Pastor's Corner

2021 01-24 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

2021 01-17 A Prayer for the Unborn
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2021 01-17 A Prayer for the Unborn

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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

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

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

 A Prayer for the Unborn” provided by “Catholic Online” reflects our concern for unborn human life. As we reflect on this prayer, Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has challenged us to bear witness not only to the value and sacredness of the unborn, but also to the elderly, and the physically and mentally ill.  He also asked us to be compassionate toward those suffering from the painful trauma of abortion and to pray for their healing.

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

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

 

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

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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

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

As we focus on the Baptism of Our Lord, the sacrament of baptism, and on the words of Our Holy Father, this Sunday we also focus on the mission of the Mustard Seed Communities (MSC).  Our Church reminds us that we are called to respect the fundamental dignity of the human person and hope to see that dignity reflected in all God’s children.  This respect for God’s children is reflected in the work of the Mustard Seed Communities.  As mentioned previously, MSC cares for several hundred children and adults.  Many of these children and adults have special physical and mental health needs, and some had been abandoned by their families.  MSC strives to protect the most vulnerable of God’s people.  It has facilities in Jamaica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Africa.  It also manages a number of community outreach programs to combat poverty and provide educational opportunities to local populations.

Saint Brigid Parish supports MSC primarily through its spiritual and financial assistance. Some of our parishioners have adopted children from the various communities of Mustard Seed.  In the past, some of our parishioners have participated in mission trips to assist in the construction of Churches at MSC facilities and also assisted in the construction of appropriate housing for children and adults in need.  However, due primarily to the sustained impact on the COVID-19 virus, these mission trips have been temporarily suspended.  Representatives of MSC will be available after the Masses this weekend to answer questions about MSC and the work it does.  Please prayerfully consider supporting the mission of the Mustard Seed Communities.

 

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

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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

Like the wise men, we also are on a difficult journey of faith to encounter the Lord.  Fortunately, like the wise men, we do not undertake our spiritual journey alone.  We journey and persevere as a community of faith, despite the risks and obstacles which we may encounter on a daily basis.  As a community of faith, we assist each other in overcoming the many obstacles we face.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me unwrap that gift once and for all.

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

 Amen.

 

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

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

The Season of Advent is upon us.  Advent is a special time in the Church year as we prepare for the coming of the Lord.  Advent holds out the hope and desire to see the light of Christ shine through the darkness of our world.  Our Holy Father Pope Francis focused on the importance of hope during Advent.  He stated, “The Lord comes.  Here is the root of our hope: the assurance that the consolation of God reaches among the tribulations of the world, a consolation that is not made of words, but of presence, of His presence that comes among us.”

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

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

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

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

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

I pray that you will participate in the Parish Mission and avail yourself of this special time of grace.  We invite you to attend to this Mission.  Please invite your loved ones and friends, especially those Catholics who may have been away from the Church for some time and some reason.  Through God’s grace, you may be instrumental in getting your loved ones and friends to return to the precious faith we love and cherish.

 

 

 

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

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Next Saturday Bishop Shlesinger will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to approximately 165 of our teens.  As previously mentioned, Confirmation along with Baptism and the Holy Eucharist comprise the Sacraments of Christian Initiation.  Our Catechism reminds the faithful of the need for proper preparation for the Sacrament.  It states, “Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit – his actions, his gifts, and responsibilities of Christian life.  To this end, catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community.”

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

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

The media outlet “Catholic Online”, as part of its overview of the Sacrament, stated that Confirmation, “is administered by laying-on of hands and anointing with chrism accompanied by prayer.  The chrism is blessed by the bishop and the bishop administers the sacrament.  All baptized persons can and should be confirmed.”  As part of their preparation, candidates for Confirmation are asked to select the name of a saint as their Confirmation name.  The saint can serve as an example of Christian living.  Candidates also receive the spiritual guidance and dedicated support of a sponsor who walks with them on their Christian journey.

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

 

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

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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

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

We are also reminded that many of our recent Veterans continue to strive to adapt to civilian life.  Catholic Charities in Atlanta has made a concerted effort to assist Veterans to obtain adequate housing and has also provided needed spiritual, emotional, and financial support.  In addition, our Veterans Administration hospitals and treatment centers continue to strive to make necessary improvements in order to provide appropriate ongoing care for Veterans in need.

The following Veterans Day Prayer composed by Joanna Fuchs captures the essence of our appreciation for the sacrifice of our Veterans:

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

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

 

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

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday is World Mission Sunday.  Pope Francis, in his message for this day, 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?”

Pope Francis also challenged us to focus on the mission of the Church in these difficult and uncertain times.  He stated, “Understanding what God is saying to us at this time of pandemic also represents a challenge for the Church’s mission.”  He further indicated that “Being forced to observe social distancing and to stay at home invites us to rediscover that we need social relationships as well as our communal relationship with God.  Far from increasing mistrust and indifference, the situation should make us even more attentive to our way of relating to others.”  Pope Francis reminded us that, “The celebration of World Mission Day is also an occasion for reaffirming how prayer, reflection and the material help of your offerings are so many opportunities to participate actively in the mission of Jesus in his Church.”

