Pastor's Corner

God Bless America

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Monday we celebrate the Fourth of July, Independence Day.  On this day, we celebrate the birth of our nation, and we are encouraged to cherish in a very special way the many freedoms we enjoy in this country.  These freedoms should never be taken for granted.  As we know, we live in difficult and uncertain times, and there is much division and conflict in our nation.  Much of this division and conflict is reported in our various media outlets.  We also live in a society that over the years, unfortunately, has become more secular in its orientation.

There are those in our society who are attempting to undermine our trust and belief in God, and in the process are distorting our precious freedoms.  As previously noted, on our money bills we proclaim “In God We Trust.”  As disciples, and as citizens, we are invited to pray that this trust in God may be restored in our nation by our leaders.  Our bishops remind us that there is a need to strengthen the moral foundation of our country, a moral foundation based on faith and trust in the Lord.  There is also a need to reaffirm our commitment to truly make our country “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The following Prayer for Independence Day by Christine Sine (https://godspacelight.com/ )  asks God to bestow His blessings upon us.

God bless America and all nations of the earth.
Bless us with freedom, that none may be oppressed or unjustly treated.
Bless us with prosperity, that all peoples might share abundantly from the produce of the earth.
Bless us with responsibility, that we may share your good creation.
Bless us with generosity, that the barriers between the haves and have-nots may be broken down.
Bless us with caring, that we might reach out with love and compassion to neighbors everywhere.
Bless us with faith, that we might believe you are creating a new heaven and a new earth, where you will once more dwell in our midst, wiping away our tears, overcoming death and sorrow and pain.
Bless us with eternal life of your kingdom, where together with all the peoples of the earth, we will dwell together in peace and harmony and love.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, and as we celebrate Independence Day, we are encouraged to take time to truly appreciate our faith and freedoms and to be thankful for the many blessings that the Lord has bestowed on us and on our nation.

2022 06-26   A Prayer for National Healing
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2022 06-26   A Prayer for National Healing

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Violent attacks and shootings occur all too often in our nation, causing great pain, grief, anguish, and death. As a faith community, our bishops have asked us to seek healing in the aftermath of the recent school shootings in Uvalde, Texas.

The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement:
“There have been too many school shootings, too much killing of the innocent. Our Catholic faith calls us to pray for those who have died and to bind the wounds of others, as we join our prayers along with the community in Uvalde and (their archbishop) Gustavo Garcia-Siller. As we do so, each of us also needs to search our souls for ways that we can do more to understand this epidemic of evil and violence and implore our elected officials to help us take action.”

The need for healing is reflected in the following prayer. The substance of this prayer has been composed by Texas Pastor Max Tyner, who addressed the pain and conflict which existed in our nation at a prior time. It has been adapted and slightly modified to more closely reflect the recent tragic events in our nation.

A PRAYER FOR NATIONAL HEALING

Gracious and loving God,
we come as Your children with sorrow in our hearts, and lives that are confused and disturbed.
Recent weeks have brought death, anguish, and distress to so many people.
We pray, O Lord, that you will heal this nation.
Give peace and comfort to those who are in sorrow.
Give healing and strength to those who have suffered injury and hurt at this time.
Be with those who are working under such difficult circumstances.
Give wisdom and guidance to the president of this nation and be with the political leaders
as they make grave decisions necessary at this time.
We ask, Lord, that you heal us, as a people,
that we may join hands and work together for the good of all.
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Grant us the wisdom and faith to see that only in You are true love and joy ever found.
Where we have wandered from Your will, put us back on the path You would have us follow.
May we rise up as a nation committed to Your teachings and Your will and a light to the world.
This we ask in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior. Amen.

God Bless America
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2022 06-19   Celebrating Corpus Christi with the Atlanta Eucharistic Congress and Father’s Day
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2022 06-19   Celebrating Corpus Christi with the Atlanta Eucharistic Congress and Father’s Day

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate the great solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body, and Blood of Christ.  We focus especially on this day on the devotion to the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith, a faith rooted in community.  And as a faith community, the Archdiocese of Atlanta celebrated its Eucharistic Congress this weekend, with parishioners participating from parishes throughout the Archdiocese.

This Sunday we also celebrate Father’s Day and we remember in a special way all that dads mean to their children.  We are reminded that many of our parishioners are also fathers.  Being a father is a great privilege and also a great responsibility.  Catholic fathers especially are challenged to set a good example for their children, to help them grow in wisdom and knowledge, and to help prepare them for lives as Catholic men and women.  We must remember that we are called to honor our fathers.  Our love for our fathers and our other family members should reflect the love that God has for us.

As we know, Pope Francis has placed great emphasis and focus on fatherhood.  As noted in a recent publication “5 Wise Pieces of Advice from Pope Francis to Fathers”, prepared by Chloe Langr, Pope Francis stated, “A father needs to be close to the children when they are playing and when they are working on a task; when they are carefree and when they are troubled.”  He also stated, “Fathers are the irreplaceable guardians and mediators of faith in the justice, and the protection of God, like Saint Joseph.”  In addition, he noted that “the Church, our mother, is committed to supporting the good and generous presence of fathers in the families.”

The following “Father’s Day Prayer” from an unknown author asks the Lord to bless and guide all fathers.  As we reflect on this prayer, and on the profound words of Pope Francis, we are encouraged to take time to express our love and appreciation for our fathers and thank them for all that they do for us and for all that they mean to us.

Dear God, I give thanks to fathers.

I recognize the dedication and patience it takes to be a source of compassion and understanding when helping to shape a young life.

Bless all fathers,

especially those who are now in this sacred role.

I pray they feel Your presence with them.

May they know that Your strength and wisdom are with them,

providing all they need to guide and support their children with kindness and love.  Amen.

2022 06-26   A Prayer for National Healing
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2022 06-12   Join Us in a Grassroots Revival of Devotion and Living Faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
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2022 06-12   Join Us in a Grassroots Revival of Devotion and Living Faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Friday, June 17th, and Saturday, June 18th, the Archdiocese of Atlanta will sponsor its 2022 Eucharistic Congress at the Georgia International Convention Center.

The theme of the Congress this year will be, “Come to Me.”  As in past years, the Congress begins on Friday evening with Mass and a healing service.  It continues Saturday morning with a procession and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  A Benediction service will follow.  The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration will be available throughout most of the day.  Various dynamic speakers will be present to give powerful witness to their faith journey.  The Congress will conclude Saturday evening with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Hartmayer.

