as a mother gives life and nourishment to her children,
so you watch over your Church.
Bless these women,
that they may be strengthened as Christian mothers.
Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.
Grant that we,
their sons and daughters may honor them always with a spirit of profound respect.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are invited to give thanks to our mothers for the many sacrifices they make on behalf of their families, especially in these difficult and uncertain times as we strive to cope with the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  We can 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.

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.

2021 05-16 Mary, Mother of our Church, Intercede for Us
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2021 05-02 We Celebrate First Commuion … Jesus Is Alive and Here With Us
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2021 05-02 We Celebrate First Commuion … Jesus Is Alive and Here With Us

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This coming Saturday, many of the children in our faith community will make their First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid.  Their parents and other loved ones will present them to share with us in the fullness of the Lord’s Supper for the first time and watch proudly as these children, with great devotion, take this important step on their journey of faith.

Pope Francis recently celebrated a First Holy Communion Mass for a group of children in Europe.  As reported in the publication “America”, at the Mass, Our Holy Father stated, “First Communion is above all a celebration.  We celebrate Jesus, who wants to remain always by our side.  He will always be with us.”  He noted, “Jesus is alive and here with us.  That is why we can encounter him today in the Eucharist. We do not see him with our physical eyes, but we do see him with eyes of faith.”

Pope Francis reminded the children that this celebration was made possible thanks to their parents and grandparents, their families and communities, their catechists and clergy who “have accompanied you on the road that today leads you to meet Jesus and to receive him in your hearts.”

As Catholics, as we celebrate First Holy Communion, we recall the Lord’s Supper and our love for the Eucharist.  Our Church teaching reminds us that we are blessed to have high regard for the Eucharist, 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.

The following “Prayer for First Holy Communion” prayer provided by Catholic Online reflects the reception of First Holy Communion from the viewpoint of a child:

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.
Make me thoughtful and prayerful at Mass.
Come to me and remain with me all the days of my life.
Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded that the word “Eucharist” means “giving thanks.”  And today we can once again thank the Lord for the great gift of the Eucharist, for our wonderful children, and for our vibrant faith community of Saint Brigid.

2021 05-09 Mothers Assist Their Children in Making Decisions That Help Them Lead Fruitful Lives
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2021 04-25 Frequently Asked Questions of Catholics
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2021 04-25 Frequently Asked Questions of Catholics

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As Catholics, we are encouraged to grow in our knowledge and understanding of our faith. The publication, Our Sunday Visitor, has prepared a list of the following ten questions which are frequently asked of Catholics:

Are you saved?
If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?
Why do you worship wafers?
Why do you worship Mary?
Why do you confess your sins to a priest?
Why do you pray to idols (statues)?
Why do you pray for the dead?
Why do you call your priest “Father”?
Why do you obey the Pope?
Are your beliefs found in the Bible?

As Catholics, we may have been asked these or similar questions in the past. People would not usually ask us these questions unless they noticed a spiritual orientation in our lives. If we set a good example for others, if we show love of God and love of neighbor by our actions, people may then become more interested in the faith we profess.  We should try our best to explain and defend our faith.

Deacon Henry Hein and Deacon Leo Gahafer will coordinate two sessions on “Catholic Apologetics” where they will discuss these and similar questions which may arise.  They will also discuss access to appropriate resource materials which can assist us in researching these and similar questions.  We expect one session to take place in Corbett Hall, with limited attendance and appropriate social distancing. We also anticipate having a second online session, virtually through “Zoom”.  Details concerning these sessions will be forthcoming.

2021 05-02 We Celebrate First Commuion … Jesus Is Alive and Here With Us
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2021 04-18 Our Holy Week Celebrations – Thank you.
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2021 04-18 Our Holy Week Celebrations – Thank you.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As we know, we are living in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  During these times we have been striving to meet the spiritual needs of our parishioners and friends in conformity with the guidelines and directives provided by the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  We have celebrated our liturgies in creative and reverent ways with the assistance of our clergy, staff, and many volunteers.  We have provided Masses in the Main Church, Masses in Corbett Hall, outdoor Masses, and Masses online.

As we continue in this great season of Easter, on behalf of our clergy, staff, and volunteers,      I want to thank you for your active participation in our liturgies, especially during Holy Week.  We truly appreciate your courtesy, respect, and patience as we celebrated liturgies at various locations (in addition to online).  We also appreciate your courtesy, respect, and patience in entering and exiting our parking areas.  By your active participation, you have truly made the celebration of the resurrection of Christ a sacred and holy one as it should be.

The pictures on pages 4 & 5 of this bulletin provide a glimpse of the beauty and reverence of Holy Week.

As your pastor, I greatly appreciate all you do to enhance the spirituality of Saint Brigid Parish.  It is a privilege to serve you.  Thank you and God bless you.

 

2021 04-25 Frequently Asked Questions of Catholics
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2021 04-11 Jesus I Trust in You, Divine Mercy Sunday
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2021 04-11 Jesus I Trust in You, Divine Mercy Sunday

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. This year we celebrate this day in the midst of these difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus which has caused us to adapt our approach to certain liturgical services. This great day is associated with Sr. Faustina. She was a Catholic nun and mystic from Poland who experienced apparitions of Jesus which inspired the devotion of Divine Mercy and earned her the title of “Apostle of Divine Mercy.”
The Church, in the year 2000, declared that the Second Sunday of Easter is known as “Divine Mercy Sunday”. Sr. Faustina was canonized in that year and the observance of Divine Mercy Sunday was instituted soon thereafter.
It may seem unusual that Divine Mercy Sunday comes so soon after the season of Lent. After all, is not Lent the season to focus on repentance and mercy? Well, our Church believes that the timing is most appropriate because Jesus’ message to Sr. Faustina reminds us that there is no limit to His mercy for those who truly believe, for those who humbly ask for forgiveness. His mercy is not limited by boundaries, nor is it impacted by seasonal limitations. This was His message to Sr. Faustina, and this is His message to us.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has emphasized the need for mercy. As reported by the Catholic News Agency, he stated, “The wounds of Jesus are a treasure from which mercy comes. With His wounds, Jesus intercedes before the Father.”