As reported by the Diocese of Fort Worth, “This year’s theme is ‘Here I Am, Send Me.’  Every parish in the world can participate, united, in this special Eucharistic celebration.  Every parishioner is a missionary, sharing our love for Christ’s Gospel with one another, supporting the Church most in need.”

In this election season, we can also foster and enhance the mission of the Church by exercising our right to vote.  Therefore, our bishops invite us to properly form our consciences and take an active role in the election process.

The following MISSION PRAYER from the media outlet “Images of Prayer for World Mission Sunday 2020” reflects the spirit of this day:

 

Lord, our God, help us to walk with You on the pathway to the beatitudes and to live out Your mission in today’s world.

Bind us to all men and women of our time, so that together we may bring the good news to the ends of the Earth.

Open our hearts and our Christian communities to the needy, the afflicted, the oppressed.

May we radiate the living Christ and transform our lives in the hope of the resurrection.

This prayer we make to you who is the living God, now and forever.  Amen. 

 

2020 10-28 Spending Time Before the Blessed Sacrament, Before the Living God
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2020 10-10 Archdiocese of Atlanta Faithful Citizenship message
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2020 09-27 Priesthood Sunday

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday in the United States we celebrate Priesthood Sunday.  It is a special day set aside to honor the priesthood and is celebrated this year on the last Sunday in September.  The day is coordinated by the USA Council of Serra International.  It is a day to reflect upon and affirm the role of the priesthood in the life of the Church as we strive to raise vocation awareness in a special way.

Reflecting on the call to the priesthood, Pope Francis stated, “Jesus is the one who calls, …….        …… not the priest, nor the bishop or the Pope.  It is Jesus who gazes at him with love, who shows him the people, who shows him the needs of the people of God and says ‘if you wish, come help.’”  However, the Pope, bishops, and priests and laity, through their prayers, counsel and example, can be of great assistance in helping one discern the call.

The following “Prayer for Priests” by Pope Benedict XVI, asks Our Lord to guide His priests as they minister to the people of God.  As we reflect on this prayer, and as we celebrate this day, I am reminded that it is a great privilege and responsibility to be a priest, and I thank God each day for the gift of my vocation.  As priests, we are challenged to go forth with a renewed appreciation for Jesus and His ministry.  We are called to be truly willing to serve Our Lord, the Church and its people.

 

On behalf of Fr. Michael, Fr. Bill, Fr. Cristian and all the priests who assist us in some way at Saint Brigid, I thank you for your continued prayers and support.     

2020 10-04 Respect Life Sunday
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2020 09-20 During These Uncertain Times, Let Us Not Forget Our Military and Chaplains Who Serve Us
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2020 09-13 Remembering Sept. 11, 2001, Patriots Day Mass

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As we know, we are still in the midst of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus.  The fabric of our country and our world has changed dramatically in these last few months. While preoccupied with the impact of this virus, many paused recently to focus on the events of September 11, 2001.

This past Friday marked the nineteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of “9/11”.  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.  As a faith community, we celebrated a special Mass for Peace at Saint Brigid.  The Mass helped us to remember not only the events of that fateful day but also served to remind us of the dangers that continue to confront us.

Commenting on this tragedy, as previously noted, the United States Bishops stated, “After September 11, we are a wounded people.  We share loss and pain, anger and fear, shock, and determination in the face of these attacks on our nation and our humanity.  We also honor the selflessness of firefighters, police, chaplains, and other braves individuals who gave their lives in the service of others.  They are true heroes and heroines.”

As a way to focus on the events of that day and its aftermath, we are invited to reflect on following “9-11” PRAYER” by David Bennet provided by the publication “TheChurchYear.Net”.  The publication stated that the terrorist attacks of “9/11” “deeply impacted the United States of America, and the entire world, changing the course of modern history.  This prayer focuses on the souls of those who were killed in the attack, and for the conversion of the hearts of anyone who wishes violence and harm on innocent people.”

Father, on this anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we pray that You comfort all those still suffering from this terrible tragedy.

We pray for the souls of all those who lost their lives in this, and all, terrorist attacks.

And, may all those consumed by hatred of others, be touched by Your divine love.

We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are invited to continue to ask for the special intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Peace.  We are also encouraged to continue to remember in a special way the first responders and all those who suffered in some way on that fateful day of September 11, 2001.

 

2020 09-20 During These Uncertain Times, Let Us Not Forget Our Military and Chaplains Who Serve Us
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2020 09-06 Honor for Those Who Labor in the Spririt of Jesus and Joseph
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2020 09-06 Honor for Those Who Labor in the Spririt of Jesus and Joseph

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Monday, as a nation, we celebrate Labor Day.  On this day, we honor all those who labor for a living.  We thank them for their service to their families, and for their service to all those who benefit from their efforts.  As we know, prayer and work go hand in hand.  Therefore, we are invited to pray in a special way for all laborers and for those who are now retired after many years of labor.  We also pray for the unemployed and underemployed, especially those impacted by the COVID-19 virus in these difficult and uncertain economic times.