At the Congress, we acknowledge in a special way the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and we reaffirm His presence by going forth as witnesses of His gospel message to the world around us.  Admission to the Congress is free, and food and beverage concessions will be available at the event.  A shuttle bus will be provided without cost on Saturday for those in need of transportation and will leave from the Church parking lot at times reflected on the Parish website and in the parish bulletin.  Those who cannot attend the Congress are invited to pray for our fellow parishioners and friends who will be in attendance as they do their part in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In addition to the Eucharistic Congress, Archbishop Hartmayer has recently announced a new Eucharistic initiative.  He stated, “Our archdiocese will join the Church in the United States in a three-year, grassroots revival of devotion and living faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Taking its theme from the Bread of Life discourse in John’s Gospel, ‘My flesh for the life of the world,’ the National Eucharistic Revival is a call to every Catholic across the United States to rekindle the fire of love for the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. It is an invitation for every Catholic family, parish, school, movement, apostolate, and so forth, to renew and foster a Eucharistic culture.  It is a movement of Catholics healed, converted, formed and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist – and sent out in mission.”

Next year, in 2023, Eucharistic devotion will be focused at the parish level, and then the National Eucharistic Congress will take place in July 2024.  The Archbishop also indicated, “There are many hopes for this Eucharistic Revival.  These include a renewed encounter with the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist and an experience of the good news of the Gospel (kerygma), renewed Eucharistic devotion and adoration throughout the archdiocese, and a revival of faithful celebration (the Ars Celebrandi) and participation in the liturgy.”

 

Please check the Parish website or the Sunday bulletin for more details concerning these upcoming events.  Bus Times from Saint Brigid are on the home page.  We are strongly encouraged to prayerfully consider participating actively in this eucharistic endeavor, as we grow in our love for the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith.

congress.archatl.com

  Confessions is not scheduled for Saturday morning, June 18  at Saint Brigid due to the Archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress, BUT the Sacrament of Reconciliation is available at the Congress in English and Spanish in both the East and South Ballroom Lobbies from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

 

2022 06-19   Celebrating Corpus Christi with the Atlanta Eucharistic Congress and Father’s Day
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2022 06-05   Come Holy Spirit, Come!
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2022 06-05   Come Holy Spirit, Come!

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we see the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus to send the Holy Spirit upon his Apostles as we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost. These frightened men who abandoned Jesus at his Passion will be transformed by the Holy Spirit 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.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has invited us to follow the example of the Apostles and truly embrace the Holy Spirit in our lives. As previously mentioned, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), he stated, “There is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead of letting him enlighten, guide, and direct us, leading us wherever he wills. The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This is what it means to be mysteriously fruitful.”

The following “Pentecost Sunday Sequence” prayer, which is obligatory at Masses on Pentecost Sunday, asks for the guidance and support of the Holy Spirit:

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;

In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thoughts,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;

Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end.

Amen. Alleluia.

As we reflect on this prayer, and on these profound words of Pope Francis, and as we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, we continue to deal with the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus, and attacks on the sanctity of life, especially the lives of the unborn. We are therefore encouraged to allow the Holy Spirit to come into our minds, into our lives, and into our hearts as we strive to cope spiritually in these difficult and uncertain times.

2022 06-12   Join Us in a Grassroots Revival of Devotion and Living Faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
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2022 05-29  We are Reminded to Truly Appreciate Our Precious Faith and Freedom, that We Should Never Take For Granted
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2022 05-29  We are Reminded to Truly Appreciate Our Precious Faith and Freedom, that We Should Never Take For Granted

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.  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 following prayer by Debbie McDaniel, provided by the media outlet “Christianity.com”. implores our Heavenly Father for guidance and protection on 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 a dramatic change in the fabric of our society over the last two years due primarily to the devastating 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.

As we celebrate this day and take time for relaxation and recreation, our bishops have encouraged us to also take time for prayer, truly remembering the sacrifices made by so many for us and our nation.

Dear God, we thank You for the freedom You have given us,
and for the price that was paid by Christ so that we could live free.
We remember today.  The cost of it all.  The great sacrifice for freedom,
covering and blessing over them and their families.
We pray that You would be gracious and encircle them with Your peace.
We pray for Your great favor and goodness to be evident in their lives.
Please be with all those who wear the uniform, who serve our communities and nation every single day.
We ask that You provide your protection,
that you would be their guiding force who leads the way,
and their rearguard who keeps them safe from behind.
We ask that You would draw them to Yourself amidst the dangers they face in a dark world,
for You are the Truth, You are the Way, You are the Light.  Amen.

2022 06-05   Come Holy Spirit, Come!
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2022 05-22   Bless our Graduates with Love, Protection, Mercy, Strength and Wisdom
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2022 05-22   Bless our Graduates with Love, Protection, Mercy, Strength and Wisdom

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Especially at this time of the year, we remember our loved ones and friends who are graduating from various levels of education.  They have persevered through many years of study, and difficult and challenging times.  Since the health environment has been gradually improving, most graduation exercises can take place in person.  However, for some graduates, there is still some form of online graduation exercises due primarily to the sustained impact of the Covid-19 virus.

Bishop David O’Connell of the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey recently provided the following advice to local Catholic High School graduating students:

“You are beginning a new chapter in your life.  Soon you will be heading off to college, or work, or some new thing.  You will face new challenges, new opportunities, new struggles, and new happy, joy-filled moments; new friendships, new experiences.  Go with God always my young sisters and brothers, with the Lord Jesus as branches on the vine.  Look for Him in all your new experiences.  And if you cannot see Him at first, know that He is there loving you, leading you, calling you.”

As we reflect on these profound words, we realize that our young students face many temptations that can lead them astray.  There is also very often peer pressure to conform to ideas and activities in our culture which are contrary to our Catholic teaching and formation.  Our students truly need our prayers, our support, and our good example to assist them in sustaining a spiritual foundation.

The following “A Prayer for Graduation(author unknown) asks Our Heavenly Father to guide and bless those who are graduating. We encourage the families and friends of our graduates to take this prayer to heart.   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.

Heavenly Father,
Give grace and courage to the ones who have worked hard and now greet this special time of graduation.
We thank you for protecting and guiding them to this point.  All praise and glory to You!
Inspire the graduates to put to good use all the knowledge, skills, and life lessons gained through their education.
Most importantly, as they face unknown challenges moving on, help them to keep dear the greatest wisdom of all
–  that of knowing Jesus and the power of the Cross!
A chapter has closed and another eagerly awaits.  Pave their road with opportunities and inspire them to live with hope in this incredible journey called life.
Continue to bless the graduates with love, protection, mercy, strength, and wisdom.
May they live passionately to honor and glorify Your name.
In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

  

 

2022 05-29  We are Reminded to Truly Appreciate Our Precious Faith and Freedom, that We Should Never Take For Granted
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2022 05-15   Mary, Queen of Peace and Queen of the Rosary
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2022 05-15   Mary, Queen of Peace and Queen of the Rosary

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

May is the month of Mary, and this month we honor her in a special way.  We call her Queen of Peace and Queen of the Rosary and bestow on her many other titles.  Mary is worthy of these titles because she said “Yes” to God in so many ways in the midst of the joys and sorrows of everyday life.  Just this past Friday, we honored Mary as Our Lady of Fatima.