Our Holy Father has urged us to embrace this day and truly reflect a spirit of mercy, repentance, and reconciliation in our lives. On this day, one week after Easter, we are reminded why Jesus rose from the dead, and one of the reasons was to shower the world with divine mercy.
The following “Divine Mercy 3 O’clock Prayer” reflects the spirit of this day:

You expired, O Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls
and an ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world.
O Fount of Life, 
unfathomable Divine Mercy,
envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
O Blood and Water,
which gushed from the heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us,
I trust in You.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we gratefully note that the focus on Divine Mercy Sunday has increased in this nation in recent years as more Catholics acknowledge the need for mercy. This Sunday will have a Holy Hour at Saint Brigid at 3:00 pm, the recognized hour of Divine Mercy. All are invited to attend as we come together in prayer and humbly thank the Lord for showering His mercy on us.

2021 04-18 Our Holy Week Celebrations – Thank you.
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2021 04-04 May Each Day of This Easter Season Provide Glimpses of Your Glory
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2021 04-04 May Each Day of This Easter Season Provide Glimpses of Your Glory

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday is Easter Sunday, and, on this day, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. Through His Resurrection, Jesus has conquered sin and death. This is the message of His Good News. This is the message of Easter, and Pope Francis invites us to embrace this message.

Our Holy Father supplemented this message as reported in the media outlet “Vatican News” stating, “May Christ, who has already defeated death and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, dispel the darkness of our suffering humanity and lead us into the light of His glorious day. A day that knows no end.”

As we know, we are living in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus. Our Holy Father, commenting on the virus, stated, “This disease has not only deprived us of human closeness but also of the possibility of receiving in-person the consolation that flows from the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and Reconciliation. But the Lord has not left us alone. United in our prayer, we are convinced that He has laid His hand upon us.”

As we reflect on these words of Our Holy Father, we know that many of our parishioners and friends cannot come together at this time to worship with us due to health and other concerns. However, we still welcome all to our vibrant Parish community. We especially welcome those who completed the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) programs. It is a thorough period of inquiry, education, and catechesis. They will receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation or the Eucharist for the first time at the Easter vigil.

We also welcome all those who do not attend our Church on a regular basis. We hope that you will choose to become more fully involved in our community of faith and get spiritually closer to the Lord and trust in Him.
The following prayer called “A PRAYER FOR EASTER EYES” invites us to focus on our Risen Lord during this holy season:

My Lord, Jesus,
You have risen to new life!
Give me new eyes with which to recognize your presence in the world around me.
Sharpen my vision so that I see beyond the ordinary events of each day and into the extraordinary reality of your grace.
Brighten my view of the world with renewed hope in the coming of your Kingdom.
Soften my gaze so that I view others with the kind of tenderness and compassion you showed to so many.
May each day of this Easter season provide glimpses of your glory.
In your sacred name, I pray.  Amen.

As we celebrate this special day, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all who serve and support our faith community. On behalf of our priests, deacons and staff, I wish you and your families a holy, happy and healthy Easter season.

Our Lord is Risen!   Let us rejoice and be glad!

2021 04-11 Jesus I Trust in You, Divine Mercy Sunday
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2021 03-28 “Beloved, let us set out with faith this Holy Week, in which Jesus suffers, dies, and rises again.”
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2021 03-28 “Beloved, let us set out with faith this Holy Week, in which Jesus suffers, dies, and rises again.”

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday, and we focus on the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  In our faith tradition, Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week during which we commemorate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus.  Palms are blessed at Mass and distributed to the faithful to be used for personal devotion throughout the year.  As we know, this week is the holiest week in the Church year.

In a past Palm Sunday homily, as reported by EWTN News, Pope Francis, commenting on this holiest of weeks, stated, Beloved, let us set out with faith this Holy Week, in which Jesus suffers, dies, and rises again.”  He noted, “In these holy days, in our homes, let us stand before the Crucified One – look, look at the crucifix, the fullest measure of God’s love for us, and before the God who serves us to the point of giving his life, and let us ask for the grace to live in order to serve.”

Pope Francis also acknowledged that we live in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus, which has limited, in certain ways, our participation in liturgies and other services.  He stated, “People and families who cannot participate in liturgical celebrations are invited to gather in prayer at home, also helped by technological means.”

The following prayer titled “A Prayer for Palm Sunday”, provided by “Psalm91.com” can help us focus spiritually at this time:

On this day of great rejoicing, when we welcome You as our King and Savior, we also wake in the shadow of Your cross.
Hosanna we cry!
Blessed are You who come in God’s name to save us.
Hosanna!
Strengthen our faith on this Palm Sunday so that when the time comes to carry the cross we might still call out to You with heartfelt praise.
Give us the grace and courage to follow You this Holy Week from death to resurrection, from darkness to the fullness of light.
We need You, Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Hosanna!

As we reflect on this prayer, Our Holy Father invites us to share in some small way in the suffering of Christ during this Holy Week, so that we may one day share in his glory.

As we begin Holy Week, 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 heed the words of Our Holy Father and strive to embrace a spirit of reverence and service as we continue on our journey of faith.

 

2021 04-04 May Each Day of This Easter Season Provide Glimpses of Your Glory
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2021 03/21 Congratulations to Carol Kler and Emma Oswald as Woman and Teen of the Year for Saint Brigid Parish
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2021 03/21 Congratulations to Carol Kler and Emma Oswald as Woman and Teen of the Year for Saint Brigid Parish

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Each year the Archdiocese of Atlanta honors the Woman and Teen of the Year for each of those parishes which are members of the Archdiocese of Atlanta Council of Catholic Women.  In past years, the Archbishop celebrated a Mass of Recognition honoring these women and teens.  However, this year, due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus, the Mass of Recognition will not take place.  Instead, these women and teens will be acknowledged at their home parishes.

