Pastor's Corner

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 01-09   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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2021 11-21   A Day For Our Lord, Family and Friends

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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

We also celebrate Thanksgiving Day this Thursday, and we give thanks in a special way for the many blessings that the Lord has bestowed on us. This is especially appropriate in these difficult and uncertain times as we strive to cope with the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.

As we enjoy a Thanksgiving Day meal, we can thank God for the blessings of our life, our family, our friends, our vocations and our faith. In addition, we are encouraged to resist the temptation to participate in shopping frenzies, but rather to truly take time to reaffirm our commitment to make Thanksgiving Day a day for Our Lord, family and friends.
The following “Prayer of Thanksgiving”, from www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources, reflects the spirit which should be embraced on this special day:

As we reflect on this prayer, our bishops once again suggest that beginning Monday, the days before Thanksgiving be set aside for deeds of charity, for penance, and prayers for economic justice.
On behalf of the clergy and staff at Saint Brigid, we hope that your Thanksgiving Day will be a special one as we once again thank God for prayers answered and blessings received.

Heavenly Father,
I thank You for the wonderful day that You have made.
I thank You for my life and the lives of my loved ones.
I thank You Father for Your presence in my life,
for the confidence I have in You, and the plans You have for me.

I thank You for the immeasurable amount of love You have for me,
and how comforting it is to know that Your spirit is always with me.

I thank You Lord for all the big and small wins that I attain daily by the strength of Your spirit.
I thank You for the things in my life that I take for granted sometimes.
I thank You for a roof over my head, food to eat and clothes to wear.
I recognize that these things are all a gift from You, and I’m ever grateful.
May I develop an attitude of thanks in all circumstances Lord.
I pray that I’ll continue to remember that all things work together for good.
Thank You, Father, I love You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, our bishops once again suggest that beginning Monday, the days before Thanksgiving be set aside for deeds of charity, for penance, and prayers for economic justice. On behalf of the clergy and staff at Saint Brigid, we hope that your Thanksgiving Day will be a special one as we once again thank God for prayers answered and blessings received.

2021 11-28  Avail yourself to the Special Time of Grace – Advent Parish Mission
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2021 11-14   Pray for our Confirmation Candidates as they Continue on their Journey of Faith
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2021 11-14   Pray for our Confirmation Candidates as they Continue on their Journey of Faith

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Saturday, Bishop Bernard Shlesinger will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation at Saint Brigid to approximately 160 of our teens.  Confirmation along with Baptism and the Holy Eucharist comprise the sacraments of Christian initiation.  Our Catechism states, “Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism by a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which seal or ‘confirm’ the baptized in union with Christ and equip them for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the Church.”

Those who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation spend much time in instruction, reflection, and prayer.  Their preparation also includes time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and a spiritual retreat.  We continue to live in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 and related viruses.  Therefore, our candidates for Confirmation, their coordinators, and sponsors, as in the prior year, had to adapt to different approaches to preparation.  We appreciate their creativity and flexibility.

Pope Francis has often spoken about the importance of the Sacrament of Confirmation in our spiritual journey.  In one of his weekly general audiences, as reported by the media outlet, “Catholic News Agency”, he stated that Confirmation, along with Baptism and the Eucharist form part “of the unique process of Christian initiation through which we are gradually inserted in Christ, dead and risen, and we receive a new life.”  He further noted that the term “confirmation” “indicates that this sacrament ratifies baptismal grace.”  Our Holy Father also reminded the faithful that Confirmation “strengthens our relationship with the Church and gives it a special strength from the Holy Spirit to defend the faith and confess the name of Christ.”

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.  These candidates also receive the spiritual assistance and dedicated support of a sponsor.

The following “Confirmation Prayer” by Cardinal Henry Edward Manning asks for the guidance of the Holy Spirit:

O Holy Spirit of God: take me as thy disciple.
Guide me, illuminate me, sanctify me.
Bind my hands that they do no evil.
Cover my eyes that they may see it no more.
Sanctify my heart that evil may not dwell within me.
Be thou my God. Be thou my guide.
Whatsoever thou forbiddest me I will renounce.
 And whatsoever thou commandest me, in thy strength I will do.
Lead me then unto the fullness of thy truth.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, and on the words of Pope Francis, we are encouraged to continue to pray for these candidates as they prepare to receive this great sacrament and continue on their journey of faith.

2021 11-21   A Day For Our Lord, Family and Friends
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2021 11-07   Through our Veterans unselfish service, they make it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms provided in this nation.
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2021 11-07   Through our Veterans unselfish service, they make it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms provided in this nation.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Thursday, November 11th, we celebrate Veterans Day. At this time, we remember our men and women who served in the military and who sacrificed so much through their dedicated commitment to our country.  Many of our Veterans served in Viet Nam or some other foreign land, or here in the United States. Many others have recently returned home from tours of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, and have left active military service.

The Johns Creek Memorial Walk, located in Newtown Park, serves as a vivid and sobering 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 Memorial Walk.