The following “Prayer for Our Lady of Fatima” provided by the media outlet “Catholic Online” calls on Mary to inspire us as we grow in our appreciation of the Rosary:

O most Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary,
You were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima and reveal a glorious message.
We implore you, to inspire in our homes a fervent love for the recitation of the rosary.
By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption that are recalled therein,
may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask,
through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.
Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded that, as previously mentioned, Pope Francis also invited us to look to Mary for inspiration.  Addressing the role of Mary, he stated that Mary “…helps us grow as human beings and in the faith, to be strong and never to fall into the temptation of being human beings and Christians in a superficial way, but to live responsibly, to strive even higher.”  He also encouraged the people by reminding them that Mary “…is close to us, so that we may never lose courage before the adversities of life”, and “…might feel her support in facing and overcoming the difficulties of our human and Christian journey.”

The Church presents Mary as a model of love in its fullness.  The love she had for Jesus and Joseph is not reserved for them alone.  It is the same precious love that she has for us, the same precious love she shares with us, an unselfish love that we should not take for granted.  Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus but also the Mother of our Church.  The Second Vatican Council teaches that “…By her motherly love, she cares for her Son’s sisters and brothers who still journey the earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties until they are led into their blessed home.”

As we especially honor the Blessed Virgin Mary this month, we are challenged to follow Mary’s model of living and her model of loving as we continue on our journey of faith during this glorious season of Easter,

Mary our Queen, intercede for us.  Mary, our Mother, pray for us.

 

2022 05-22   Bless our Graduates with Love, Protection, Mercy, Strength and Wisdom
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2022 05-08   We Give Thanks to Our Mothers
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2022 05-08   We Give Thanks to Our Mothers

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day.  In the United States, Mother’s Day was first celebrated in the early part of the twentieth century.  On this day we remember in a special way how much moms do for their families and the many sacrifices they make on behalf of their spouses and children.

Pope Francis has great respect for the vocation of motherhood.  During an address in Rome, as reported in the publication “For Your Marriage”, he noted that mothers fulfill a vital role by helping children “look realistically at life’s problems” without getting “lost in them.”  He stated that “A life without challenges doesn’t exist” and that a mother helps her children face these challenges.  A mother helps her children deal with the problems they inevitably confront, assisting them as they hopefully grow in wisdom and knowledge.  Many Catholic mothers also play a key role in passing our precious faith to their children primarily through their teaching and example.

The following prayer called “A Prayer for Mothers” reflects the spirit of this day:

All loving God, we give You thanks and praise for mothers young and old.
We pray for young mothers, who give life and count toes, and tend to our every need; may they be blessed with patience and tenderness to care for their families and themselves with great joy.
We pray for our mothers, who have nurtured and cared for us; may they continue to guide us in strong and gentle ways.
We remember mothers who are separated from their children because of war, poverty, or conflict; may they feel the loving embrace of our God who wipes every tear away.
We pray for women who are not mothers but still love and shape us with motherly care and compassion.
We remember mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers who are no longer with us but who live forever in our memory and nourish us with their love.  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.   We can thank them for all that they do, and for the example they set for us.  We can honor them primarily by obeying them in our younger years, and by graciously taking care of them in their advancing years.  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.        

 

2022 05-15   Mary, Queen of Peace and Queen of the Rosary
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2022 05-01   Thank the Lord for the Great Gift of the Eucharist
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2022 05-01   Thank the Lord for the Great Gift of the Eucharist

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Saturday, many of the children in our faith community will make their First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid.  Hopefully, 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.

As we reflect on these words of Pope Francis, and as we celebrate the First Holy Communion of these children, 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 prayer called “On Your First Holy Communion” asks the Lord to guide and bless these children:

May Jesus come to bless you on your First Holy Communion day.

May you feel His loving presence in a very special way.

And as you strive to follow in His footsteps,

may He bless your life with many graces and lasting happiness.  Amen.

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

 

2022 05-08   We Give Thanks to Our Mothers
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2022 04-25   The Sunday of Divine Mercy & Holy Hour
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2022 04-25   The Sunday of Divine Mercy & Holy Hour

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, and we focus on the mercy of our loving God.  The Catholic Church has stated the following about this great feast, as previously noted: “During the Church’s millennium celebration in 2000, Pope John Paul II declared that the Second Sunday of Easter is 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.”

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.  Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has urged us to embrace this message and truly reflect a spirit of mercy, repentance and reconciliation in our lives. In a recent homily as reported by the media outlet “Al Arabiya News”, he stated, “Sister, brother, do you want proof of that God has touched your life?  See if you can stoop to bind the wounds of others.”  Pope Francis also stated, “Let us not remain indifferent. Let us not have a one-way faith, a faith that receives but does not give… Having received mercy let us become merciful.”
The following prayer provided by the media outlet “Word on Fire” reflects the depth of the mercy that God extends to us:

God of Everlasting Mercy,

who in the very recurrence of the Paschal feast kindle the faith of the people you have made Your own,

increase, we pray, that all may grasp and rightly understand in what font they have been washed,

by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose Blood they have been Redeemed.

As we reflect on this prayer, and on the words of Our Holy Father, we invite our parishioners and friends to embrace the generous gift of God’s mercy in a humble spirit of thanksgiving.
This Sunday we will have a Holy Hour at the Church at 3:00 PM, the acknowledged hour of Divine Mercy. All are invited to attend as we thank the Lord for showering His mercy on us.

2022 05-01   Thank the Lord for the Great Gift of the Eucharist
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2022 04-16   We Are Reminded the Suffering of the Cross Gives Way to the Glory of the Resurrection
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2022 04-16   We Are Reminded the Suffering of the Cross Gives Way to the Glory of the Resurrection

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Today, Easter Sunday, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.  As Holy Week comes to an end, we are reminded that 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 and death.  This is the message of His Good News.  This is the message of Easter, and Our Holy Father, Pope Francis invites us to embrace this message.

In a recent address, as reported in the media outlet “The Catholic World Report”, Pope Francis stated, “Amid the many hardships we are enduring, let us never forget that we have been healed by the wounds of Christ.”  He added, “In the light of the Risen Lord, our sufferings are now transfigured.  Where there was death, now there is life.  Where there was mourning, now there is consolation.  In embracing the cross, Jesus bestowed meaning on our sufferings and now we pray that the benefits of that healing will spread throughout the world.”  As Christians, we are challenged to take the words of Our Holy Father to heart.

As the impact of the coronavirus gradually continues to wane, we welcome all to our vibrant Parish community.  We especially welcome those who participate in our Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) programs, and who have received the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation as appropriate, at our Easter Vigil Mass.

We also welcome all those who do not attend our Church on a regular basis.  Now is a good time to prayerfully consider becoming more fully involved in our community of faith, and getting spiritually closer to the Lord.  You are always invited to join us as we strive to embrace and truly live the faith we boldly proclaim.