Carol Kler has been chosen as Woman of the Year, and Emma Oswald 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.

Carol coordinates our ministry for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and also our ministry for the homebound.  She also coordinates the liturgical team of ushers, sacristans and lectors who serve at our outdoor Masses.  Carol is an active member of our Pro-life ministry and the Women of Saint Brigid.  She is also a diligent worker for Habitat for Humanity.  Carol has served as a volunteer in the past for Vacation Bible School and in our “Coffee and Doughnuts” ministry.  In all that she does, Carol finds great joy in serving the Lord and serving the faith community of Saint Brigid.

Emma Oswald has served as a mentor for our Parish School of Religion program for four years.  She has also served as a teen leader for our Youth Ministry for two years.   Embracing spiritual maturity and wisdom, Emma interacts well with her peers and sets a great example for them.  She welcomes other teens into our youth events and assists them in their needs.  Emma is always willing to serve and often works behind the scenes.  She is greatly appreciated by the Youth Ministry coordinators and core team.  In her words and in her actions, she gives witness to the Saint Brigid faith community as a true disciple of Christ.

Our parish will acknowledge Carol and Emma at a Mass at a time and date to be determined.  On behalf of the priests, deacons, staff, and parishioners of Saint Brigid, I congratulate them for this well-deserved honor, and for inspiring us by their example of generous and unselfish service.

 

2021 03-28 “Beloved, let us set out with faith this Holy Week, in which Jesus suffers, dies, and rises again.”
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2021 03-14 May Christ be with us! May Christ be before us! May Christ be in us!
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2021 03-07 Parish Lenten Mission “How to RECLAIM, REIMAGINE, & RECONNECT in Our World Today

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

We will soon offer a Parish Mission to our faith community.  A Parish Mission can be viewed as an opportunity for spiritual reflection and renewal.  With an emphasis on love and mercy, it also can provide an opportunity to change hearts and transform lives as we renew and strengthen our relationship with Our Lord.

We may also realize that Lent is a good time for a Parish Mission and provides us with another opportunity to take a closer look at how we are progressing on our journey of faith.  It is a time to strive to determine which way we are heading, and how we may be able to alter our spiritual course.  It is an appropriate time to confront the temptations that are all around us.  These temptations are very real and very powerful.

As we know, we are living in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  It has altered our approach to our liturgies, prayers, and parish gatherings.  Yet we are still privileged to be able to host a Lenten Parish Mission on Monday, March 15th to Wednesday, March 17th,  presented by Joe Farris., twice a day, from 10 AM to 11 AM  and 7 PM to 8 PM.  Joe has been at Saint Brigid before and has been enthusiastically received by our parishioners and friends.  He is an internationally recognized mission presenter and lay Catholic missionary who weaves stories into an engaging, passionate message of hope.  His theme for the Mission will be  “How to RECLAIM, REIMAGINE, & RECONNECT in Our World Today” as he inspires us to more fully live and boldly proclaim our Catholic faith.

Father Thomas Pastorius from St. Louis, Missouri, after a Parish Mission presented by Joe, stated,

“Joe Farris is one of the most authentic and vibrant Catholic speakers that I know.  He has an amazing ability to engage people of all ages in such a way that people walk away from his presentations on fire for the Lord and with a deep desire for personal growth.  Joe’s humility and speaking style invites all to realize that a joyful life on earth and sainthood in Heaven is within their grasp thanks to the grace of God.” 

 Please mark your calendars and plan to attend this Mission.  Attendance and seating capacity requirements will be in conformity with the guidelines of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.   Joe will offer morning and evening sessions which will be similar in content.  Additional details concerning the Mission can be obtained from the Parish bulletin, as well as from the Parish office and website.  I hope that you will prayerfully consider availing yourself of this great opportunity to enhance your spiritual life during this special season of Lent.                            

 

2021 03-14 May Christ be with us! May Christ be before us! May Christ be in us!
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2021 02-28 Confession is Meant to Be a Sincere Time of Conversion
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2021 02-21 Why Do We Pray the “Stations of the Cross”?

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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 or deacons in formation.  The reflection focuses on our Lenten challenges and concerns.   “Stations” then follow at 7:15 pm.

As we deal with the fluid nature of the Covid-19 virus, we can also pray the “Stations” in the privacy of our own residence.  This is an especially important consideration for those who have pre-existing medical conditions or ongoing illnesses or for those with underlying health concerns.   A pre-recorded version of the “Stations” is available on the parish website.

As previously noted, the publication “Catholic Online” stated 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.”  It further states that “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”.

Pope Francis has encouraged us to pray the “Stations”, and stressed their importance.  He reminded the faithful that the Cross of Christ bears the suffering and sins of mankind and that Christ bears our crosses on His shoulders.  As reported in the publication “Focus”, Pope Francis has noted the following eight reasons why we should pray the “Stations of the Cross”:

   They allow us to place our trust in God.

   They put us into history.

   They remind us that Jesus suffers with us.

   They compel us to action.

   They help us make a decision for or against Christ.

   They reveal God’s response to evil in the world.

   They give us the certainty of God’s love for us.

   They guide us from the cross to the Resurrection.

As we reflect on these reasons, we may more clearly understand why 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 clearly witness our faith and assist us in our spiritual journey.  The “Stations” help us to more fully appreciate what Jesus has done for us.  They also assist us in our efforts to enter more fully into the Lenten spirit of sacrifice, renewal, and repentance.

I hope that we will prayerfully consider making the “Stations” an integral part of our Lenten experience.

 

2021 02-28 Confession is Meant to Be a Sincere Time of Conversion
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2021 02-14 Turn to God and Seek Sspiritual Renewal in Heart, Mind and Body This Lenten Season
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2021 02-14 Turn to God and Seek Sspiritual Renewal in Heart, Mind and Body This Lenten Season

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 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.