The following “Veterans Day Prayer”, by Fr. Austin Fleming, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, reflects the spirit of this day:

God of peace, we pray for those who have served our nation, who laid down their lives to protect our freedom.
We pray for those who have fought, whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war,
and whose nights are haunted by memories too painful for the light of day.
We pray for those who serve us now, especially for those in harm’s way:
shield them from danger and bring them home, soon.
Turn the hearts and minds of our leaders and enemies to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.
Spare the poor, O God, spare the poor!
May the peace You left us, the peace You gave us,
be the peace that sustains, the peace that saves us.
Christ, Jesus, hear us! Christ, Jesus, hear our prayer!  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we should also remember the great sacrifices made by military chaplains who are Veterans and who have faithfully served the spiritual needs of our men and women in the armed forces and their families. We also have loved ones who have served our country well and now have Veteran status. Whether our Veterans served at home or abroad, we should not allow their service to be ignored or minimized, or their sacrifice taken for granted.  Through their unselfish service, they make it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms provided in this nation.

We are encouraged to assure our chaplains, family members, relatives, friends, and neighbors who have unselfishly served our nation in the armed forces of our gratitude and our respect. As citizens of this nation, we truly appreciate their service.

 

2021 11-14   Pray for our Confirmation Candidates as they Continue on their Journey of Faith
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2021 10-31   Honor our Saints and Deceased Loved Ones
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2021 10-31   Honor our Saints and Deceased Loved Ones

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Monday, November 1st, we celebrate All Saints Day.  We remember in a very special way on this day the many saints who came before us, holy men and women marked with the sign of faith.  They set such good examples for us, and we are encouraged to strive to model our behavior after them and follow their holy ways of life.  Many of them were ordinary people who were guided by the Lord to do extraordinary things.  We are encouraged to seek the intercession of our saints as we pray for wisdom and guidance and continue on our journey of faith.

Then on Tuesday, November 2nd, we commemorate All Souls Day.  It is a day in which the Church makes a special effort to remember, honor, and pray for the dead.  We are encouraged to pray for our deceased relatives, friends, neighbors, parishioners, co-workers, and all who shared their lives with us. Speaking about the significance of this day, Pope Francis called All Souls Day, a day of hope.  As reported in the media outlet, “The Catholic World Report”, in a Mass he celebrated for the faithful departed at a cemetery in Rome, he stated, “Hope is a gift from God that draws us towards life, towards eternal joy.  Hope is an anchor that we have on the other side.” Pope Francis said that one must ask the Lord for the gift of Christian hope.

In addition, on Wednesday, November 3rd at 7:00 p.m., we will celebrate a Mass of Remembrance.  We will honor the memory of those loved ones who have died, including those who have died recently.  It is suggested that we especially remember those who have died from the COVID-19 virus in these difficult and uncertain times.  As we grieve for all those who have died, we are reminded that grieving is part of the human condition and can help us on the path to healing.  A litany of names and an offering of roses with appropriate lighting of candles will mark this special occasion.

As Catholics, we are asked at this time to prayerfully consider visiting appropriate gravesites as we strive to honor our dead and to bring spiritual peace and consolation to families who mourn for their loved ones.  We are also encouraged to honor our deceased loved ones and our great saints by participating in our Church liturgies on these very special days.  Details concerning these liturgies can be found in the Parish bulletin and on the Parish website.

2021 11-07   Through our Veterans unselfish service, they make it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms provided in this nation.
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2021 10-24   Embrace the Missionary Spirit of our Precious Faith
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2021 10-24   Embrace the Missionary Spirit of our Precious Faith

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate World Mission Sunday.  This year’s theme is, “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).  In his ‘Mission” message this year, Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has described the theme as “a summons to each of us to ‘own’ and to bring to others what we bear in our hearts.”  He stated, “Once we experience the power of God’s love, and recognize His fatherly presence in our personal and community life, we cannot help but proclaim and share what we have seen and heard.”  He also noted, “Everything about Christ reminds us that He knows well our world and its need for redemption, and calls us to become actively engaged in this mission.”

Pope Francis, in another address, stated, “Mission is a free and conscious response to God’s call.  Yet we discern this call when we have a personal relationship of love with Jesus present in His Church.”  Our Holy Father asked, “Are we willing to be sent forth at any time or place to witness to our faith in God the merciful Father, to proclaim the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ, to share the divine life of the Holy Spirit by building up the Church?”

As disciples, we are challenged to get personally involved in living the gospel message despite potential risks and difficulties concerning engagement with secular sectors of our society.  As previously noted, we can personally spread Christian values through our participation in such events as the March for Life and the Eucharistic Congress.  We can also spread these values through our involvement with the Saint Vincent DePaul Society and Catholic Charities, and other organizations which encourage Christian outreach, as we assist people in need, especially those in mission territories.  In addition, we can spread the gospel message by challenging our civil leaders to enact laws that promote Catholic social teaching, especially in areas concerning the unborn, marriage, and the family.

The following “Prayer For World Mission Sunday” reflects the call to witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ:

Lord, may Your mission become the central concern for our church community throughout the world.
Bring us closer to our brothers and sisters, that we bear witness of our faith in Christ and announce His gospel.
Embolden us to go out and meet the many people who hear good news that you love us and you want our happiness through the construction of a better world, your kingdom!
We ask this through Jesus, Your greatest missionary with us,  forever and ever.  Amen

As we reflect on this prayer, and on the profound words of Pope Francis, and as we celebrate World Mission Sunday, we are challenged to set a good example for others and to embrace the missionary spirit of our precious faith.

 

2021 10-31   Honor our Saints and Deceased Loved Ones
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2021 10-17  Our Lady of the Rosary
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2021 10-17  Our Lady of the Rosary

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

The month of October each year is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary.  During this month, we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and we honor our Mother Mary who has encouraged the faithful to pray the Rosary.  The publication, “Our Sunday Visitor” noted that the Rosary was developed in the Middle Ages and “…is, at its heart, a biblical prayer, which is why Scripture verses are often used for meditation with each mystery.”