The following prayer from the media outlet, “Faith and Worship” reflects the spirit of this day:

Lord of Life, we pray for all  who bring your word of life as a light to those in darkness,
for those who bring Your word of peace,
to those enslaved by fear,
for those who bring Your word of love to those in need of comfort.
Lord of love and Lord of peace, Lord of resurrection life,
Christ the Lord is risen today.

As we celebrate this special day, and as we embrace the call to rejoice and be glad, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all who participate in our faith community.  On behalf of our priests, deacons, and staff, I wish you and your families a holy, happy, and healthy Easter season.                        

 

2022 04-25   The Sunday of Divine Mercy & Holy Hour
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2022 03-27   Return to the Lord’s Loving Embrace – 2022 Lenten Mission
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2022 03-27   Return to the Lord’s Loving Embrace – 2022 Lenten Mission

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

  We are privileged to host a two-day Lenten Parish Mission on Monday, March 28th, and Tuesday, March 29th.  The mission will be presented by  Fr. Carlos Gonzalez, who will offer a morning session at 10 am and an evening session at 7:00 pm. 

Fr. Carlos is an internationally recognized mission presenter and Catholic missionary with the Fraternal Society of Mercy based in Puerto Rico, who weaves stories into an engaging, passionate message of hope.  He has worked with Mother Teresa and many others in ministering to the poor, the sick, and the disenfranchised.  He will focus on “The Lord’s Loving Mercy” as he inspires us to return to the Lord’s loving embrace and more fully live and boldly proclaim our Catholic faith.

A Parish Mission can be viewed as an opportunity for spiritual healing, renewal, and reconciliation.  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.

As we know, during the season of Lent we are challenged in a special way to acknowledge our sins and shortcomings and seek God’s mercy.  We will offer additional times and dates to provide us with a great opportunity to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The sacrament is also available by appointment.  We can examine our conscience and acknowledge the ways in which we may have compromised our spiritual integrity.

At times we need to be reminded that the sacrament is here to heal, not to condemn.  It is here to get us closer to the Lord who loves us.     As previously noted, Pope Francis stated, “In confession, Jesus welcomes us with all our sinfulness, to give us a new heart, capable of loving as He loves.”  He also reminded us that, “Confession is the sacrament of the tenderness of God, His way of embracing us.”  He urged those who have been away from sacrament to be not afraid to reach out to the Lord who will receive you with open arms.

During the Lenten season, we will have additional priests available to serve as instruments of the Lord’s pardon, mercy, and forgiveness, and to help us experience spiritual joy in our hearts.  Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we can more effectively embrace the right spiritual course as we cleanse our souls and prepare for the commemoration of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Details concerning the Mission and information concerning opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation can be obtained through the Parish office and website.  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 04-16   We Are Reminded the Suffering of the Cross Gives Way to the Glory of the Resurrection
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2022 03-20  Honor our Deceased Loved Ones in Our Call to Discipleship
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2022 03-20  Honor our Deceased Loved Ones in Our Call to Discipleship

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As Catholics, and as a faith community, we have great reverence for the dead.  Recently in our faith community, we have experienced the passing of many of our faithful.  Fortunately, our parish is blessed with a compassionate and loving bereavement ministry.  Members of the ministry strive to assist, in many ways, the families who have lost loved ones.  They generally meet with the family for a planning meeting shortly after the death of their loved one, with a member of our clergy present.  When appropriate, they can assist family members in coordinating arrangements with a funeral home, and answer questions about a possible wake service.

Ministry members are especially helpful in planning for the funeral Mass.  They can assist the family in choosing the readings and hymns for the funeral Mass, help with photos and programs, and assist with other necessary details for the funeral.

The text for the funeral rites comes from the “Order of Christian Funerals.”  The text states that at the funeral Mass, the community gathers with the family and friends of the deceased “to give praise and thanks to God for Christ’s victory over sin and death”, to commend the deceased “to God’s tender mercy and compassion, and to seek strength in the proclamation of the paschal mystery”.   We, therefore, strive to gather reverently as a faith community at the funeral Mass.   After the funeral Mass, a member of our clergy is usually available to preside at the burial site for the “Rite of Committal” if the family so chooses.

Most of us know someone in our community who is grieving at this time over the loss of a loved one.  We may know parishioners, friends, neighbors, relatives, and others who are in mourning.  In the spirit of Pope Francis, we can especially reach out to widows and widowers, those who have recently lost a spouse.

Most of us are usually attentive to families at the time of the funeral of a loved one.  But as time passes, our attentiveness may wane.  We are encouraged to be more aware that people grieve in different ways.  They grieve for different lengths of time.  We are encouraged to strive to become more sensitive to those who are truly grieving and assist them in their time of healing.  Maybe we can visit them periodically, 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.

May we as a faith community strive to continue to honor our deceased loved ones in a special way as we answer our call to discipleship.  Visit for more info: www.saintbrigid.org/bereavement.

 

2022 03-27   Return to the Lord’s Loving Embrace – 2022 Lenten Mission
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2022 3-13   Saint Patrick, a Faithful Witness to the Gospel as He Embraced the Mission and Ministry of Christ. 
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2022 3-13   Saint Patrick, a Faithful Witness to the Gospel as He Embraced the Mission and Ministry of Christ. 

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This coming Thursday, we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.  Saint Patrick is one of the patron saints of Ireland.  He 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.  Saint Patrick 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.

Major parades take place on this day in New York, Savannah, Atlanta, and other cities celebrating the life and contributions of Saint Patrick to the Catholic faith and to Irish culture.  It is a special day for many of our priests who were born in Ireland and who faithfully serve the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  As we celebrate this day, Pope Francis urged the faithful to maintain a reverent tone and to not be distracted by those who strive to commercialize the day.  St. Patrick focused on people, not parades.  He prayed for the perseverance to be a faithful witness to the gospel as he embraced the mission and ministry of Christ.  He focused on eternal, not earthly rewards, and was responsible for many people choosing to embrace the Catholic faith.

As previously noted, “The Association for Catechetical Ministry”, reflecting on the life of Saint Patrick, stated, he “moved about Ireland continually, disregarding his own safety in a land that was treacherous to travelers.”  It went on to state, he “also strongly favored monasteries and small groups of consecrated women (convents came later) which afterward became a hallmark of Irish Catholicism.”

The following “Prayer about Saint Patrick” provided by the media outlet “Irish Central” reflects a desire for his intercession in spreading the gospel message in this day and age:

God our Father,
You sent Saint Patrick to preach your glory to the people of Ireland.
By the help of his prayers,
May all Christians proclaim your love to all men.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ,  your son, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are challenged to reaffirm our commitment to spread the Good News of the gospel in the spirit of St. Patrick through our prayers and good example as we continue on our Lenten journey of faith.

 

2022 03-20  Honor our Deceased Loved Ones in Our Call to Discipleship
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2022 03-06   Praying the “Stations” can provide us with abundant spiritual graces.
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2022 03-06   Praying the “Stations” can provide us with abundant spiritual graces.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Pope Francis has called on the faithful to enter more fully into the spirit of sacrifice, renewal, and repentance during the Lenten season.  We can embrace this call in various ways, including by praying the “Stations of the Cross.”  Our Holy Father 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.