Pope Francis stated that Lent is a time to spiritually renew our lives.  As reported in the publication “The Catholic World Report”, he stated in a recent Lenten Message, “Lent is the right time to make room for the Word of God.  It is time to turn off the television and open the Bible.  It is the time to disconnect from your cell phone and connect to the Gospel.”  He challenged us to tune out our worldliness as “…we struggle to distinguish the voice of the Lord who speaks to us, the voice of conscience, of good.”  Referring to Jesus’ time in the desert, he also stated that Jesus is “calling us into the desert” and, “Prayer, fasting, works of mercy, here is the road into the Lenten desert.”

As we reflect on these sentiments of Our Holy Father, we are encouraged to turn to God and seek spiritual renewal in heart, mind, and body during this important season.  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.  Due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID -19 virus, in these difficult and uncertain times, many of our liturgies, including Stations of the Cross, will have limited in-person restrictions but will also be provided on our website.

As we begin our Lenten journey, please take every opportunity to avail yourself of this special time of grace as we prepare to celebrate the Easter Resurrection of Our Lord.

Gracious God,
today begins a period of inner reflection and examination.
The days stretch before me
and invite me inward to that silent, holy space that holds Your spirit.
This special time beckons me to see my life through Christ’s eyes and the truth and reality of Your incarnate love.
Give me the grace to enter the space of these days with anticipation of our meeting
And, when I open my soul to Your presence, let Your loving kindness flow over me and seep into the pockets of my heart.
I ask this for the sake of Your love.  Amen

2021 02-21 Why Do We Pray the “Stations of the Cross”?
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2021 02-07 “Our Joyful Return to the Lord”, the 2021 Archbishops Annual Appeal
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2021 02-07 “Our Joyful Return to the Lord”, the 2021 Archbishops Annual Appeal

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This weekend we will discuss the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal for 2021 at our Masses. The theme of the Appeal is “Our Joyful Return to the Lord” (Isaiah 51:11).  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 our people.

A substantial portion of our contributions to the Appeal continue to provide funds that go directly to the training and support of future happy, holy, and healthy priests needed to serve the Church of tomorrow.  As you may know, Fr. Tri Nguyen, who served the people of Saint Brigid so well for many years, is now the Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  Our contributions assist Fr. Tri as he guides our seminarians in their training and formation.  Currently our parishioner, Deacon Robbie Cotta, is in the Vocations program for the Archdiocese. He anticipates being ordained a priest this June.

Our contributions are also used for the training and formation of permanent deacons.  Parishioners Geza Gereben and Joseph Young continue in the diaconate formation program.  As you can see, our support of the Annual Appeal is clearly bearing fruit.  Through your generosity and your prayers, Saint Brigid benefits directly from the Appeal.

In addition, the Appeal supports Catholic Charities which strives to assist those in need.  A special emphasis is placed this year on those in need due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Catholic Charities also continues to make an exerted effort to help homeless military veterans in the Atlanta area and in other local communities to stabilize their lives through 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.

May Our Lord continue to bless you for all you do to enhance the spiritual vitality of our faith community.

2021 02-14 Turn to God and Seek Sspiritual Renewal in Heart, Mind and Body This Lenten Season
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2021 01-31 We Celebrate the Feast of our Patron Saint Brigid
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2021 01-31 We Celebrate the Feast of our Patron Saint Brigid

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we begin “Catholic Schools Week” as we focus on the value and importance of Catholic education.  The theme this year is “Catholic Schools: Faith, Excellence, Service.”  Our Holy Father, Pope Francis places a high value on the need for faith-based Catholic education.   As noted by the Archdiocese of Hartford, Pope Francis expressed his belief that parents should have the right to choose a “moral and religious education” for their children.  He has been personally involved in Catholic education since his time as a young priest when he taught literature and psychology for years at a Catholic high school, and then later taught theology at a Catholic college.

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.  They strive to educate and form students who will embrace and spread the faith.

As we celebrate “Catholic Schools Week”, it is appropriate to note that this coming Monday we will also celebrate the feast day of Saint Brigid of Kildare, the patron saint of our Parish.  She is also the patron saint of students.  Catholic education was very important to her.  Saint Brigid worked to see that the Catholic faith was taught clearly and thoroughly, and she founded several schools.

As reported by the publication “Catholic News Agency” (CNA), Saint Brigid was an Irish Christian nun who was known for her extraordinary spirituality.  Her life was rooted in prayer.  She worked tirelessly to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, and traveled widely throughout Ireland, founding many convents and fostering vocation awareness.  Many were led to the Catholic faith through her words and actions.

CNA indicated that Saint Brigid also did “manual labor: clothmaking, dairy farming, and raising sheep.”  It stated that “This communal combination of work and prayer attracted vast numbers of people” to her ministry.  Under her leadership, CNA acknowledged that “Kildare played a major role in the successful Christianization of Ireland.”   Along with Saint Patrick and others, Saint Brigid had a major influence in making Ireland a Christian nation.

As previously noted, Saint Brigid is also associated with Christian charity and 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.  She labored among the less fortunate with love and compassion.  Her love of God and love of neighbor were obvious to all who knew her.

As we reflect on her many contributions to our Catholic faith, we can proudly say, Saint Brigid, intercede for us; Saint Brigid, patron of our parish, pray for us.

 

 

 February 1st is the Feast Day of Saint Brigid of Kildare, Ireland.  (452 – 525)   We celebrate this special day within our Sunday Mass liturgies this year.  The prayers, scriptures, and hymns will be those of the Feast rather than the  4th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  

 

2021 02-07 “Our Joyful Return to the Lord”, the 2021 Archbishops Annual Appeal
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2021 01-24 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021
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2021 01-24 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This weekend we come to the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  The theme for this special week of prayer is “Abide in My Love…You Shall Bear Much Fruit.”  It finds its origins in the Gospel of John (cf. John 15: 1-17).  Fr. James Loughran, Director of Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute (GEII), and a leader in this call for unity, stated, “Jesus gave his life for all out of his love for all.  To abide in His love reminds us that we live in a community celebrating our gift of unity”.  He further stated, “In these days of the Coronavirus threat, our world has become smaller.  More than ever, we need to appreciate the value of Christian unity.”