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has a great appreciation for the Rosary.  As reported in the media outlet, “The Catholic World Report”, Pope Francis stated, “I invite everyone to rediscover, especially during this month of October, the beauty of the prayer of the Rosary, which has nourished the faith of the Christian people through the centuries.”  He added, “The recitation of the Rosary is the most beautiful prayer we can offer to the Virgin Mary; it is a contemplation on the stages of the life of Jesus the Savior with his Mother Mary and is a weapon that protects us from evils and temptations.”  He also reminded the faithful, “Even today, in this time of pandemic, it is necessary to hold the Rosary in our hands, praying for us, for our loved ones and for all people.”

St. Padre Pio, the great Italian mystic, also urged the faithful to pray the Rosary.  He stated, “Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother.  Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary for the Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today.  All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother.”

The following prayer reflects one’s call to get closer to Jesus and Mary by praying the Rosary:

O Mary, our Lady of the Rosary,
may the faithful recitation of my rosary be a sign of my gratitude to Jesus
and you for all you have done for me in bringing about my redemption.
May my rosary also be a means of obtaining all the graces I need
for the sanctification of my soul and that of my family.
Amen.

 

As we reflect on this prayer, and the words of Pope Francis and St. Padre Pio, we are reminded that at Saint Brigid, we have various Rosary ministries and Marian devotions in which our parishioners actively participate.  For example, many parishioners pray the Rosary before the 9 am daily Mass.  Others pray the Rosary online on Tuesday evenings.  Still, others participate in a Living Rosary on various Marian feast days, where the Rosary is brought to life with individuals representing each bead of the Rosary.

As Catholics, we are encouraged to pray the Rosary, especially, if possible, as a family, as we continue on our journey of faith in these difficult and uncertain times.

2021 10-24   Embrace the Missionary Spirit of our Precious Faith
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2021 10-03 Respect Life Month – Life Chain and the Holy Hour for Life
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2021 10-03 Respect Life Month – Life Chain and the Holy Hour for Life

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate Respect Life Sunday.  We are reminded that God is the Creator of all life, and all life is precious in His sight.  Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has called on the faithful to promote the dignity of all human life from conception until natural death.  He encouraged the faithful to promote the Gospel of Life, and protect and cherish the lives of the unborn, the elderly, the physically and mentally challenged.

In an address to Catholic healthcare professionals, he stated, “Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before He was born, and then just after birth experienced the world’s rejection.  And every elderly person…even if he is ill or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ.  They cannot be discarded, as the ‘culture of waste’ suggests!”

The following prayer on the right, called “A Pro-Life Prayer” reflects the sentiments of Pope Francis and helps us to appreciate the precious gift of life.

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

As we reflect on this prayer and the profound words of Pope Francis, this Sunday we are invited to reaffirm our support for the precious gift of life.  There will be a series of “Life Chains” which will be conducted throughout the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  We are invited to participate in the “Life Chain” that will be held between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Old Alabama Road in an area which will include the space in front of our Church. The “Life Chain” will be a peaceful, public, and prayerful witness concerning the dignity of all life, especially the lives of the unborn.  We will pray for our nation and its people and we will be exercising our responsibility to speak out on behalf of the value of life.

We are challenged to commit ourselves publicly to the protection of all human life as we strive to enhance the moral integrity of our great nation.   If we cannot be at the “Life Chain” in Johns Creek this Sunday, we are invited to speak for the most vulnerable through prayer in the silence of our hearts.

May God continue to bless you and your families for all you do to embrace a culture of life.

2021 10-17  Our Lady of the Rosary
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2021 09-25 Priesthood Sunday 2021
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2021 09-19   Catechetical Sunday, “Say the Word and my Soul Shall be Healed”

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday, the Catholic Church celebrates Catechetical Sunday.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops noted that the theme for this day is, “Say the Word and My Soul Shall Be Healed.”   Our bishops remind us that Catechetical Sunday is a “wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each baptized person plays in handing on the faith and being witness to the Gospel.  Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to this mission as a community of faith.”

We have been blessed at Saint Brigid with many dedicated catechists who teach our faith to children and adults.  They generously give of their time and talent to serve the needs of our people.  Some catechists teach at various times of the week and to a variety of groups of the faithful.  Many of our catechists face unique challenges in teaching, due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has a great appreciation for catechists.  As reported by the media outlet, “Vatican News’, he recently stated that “the history of evangelization over the past two millennia clearly shows the effectiveness of the mission of catechists”, who have “devoted their lives to catechetical instruction so that the faith might be an effective support for the life of every human being.”  He noted, “In our own day too, many competent and dedicated catechists…carry out a mission invaluable for the transmission and growth of the faith.”   He has also recently instituted a formal ministry for catechists which is expected to evolve over time.

The following PRAYER FOR CATECHISTS reflects our appreciation for them.

O God, our Heavenly Father, you have given us the gift of these catechists to be heralds of the Gospel to our parish family.

We lift them up to you in thanksgiving and intercede for them concerning their hopes and needs.
May we be attentive to the presence of your Word in them, a Word that lifts up and affirms, calls forth and challenges, is compassionate and consoles.
style=”padding-left: 40px;”>We pray that our parish family will always be blessed with those who have responded to the call to share in Christ’s prophetic mission as catechists.