Pope Francis has a great appreciation for the fundamental dignity of the human person, and he has indicated that human labor is integral to this dignity.  As reported in the Catholic publication “CRUX”, Pope Francis, in a homily earlier this year on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker stated, “Work is what makes the person similar to God because with work one is a creator, is capable of creating, of creating many things, including creating a family to keep going.  And this gives dignity to the human person.  The dignity that makes one resemble God.  The dignity of labor.”  He prayed that no one would be lacking a job and “that all would be paid justly and may enjoy the dignity of work and the beauty of rest.”  He also reminded the faithful that, “Human work is the vocation received from God.”

As we reflect on these words of Our Holy Father, and as we celebrate this day, we are invited to make it more than a day of rest and recreation.  It should also be a day of prayer as we honor those who embrace the human experience and who labor in the spirit of Jesus and Joseph.  The following Labor Day Prayer provided by the Missionary Society of St. Columban reflects the spirit of this day:

Heavenly Father, on this Labor Day, we thank you for the talents you have bestowed upon us
and for the gift to share them through work.
Smile upon those who are unemployed or underemployed.
Provide guidance and encouragement for all those seeking employment.
Grant that they may find meaningful, rewarding work.
Be with those who work tirelessly for the good of all.
Protect them and grant them peace in their endeavors.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit now and forever.  Amen.

2020 09-13 Remembering Sept. 11, 2001, Patriots Day Mass
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2020 08-30 Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
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2020 08-30 Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Our election season is upon us, and Catholics are urged to embrace the opportunity to vote.  Pope Francis has addressed the issue of voting.  He stated, “We need to participate for the common good.  Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics.  This is not true:  good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued and updated a document called, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”  The bishops have encouraged us to take our voting obligation seriously.  They said, “We bishops seek to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with the truth, so they can make sound moral choices.  We do not tell Catholics how to vote.  The responsibility to make political choices rests with each person and his or her conscience.”

The bishops have stated that “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.  As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group.  In today’s environment, Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and few candidates fully share our comprehensive commitment to human life and dignity.”

At their meeting earlier this year, the bishops affirmed the fundamental dignity of the human person.  They stated that human life is sacred and that intrinsically evil actions such as abortion and euthanasia must always be opposed.  The gift of life is the foundation upon which rests all the other marvelous gifts that God has given us.  We are challenged to prayerfully consider the guidance of our bishops as we form our consciences.

To this end, we plan to conduct a series of conferences on “Catholic Morality and Voting” to be coordinated by Deacon Henry Hein.  The focus will be on the review of the document

“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” 

Topics will include the following seven key themes of Catholic social teaching which provide a moral framework for decisions in public life:

  • The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person
  • Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  • Rights and Responsibilities
  • Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
  • Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
  • Solidarity
  • Caring for God’s Creation

Details concerning the conferences will be forthcoming.

As we know, we live in an imperfect world and we are dealing with imperfect candidates.  Our bishops invite us to properly form our consciences and to vote for those candidates whose views we believe best reflect Catholic teaching.  We invite you to participate in our conferences and respond to the call of our bishops to embrace our moral obligation to engage in our political process.                                                                                 

2020 09-06 Honor for Those Who Labor in the Spririt of Jesus and Joseph
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2020 08-23 Welcome our New Parochial Vicar, Fr. Cristian Cossio
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2020 08-23 Welcome our New Parochial Vicar, Fr. Cristian Cossio

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Fr. Cristian Cossio recently has been assigned by the Archdiocese of Atlanta to Saint Brigid parish.  He will serve as a parochial vicar along with Fr. Michael and Fr. Bill.  Fr. Cristian is a newly ordained priest, originally from Colombia, and has been in the United States since 2014.  He said his family has always been very supportive as he discerned his priestly vocation.

We have been asked to assist Fr. Cristian in his transition into pastoral ministry.  As we know, Fr. Michael has recently transitioned into pastoral ministry here at Saint Brigid, and should be of great help to Fr. Cristian in his first few months as a parochial vicar.

Fr. Cristian received his seminary training and formation at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida.  The Seminary was established to form men for the diocesan and religious priesthood for the Catholic Church in North America, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.  During his seminary training, in addition to his rigorous studies, he participated in a program for hospital ministry.  Prior to his seminary studies, he worked in faith formation at a parish.

He is excited to begin his ministry as a priest in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.   Please welcome Fr. Cristian to our faith community.

    Published July 9, 2020, Georgia Bulletin;   Meet Fr.  Cristian Miguel Cossio

Birthplace: Colombia, South America

 What were you doing before seminary? 
“Before seminary, I completed high school in Colombia. After a couple of years, I took a break and worked as the faith formation coordinator at a local parish.”

 When did you first think about priesthood? 
“Towards the end of high school, while attending the youth group.”

