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Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - September

Posted on September 15, 2019 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - September
Dear Blessed Sacrament Parish Family, I must admit that I wasn’t thrilled when our bulletin editor, Amy, gently reminded me that it was time for my September letter.  How is it possible that the summer months are already in our rear-view mirror?  I don’t recall January and February flying by this quickly!  I think I responded to her with a similar sentiment.  She just smiled and pointed to the calendar.  On a positive note, we now enter a month that is filled with opportunity.  September, for most, represents a time of new beg...

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Pastor's Page - August

Posted on August 18, 2019 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - August
Dear Blessed Sacrament Parish Family, It seems to me that while we were shoveling and plowing the heavy snows of winter– time seemed to dragggggg by.  Summer, on the other hand, with its warm temperatures and sunny skies – is flying by!  What happened to July?  Perhaps it’s best to simply embrace it as part of the charm of living in New England.  Along with the seasonal changes, I hope your spiritual life is transforming into an even deeper relationship with Christ.  One of the dangers of the beautiful season of summer is tha...

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Pastor's Page - July

Posted on July 21, 2019 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - July
Dear Parish family, July must be one of the most loved months of the year.  Brilliant sunlight, warm temperatures, family cookouts, time at the shore, fireworks, and hopefully a slower pace all describe the month of our nation’s birth.  July 2019 is also a historic month for the Churches of St. Matthew, that was consecrated in 1964, and St. Bernard that opened its doors in 1854.   On July 1st, our two parishes, along with our Sacred Heart family, became one.  This July we celebrate the birth of our new Blessed Sacrament Parish.  We wil...

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Pastor's Page - June

Posted on June 23, 2019 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - June
Dear Parish family, I begin this letter with a note of congratulations to all our people – young and old alike – who celebrate a graduation this month.  Well done!  Graduations are milestones in our lives that mark a transition from a familiar place to a place that is yet undiscovered.   It is as much a moment of excitement and joy as it is a moment of apprehension.  Our prayer is that their transition into their new world is a great success.  Our spiritual journeys are also filled with many moments of transition.  The Ho...

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Pastor's Page - May

Posted on May 19, 2019 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - May
Dear Parish family, Just when we thought we’d never feel the warm breezes of Spring or see the dormant earth wake up – May arrives and we breathe a great sigh of relief.  Spring’s arrival and the wonder that accompanies it is joyfully welcomed.  Time to tune up the rototiller!  Similarly, we rejoice this month with the arrival of the Easter season.  The contemplative Lenten season of fasting, almsgiving and prayer ends with the celebration of the Lord’s glorious resurrection.  Pope Saint John Paul II often wrote on the imp...

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Pastor's Page - April

Posted on April 21, 2019 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - April
Dear Parish family, The month of April begins in the penitential season of Lent and ends in the joyful season of Easter.  Both seasons are deeply connected since we can’t have an Easter Sunday without first experiencing Good Friday.  I imagine if any outsider entered our Good Friday liturgy they would be confused by the hundreds of people coming forth to reverence the Cross.  Does it make sense that we would want to reverently touch and kiss the instrument of Jesus’ death?  John’s Gospel sheds light on this question when we read, &ld...

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Pastor's Page - March

Posted on March 17, 2019 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - March
Dear Parish family, The month of March welcomes in the liturgical season of Lent.  Lent is a privileged time when we have the opportunity to take an honest look at ourselves and determine whether we’re on a path that is pleasing to God or one that needs a bit of work.  It’s a time to make changes for the better.  But what is the baseline of our desired change, what is our motivation, and what are the avenues of our conversion?  First the baseline of our lives needs to be Christ.  He is the One we should model when we determine how we ...

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Pastor's Page - February

Posted on February 17, 2019 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - February
Dear Parish family, Let’s be honest, unless you’re a newlywed, it’s hard to get excited about February.  The cold temperatures, icy roads and overcast skies start to wear on us and we can experience the doldrums.  Having said that, I must admit, however, that I love being a New Englander.  After living in several parts of the United States, I have found that the distinct four seasons makes us somehow unique.  Case in point; we don’t expect every day to be sunny – in fact we typically go through long stretches where the su...

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Pastor's Page - January

Posted on January 20, 2019 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - January
Dear Parish family, On behalf of the clergy and staff of our two parishes, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very blessed and happy New Year.  I pray 2019 is a great year for all of you.  New beginnings are truly a blessing and we thank God for every opportunity we receive to be transformed into the men, women and children He created.  It’s a lifelong mission but each step forward is a step in the right direction. I also look at this new year and pray that our Church will take the necessary steps forward in beco...