During this past week, we were asked to unite in prayer with our Christian brothers and sisters.  We were invited to pray for unity among the Christian Churches, and also for peace in our world, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts.  With the world in great turmoil, especially due to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus and the ongoing problems in the Middle East, and with divisions within our Churches, Pope Francis has often expressed his desire for Christian unity.

Reflecting on this need for unity, as noted in the publication “The Catholic World Report”, Our Holy Father stated, “the Christian Churches, together with other religious traditions, have a primary duty to offer an example of dialogue, mutual respect, and practical cooperation.”  He continued to hope for full communion among Christian Churches, “based on our common faith in Jesus Christ, sent by God the Father to gather all people into one body, and the cornerstone of the one and holy Church, God’s temple, in which all of us are living stones, each according to our own particular charism or ministry bestowed by the Holy Spirit.”

“A Christian Prayer for Unity” by Carl Moeddel, provided by the media outlet “Jesuit Resource” seeks the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we desire to come together:

One only Holy Spirit of Father and Son in whom all are baptized,
one giver of many gifts,
one tree of many fruits,
one speaker of every tongue,
renew in our day the wonders of Pentecost,
grant that people of every race and nation may understand one another,
and as one, proclaim the praises of God.
Grant that all may be one as You, Spirit,  with the Father and the Son are one God, one Lord.
Grant unity to the body of Christ,
grant unity to the human family.
Sole breath of every living thing, may all be one who, in You, live and move have their being.
Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, and as we answer our call to discipleship in these difficult and uncertain times, we are challenged to continue to pray for unity, especially among our Christian Churches, as we continue on our journey of faith.

 

 

2021 01-31 We Celebrate the Feast of our Patron Saint Brigid
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2021 01-17 A Prayer for the Unborn
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2021 01-17 A Prayer for the Unborn

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Monday as a nation we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  One of the many quotes he is noted for is: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.”  In honoring his legacy, we recognize his great efforts in shedding light on the need to respect the fundamental dignity of the human person.  We honor his important work in addressing and overcoming many of the racial injustices of the past in our country.  We also acknowledge that much still needs to be done to heal wounds and divisions that continue to exist in our nation.

This support for the fundamental dignity of the human person will also be emphasized on this coming Friday, as Archbishop Hartmayer will celebrate a special Mass for the Unborn at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.  The Mass will bring attention to the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision of the United States Supreme Court which effectively legalized abortion in this country and which is clearly contrary to Catholic teaching concerning the sanctity of life.

(This virtual Mass may be viewed online at livestream.com/archatl.)

 A Prayer for the Unborn” provided by “Catholic Online” reflects our concern for unborn human life. 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 unborn, 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.

Heavenly Father,
in Your love for us, protect against the wickedness of the devil, those helpless little ones to whom You have given life.
Help them to see that the child they carry is made in Your image, as well as theirs, made for eternal life.
Dispel their fear of selfishness and give them true womanly hearts to love their babies and give them birth and all the needed care that a mother can give.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.
Amen.

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

 

2021 01-24 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021
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2021 01-10 Baptism “The Foundation of Christian life”
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2021 01-10 Baptism “The Foundation of Christian life”

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Our Christmas Season ends this Sunday as we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord.  Our Catechism indicates that Jesus began his public life after being baptized by John the Baptist.  It also states that although the baptism by John was intended for sinners, “Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying.”

As we celebrate this feast, we are reminded that in an address, as reported by the media outlet “Catholic News Service”, Pope Francis called the sacrament of baptism “the foundation of Christian life.”  As the first of the seven sacraments, he said baptism “is the door that permits Christ the Lord to make his dwelling in us and allows us to immerse ourselves in his mystery.”   Our Holy Father also stated that “Baptism immerses us in the death and resurrection of the Lord…giving birth to the new man, recreated in Jesus.”  He called baptism a gift which “illuminates our entire life.”  He suggested that “We should all know the date of our baptism.  It is another birthday, it is the day of our rebirth.”

As we focus on the Baptism of Our Lord, the sacrament of baptism, and on the words of Our Holy Father, this Sunday we also focus on the mission of the Mustard Seed Communities (MSC).  Our Church reminds us that we are called to respect the fundamental dignity of the human person and hope to see that dignity reflected in all God’s children.  This respect for God’s children is reflected in the work of the Mustard Seed Communities.  As mentioned previously, MSC cares for several hundred children and adults.  Many of these children and adults have special physical and mental health needs, and some had been abandoned by their families.  MSC strives to protect the most vulnerable of God’s people.  It has facilities in Jamaica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Africa.  It 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. Some of our parishioners have adopted children from the various communities of Mustard Seed.  In the past, some of our parishioners have participated in mission trips to assist in the construction of Churches at MSC facilities and also assisted in the construction of appropriate housing for children and adults in need.  However, due primarily to the sustained impact on the COVID-19 virus, these mission trips have been temporarily suspended.  Representatives of MSC will be available after the Masses this weekend to answer questions about MSC and the work it does.  Please prayerfully consider supporting the mission of the Mustard Seed Communities.

 

2021 01-17 A Prayer for the Unborn
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2021 01-03 Hope for New Year
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2021 01-03 Hope for New Year

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Our New Year has begun in the midst of the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  This past Friday we celebrated the Solemnity of Mary, as we honored Mary as the Mother of God.   This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord.  On this day, we focus on the wise men who were on a difficult journey of faith to encounter the Lord.  They faced many risks and obstacles on their way including the danger inherent in traveling on a difficult and arduous journey.