 What pastoral learning experience made the greatest impact on you? 
“During my spiritual program ministry in a hospital in St. Paul Minnesota, I had the opportunity to serve and accompany the patients and their families, while also learning to better serve those who come and work at the hospital. This was one of the best experiences because it allowed me to serve while learning.”

What excites you most about becoming a priest?
 “Being able to accompany people at different stages in life, while serving as a bridge between people and God.”

How was your life impacted during the coronavirus lockdown?
 “What has impacted me the most is the desire of people to receive the Eucharist and at the same time, the increase of house churches where people practiced their faith. I have missed the community the most. Liturgy and catechesis feel uncanny without them.”

Read more about Fr. Cristian discernment at:  Fr. Cristian Cossia-  article St. Vincent Seminary 2017

 

2020 08-30 Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
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2020 08-16 Childrens Liturgy of the Word- Immerse your Children to the Word of God
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2020 08-16 Childrens Liturgy of the Word- Immerse your Children to the Word of God

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Our Catechism teaches that parents are the primary educators of their children in the ways of faith. As reported in the publication the “National Catholic Register”, Pope Francis, in one of his weekly general audiences, stated that the Church and all Christian communities are called to accompany and support parents in their educative role.

One way we assist parents in educating their children at Saint Brigid is through our “Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW)” Ministry.  As explained in our Parish School of Religion guidelines, the “CLOW ministry enables children to participate in the formal worship experience, to nourish and guide their spiritual growth and to immerse them in the Word of God in ways that are understandable to them.”

Children are encouraged to attend Mass with their parents, and then, “The children are dismissed from Mass during the Liturgy of the Word.  They are escorted to the chapel and assisted by volunteer shepherds.  They will hear the Word from the Children’s Lectionary.  The leader guides the children to an understanding of the Gospel that they can embrace.  The children will return to their parents at the offertory.”

The guidelines also states that “All the elements that help to explain the readings are given great consideration so that the children may make the bible readings their own and may come more and more to appreciate the value of God’s word.”

CLOW is offered during the school year at the 5 pm Saturday Vigil Mass, and at the 9 am and 11 am Sunday Masses.  All children, ages 4 years old through First Grade, are welcome to participate.  There is no registration necessary.

With the onset of the Covid-19 virus, the above format was replaced in March with “on-line” teaching sessions coordinated by Mr. Mark Halaszynski for the remainder of the school year.  These sessions were well received by both parents and children.  We hope to resume “in-person” sessions in the Fall as soon as Archdiocesan guidelines permit.  The media outlet “Share Catholic” provided the following “A Prayer for Children”, reminding us that our children are gifts from God and that we have a responsibility to care for and nurture them.

God our Father, You have blessed us with the gift of children;
thank You for these precious gems which adorn our house.
Their laughter gives us joy and brightens our lives.
They are expressions of your presence in our home.
Their growth shows the mysteries of Your love.
May they experience Your loving presence, advance in wisdom and grow in Your love.
Our children’s future is in Your hands,
and yet we have our own role to play in shaping that future.
Help us to be true to our responsibility so that we may assist them
in responding to Your graces and thus to become what we want them to be.
Amen.

We thank our CLOW coordinators Barbara Kratz and Kathryn Halaszynski and their staff for all they do to assist our children as they grow in their knowledge and understanding of the faith.

2020 08-23 Welcome our New Parochial Vicar, Fr. Cristian Cossio
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2020 08-09 “We Are Blessed to Have Many Faithful, Dedicated, and Holy Deacons to Serve Us At Saint Brigid.
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2020 08-02 We Cannot Afford to Become Indifferent to the Plight of Persecuted Christians Throughout the World

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

As we strive to deal with the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus and the recent civil unrest in our nation, we may tend to forget that violence continues to be rampant in the Middle East.  Many people, especially Christians, have been singled out for persecution.  Many have been victims of planned acts of terror.

Our Holy Father Pope Francis continues to condemn the persecution of Christians and speak eloquently against the callous disregard for human life.  He recently reminded us that we cannot afford to become insensitive or indifferent to the plight of persecuted Christians throughout the world.  In a real sense, they are our brothers and sisters and they continue to suffer.   He stated, “It is painful to remember that at this moment, there are many Christians who suffer persecution in various areas of the world, and we must hope and pray their tribulation will be stopped as soon as possible.”  He also reminded us that, “today’s martyrs are more numerous than the martyrs of the first centuries,” and “these Christians are the bleeding members of the body of Christ, which is the Church.”

As reported in the publication, “The Guardian”, vicious attacks continue to be perpetrated on Christians and Christian Churches, especially in the Middle East.  The population of Christians in the Middle East has decreased from twenty percent to five percent, and there is a religious hatred that is still pervasive.

Monsignor Richard Lopez, a priest in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, travels extensively and speaks passionately about the suffering of Christians.  He challenges the faithful to identify with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted, primarily in the Middle East.  He has asked us to remember in prayer those Christians who are victims of senseless violence.