The publication “Catholic Online” stated, “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.”

As reported by the media outlet, “Catholic News Service”, the following are extracts from Pope Francis’ personal reflections at the end of the “Way of the Cross”:

Let the feelings of faith, hope, charity, and sorrow for our sins be ingrained in our hearts, Lord, and lead us to repent for our sins that have crucified You.

Lead us to transform our conversion made of words into a conversion of life and deeds.

Crucified Jesus, strengthen the faith in us so that it does not give in before temptations, rekindle hope in us so that it does not get lost by following the world’s seductions.

Protect charity in us, so that it not be deceived by corruption and worldliness.

As we reflect on these 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 our Lenten challenges and concerns.   “Stations” then follow at 7:15 pm.

As we continue to strive to cope with the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus, we can also pray the “Stations” in the privacy of our own residence.   A pre-recorded version of the “Stations” is available on the parish website.

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 fully appreciate what Jesus has done for us.   They can also help us to clearly witness our faith and assist us in this special time of spiritual renewal.

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

 

2022 3-13   Saint Patrick, a Faithful Witness to the Gospel as He Embraced the Mission and Ministry of Christ. 
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2022 02-27 Ash Wednesday and the Beginning
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2022 02-27 Ash Wednesday and the Beginning

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.
Pope Francis reminded the faithful that Lent is a time to spiritually renew our lives.  As reported in the publication “America”, he stated in a recent Lenten Message, “During this season of conversion, let us renew our faith, draw from the ‘living water’ of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God who makes us brothers and sisters in Christ.”  He further noted, “This Lenten journey, like the entire pilgrimage of the Christian life, is even now illumined by the light of the resurrection, which inspires the thoughts, attitudes, and decisions of the followers of Christ.”

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 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.

2022 03-06   Praying the “Stations” can provide us with abundant spiritual graces.
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2022 02-20   Archbishop Annual Appeal 2022 “Transformed in Christ”
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2022 02-20   Archbishop Annual Appeal 2022 “Transformed in Christ”

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This weekend we initiate discussion of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal for 2022 at our Masses.   The theme of the Appeal is “Transformed in Christ.” 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 their people.

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.  Just this past June, after many years of study and formation, parishioner Robbie Cotta was ordained a priest to serve in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Our contributions are also used for the training and formation of permanent deacons.  Earlier this month, long-time parishioner Geza Gereben was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate.  In addition, parishioner Joseph Young continues in the diaconate formation program.

As you can see, our support of the Annual Appeal is clearly bearing fruit.  Men are discerning the call to the priesthood and diaconate.  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 strives to assist those in need.  A special emphasis continues to be placed 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 assist homeless military veterans in the Atlanta area and in other local counties 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 2022 Appeal, and ask you to give generously and sacrificially.  We thank all who have already given via the mail or online.

For those who have not yet contributed, we ask you to make a commitment using a pledge envelope that will be provided during Mass this weekend.  Information about the Appeal has been provided in the Church Bulletin and on the Parish website.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, we are challenged to support the Appeal and respond in faith as we strive to answer our call to discipleship.  Thank you for all you do for our Church community.

2022 02-27 Ash Wednesday and the Beginning
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2022 02-13  The Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission
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2022 02-13  The Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

 

Archbishop Hartmayer has encouraged us to actively participate in a process called a synod.  He recently stated in a pastoral letter, “Pope Francis opened a two-year process called the Synod on Synodality (For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission) that will uniquely engage not only Catholics but God’s people all over the world.  I want to personally encourage you, your family, and all those who are dear to you to join with me and our brothers and sisters in north and central Georgia on this extraordinary journey of faith.”

He stated, “A synod is a ‘journeying together’- a shared journey of prayer, listening, and discernment. When we engage in this process, we go back to the very roots of what it means to be Christians as a pilgrim Church together on the way, following Jesus who is the way.  What’s more, this synod aims to reframe our journey forward.”

He advised us to “Look for opportunities to participate in a listening session or contribute to a survey and to join us in prayer, study, and reflection as we journey together.  As we continue our Eucharistic Renewal, I invite each of you to spend time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, praying that this Synod with bear abundant fruit.”

We plan to have a series of listening sessions in February and March at our parish.  Two sessions will be open to all parishioners and guests.   Additional sessions will be targeted to specific ministry groups within the parish.  The sessions, approximately two hours in length, will include an opportunity to listen to Archbishop Hartmayer’s homily on the Synod, participate in small group discussions, and make appropriate comments.  The sessions will also provide us with an opportunity to discuss how we can more effectively embrace and share our precious Catholic faith.

The format of our sessions will be focused on our Parish Vision Statement and our Parish Mission Statement.  A summary of our approach to this process as well as details on the format and relevant questions for consideration are included in this parish bulletin.

In addition, all parishioners, especially those who cannot attend one of the conferences, will be invited to participate in an online Archdiocesan survey on the Synod.

Our approach to this Synod will be coordinated by Deacon Henry Hein.  He will be assisted by Rosemarie Scully and other staff members and volunteers.  Please contact the parish at synod@saintbrigid.org if you have any questions or require additional information.

Please prayerfully consider participating to the extent possible in this special time of grace.

 

2022 02-20   Archbishop Annual Appeal 2022 “Transformed in Christ”
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2022 02-06  Respect for God’s Children is Reflected in the Work of the Mustard Seed Communities
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2022 02-06  Respect for God’s Children is Reflected in the Work of the Mustard Seed Communities

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Last weekend, representatives of the Mustard Seed Communities (MSC) were present after all Masses to answer questions about Mustard Seed and the work it does.  Mustard Seed was founded by Msgr. Gregory Ramkissoon, is a Catholic priest in Jamaica.  MSC started in Jamaica and expanded to Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and now has a presence in Africa.  It cares for several hundred children with special physical and mental health needs, many of whom have been abandoned.  MSC strives to protect the most vulnerable of God’s children.  It also provides a home for teenage mothers and their babies.  Many of these mothers have been disenfranchised from their families and are in need of emotional, spiritual, and financial support.  MSC also manages a number of community outreach programs to combat poverty and provide educational opportunities to local populations.

As Catholics, we are taught to respect the fundamental dignity of the human person, and we hope to see that dignity reflected in all God’s children.  This respect for God’s children is reflected in the work of Mustard Seed.  The staff and volunteers of MSC strive to see the face of Christ in those who they meet, in those who they help.  They do so with great joy and love.

Saint Brigid Parish supports MSC primarily through its spiritual and financial assistance.  Our parishioners, in the past, have also participated in mission trips to assist in the construction of housing for the children in need, and other appropriate projects.  Some of our parishioners have also adopted children from the various communities of Mustard Seed.  Their sacrificial efforts have afforded a new life here in the United States for these children.