May we too be open to the universal call to service that Christ addresses to all of His disciples, contributing our gifts to the communion of faith, the Church.
We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

As we reflect on this prayer we are encouraged to thank those catechists who have answered the call to discipleship and have helped us to more fully embrace the precious faith we cherish.

2021 09-25 Priesthood Sunday 2021
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2021 09-12   Patriots Day – In Remembrance of the Terrorist Attacks on Sept. 11, 2001
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2021 09-12   Patriots Day – In Remembrance of the Terrorist Attacks on Sept. 11, 2001

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  We as a nation recalled the tragic deaths and injuries that occurred at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and on the fields of Somerset, Pennsylvania.  We also remembered the men and women in uniform who gave their lives or who were injured that day in the line of duty.  We remembered not only the tragic events on that day, but with the recent unfortunate events in Afghanistan, we were also reminded of the dangers that continue to confront us in an unstable world.

As reported in the publication, the National Catholic Register, as previously noted, recalling the events of that day, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, stated, “We reverently recall all those who were most directly affected by this tragedy – those who died, were injured or lost loved ones.  In a special way, we recall the selfless first responders – firefighters, police, chaplains, emergency workers, and other brave persons – who risked, and many times lost, their lives in their courageous efforts to save others.”

As Catholics, we are challenged to respond in faith to the pressing concerns of our brothers and sisters in need and to remember in a special way all those who suffered in some way on that fateful day of September 11, 2001.

We continue to pray for our men and women in uniform who defend our freedoms.  We also pray for their families and the military chaplains who assist them.

The following “Prayer for 9/11 Anniversary” provided by the Sisters of Mercy focuses on the need for healing.  As we reflect on this prayer, we are encouraged to continue to ask for the special intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Peace, as we pray for peace in our world, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts.    

                                                                     

2021 09-19   Catechetical Sunday, “Say the Word and my Soul Shall be Healed”
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2021 09-10  The Image and Likeness of God are Present in Marriage
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2021 09-10  The Image and Likeness of God are Present in Marriage

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Last weekend, Archbishop Hartmayer celebrated a special Mass at Saint Brigid honoring couples in the Archdiocese of Atlanta celebrating the 50th or 60th anniversary of their marriage.  These couples have committed themselves in a sacramental way to the Lord, and to one another.  In our Church tradition, a man and woman are not only joined to each other in marriage but they are also joined to Christ.  As the sign of God’s presence in the world, Christ is the foundation of their union.  The couple then joins Christ as an outward sign of God’s love.  They are able to open themselves to each other in love because God has first loved them.

In reflecting on a couple’s love for one another, as previously noted, Catholic author and educator, Matthew Kelly indicated that in marriage, we strive to allow ourselves to share fully with each other, within our human limitations, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually.  Marriage also requires real openness to give and to receive.  This openness requires trust in each other and trust in the Lord.  In marriage, couples strive to reflect the total giving of self by Christ on the cross.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has a great appreciation for the vocation of marriage.  As reported in the media outlet, “Vatican News”, he called marriage “a silent homily.”  He prayed that the Lord “might give to the Church and society a more profound and more beautiful understanding of marriage so that we all might be able to appreciate and reflect upon (the fact) that the image and likeness of God are present in marriage.”

In the following “Wedding Anniversary Prayer”,  from www.2heartsnetwork.org/spouses.html a couple thanks God for blessing their union:

Heavenly Father, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for Your continued blessings on our union that has enabled us to reach another anniversary.
We thank you for letting our love deepen and for helping us in time of trial.
We know that without Your assistance we would never have remained so close as we are.
We ask You to continue to watch over us, over our homes and families.
Help us to renew our vows of love and loyalty and to strive to remain united with you, steadfast in our faith, and united in your service.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, and the words of Our Holy Father, we are encouraged to give thanks to our anniversary couples for truly embracing the vocation of marriage, and for the profound example of endearing and steadfast love which they have provided for us.

 

2021 09-12   Patriots Day – In Remembrance of the Terrorist Attacks on Sept. 11, 2001
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2021 09-5   This Labor Day, Treat it as a Day of Prayer For All Those Who Truly Labor in the Spirit of Jesus and St. Joseph
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2021 09-5   This Labor Day, Treat it as a Day of Prayer For All Those Who Truly Labor in the Spirit of Jesus and St. Joseph

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As a nation, this Monday we celebrate Labor Day.  It is traditionally celebrated on the first Monday in September.  On this day we honor all those who labor for a living.   We thank these workers for their service to their families, and for their service to all those who benefit from their efforts.  We’re also called to remember and pray for all those who are now retired after many years of labor, and for the unemployed and underemployed.

Pope Francis has a deep appreciation for the dignity of labor, and for all those who work.  He reminded the faithful that labor is clearly important to the human experience and that work is fundamental to the dignity of the human person.  As previously noted, as reported in the Catholic publication “CRUX”, he indicated that work is not just an occupation, but a mission.

He stated, “We collaborate with the creative work of God when, through our work, we cultivate and preserve creation; we participate, in the spirit of Jesus, in His redemptive mission, when by our activity we give sustenance to our families and respond to the needs of our neighbor.”  He noted that Jesus and Saint Joseph worked as carpenters and that they understood the importance and value of work.