Like the wise men, we also are on a difficult journey of faith to encounter 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 assist each other in overcoming the many obstacles we face.

As we celebrate the Epiphany, as disciples, we can lift each other up spiritually as we reaffirm our commitment to strive to give honor and glory to the Lord who loves us, always progressing with a spirit of hope.

This spirit of hope is reflected in this prayer of “Hope for a New Year”:

As we reflect on this prayer, we are challenged to place our trust in the Lord in the midst of all the difficulties and uncertainties we continue to encounter.  At this time of the year, 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.  However, we should also strive to reflect on ways we can renew or revitalize our lives spiritually.  Maybe we can resolve to pray each day with our family or with a friend, or read sacred scripture for a brief period each day.  Maybe we can resolve to assist someone in need through the Saint Vincent DePaul Society or some other worthwhile ministry, or participate in a brief retreat.

Whatever we do, we are reminded that this New Year provides us with a great opportunity to more effectively live our faith, grow as disciples, and set a good example for those we encounter in the course of our daily lives.

On behalf of Fr. Bill, Fr. Michael, our Deacons and staff, I wish you and your families a happy, healthy, and holy New Year.

 

2021 01-10 Baptism “The Foundation of Christian life”
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2020 12-24 Welcome the Christ Child as Jesus “Emmanuel”
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2020 12-24 Welcome the Christ Child as Jesus “Emmanuel”

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As we know, at Christmas, we welcome the Christ Child as Jesus “Emmanuel” comes to us.  In a recent Christmas message, Pope Francis reminded us that the light of peace, hope, and salvation is brought into the world with the birth of Jesus.  Our Holy Father prayed that in the midst of our busy lives, we would focus on the birth of Jesus and that Jesus would “soften our often stony and self-centered hearts and make them channels of his love.”  Pope Francis also expressed the hope that Jesus may “bring His tenderness to all and brighten the darkness of this world.”

The following Christmas prayer reflects the essence of the season and the sentiments of Our Holy Father:

Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.

Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Your children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen!

As we reflect on this prayer, may we truly be people of hope, and allow the light of Christ to shine through the darkness of our lives.  May this Christmas season truly be a time of prayer and reflection, wonder and silence as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Light of the world.  I pray that we truly experience the joy and love of the Lord this Christmas as we hear His voice in the silence of our hearts.  May we also allow the sacred mysteries of Christmas to take on a special meaning in our lives.

As we know, we live in difficult and challenging times, as we strive to cope with the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Especially in this time of uncertainty, I am truly grateful for your enthusiastic support of our Parish and your active participation in our liturgical celebrations.  You have made it possible for us to sustain the spiritual integrity and vitality of our Parish.  I am also deeply grateful for your generosity which, in so many ways, has enhanced and strengthened the many programs, ministries, and activities that we offer at Saint Brigid.

On behalf of Fr. Bill, Fr. Michael, our Deacons and staff, I pray that God will continue to guide and protect you and your loved ones and that your Christmas will be blessed by holiness, happiness, and peace.   It is our privilege to serve you.

 

 

2021 01-03 Hope for New Year
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2020 12-20 Prayer for the End of Our Advent Journey
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2020 12-20 Prayer for the End of Our Advent Journey

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

We are approaching the end of our Advent season, and we are living in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Even in these uncertain times, many of us are busy going shopping, making plans, and getting ready for Christmas.  But in the midst of all this “busyness”, are we really preparing spiritually for the coming of Jesus?  Are we leading others to Christ by our words and our example?  These are some of the questions that our Advent scriptures invite us and challenge us to address.

In our gospels for Advent, this invitation and challenge to prepare for Christ and to lead others to Him come principally from John the Baptist.  He tells us to prepare for the coming of the Lord, acknowledge our shortcomings and failures, repent of our sins, and change our hearts.  With great humility, he acknowledges that his role is subordinate to that of Jesus.  He must decrease and Jesus must increase.  John is the voice urging us to make way for the Lord and prepare for His coming.

As we know, the coming of Jesus is near, but we still have time to prepare for Him.  We also still have time to help others prepare for Him.  As previously noted, one of our leading Catholic authors reminds us that one of our major challenges this Advent may be to help our families, our other loved ones, our friends, our neighbors, or our co-workers truly see the light of Christ shine in the world.  This may be difficult unless they can clearly see the light of Christ shining in us.  If they see substantive changes in our lives, it may encourage them to make substantive changes in their lives.  And this might place them on the path of spiritual progress, on the path of spiritual healing, a path that John the Baptist in such an eloquent way challenges us to embrace.

The following “PRAYER FOR THE END OF OUR ADVENT JOURNEY” reflects the significance of this special time.

As we reflect on this prayer, and as our Advent season comes to an end, may we truly strive through our words and example to be spiritually ready as we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of Our Lord, Our Savior, Our King of Kings.

God, thank you for allowing me to arrive at this blessed day.  The journey has been long, in some cases – years.

 I stand in awe of the great gift that awaits me: the gift of your son, Jesus.

Let me unwrap that gift once and for all.

Though the road that I continue on from here may have obstacles that make me fall, I know now that I have the strength to rise again because this journey has made me ever stronger and more willing to stay close to You.

 Amen.

 

2020 12-24 Welcome the Christ Child as Jesus “Emmanuel”
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2020 12-13 Gaudete Sunday, Reconciliation & Memorial Mass for Msgr. Paul Reynolds
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2020 12-13 Gaudete Sunday, Reconciliation & Memorial Mass for Msgr. Paul Reynolds

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday as we wait in joyful anticipation of the celebration of the birth of Christ.  As reported in the publication “Vatican News”, Pope Francis reminded us that our waiting for Jesus requires vigilance in the form of “marveling at God’s action and at His surprises.”  Our Holy Father asked the Virgin Mary for her guidance during our Advent journey.  He stated, “May Mary, the vigilant Virgin and Mother of hope” help us “to turn our gaze toward the ‘mountain of the Lord’, the image of Jesus Christ, who draws all people to Himself.” Pope Francis also urged the faithful to avoid distractions that may tempt us such as the commercialization of the season, and he challenged us to prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming of the Lord.