Saint Brigid Parish has been asked to focus its support on the Mustard Seed communities in Nicaragua.  In the last few years, political and economic turmoil in Nicaragua has caused great stress in the Mustard Seed communities in that country.  In addition, the country also struggles in these difficult and uncertain times due to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Mission trips to the Mustard Seed communities there have been greatly curtailed due to travel restrictions and safety concerns.  In addition, it has become extremely difficult for medical and hygiene supplies needed by these communities to be shipped into the country.  The turmoil in Nicaragua may continue indefinitely.  The great strain on the Mustard Seed communities there may not be eased any time soon.   We are encouraged to continue to be sensitive to the needs of these communities as we strive to assist the least of our brothers and sisters.           

For information please visit www. saintbrigid.org/mustardseed.

2022 02-13  The Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission
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2022 01-30   Saint Brigid of Kildare, Patron Saint of our Parish and the Patron Saint of Students
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2022 01-30   Saint Brigid of Kildare, Patron Saint of our Parish and the Patron Saint of Students

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday marks the beginning of “Catholic Schools Week.”  The theme this year is “Catholic Schools: Living Life to the Full.”  Catholic education has always been a priority for the bishops of our nation.  They have strived to make Catholic schools accessible and affordable despite the increasingly secular environment in our society, rising tuition costs, and other challenges facing Catholic education, including the challenge of how to best educate students in the midst of the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  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.

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.  She is one of the patron saints of Ireland.

Saint Brigid is also the patron saint of our Parish and the patron saint of students.  Catholic education was very important to her.  She worked to see that the Catholic faith was taught clearly and thoroughly, and she founded several schools.

Saint Brigid was an Irish Christian nun who was known for her extraordinary spirituality.  As reported in the media outlet, “Catholic News Agency”, Saint Brigid “traveled widely throughout the island, founding new houses and building up a uniquely Irish form of monasticism.  When she was not traveling, many pilgrims – including prominent clergy, and some future saints – made their way to Kildare, seeking the advice of the abbess.”  Many laypeople would travel long distances to seek her spiritual counsel.  Many were led to the faith through her words and actions.

As previously noted, Saint Brigid worked tirelessly to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, founding many convents and fostering vocation awareness.  She organized communal consecrated religious life for the women of Ireland.  Her focus on communal prayer and work attracted many followers.  Along with Saint Patrick and others, she played a major role in making Ireland a Christian nation.  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.

Please join us in celebrating the legacy of this great saint.

Saint Brigid, intercede for us.

Saint Brigid, pray for us.

 

2022 02-06  Respect for God’s Children is Reflected in the Work of the Mustard Seed Communities
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2022 01-23   Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
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2022 01-23   Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This weekend we are in the midst of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Our bishops have acknowledged the need for unity and have urged Catholics to participate in this week of prayer.  Fr. James Loughran, Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute (GEII), has been an articulate spokesman in this call for unity.  He reminded us that in this time of the COVID-19 virus, our world has become smaller and that more than ever we need to appreciate the value and importance of Christian unity.

During this week, we are asked to unite in prayer with our Christian brothers and sisters.  We are 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.

Pope Francis has often expressed his desire for Christian unity.  He is concerned with the great turmoil in the world, especially due to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus, the ongoing problems in the Middle East, and with divisions within our Churches.  Reflecting on this need for unity, as noted in the publication “America”, Our Holy Father “marked the 25th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s encyclical on Christian unity, ‘Ut Unum Sint’ (‘that all may be one’), by reaffirming the church’s ‘irrevocable’ commitment to work for unity among the world’s roughly 2.3 billion Christians.”

He stated, “Unity is not chiefly the result of our activity, but a gift of the Holy Spirit.  Yet, unity will not come about as a miracle at the very end.  Rather, unity comes about in journeying; the Holy Spirit does this on the journey.”  Pope Francis has indicated that he wants us to be united by the power of the love which the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts.

The following prayer for unity provided by the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute reflects the spirit of this special week:

O God, Your right hand is glorious in power.
Extend Your hand to help us discover new ways that unite your people in the body of Christ, the Church.
May the strength of Your hand take away all misunderstanding and prejudice that hinder our calling to be one in body and spirit.
Draw us together in the bond of peace, of faith, and charity that we may be one in Jesus our Lord
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever.   Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, and the words of Our Holy Father, 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.

 

2022 01-30   Saint Brigid of Kildare, Patron Saint of our Parish and the Patron Saint of Students
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2022 01-16   The Legacy of Dr. King and Pro-Life Advocacy
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2022 01-16   The Legacy of Dr. King and Pro-Life Advocacy

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

On Monday, January 17th, as a nation we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for his work in promoting the dignity of the human person.  One of the many quotes he is noted for is: “I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.”  In honoring his legacy, we recognize the great strides that our country has made in overcoming the racial injustices of the past as hearts and minds have been changed.  We also acknowledge that much still needs to be done to heal the wounds and divisions that continue to exist in our nation.

As we reflect on the contributions of Dr. King, we also acknowledge the work of his niece Alveda King.  As previously indicated, she is a Christian woman, a mother, and a grandmother, and an outspoken pro-life advocate residing here in Georgia.  She often appears on television and has a national following.  She also speaks about the sanctity of human life at schools and churches and notes that full rights for all should include the rights of the unborn.

Mrs. King reminds us that as we acknowledge the strides our country has made in overcoming racial injustice, we cannot ignore another grave injustice that continues in our time.  It is the injustice of the callous disregard for human life, especially the life of the unborn.  Mrs. King has reaffirmed her belief in the sanctity and protection of all human life from conception to natural death.  She has urged us to place our faith in Jesus, the Divine Healer, and to continue to strive to change hearts and minds to correct this grave injustice.

As we reflect on the sentiments of Mrs. King, we are reminded that on Friday, January 21st, Archbishop Hartmayer will celebrate a special Mass for the Unborn at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.  The Mass will focus on the gift of life, and bring attention to the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision of the United States Supreme Court.  This decision effectively legalized abortion in this country.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has spoken often and eloquently about the evil of abortion.  As reported in the media publication “The Catholic World Report”, he deplored a “throwaway culture” in which aborted children are “discarded as unnecessary” declaring it “horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who never see the light of day.”  He 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.

We are invited to take to heart the examples of Dr. King, his niece Alveda King, and Pope Francis and do our part in promoting the dignity of the human person as we continue on our journey of faith.

 

2022 01-23   Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
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2022 01-09   Ensure Your Child’s Growth in Faith with the Gift of the Holy Spirit
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2022 01-09   Ensure Your Child’s Growth in Faith with the Gift of the Holy Spirit

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

We mark the end of our Christmas Season this Sunday as we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord.  As we celebrate this feast, we are reminded that the Sacrament of Baptism is the gateway to the other sacraments.  Jesus began His public life after having Himself baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan.