The following “LABOR DAY PRAYER” provided by the publication “The Catholic Telegraph” looks to Saint Joseph to serve as a model for all who labor:

Glorious St. Joseph,
model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously,
putting the call of duty above my many sins; to work with thankfulness and joy,
considering it an honor to employ and develop, by means of labor, the gifts received from God;
to work with order, peace, prudence, and patience, never surrendering to weariness or difficulties;
to work, above all, with purity of intention, and with detachment from self,
having always death before my eyes and the account which I must render of time lost, of talent wasted,
of good omitted, of vain complacency in success so vital to the work of God,
all for Jesus, all for Mary, all after thy example,
O, Patriarch Joseph.  Such shall be my motto in life and death.  Amen.

As we celebrate Labor Day, we are encouraged to make it more than a day of rest and recreation.  Hopefully, we will also treat it as a day of prayer for all those who truly labor in the spirit of Jesus and St. Joseph.

 

2021 09-10  The Image and Likeness of God are Present in Marriage
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2021 08-29   Family Love, A Vocation and Path to Holiness
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2021 08-29   Family Love, A Vocation and Path to Holiness

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

The traditional activities of many Catholic families have been disrupted or altered due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Mass attendance, prayer routines, work schedules, family meals, and other activities may have changed.   In some instances, this may have an adverse effect on the family unit.  Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has often focused on the need for strong Catholic families.  He spoke of the Catholic family as an institution that prays, keeps the faith, and experiences joy.  He challenged families to pray together in the midst of the many distractions and busyness of daily living.  He said that we need simplicity to pray as a family and that prayer makes the family strong.

In addition to making time for prayer, as previously noted, the publication “Our Sunday Visitor” indicated that the foundation of solid Catholic family life is Sunday Mass.  It stated, “When we approach God’s altar to receive the Eucharist, our share in Christ’s Body and Blood deepens our communion with him and through him, builds up his Body, the Church” … “We listen to the Word of God and learn how to follow Jesus.  We pray together and learn about silence and humility.  On Sunday we are reminded that the center of our family life is Christ.”

Pope Francis, in his continuing concern for the family, has called for the 10th World Meeting of Families which will convene in June, 2022.   The theme of the meeting will be “Family Love: Vocation and Path to Holiness.”  As reported in the Media outlet, “Catholic News Agency”, Pope Francis stated that the meeting “…will be an opportunity provided by Providence to create a worldwide event that can involve all the families that would like to feel part of the ecclesial community.”

The following “Prayer for Families” asks God to continue to guide the family unit:

God, Our Father, loving and merciful,  bring together and keep all families in perfect unity of love and support.
Instill in each member the spirit of understanding and affection for each other.
Keep quarrels and bitterness far from them, and for their occasional failures instill forgiveness and peace.
May the mutual love and affection of parents set a great example.
Instill in children self-respect that they may respect others and grow in mature independence.
May the mutual affection and respect of families be a sign of Christian life here and hereafter, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, in the spirit of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we are encouraged to make a conscious effort to keep our families united, especially in these difficult and uncertain times.

2021 09-5   This Labor Day, Treat it as a Day of Prayer For All Those Who Truly Labor in the Spirit of Jesus and St. Joseph
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2021 08-22   We Truly Appreciate the Faithful, Dedicated, and Holy Deacons who Serve Us
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2021 08-22   We Truly Appreciate the Faithful, Dedicated, and Holy Deacons who Serve Us

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As we know, there are men who serve in the Catholic Church as Permanent Deacons.  Those men who are called to the Permanent Deaconate can be married, and they are ordained usually after a rigorous period of five years of training and formation.  Many of these deacons have secular jobs to support their families and strive to balance family, Church, work, and other responsibilities.

Pope Francis has a great appreciation for deacons.  He recently met with a group of deacons and their families at the Vatican.  In an address to this group, as reported by the media outlet “Catholic News Agency”, Pope Francis stated, “The humble service of a deacon tells of the greatness of God.”  He noted that deacons are “sentinels” for their parishes as they “help the Christian community to recognize Jesus in the poor and the distant, as He knocks on our doors through them.”  He challenged the deacons to respond to their call to service.  Pope Francis stated, “Whatever the need, see the Lord.  So you, too, recognize the Lord when, in so many of his little brothers and sisters, He asks to be fed, to be welcomed and loved.  I would like this to be the profile of the deacons of Rome and of the whole world.”   He also encouraged the deacons to do “everything with joy, without complaining; this is a testimony that is worth more than many sermons.”

As Catholics, we are fortunate to have deacons, since they serve our Church in many ways.  For example, they assist the priest at Mass, preside at baptisms, teach in our faith formation programs, visit the sick and the homebound, prepare couples for marriage, counsel couples who may be struggling in their marriages, preside at Benediction and Holy Hours, and participate in many of our Church ministries and activities.

The following prayer called “A Prayer for Deacons” asks the Lord to guide and bless the deacons who serve us:

Lord God, in Your kindness you sent Your Son to be our Shepherd and guide,
Continue to send workers into your vineyard to serve Your people.
Bless the Deacons who serve us.
Renew within them Your Spirit’s seven gifts, that they may be strengthened to carry out faithfully their ministry of service.
May they love sincerely, show genuine concern for the poor, and live holy lives.
May they always be faithful in believing what they read, teaching what they believe, and practicing what they teach.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.   Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are encouraged to truly appreciate the faithful, dedicated, and holy deacons who serve us so well at Saint Brigid, especially in these difficult and uncertain times.

