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08-21-2020Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

We have rounded the corner of summer and are heading straight towards Labor Day and the start of Fall and the new School Season. These coming days of decision making about your children and school with the complexity of remote learning and proper child care are very upsetting and confusing. Our college and university students also are going through great struggles over their futures. We pray for all of you as you make decisions. We must rely on the strength and grace of the Lord Jesus.

Last week, I wrote that our Religious Education Programs for Grade 1 through 8 and also Confirmation 1 and 2 are now open for Registration. We have tried to craft our programs so that they are as user friendly for parents and students as possible. We know the stress and worry that you have as many of us share the same circumstances and decision making in our families. I did not correctly describe in general terms our Confirmation 1 and 2 Program. What I should have written is: “The Confirmation Program (Confirmation 1 + Confirmation 2) will continue to use Dynamic Catholic’s Decision Point program, a primarily video-based series. This year the program will be spread out over the entire school year rather than condensed into a semester. All activities will be completed online. Confirmation 1 and 2 will include short independent-study modules, brief discussions with parents, and peer-to-peer discussion via Zoom Again, much more information will be distributed to parents soon.” I suppose the most important sentence I have written so far is that it is now time to register on-line and a parent can register child(ren) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I always say: “Sooner is better than later!”

After being postponed for several months due to the closing of our churches to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Catholic Appeal (aka “the Cardinal’s Appeal or “Archdiocesan Appeal”) will re-launch this weekend, August 22-23. Those who have already contributed to the Appeal, we are most grateful on behalf of the Archdiocese, and also for our Parish because our Parish has a required assessment to obtain. Those who have given in previous years who have not given this year have received a letter from me and the Appeal asking that you contribute at this time. I know that life has become financially difficult for many, but I ask those who are able to please help support the mission and work of Cardinal Sean and the Archdiocese. Everyone’s contribution whether generous or limited matters. We are short of our assessment by almost $14,000.00 and your gracious financial gift will help us meet our required goal. Your deliberate offered financial gifts helps Cardinal Archbishop Sean and also counts towards our Parish assessment.

For your information, ZOOM Meetings are beginning with Parish leadership groups and hopefully the Men’s and Women’s Spirituality Groups will launch programs later this Fall. Mass attendance on weekends is growing slowly and consistently each weekend at the 4 PM, 7:30 and 10:30 AM. People remark how safe, reverent and spiritual the Masses are. Please know that we are here when you believe it is time to come back to come back to Mass. Those folks over 65 or with compromised health issues or people with chronic health limitations must be very careful and slow in deciding to return at this time in the Pandemic. Catholic TV (on cable or streamed at CatholicTV.org) provides all of us great spiritual nourishment.

Our Saint Vincent’s thanks you for your constant support of their work with the fragile and needy. I am always in amazement at the faithful support of parishioners to our Parish via online giving, by Sunday Offerings or mail-in or drop by to the Rectory envelopes. We are able to continue because of your faithful financial gifts and support.

Let us pray to Mary, the Mother of God and our Patroness that she intercede with our Heavenly Father to help and grace parents in these coming weeks as they make difficult decisions. Let us also pray for our Town’s Education and School Department that they have wisdom, insight and strength to make the best decisions for all of our young people. Our special Patron, Saint Rocco is with us as we pray for those who are ill in mind, body or spirit. Our prayers made in faith are always heard by our Heavenly Father for make them in the Name of Jesus Our Lord through the power of the Spirit. Amen.

God bless,
Father Brian

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