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, has echoed the call of Pope Francis and Monsignor Lopez and has asked us to support our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer for their faith.  The following prayer was composed by Archbishop Lori to increase awareness of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and around the world:

 O God of all the nations, the one God who is and was and always will be,

In your providence, you willed that your church be united in the suffering of Your son,

Look with mercy on Your servants who are persecuted for their faith in You.

Grant them perseverance and courage to be worthy imitators of Christ.

Bring your wisdom upon leaders of nations to work for peace among all peoples.

May your Spirit open conversion for those who contradict Your will, that we may live in harmony.

Give us the grace to be united in truth and freedom, and to always seek Your will in our lives.

Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

 

2020 08-09 “We Are Blessed to Have Many Faithful, Dedicated, and Holy Deacons to Serve Us At Saint Brigid.
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2020 07-26 Remindar of our Call to Live a Life of Love and Service
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2020 07-26 Remindar of our Call to Live a Life of Love and Service

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

At this time, we are in the midst of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal for 2020.  The Archdiocese has recently sent reminder notices urging parishioners to support the Appeal., and Bishop Joel Konzen has spoken about the importance of the Appeal.  He stated, “The theme of our 2020 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, ‘You are the Light of the World’, reminds us of our call to live a life of love and service, brightly shining God’s grace for all to see.”  He also noted, “We are vibrant, diverse, and dedicated to serving the needs of our faithful and spreading the Good News.  Your contributions to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal help to make that possible.”

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 because, at this time, we are blessed to have parishioner and recently ordained Deacon, Robbie Cotta, currently attending seminary and studying for the priesthood.  God willing, he will be ordained a priest next year.

At Saint Brigid, we strive as a community to assist seminarians as they discern a vocation to the priesthood, and as they continue their training and formation.  Seminarian Jacob Butz was assigned to parish ministry at Saint Brigid this summer.  He assisted primarily at our liturgies and also with our Adult Education, Youth, and Confirmation programs.  As a faith community, we also continue to assist Fr. Tri through our prayers and financial support as he provides guidance to our seminarians in his role as Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

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.

Bishop Konzen has asked us to generously and sacrificially support the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.  We clearly realize that there may be limitations to your generosity in these difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the impact of the Covid-19 virus, but 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.

 

 

2020 08-02 We Cannot Afford to Become Indifferent to the Plight of Persecuted Christians Throughout the World
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2020 07-19 Our Children and the Celebration of the Great Gift of the Eucharist
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2020 07-19 Our Children and the Celebration of the Great Gift of the Eucharist

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

In the last few weeks, at various scheduled times, many of the children in our faith community have made their First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid.  Their parents and other loved ones presented them to share with us in the fullness of the Lord’s Supper for the first time and watched proudly as these children, with great devotion, took this important step on their journey of faith.

As Catholics, we are called to focus on our devotion to the Eucharist.  This devotion was certainly shared by Saint Pope John Paul II.  Shortly before his death, as he celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Pope John Paul stated that a love for the Eucharist helps to create saints and awareness of vocations.  We witness this love for the Eucharist and awareness of vocations bearing fruit in our faith community.  This year, one of Saint Brigid parishioners, Robbie Cotta, was ordained a Deacon for the Archdiocese of Atlanta by Archbishop Hartmayer.  Robbie is a transitional deacon, and God willing, will be ordained a priest next year.  Please keep Robbie in your prayers as he continues his journey to the priesthood.

As we celebrate the First Holy Communion of these children, and Robbie’s ordination, we are reminded that we as Catholics are blessed to have high regard for the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith.  We are invited to bond with each other by nourishing together on the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, and then by going forth in loving service of our brothers and sisters, especially our brothers and sisters in need.

My Communion Prayer”, author Sr. Janet Schaeffler, O.P., provided by the publication “Our Sunday Visitor”, invites us to ask Our Father for guidance.

Dear God,
I know that You give me many gifts. The gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ in Holy Communion is the greatest of all. How can I ever thank You enough for this special gift?
At Mass, we are called to be like Jesus, by loving and serving one another in the world.
As I become more like Him, please continue to help me. Show me the places and ways that I can bring Your love, kindness, and peace to others…
in my family,
in my neighborhood,
in my community,
with my friends.
I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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

2020 07-26 Remindar of our Call to Live a Life of Love and Service
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2020 07-19 Vocations and First Holy Communion
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2020 07-19 Vocations and First Holy Communion

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

In the last few weeks, at various scheduled times, many of the children in our faith community have made their First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid.  Their parents and other loved ones presented them to share with us in the fullness of the Lord’s Supper for the first time and watched proudly as these children, with great devotion, took this important step on their journey of faith.