“The St. Jude Advent Prayer” provided below, from “The National Shrine of St. Jude” reflects the sentiments of Our Holy Father:

Lord Jesus, your power is infinite; your glory, everlasting.  Quietly you come into the world as an innocent child.  Ready my heart for the miracle of your birth.  Bring light to the world, as we wait silently for your warmth in the coldness of the night.  Bless me with patience and faithful discipline to prayerfully prepare to welcome and greet you.   St. Jude, Patron of Hope, pray that Christ’s holiness will flow into me this Advent.  May Christmas joy and burning love take root in me and grow to carry the joy beyond me and inspire hope in others. Amen

As we take this prayer to heart, and as we strive to prepare spiritually for the coming of the Lord, we are reminded that this Friday, December 18th at  9:00 am, we will celebrate a memorial Mass for our beloved former pastor, Monsignor Paul Reynolds.  He served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Atlanta for over forty years.  He shepherded his congregation at Saint Brigid from 2006 until his death in 2010.  He was a priest of great wisdom and insight and joy and truly appreciated the opportunity to serve the people entrusted to his care.

As we reflect on the memory of Monsignor Reynolds, we realize that we live in difficult and uncertain times as we cope with the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  In the midst of these difficult times, we strive to maintain our spiritual focus.  Therefore, we continue to have additional opportunities during the season of Advent to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Please check the parish bulletin or parish website for details.  Hopefully, we will truly get our spiritual priorities in order as we get ready to receive Our Lord, Our Savior, Our King of Kings.

 

2020 12-20 Prayer for the End of Our Advent Journey
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2020 12-6 Our Advent Journey Continues With Mary.. The Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe
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2020 11-29 The Season of Advent and “Rejoice in the Lord” Parish Mission

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

The Season of Advent is upon us.  Advent 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.  Our Holy Father Pope Francis focused on the importance of hope during Advent.  He stated, “The Lord comes.  Here is the root of our hope: the assurance that the consolation of God reaches among the tribulations of the world, a consolation that is not made of words, but of presence, of His presence that comes among us.”

During this special time, we will sponsor our Advent Parish Mission, presented by Fr. Paul Dressler, a Franciscan priest; preacher, teacher, retreat master and convert to the Catholic faith.  During the Mission, Fr. Paul will focus on the desire to find joy during Advent in the midst of these difficult and uncertain times as we strive to deal primarily with the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

A Parish Mission provides us with an important and timely opportunity for spiritual healing and renewal.  With an emphasis on love and mercy, it also can provide an opportunity to change hearts and transform lives as we renew and strengthen our relationship with Our Lord.

The following “Parish Mission Prayer” provided by the media outlet “The Reason For Our Hope” asks God to bless us with a Mission that will bear much fruit.

Holy Father, great God of love and mercy, You have surrendered everything for love of us.
May we learn to surrender everything for love of You.
Fill us with Your Holy Spirit that we may do Your will and not our own.
Help us to love You above all things and to love Your people the way You have commanded us.
Quiet our minds and hearts that we may be open to the gift of Your truth, and grant our Parish Mission may be:
a time of Grace for all, a time of growth for the young,
a time of refreshment for the old, a time of renewal for families,
a time of healing for the broken, a time of joy for the sorrowing,
a time of challenge for the complacent, a time of forgiveness for the sinner,
a time of strength for the holy, a time of homecoming for all who have been away.
We beg You these things, Holy Father, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

The Parish Mission will take place this Monday, November 30h to Wednesday, December 2nd.  Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions,    Fr. Paul will present the Mission virtually.  Plan to view his presentation on our parish website in video format. (or visit www.saintbrigid.org/adventmission)

I pray that you will participate in the Parish Mission and avail yourself of this special time of grace.  We invite you to attend 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 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.

 

 

 

2020 12-6 Our Advent Journey Continues With Mary.. The Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe
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2020 11-22 We Pray That Thanksgiving Day Will Truly Be a Time to Thank God for Prayers Answered and Blessings Received.
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2020 11-15 Pray for Our Confirmation Candidates, their Coordinators and Sponsors

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Saturday Bishop Shlesinger will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to approximately 165 of our teens.  As previously mentioned, Confirmation along with Baptism and the Holy Eucharist comprise the Sacraments of Christian Initiation.  Our Catechism reminds the faithful of the need for proper preparation for the Sacrament.  It states, “Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively 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.”

Those who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday have spent much time in instruction, reflection, and prayer.  Their preparation also included time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and a spiritual retreat.  As we know all too well, we are living in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Therefore, our candidates for Confirmation, their coordinators, and sponsors had to adapt to different approaches to preparation.  We appreciate their creativity and flexibility.

Pope Francis has often noted the importance of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the spiritual growth in the life of a Christian.  He has indicated that the Sacrament enhances our missionary zeal for our faith.  His sentiments are reflected in the “United States Catholic Catechism for Adults” which states, “Confirmation deepens our baptismal life that calls us to be missionary witnesses of Jesus Christ in our families, neighborhoods, society, and the world.  We receive the message of faith in a deeper and more intensive manner with great emphasis given to the person of Jesus Christ, who asked the Father to give the Holy Spirit to the Church for building up the community in living service.”   It further indicates, “In the Sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized person is ‘sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit’ and is strengthened for service to the Body of Christ.”

The media outlet “Catholic Online”, as part of its overview of the Sacrament, stated that Confirmation, “is administered by laying-on of hands and anointing with chrism accompanied by prayer.  The chrism is blessed by the bishop and the bishop administers the sacrament.  All baptized persons can and should be confirmed.”  As part of their preparation, 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 who walks with them on their Christian journey.

