January 18, 2022
Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Josephine Bakhita Parish,
We were pleased to have Archbishop Leonard Blair visit our parish (along with his secretary Fr. John Gancarz) and preside at two of our parish Masses this past weekend: 4:00PM Vigil and 9:00AM He seemed pleased by our large numbers (despite the COVID precautions), our spirit and warm welcome. His words of encouragement and challenge were welcome during these challenging times.
This week we had the sad news of the passing of our Parish Pastoral Council Chair, Michael Camilleri. His battle with cancer took a very serious turn and we are shocked by his passing. Over his 49 years, he was a witness to his sincere and profound faith, integrity and commitment to life, church, family and his multi-faceted career. We pray for his family and those who know him so well. May he rest in the loving embrace of our God. Mike I/we will miss you until we meet again.
Due to the sharp rise in COVID cases in the State of Connecticut and Rocky Hill we have been advised, by the Archbishop and the CDC, that every precaution must be taken in the next several weeks. Therefore, masks and social distancing are once again required. We do this all, even though we are tired, so that we protect everyone especially the very young and the vulnerable. We do this so that we will not have to close the church like we did almost two years ago.
This weekend’s Gospel reading (Luke 4:16-21) we hear that Jesus ventures back into his hometown and enters the familiar synagogue of his youth and begins to read and preach from the Hebrew Scriptures. At first the folks were probably excited to see one of their own speak with faith. Then they were amazed, or better yet shocked, by his bold proclamation of his role and his agenda…somewhat like an inauguration speech as he begins his mission and ministry.
It makes me wonder how we in this 21st Century bring our faith and vision of church to our own families and communities. It can be awkward at times or even rejected. Do we have the assurance of Christ to proclaim our identity as Christians, or are we overcome by fear and embarrassment? Certainly, it is a challenge to humbly, simply and confidently (without self-righteousness) witness to our faith in a world that often laughs at us or refuses to see the value and wisdom of our Christian message for life.
Let us pray for a quick and orderly end to this pandemic and its consequences: physical, mental, and spiritual. The Catholic Church Universal asks that all our members be vaccinated and be the lamplighters to a way back into the light after this long darkness. This is a moral responsibility not only to our own personal well-being…but for the well-being of our families, neighbors and the entire community we live in.
Peace and blessings,
Fr. George Couturier