As Catholics, we are called to focus on our devotion to the Eucharist.  This devotion was certainly shared by Saint Pope John Paul II.  Shortly before his death, as he celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Pope John Paul stated that a love for the Eucharist helps to create saints and awareness of vocations.  We witness this love for the Eucharist and awareness of vocations bearing fruit in our faith community.  This year, one of Saint Brigid parishioners, Robbie Cotta, was ordained a Deacon for the Archdiocese of Atlanta by Archbishop Hartmayer.  Robbie is a transitional deacon, and God willing, will be ordained a priest next year.  Please keep Robbie in your prayers as he continues his journey to the priesthood.

As we celebrate the First Holy Communion of these children, and Robbie’s ordination, we are reminded that we as Catholics are blessed to have high regard for the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith.  We are invited to bond with each other by nourishing together on the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, and then by going forth in loving service of our brothers and sisters, especially our brothers and sisters in need.

My Communion Prayer”, author Sr. Janet Schaeffler, O.P., provided by the publication “Our Sunday Visitor”, invites us to ask Our Father for guidance.

Dear God,
I know that You give me many gifts. The gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ in Holy Communion is the greatest of all. How can I ever thank You enough for this special gift?
At Mass we are called to be like Jesus, by loving and serving one another in the world.
As I become more like Him, please continue to help me. Show me the places and ways that I can bring Your love, kindness, and peace to others…
– in my family,
– in my neighborhood,
– in my community,
– with my friends.
I ask this in Jesus’ name.   Amen.

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

2020 07-19 Our Children and the Celebration of the Great Gift of the Eucharist
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2020 07-12 Our Local SVdP Society Works Quietly and Effectively for Those in Need of Our Community
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2020 07-12 Our Local SVdP Society Works Quietly and Effectively for Those in Need of Our Community

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Here at Saint Brigid, our local Saint Vincent de Paul Society Conference works quietly and effectively to help those in need in our local community. The need for assistance has increased dramatically in the Atlanta area at this time due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Some people have lost their jobs, while others suffer in various ways. Their need for assistance is very real and, in some instances, immediate.

Charity is at the heart of the mission of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. As mentioned previously, Saint Leo the Great is quoted as saying that “any time is the right time for charity. Where God finds charity with its loving concern, there He recognizes the reflection of His own Fatherly care.” This call for charity is also reflected in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah as the Lord states, “Share your bread with the hungry. Shelter the oppressed and the homeless. Clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own.”

Our Conference has a team of trained caseworkers who carefully evaluate the needs of those who seek assistance. It seeks to help those in need to regain spiritual, financial or emotional stability. While doing proper “due diligence” in attempting to evaluate true needs, it is always striving to act in a spirit of charity.

The following prayer from NovenaPrayer.com reflects the essence of the ministry and mission of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society as it seeks the guidance and intercession of St. Vincent:

Saint Vincent, the patron of all charitable associations and father of those who are in misery, come to our assistance.
Obtain from our Lord help for the poor, relief for the infirm, consolation for the afflicted, protection for the abandoned, a spirit of generosity for the rich, grace of conversion for sinners, zeal for priests, peace for the church, tranquility, and order for all nations, and salvation for them all.
May we be united in the life to come, by your intercession, and experience joy, goodness, and everlasting happiness.
Amen

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded once again that Jesus said that whatever we do to the least of His people, we do unto Him. At Saint Brigid, we are truly appreciative of the efforts of those in our faith community who work on behalf of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. Through our prayers and support of the unselfish work of the Society, especially in these difficult and uncertain times, we can open our hearts and truly have a positive impact on the lives of those in our midst.

2020 07-19 Vocations and First Holy Communion
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2020 07-05 We Celebrate the Birth of Our Nation and Cherish Our Religious Freedoms
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2020 07-05 We Celebrate the Birth of Our Nation and Cherish Our Religious Freedoms

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Saturday on this weekend we celebrate the Fourth of July, Independence Day.  On this day, we remember and appreciate the birth of our nation.   As previously noted, Catholic author Norm Langenbrunner reminds us that Independence Day is also a time “…for remembering the courage and sacrifice of our nation’s founding generation, and succeeding generations who have imitated them.  From the Lincoln Memorial in DC to the sunken Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Americans pause to remember and many whisper a prayer of thankfulness.”

As we celebrate the birth of our nation, and as we reflect on these profound words, we also acknowledge how dramatically the fabric of our nation has changed in a few short months due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  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 businesses, churches, schools, parks and beaches may have caused us to reflect on the freedoms we may at times take for granted.

As Catholics, we are called to truly cherish in a very special way the many freedoms we enjoy in this country.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently sponsored “Religious Freedom Week”.  They reminded us that 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 ON INDEPENDENCE DAY” provided by the publication, “The Catholic Telegraph”:

Gracious and loving God, let Your spirit be with us today. 

Hear our prayers, and increase in us the will to follow Your son Jesus.

Help us to draw on the resources of our faith as we use the opportunities of our democracy to shape a society more respectful of the life, dignity, and rights of the human person, especially the poor and vulnerable.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.    Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we look forward to the time when our great nation will once again flourish, and we are encouraged to take time to thank God for the many freedoms we enjoy, and to reaffirm our commitment to protect and preserve those freedoms.