As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit.” (CCC 1279)

The Catechism further notes, “Since the earliest of times, Baptism has been administered to children, for it is a grace and a gift of God that does not presuppose any human merit; children are baptized in the faith of the Church.”  (CCC 1282) 

As reported in the Catholic publication CRUX, commenting on infant baptism, Pope Francis stated that we give children “a treasure, in baptism we give them a pledge: The Holy Spirit.  The child leaves with the strength of the Holy Spirit inside.  The Spirit which will defend them, help them, throughout their lives.”  He urged parents to take charge of their children’s growth in the faith, ensuring “that they grow with light, with the strength of the Holy Spirit through … instruction and the example you give them at home.”

The following “Baptismal Blessing” prayer focuses on the baptism of a child:

Lord Jesus Christ,
hear our prayers and with Your unfailing protection,
watch over and cherish this child,
whom You have blessed with the grace of baptism.
When this child has grown, grant that one may confess
Your name in willing faith, be fervent in charity,
and persevere courageously in the hope of reaching Your kingdom,
where You live and reign forever and ever.  Amen.

(“Readings for Baptism”, ‘Rites’, iBreviary)

As we reflect on this prayer, and as we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, we are encouraged to understand and appreciate the spiritual fruits of this great sacrament.

Baptisms at Saint Brigid generally take place on an individual basis on weekends in our Day Chapel.  As noted in our parish bulletin, “Parents of the child to be baptized should be registered parishioners and are required to attend a Preparation Class before the baptism.”  Additional details concerning baptismal requirements can be obtained from the parish office.  We urge parishioners to avail their loved ones of the Sacrament of Baptism if the appropriate requirements are met.

For more info visit www.saintbrigid.org/baptism.

2022 01-16   The Legacy of Dr. King and Pro-Life Advocacy
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2022 01-02   “New Years Reflection and Prayer” Braces the Call from our Holy Father
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2022 01-02   “New Years Reflection and Prayer” Braces the Call from our Holy Father

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Our New Year began this weekend on Saturday as we celebrated the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.  As we reflect on this Solemnity, we are urged to follow Mary’s example of holiness.  Pope Francis has noted that devotion to Mary is a requirement of the Christian life.

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 journey.  These risks and obstacles included 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 in these challenging and uncertain times as we strive to adapt our approach to worship and service as we cope primarily with the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Pope Francis acknowledged the difficulty of our faith journey and encouraged us, as a community of faith, to assist each other in overcoming the many obstacles we face.  He also urged us as disciples to take a more spiritual focus to the New Year.

The following “New Years Reflection and Prayer” from PrayerForAnxiety.com braces the call of Our Holy Father.

As the old year ends and a new one begins, take time.

Time to remember the struggle you faced,
and mistakes you might have made,
and maybe even loved ones you lost.

In every year, you experience heartache.
This one was no different.

And in remembering, find a seed of hope hidden in yesterday.

Remember how you’ve been blessed.
Relive when you found unexpected strength.
Recall when you saw God’s great Spirit at work.
And know his mercy kept you going all this time.

Recognize his mercy.  Ask for his peace.

The peace that pours out every moment of every day from the wounds of Christ.

Prepare us Our Lord for the New Year.
Lift us up and place in our hearts a renewed desire to know and worship you more.
Give us your abundant grace.
Shower us with your healing love.

May your eternal Kingdom reign in our hearts and our lives.
May the New Year show us once again your eternal mercy and glory.

And let us sing your praises with great joy.
In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

As we ponder on this prayer, we are encouraged to take time to reflect and remember, and embrace the opportunity to enhance our spiritual growth as we continue on our journey of faith.

On behalf of Fr. Bill, Fr. Darragh, our Deacons, and staff, we wish you and your families many blessings in the New Year.

                                 

 

2022 01-09   Ensure Your Child’s Growth in Faith with the Gift of the Holy Spirit
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2021, 12-25 and 12-16 The Nativity of the Lord and the Feast of the Holy Family
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2021, 12-25 and 12-16 The Nativity of the Lord and the Feast of the Holy Family

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

My brothers and sisters in Christ:  At Christmas, Christ comes into the world and our lives as a sign of the love God has for us.  The Christmas Season should be a time of prayer and reflection, wonder and silence as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Light of the world.

The following prayer,  “A Christmas Prayer”, reflects the essence of the season:

Eternal God, the hope of all humankind, you gave us the greatest gift of all in Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Son of God, You came as God’s Light to shine brightly in the darkness of minds and hearts; bathe our world in Your Light.
Jesus Christ, Word made flesh, make a way for the Good News of Your  Kingdom to reach every home, every heart, everywhere.
Protect and preserve the laborers who courageously declare the glory of Your Gospel throughout the world.
Provide for their every need and be their strength and joy.
Be the comforter, defender, and provider of the poor, the helpless, the cold, the hungry, the orphaned, the weary, the oppressed, those persecuted for their faith in You, the sick, those who mourn, the aged and the little children.
Reveal Yourself to those who do not know Your immense love.
Bless those who rejoice at Your coming!
Glorious Lord, we join our voices to the heavenly host and say:
“Glory to God in heaven, and on Earth peace to those on whom His favor rests!” 
Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, may we truly allow the light of Christ to shine through the darkness of our world and the darkness of our lives.   My prayer for all of us is that in the midst of the darkness of this world, we will have the wisdom to embrace the spiritual peace that Jesus offers us.   As a community of faith, may we truly experience the joy and love of the Lord this Christmas as we continue to strive for peace in our world, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts.

As we celebrate the birthday of Christ, I want to thank you for all you do to enhance the spiritual vitality of our parish, especially in these difficult and uncertain times as we strive to cope with the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.   I am deeply grateful for your willingness to embrace a spirit of generosity which, in so many ways, has enriched and strengthened our many programs, ministries, and activities, and has greatly fostered vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life.

On behalf of Fr. Bill, Fr. Darragh, 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 peace and joy in many profound and mysterious ways.

It is a privilege to serve you and our faith community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2022 01-02   “New Years Reflection and Prayer” Braces the Call from our Holy Father
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2021 12-19   Rise Above the Distractions with the Advent Wreath this Season
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2021 12-19   Rise Above the Distractions with the Advent Wreath this Season

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

During Advent, many of us can get caught up in the “busyness” of the season.  With all the distractions of the season, it is very possible to lose our spiritual focus.  The media does much to commercialize the season.  Many weeks before Thanksgiving Day, various media outlets begin to overwhelm us with various “holiday” advertisements and promotions.  They do so without even mentioning the word “Christmas”.  In addition, during these difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus, we are still busy going shopping; we are still busy going to parties; we are still busy making plans.  But in the midst of the commercialization, in the midst of all the “busyness”, are we really preparing spiritually for the coming of the Christ Child?

One way to counter these distractions is to focus on the significance of the Advent Wreath.  Integral to the season of Advent is the Advent Wreath which has a long Catholic tradition.  The Wreath is displayed prominently on our altar.   As previously noted, it typically has four candles that are lit progressively during the Sundays of Advent. There is also a fifth candle that is reserved for the Christmas season.