 

2021 08-29   Family Love, A Vocation and Path to Holiness
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2021 08-15   Prayer to St. Peregrine for Cancer Sufferers
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2021 08-15   Prayer to St. Peregrine for Cancer Sufferers

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As we know, cancer can be a debilitating disease and can impact people of all ages.  There are many different types of cancer.  Among the more common types are breast cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer.

Saint Peregrine is the patron of all those afflicted by cancer and other illnesses.  Included among the many statues of saints in our Church is a statue of Saint Peregrine.  As previously reported, the publication, “Franciscan Mission Associates”, provided a brief glimpse into his background.  It stated that he “… led a life of quiet prayer, solitude, and repentance for many years.  His life took an unexpected turn when a painful cancerous tumor developed on his foot, requiring amputation.  The night before surgery, St. Peregrine spent hours in prayer, then fell asleep and dreamt of Jesus touching and healing his foot.  Upon waking, he was cured!  During the rest of his lifetime and beyond, many miracles of healing have been attributed to St. Peregrine’s prayers.”

The publication also stated, “The power of prayer has been demonstrated time and again.  Whether we offer our intentions alone in silence or aloud with others, God always hears us.  This is especially true when our prayers are strengthened through the communion of saints, canonized by the Church for their special grace.”  The publication invited us to join “in praying to St. Peregrine whose intercession has led to miracles of healing for those with cancer and other diseases.”  Many of us know someone who is struggling with some form of cancer.  It has affected many of our parishioners and their loved ones.

The following “Prayer to Saint Peregrine for Cancer Sufferers” can provide comfort in times of trial for those afflicted and for their loved ones:

Saint Peregrine, whom Holy Mother Church has declared patron of those suffering from cancer, I confidently turn to you for aid in my present need.
Lest I lose confidence, I beg your kind intercession.  Plead with Mary, the Mother of Sorrows, whom you loved so tenderly, and in union with whom you have suffered the pains of cancer, that she may help me with her all-powerful prayers and consolation.
Obtain for me the strength to accept my trials from the loving hand of God with patience and resignation.  May suffering lead me to a better life and enable me to atone for my sins and the sins of the world.
Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are encouraged to learn more about Saint Peregrine and ask for his special intercession, especially in these difficult and uncertain times when cancer, in many different forms, is so prevalent in our society.

 

2021 08-22   We Truly Appreciate the Faithful, Dedicated, and Holy Deacons who Serve Us
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2021 08-08   The Assumption of Mary
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2021 08-08   The Assumption of Mary

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Sunday we celebrate as a faith community the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Addressing the Assumption, our Church teaches that Mary was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory when the course of her earthly life was finished.  Pope Francis stated that this was a special privilege granted to the Mother of God due to her unique corporal and spiritual union with her Son, Jesus.

AS previously noted, Our Holy Father has a strong devotion to Mary.  One of his first acts after being elected Pope was to visit the Basilica of Saint Mary Major and dedicate his papacy to Mary’s care.  He has encouraged the faithful to turn to Mary in prayer and seek her intercession.  As reported in the publication “The Catholic World Report”, Pope Francis indicated that the Virgin Mary’s witness is a reminder to praise God each day.  He stated, “If, like Mary, we remember the great things that the Lord does, if at least once a day we magnify, we glorify Him, then we take a great leap forward…our hearts will expand, joy will increase.”

Pope Francis has also encouraged Catholics to visit a Marian shrine or acknowledge Mary in some special way on the feast of the Assumption.  Therefore, we encourage you to prayerfully consider making time next Sunday, before or after Mass, to pray before our statue of Mary which is adjacent to the entrance to our Saint Brigid Day Chapel, or visit the statue of Mary which is in our Columbarium.  In addition, we invite you to participate in our Virtual Rosary this Tuesday night, and our Living Rosary this Thursday night.  Like Pope Francis, our late Pope Pius XII also had a great devotion to Mary and he solemnly declared the Assumption as formal doctrine.  The following is an excerpt from the PRAYER IN HONOR OF THE ASSUMPTION which he composed:

O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and Mother of Men.

We believe with all the favor of the faith in your triumphal Assumption,

 both in body and soul, into heaven,

where you are acclaimed as Queen by all the choirs of angels  and all the legions of saints;

 and we unite with them to praise and bless the Lord who has exalted you above all other creatures,

 and to offer you the tribute of our devotion and love.  Amen

As we reflect on this prayer, we are invited to look to Mary as a model of faith and respond in generous love to our call to discipleship.

Mary, Mother of God, intercede for us.

Mary, our Mother, pray for us.

 

2021 08-15   Prayer to St. Peregrine for Cancer Sufferers
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2021 08-1   Marriage, the Divine Plan
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2021 08-1   Marriage, the Divine Plan

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

The goals of  Catholic marriage are procreation and education of children, a mutual love of a couple, in a union that is permanent and indissoluble.  However, unfortunately, these goals are not always met.  We may know friends and relatives and neighbors whose marriages have not endured for one reason or another.  We pray that they may seek the healing they need, especially when appropriate through the process of annulment available in the Catholic Church.

Many Catholics may not have a basic understanding of the annulment process.  This lack of understanding may inhibit their participation in Church liturgies and programs.  The Catholic Church wants those involved to better understand and embrace its teachings as it relates to marriage and annulments.

As explained in the publication, Our Sunday Visitor (OSV), “The Catholic Church believes that the joining of a man and a woman in matrimony is a sacred act.  When this act takes place between two baptized Christians, it is a sacrament.  If neither or only one of the persons is baptized, then the marriage is not a sacramental marriage but is recognized as a sacred bond.  The Church considers marriage, sacramental or not, a valid covenant when a man and a woman freely express informed consent, without constraint and unimpeded by natural or ecclesiastical law.”