 

2020 07-12 Our Local SVdP Society Works Quietly and Effectively for Those in Need of Our Community
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2020 07-28 Vocation – A Response to the Lord’s Unmerited Call
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2020 07-28 Vocation – A Response to the Lord’s Unmerited Call

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Saturday, Archbishop Hartmayer ordained three men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Atlanta at the Cathedral of Christ the King.  We thank these men for discerning and answering the call to serve, and we pray that Our Lord will bless them and guide them in their priestly ministry.  They are challenged to embrace this call to priestly service with love and joy.  These men are ordained at a time when there is much uncertainty and trial in our world due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  We pray that they will be good shepherds for the people entrusted to their care.

The publication, “Catholic News Agency”, reported that in a recent address on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis stated that vocational discernment is not simply “a decision we make as isolated individuals.  Vocation, more than our own choice, is a response to the Lord’s unmerited call.”  He indicated that priesthood requires, “courage and perseverance, and without prayer, one does not follow this path.  I invite everyone to ask the Lord for the gift of good workers for his kingdom who have their hearts and hands open to his love.”  He also stated, “Every vocation is born of that gaze of love with which the Lord came to meet us.  We will succeed in discovering and embracing our vocation once we open our hearts in gratitude and perceive the passage of God in our lives.”  Our Holy Father noted that the voice of God invites us to go “beyond ourselves to find true goodness and peace.”

The following prayer by Pope Francis, provided by “Vision Vocation Network” asks Our Lord for guidance in our vocational path:

LORD of the Harvest,

BLESS young people with the gift of courage to respond to your call.

Open their hearts to great ideals, to great things.

INSPIRE all of your disciples to mutual love and giving— for vocations blossom in the good soil of faithful people.

INSTILL those in religious life, parish ministries, and families with the confidence and grace to invite others to embrace the bold and noble path of a life consecrated to you.

UNITE us to Jesus through prayer and sacrament, so that we may cooperate with you in building your reign of mercy and truth, of justice and peace.     Amen.

                                    — Pope Francis

As a community of faith, as we reflect on this prayer, and on the words of Pope Francis, we are encouraged to continue to ask Our Lord for an abundance of holy, happy, and healthy priests, deacons and religious to guide the Church of tomorrow.

 

 

2020 07-05 We Celebrate the Birth of Our Nation and Cherish Our Religious Freedoms
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2020 06-21 Our Love for our Fathers Should Reflect the Love that God Has for All of Us.
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2020 06-21 Our Love for our Fathers Should Reflect the Love that God Has for All of Us.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Today we celebrate Father’s Day and we remember fathers in a special way.   As we know, Pope Francis has placed great emphasis and focus on fatherhood, reminding us that being a father is a great privilege and also a great responsibility.  Many of our parishioners are fathers, and they are challenged to set a good example for their children as they grow in wisdom and knowledge.

In one of his weekly addresses, on Father’s Day in Italy, as reported in the publication “Catholic News Service”, Pope Francis specifically addressed fathers, stating, “I ask that you have the grace to be very close to your children, letting them grow, but being by their side.  They need you, your presence, to be there, your love.”  He encouraged fathers to look to St. Joseph as their model, indicating that St. Joseph’s great mission is to be a guardian.  Our Holy Father noted, “Even though God was Jesus’ Father, St. Joseph lovingly took on the paternal role and taught the young Jesus various skills, the value of work, reverence for the Lord, and fidelity and obedience to God’s will.”

Pope Francis indicated that St. Joseph faced hardship, suffering, and trials during his journey of faith.  He encouraged the faithful to learn from St. Joseph that “only trust in God can turn doubt into certainty, evil into good, total darkness of the night into a radiant dawn.”  We are challenged to take these words to heart as we deal with many uncertainties and trials at this time due primarily to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  Our Holy Father also called on us to honor our fathers, noting that our love for our fathers should reflect the love that God has for all of us.  One way we can honor our fathers is by assisting in their care in their later years, after the many years they have cared for us in so many different ways.

The following prayer from Jesuit Resources Online, Author Unknown,  calls upon our Heavenly Father to bless and guide all fathers:

Heavenly Father, you entrusted your Son Jesus, the child of Mary,

To the care of Joseph, an earthly father.

Bless all fathers as they care for their families.

Give them strength and wisdom, tenderness and patience;

Support them in the work they have to do,

Protect those who look to them, as we look to you for love and salvation,

Through Jesus Christ our rock and defender,

In union with the Holy Spirit, our God forever and ever.

St. Joseph, pray for all our fathers,  Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are invited to take time on this day 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.

 

2020 07-28 Vocation – A Response to the Lord’s Unmerited Call
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2020 06-14 A Prayer for National Healing
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2020 06-14 A Prayer for National Healing

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 our devotion to the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith, a faith united and rooted in community.