  • The first candle is the Prophecy Candle or the Candle of Hope. It reminds us that we can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises made to us.
  • The second candle is the Bethlehem Candle or the Candle of Preparation. We remember the words of the Prophet Isaiah who said, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him.”
  • The third candle is the Shepherd Candle or the Candle of Joy. We reflect on how we joyfully anticipate the coming of the Christ Child.
  • The fourth candle is the Angel Candle or the Candle of Love. We reflect on how the angels announce the coming of the Savior, sent by God because He loves us.
  • The fifth candle is the Christ Candle. It reminds us that Jesus is the spotless Lamb of God sent to wash away our sins.

Reflecting on the significance of these candles can also assist us in focusing on the Lord and, in the process, we can rise above the distractions of the season.  The candles can help us desire to see the light of Christ shine through the darkness of our lives.  They remind us that we, like John the Baptist, like the voice crying in the wilderness, are to prepare the way of the Lord.  We are challenged to remain awake, to remain watchful, to remain alert, and to remain vigilant.

My brothers and sisters in Christ:  Christmas is quickly approaching.  Hopefully, we will truly get our spiritual priorities in order so that our hearts will be ready to receive Our Lord, Our Savior, Our King of Kings.

 

2021, 12-25 and 12-16 The Nativity of the Lord and the Feast of the Holy Family
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2021 12-12   We Celebrate Gaudete Sunday, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Remember Msgr. Paul Reynolds
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2021 12-12   We Celebrate Gaudete Sunday, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Remember Msgr. Paul Reynolds

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday as we wait in joyful anticipation of the coming of the Christ Child.  As we wait, we continue to strive to prepare ourselves spiritually.  In our Sunday gospels during Advent, the call to prepare for Christ comes primarily from John the Baptist.  He, in essence, tells us to acknowledge our shortcomings and failures, repent of our sins, and change our hearts.

We also celebrate on this day the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  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 to 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 day is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm throughout the Americas.

As reported by the media publication “Inside the Vatican”, in a general audience in a prior year, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis called on the people of the Americas to embrace the joy of the Gospel in the spirit of Mary as he stated, “This is the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and this is my message, the message of the Church.  I encourage all the inhabitants of the American continents to hold open arms like the Virgin Mary, with love and tenderness.”  Reflecting on the special nature of the season, he further stated, “May the joy of the Gospel always be in your hearts.”

In addition to the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we also call to mind another important event during this Advent season.

This coming Saturday, 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.  Msgr. Reynolds was a man of great insight and wisdom who had a way of putting people at ease.  He was pastor of several parishes in the Archdiocese including Saint Brigid, where he served from 2006 until his death in 2010.

As we continue to go forth during this Advent season, as we reflect on the example of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and as we remember Monsignor Reynolds, may we truly embrace the joys and blessings of this season as we continue and persevere on our Advent journey of faith.

 

2021 12-19   Rise Above the Distractions with the Advent Wreath this Season
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2021 12-5  Our Advent Journey Continues Through our Devotion to Mary, Prayers, Charity, and Healing by Reconciliation.
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2021 12-5  Our Advent Journey Continues Through our Devotion to Mary, Prayers, Charity, and Healing by Reconciliation.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Our Advent journey continues in these difficult and uncertain times as we strive to remain watchful and alert as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Lord.  This Wednesday we especially honor our Mother Mary as we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and affirm our belief that Mary was blessed among women and was preserved from original sin from the moment of her conception.  It is a holy day of obligation.

Pope Francis, reflecting on the feast of the Immaculate Conception stated, “… what Mary had from the beginning, will be ours in the end, after we have passed through the purifying ‘bath’ of God’s grace.  What opens the gates of paradise to us is God’s grace, received by us with faithfulness.”   He further noted, “The uncontaminated beauty of our Mother is incomparable, but at the same time it attracts us.  Let us entrust ourselves to her and say ‘no’ to sin and ‘yes’ to Grace once and for all.”

This prayer titled “The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the Catholic News Agency encourages us to seek the intercession of Mary as we continue on our journey of faith:

Father, you prepared the Virgin Mary
to be the worthy Mother of your Son.
You let her share beforehand in the salvation,
Christ would bring by His death,
and kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception.

Help us by her prayers to live in your presence without sin.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
forever and ever.   Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer and try our best to avoid the temptations that can so quickly overwhelm us, please be aware that we will have additional opportunities during this season of Advent to avail ourselves of the great Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The Sacrament is here to heal us spiritually and get us closer to the Lord who loves us.  Please check the Parish bulletin or the Parish website for additional times and dates for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

During this great season of Advent, as we take to heart the profound words of Our Holy Father, I hope 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, we will truly be spiritually prepared as we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of the Christ Child.

  Fr. Neil Herlihy

 

 

2021 12-12   We Celebrate Gaudete Sunday, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Remember Msgr. Paul Reynolds
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2021 11-28  Avail yourself to the Special Time of Grace – Advent Parish Mission
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2021 11-28  Avail yourself to the Special Time of Grace – Advent Parish Mission

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

The season of Advent begins this Sunday.  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.  Pope Francis stated, “Advent is the time we are given to welcome the Lord who comes to encounter us, and also to verify our longing for God, to look forward and prepare ourselves for Christ’s return.”

As we reflect on these words of Our Holy Father, we are urged to remain watchful and vigilant as we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of the Lord.  During this special time, we will sponsor our Advent Parish Mission to be presented by Fr. Linus Klucsarits of the Order of Saint Benedict.   Fr. Linus is an experienced teacher and spiritual director from Saint Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama.  He will speak of the gift of the Christ Child that awaits us, and the spiritual process of preparation that is expected of us.  He will focus on how we can be spiritually prepared as we strive to cope with the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus in these difficult and uncertain times.  There will be time during the Mission for prayer and reflection.

The following Parish Mission Prayer asks God to bless our efforts:

Almighty Father,
Once again You are at the door and knock.
During our parish mission, You ask us to open the door of our hearts to Your abundant mercy.
Rouse us!  Purify and illumine our hearts!
Enter into every home of our parish.
Recall those far off, raise the fallen, awaken the indifferent.
Strengthen those who seek to be near You.  May no one refuse Your invitation, Lord.
Expand our hearts so that we may be merciful to others as You are so merciful to us.
O Mary, Mother of Mercy, we entrust to you this time of mission.
May it produce abundant fruits in our Christian life.  Amen.

Please invite your friends and loved ones to the Mission, 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 friends and loved ones to return to the precious faith we love and cherish.

I encourage you to prayerfully consider attending the 2021 Advent Parish Mission and availing yourself of this special time of grace.                                                                           

2021 12-5  Our Advent Journey Continues Through our Devotion to Mary, Prayers, Charity, and Healing by Reconciliation.
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2021 11-21   A Day For Our Lord, Family and Friends
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