The publication notes that through the annulment inquiry, the Church also recognizes legitimate reasons why a wedding may not have led to a valid marriage.   It states, “An annulment is a declaration by the Catholic Church that after careful investigation, flaws were discovered in the relationship that prevented it from becoming a marriage.  An annulment is concerned mainly with the personal and spiritual aspects of marriage.  It does not ‘erase’ the civil contract.”

In its publication, “Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan”, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated: “We encourage divorced persons who wish to marry in the Catholic Church to seek counsel about the options that exist to remedy their situation, including the suitability of a declaration of nullity when there is no longer any hope of reconciliation of the spouses.”

At Saint Brigid, we have trained Annulment Advocates, coordinated by Deacon Tom Huff, who can help those interested grow in their knowledge and understanding of the annulment process.  An Information Night has been scheduled for August 19th at 7:00 PM in Corbett Hall to discuss the process.  All are invited to attend.  Details are listed at www.saintbrigid.org/annulment     

2021 08-08   The Assumption of Mary
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2021 07-25   The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and Children
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2021 07-18   Our Prayers and Financial Support of the 2021 Annual Appeal are Clearly Bearing Fruit

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

 At this time, we are in the midst of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal for 2021.  The theme of the Appeal is “Our Joyful Return to the Lord”.  Representatives of the Archdiocese have recently sent reminder notices urging parishioners to support the Appeal.

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.  The Appeal also supports our diaconate program, Catholic Charities, and many other Archdiocesan pastoral outreach, education, and formation programs that serve our parish as well as our larger Church family.  In addition, the Appeal also provides needed financial support for our priests in retirement who have served the people of this Archdiocese so faithfully over the years.

A substantial portion of the Appeal provides for the funding of our Archdiocese Vocation program.  Through your generosity, Saint Brigid benefits directly from the Appeal.  Just last month, parishioner Fr. Robbie Cotta was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  He celebrated his first Mass here at Saint Brigid.  Fr. Cotta’s training and formation were financed primarily through contributions to the Annual Appeal.

As a faith community, we continue to pray daily for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life.  We also strive to assist seminarians as they discern a vocation to the priesthood and as they continue their training and formation.  Seminarian Jonathan Webster was assigned to parish ministry at Saint Brigid this summer, and will soon be completing his assignment.  He is assisting primarily at our liturgies and also with our Adult Education, Youth, and Confirmation programs.

As we can see, our prayers and financial support of the Annual Appeal are clearly bearing fruit.  We ask for your continued support.  If you have already given via the mail or online, we thank you.  If you have not yet given to the Annual Appeal, we ask you to prayerfully consider doing so.  Additional information about the Appeal can be obtained from the parish office or from the parish website.

Archbishop Hartmayer has asked us to generously and sacrificially support the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal by giving “from the heart.”  We clearly realize that there may be limitations to your generosity in these difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  However, conditions are continuing to ease as we joyfully “Return to the Lord”, and so we ask you to assist us to the extent possible.

Thank you for all you do to enhance the spiritual vitality of our faith community.

 

2021 07-25   The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and Children
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2021 07-11   Welcome Fr. Darragh Griffith, our new Parochial Vicar
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2021 07-11   Welcome Fr. Darragh Griffith, our new Parochial Vicar

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

We welcome Fr. Darragh Griffith to our Saint Brigid parish family as our new parochial vicar.  Fr. Darragh was born and raised in Ireland and has been inspired by the examples set by Saint Brigid and Saint Patrick.  He has served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Atlanta for many years, in various capacities and has witnessed the rapid growth of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese.

Fr. Darragh is thankful for the spiritual vitality that is evident in the Saint Brigid faith community and is anxious to assist our parishioners through his priestly service.  He will strive to focus on the essentials of his priesthood, including celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, and visiting the sick, in addition to other assigned duties.  Fr. Darragh also appreciates the communal dimension of our faith.  He stated,

“We journey together as a community as we pray the Stations of the Cross, go to confession and glean grace from the Sacrifice of the Mass.”

Fr. Darragh also enjoys playing golf and listening to Irish music.

Details concerning a reception for Fr. Darragh will be provided in the Church bulletin and on the Parish website in the near future.   Please pray for Fr. Darragh and welcome him to our faith community.

 

2021 07-18   Our Prayers and Financial Support of the 2021 Annual Appeal are Clearly Bearing Fruit
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2021 07-04   God, Source of All Freedom, A Gift to Every Human Being
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2021 07-04   God, Source of All Freedom, A Gift to Every Human Being

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

 This Sunday we celebrate the Fourth of July, Independence Day.  On this day, we remember and appreciate the birth of our nation.   As Catholics, we are called to truly cherish in a very special way the many freedoms we enjoy in this country.  Our bishops remind us that, in the midst of a society that is becoming more secular in its orientation, there is a need to reaffirm our commitment to guard and protect our freedoms, especially our right to religious liberty.  There is also a need to strengthen the moral foundation of our country, a moral foundation based on faith and trust in the Lord.

As we celebrate Independence Day, we are invited to pray “A PRAYER FOR INDEPENDENCE DAY” provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

God, source of all freedom, this day is bright with the memory of those who declared that life and liberty are Your gift to every human being.