However, this sense of communal unity is not reflected in our nation at the present time.  As we have seen from the recent tragic events in Minneapolis, and the resulting violence and civil unrest throughout our nation in recent weeks, there is still much work that needs to be done to bring unity, peace and healing to our nation.  We continue to be wounded and divided in many ways.  In a recent address, Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called for healing and stated, “Today more than ever, we need a spirit of peacemaking and searching for nonviolent solutions to our problems.”  He also stated, “When God looks at us he sees beyond the color of our skin, or the countries where we came from, or the language that we speak.  God sees only his children – beloved sons and daughters.”  We are challenged to take these words to heart.

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 which 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.  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.   Where we have bitterness and hate, give us love and consideration for others and from the ashes of hate and destruction, 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.

                               

 

2020 06-21 Our Love for our Fathers Should Reflect the Love that God Has for All of Us.
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2020 06-07 We Welcome Seminarian Jacob Butz, and Pray For Vocations
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2020 06-07 We Welcome Seminarian Jacob Butz, and Pray For Vocations

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.  We also assist Fr. Tri as he provides guidance to our seminarians in his role as Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  This summer we welcome seminarian Jacob Butz to our faith community.  He will be assigned to the parish for the months of June and July and will assist at our liturgies, and will also participate primarily in our Youth Ministry, Confirmation, and Adult Education programs.  As we know, we are living in difficult and uncertain times due primarily to the impact of the coronavirus.  This situation has required us to make greater use of on-line technology in our approach to many of our ministries and programs.  Therefore, much of what Jacob will do will involve the use of this technology.

Pope Francis has a special place in his heart for seminarians.  In an address to seminarians, as reported in the publication “Vatican News”, he described the seminary as a place of growth.  He identified three areas of focus.  First, he said that seminarians must devote adequate commitment to spiritual formation, to be with the Lord, “to learn to listen to Him and contemplate His face.”  The second area is that of study, of sharing lessons of study with other seminarians, so that study is personal but not individual.  The third area is to accept the challenge to embrace a house of communion which takes the form of “presbyterial communion around the guidance of the bishop.”

The following prayer asks the Lord to guide our seminarians:

Oh God, hear our prayer for the men you have chosen to follow in Your Son’s footsteps.

Teach them humility and fidelity to unselfishly help others.

May their devotion to our Blessed Mother, Queen of Vocations, increase, enabling them to do Your will.

Strengthen their prayer life that they may grow spiritually without worldly distractions.

Give them courage and perseverance in their studies.

May the Holy Spirit lighten their struggles with their vocations, until they know the joy of being a priest.

We ask this through Christ Your Son.   Amen.

As we reflect on this prayer, and on the words of Our Holy Father, I invite you to pray for Jacob and all seminarians, and also to pray to the Lord for an abundance of happy, healthy, and holy priests to guide and shepherd the Church of tomorrow.

2020 06-14 A Prayer for National Healing
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2020 05-31 We are Challenged to Allow the Holy Spirit to Come into Our Minds, and into Our Lives, and into Our Hearts
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2020 05-31 We are Challenged to Allow the Holy Spirit to Come into Our Minds, and into Our Lives, and into Our Hearts

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

This Sunday we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost. On this day, we see the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus to send the Holy Spirit upon his Apostles. And as we know, the Holy Spirit will transform the lives of these Apostles. These frightened men who abandoned Jesus at his Passion will be transformed into bold witnesses who clearly show that they not only understand the teaching of Jesus but also are willing to put his teaching into practice. They will endure persecution, suffering, ridicule, and other forms of trial as they preach his Good News. They will heed the call of Jesus to go forth and make disciples of all nations.

As mentioned previously, Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has invited us to follow the example of the Apostles and truly embrace the Holy Spirit in our lives. 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, 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.”

As we reflect on these profound words of Pope Francis, and as we celebrate this great feast, we also remember at this time of the year our loved ones and friends who are graduating from various levels of education. Unfortunately, graduation exercises are approached in a very different manner due primarily to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus. Most graduation exercises have to be done remotely through some form of online technology. However, we still strive to honor our graduates in a personal way for their accomplishments.

The following “Prayer for Graduates”, provided by www.guideposts.org, the author unknown, asks Our Heavenly Father to guide and bless our loved ones and friends who are graduating:

Heavenly Father,
Surround those who are graduating with Your grace.
Bless them with hope so they move into the future with eager and open hearts.
Help them to put the knowledge, skills, and insights gained through their education to use for the good of all humankind.
Inspire them to believe in the goodness of life even when faced with challenges and difficulties.
As they commence with their lives, may they grow ever more grateful and wise.
All of this we ask in the name of Jesus, your beloved son.  Amen.

We encourage the families and friends of our graduates to take this prayer to heart. And as we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, we are challenged to allow the Holy Spirit to come into our minds, and into our lives, and into our hearts as we strive to cope spiritually in these difficult and uncertain times.

2020 06-07 We Welcome Seminarian Jacob Butz, and Pray For Vocations
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2020 5-24 We Are to Truly Appreciate our Precious Faith and Freedom on this Memorial Day Holiday
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