As we get ready to celebrate this great Sacrament, we are encouraged, as a community of faith, to continue to pray for our Confirmation candidates, their coordinators, and sponsors.

 

2020 11-22 We Pray That Thanksgiving Day Will Truly Be a Time to Thank God for Prayers Answered and Blessings Received.
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2020 11-08 Our Community Honors Veterans Day, We Must Always Apppreciate Their Sacifice
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2020 11-08 Our Community Honors Veterans Day, We Must Always Apppreciate Their Sacifice

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Wednesday on 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 to obtain 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 Veterans Day Prayer composed by Joanna Fuchs captures the essence of our appreciation for the sacrifice of our Veterans:

Dear Lord,
Today we honor our Veterans, worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect their country.
We pray that you will bless them, Lord, for their unselfish service in the continual struggle to preserve our freedoms, our safety, and our country’s heritage, for all of us.
Bless them abundantly for the hardships they faced, for the sacrifices they made for their many different contributions to America’s victories over tyranny and oppression.
We respect them, we thank them, we honor them, we are proud of them, and we pray that you will watch over these special people and bless them with peace and happiness.
In Jesus’ name we pray.   Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are encouraged to continue to honor our Veterans through our prayers and expressions of gratitude, always appreciating their commitment and sacrifice.

 

2020 11-15 Pray for Our Confirmation Candidates, their Coordinators and Sponsors
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2020 11-01 We Celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints and All Souls Day
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2020 11-01 We Celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints and All Souls Day

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate All Saints Day.  On this day, we remember those men and women who came before us marked with the sign of faith.  As Catholics, we are invited to follow the example of our great saints.  We can strive to model our behavior after them and follow their holy way of life.  We are challenged to learn from them and to learn more about them.  They can teach us so much about living, loving, and serving.

This Monday we commemorate All Souls Day.  It is a day to honor and pray for our deceased relatives, friends, neighbors, parishioners, co-workers, and all who shared their lives with us.  Commenting on this day, Pope Francis stated, “Sadness mixes with hope and this is what we all feel today in this celebration: the memory of our loved ones, … and hope.  But we also feel that this hope helps, because we, too, have to make a journey.  All of us will make this journey – sooner or later.  But with the flower of hope, with that strong thread of hope that is anchored in the hereafter.”   Our Holy Father encouraged us to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist on this day noting that it is the best spiritual gift that we can give to the souls who have gone before us.

This Thursday at 7 p.m., we will celebrate a Mass of Remembrance in the Church as we honor the memory of those loved ones who have died, including those who have died recently.  A litany of names and an offering of roses with appropriate lighting of candles will mark this special occasion.

As Catholics, we strive to honor our dead and to bring spiritual peace and consolation to families who grieve for their loved ones.  Grieving is part of our human condition and can help us on the path to healing.  I want to thank all those who give of their time to participate in our bereavement and grief caring ministries, and who do so much to assist families in their time of mourning and sorrow.  They truly are a blessing to our faith community.

As we reflect on our saints and deceased loved ones, we invite you to join us for our liturgies on All Saints Day and on All Souls Day, and at the Mass of Remembrance as we honor them in a special way.  Details concerning these liturgies can be found in the Parish bulletin and on the Parish website.

 

2020 11-08 Our Community Honors Veterans Day, We Must Always Apppreciate Their Sacifice
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2020 10-28 Spending Time Before the Blessed Sacrament, Before the Living God
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2020 10-28 Spending Time Before the Blessed Sacrament, Before the Living God

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Eucharistic Adoration has a significant impact on the spiritual vitality of our faith community and provides us with a great opportunity for prayer.  A Catholic priest and author, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, indicated that there are “four kinds of prayer most appropriate in the presence of the Eucharist, namely adoration and praise, thanksgiving, repentance, and trusting intercession.”
As previously noted, the publication, “Our Sunday Visitor”, described Eucharistic Adoration as “the act of worshiping God as He is present in the consecrated Eucharist.”  It stated, “Spending time before the Blessed Sacrament, in prayer and devotion, is exactly the same as spending time before the living God.”

Among the many ways we can participate in Eucharistic Adoration, the publication recommends the following:

– Meditate using Scripture: Choose a passage from the Bible, and let the passage speak to you.
– Read the life of a saint and pray with him or her: Many of our saints had a great devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist.
– Pour your heart out to Christ and adore Him: Speak to Jesus and listen to His response.
– Ask for forgiveness and intercede for others: Ask God to forgive you for all the times you have neglected or hurt someone else. Bring before the Blessed Sacrament all those who have asked you to pray for them.
– Sit quietly and just “be” in the presence of God.

The following “Adoration Prayer” from “Catholic Online” reflects the spirit of Eucharistic Adoration.  We invite you to prayerfully consider serving as a guardian at Eucharistic Adoration, and spend an hour each week in the presence of Our Lord.  Guardians at Saint Brigid are needed at specific times during the day, and especially at certain nocturnal hours.  Please check the parish website at www.saintbrigid.org/adoration for details.

My Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that You are really present here in this Sacrament.
Night and day You remain here compassionate and loving.
You call, You wait for, You welcome everyone who comes to visit You.
I thank You, Jesus my Divine Redeemer for coming upon the earth for my sake
And for instituting the Adorable Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in order to remain with us until the end of the world.
I thank you for hiding beneath the Eucharistic species Your infinite majesty and beauty, which Your Angels delight to behold so that I might have courage to approach the throne of Your mercy.
I thank you, dear Jesus, for having become the priceless victim, to merit for me the fullness of heavenly favors.
Awaken in me such confidence in You that their fullness may descend ever more fruitfully upon my soul.
I thank You for offering Yourself in thanksgiving to God for all His benefits, spiritual and temporal which He has bestowed on me.
Grant me grace and perseverance in your faithful service. Amen.

2020 11-01 We Celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints and All Souls Day
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2020 10-18 World Mission Sunday
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