Help us to continue a good work begun long ago.

Make our vision clear and our will strong: that only in human solidarity will we find liberty, and justice only in the honor that belongs to every life on earth.

Turn our hearts toward the family of nations:  to understand the ways of others, to offer friendship, and to find safety only in the common good of all.

We ask this through Christ, our Lord.  Amen. 

As we reflect on this prayer, and as we celebrate the birth of our nation, we also acknowledge how dramatically the fabric of our nation has changed due primarily to the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus.  As previously noted, our robust economy has been significantly curtailed, and certain businesses have been forced to close, causing many people to lose their jobs.  Even various government directives and guidelines concerning the temporary closing of churches, businesses, parks and beaches may have caused us to reflect on the freedoms we may at times take for granted.

Gradually, the impact of the COVID-19 virus is starting to ease and we hope to witness a return to a more normal sense of life.   Churches, businesses, parks, beaches and other places available to the public are becoming more accessible.  We look forward to the time when our great nation will once again flourish.

As we take time this weekend for picnics and sporting events and other forms of recreation and relaxation, we are encouraged to also take time to thank God for the many freedoms we enjoy, and to reaffirm our commitment to protect and preserve those freedoms, especially in these difficult and uncertain times.

 

2021 07-11   Welcome Fr. Darragh Griffith, our new Parochial Vicar
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2021 06-27   Welcome Jonathan Webster, our Summer Seminarian
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2021 06-27   Welcome Jonathan Webster, our Summer Seminarian

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As a faith community, we strive to assist seminarians in the Archdiocese of Atlanta as they discern a vocation to the priesthood and as they continue their training and formation.  This summer, we welcomed Jonathan Webster to our parish as he paused in his seminary studies to gain additional experience in parish ministry.  He is from Saint Anna parish in Monroe, Georgia, and is currently studying at St. Joseph Seminary College in Covington, Louisiana.

Jonathan is in the midst of his assignment here at Saint Brigid.  In addition to serving at our liturgies, Jonathan has also assisted in our youth ministry activities and in our Confirmation Camp.  He will be participating in various aspects of our adult faith formation in future weeks.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has asked us to pray for seminarians.  The following prayer, “Parents Prayer for Vocations”,  provided by the USCCB,  asks God to guide and inspire those who are discerning a priestly vocation.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are encouraged to pray for Jonathan and all seminarians as they continue on their journey of faith.

Thank you for your active participation in our faith community as we strive to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life.                                       

Almighty and eternal God,
in your unfailing love you provide ministers for your Church.
We pray for those whom you call to serve the Church as priests.
Inspire in them a generous response.
Grant them courage and vision to serve your people.
May their lives and service call your people
to respond to the presence of your Spirit among us that,
faithful to the Gospel and hope of Jesus Christ, we may:
announce glad tidings to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives,
set prisoners free and renew the face of the earth.
Amen

Discern Your Vocation  –

How Is Jesus Calling You to Lay Down Your Life for the Church?   Visit: www.calledbychrist.com

2021 07-04   God, Source of All Freedom, A Gift to Every Human Being
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2021 06-20   Thank our Heavenly Father for the Gift of Our Fathers
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2021 06-20   Thank our Heavenly Father for the Gift of Our Fathers

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day and we remember in a special way all that dads mean to their children.  Being a father is a great privilege and also a great responsibility.  Fathers are challenged to set a good example for their children and to help prepare them for their lives as adults.  This is especially important for fathers in these difficult and uncertain times as they strive to cope with the sustained impact of the COVID-19 virus, and its effects on family life.

As we know, we are called to honor our fathers.  There should be a desire to maintain a strong bond of communication with them and assist in their care in their later years, after the many years that they have cared for us in so many different ways.  It is also suggested that we pray for them after their death.  Our love for our fathers and our other family members should reflect the love that God has for us.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has placed great emphasis and focus on fatherhood.  As previously noted, the publication “The National Catholic Register” reported that Pope Francis reminded us that every family needs a father. He stated,    “to be a good father, in the first place, is to be present in the family, sharing the joys and sorrows with his wife, accompanying one’s children as they grow.”  He also stated that a good father teaches his children by giving a daily example of love and understanding.

We are celebrating the year of St. Joseph, and Pope Francis expressed his hope that all fathers would be like Saint Joseph and that they would strive “to protect their children and to teach them wisdom, faith, and integrity. “  He also prayed that fathers would “always experience our gratitude, appreciation, and support. “

The following “Father’s Day Prayer” from an unknown author asks God to bless and guide our fathers. As we reflect on this prayer, we are invited to thank our Heavenly Father for the gift of our fathers and for the many blessings He has bestowed on us.


God our Father, you govern and protect your people and shepherd them with a Father’s love.
You place a father in a family as a sign of Your love, care, and constant protection.
May fathers everywhere be faithful to the example shown in the scriptures:
Steadfast in love, forgiving transgressions, sustaining the family, caring for those in need.
Give Your wisdom to fathers that they may encourage and guide their children, keep them healthy so they may support a family.
Guide every father with the spirit of Your love that they may grow in holiness and draw their family closer to You.
Amen.

2021 06-27   Welcome Jonathan Webster, our Summer Seminarian
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2021 06-13   We Celebrate the Ordination Fr. Robert Cotta,
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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 06-20   Thank our Heavenly Father for the Gift of Our Fathers
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2021 06-06   We Are Blessed in High Regard for the Eucharist
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