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Pastor's Page - December

Posted on December 23, 2018 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - December
"To see the miraculous within the ordinary is the mark of highest wisdom." - Ralph Waldo Emerson Dear Parish Family, The birth of the Son of God – was by every worldly standard, “ordinary”.  He came among us as a vulnerable child – born in a place reserved for animals – held in the arms of a woman who few knew.  It was, however, neither an accident nor a mistake that He came to us in such a manner. The humble birth of the King of Kings is a clear message that our salvation is not found in the trappings of the world....

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Pastor's Page - November

Posted on November 18, 2018 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - November
Dear Parish Family, Don’t you just love Thanksgiving?  It’s one of the few holidays that the secular media and retail moguls seem to generally ignore.  In other words, they haven’t ruined it!   I think what I enjoy most about the holiday is that it is focused on families gathering around a table to share a meal.  Too often with our overly scheduled days we forget the importance of a shared meal.   I also love that it is a secular holiday that continues to invite God to the table and is a day centered on giving instead ...

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Pastor's Page - October

Posted on October 21, 2018 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - October
Dear Parish Family, Recently at St. Matthew Parish and last spring at St. Bernard Parish, we gathered for an appreciation dinner.  The evenings were designed for the clergy and staff to thank all the volunteers who keep our parishes vibrant, faith centered and focused on Christ.   When I looked out at our gatherings I was very moved and humbled by the number of people present and the sacrifices they make for their parishes and their God.   It brings me great joy to see our family sharing a delicious meal, having lively conversations and hearing t...

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Pastor's Page - September

Posted on September 23, 2018 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - September
Dear Parish Family, I think one of the greatest challenges I face as a pastor of a large yoked community is keeping everyone focused on a common mission.  Without this mission and goals that directly support achievement of the mission, we can easily end up having individuals and groups doing their “own thing”.  The unfortunate outcome of being unfocused is the loss of our unity as one body journeying on a pilgrimage to build up the Kingdom of God.  Our Church is not a warehouse of activities but a family united by our love of Christ and His Chu...

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Pastor's Page

Posted on August 19, 2018 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page
Dear Parishioners, I love the energy I sense as we enter the season of summer.  People are outdoors planting, mowing, building, walking, vacationing and just enjoying the beauty that the season offers.   The sights, sounds and smells of summer invigorates us and it’s evident in the many smiling faces that we encounter throughout these summer months.  Perhaps we need summer even more than we enjoy it. I recently saw an excerpt from an interview with Pope Francis on the television show - 60 Minutes.  In the conversation, our Pope spoke of ...

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Pastor's Page - May

Posted on May 20, 2018 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - May
Dear Parish Family, We all love the month of May with its warmer temperatures, sunnier skies and happier people.  It’s a month packed with activities for families, schools and the Church.  The thing I look forward to most is the First Holy Communion Masses we’ll be celebrating this month.  It is always an exciting day for the children and their families.  There is nothing quite like observing our young children coming to the Lord’s Altar and receiving the Eucharist.  It is a very holy moment and I always feel privileged to be a ...

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Pastor's Page - April

Posted on April 22, 2018 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - April
Dear Parish Family, Congratulations everyone – we survived March!  You have to admit, that was one very long, dreary and snowy month.  April, thankfully, finds us immersed in the seasons of spring and the liturgical season of Easter.  The first reflects the changing of the physical world from the cold, dark season of winter to the season of spring with its eruption of vibrant new life.  The liturgical season of Easter reflects our leaving the spiritually quiet, contemplative, and penitential season of Lent to the season of Easter with its bursti...

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Pastor's Page - March

Posted on March 18, 2018 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - March
Dear Parish Family, Lent is a very holy season filled with opportunity and God’s Grace active in our midst.  How we spend these 40 days -  matters.  In an Ash Wednesday homily, Pope Francis spoke of our need to be more aware of our relationship with God and with one another.  He encouraged his listeners to PAUSE, SEE and RETURN to God.  Below are three excerpts from his homily.  Pause from this compulsion to a fast-paced life that scatters, divides and ultimately destroys time with family, with friends, with children, with grandpare...

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Pastor's Page - February

Posted on February 18, 2018 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - February
Dear Parish Family, February is one of those months that finds us deep in the folds of winter. It has been a very cold winter so far and I know people are experiencing those mid-winter blues! The cold, snow and barrenness of the season can often test our resolve to live the Christian virtues of patience and kindness. Hang in there! This year, February also finds us entering the season of Lent. Ash Wednesday, the start of the liturgical season, is February 14th. I don’t ever remember Ash Wednesday being on Valentine’s Day - but since Lent is all about a lov...

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Pastor's Page - January

Posted on January 21, 2018 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - January
Dear Parish family, Over the holidays I went to see my aunt in a nearby nursing home.  I hadn’t seen her for quite some time so we had a very nice reunion.  In the conversation, she told me I looked the same except my hair was whiter and I had put on a few pounds!  My aunt never holds any punches!  Her honesty, however, was a clear reminder that time marches on.  A seasonal landmark of that reality occurs every year at this time as we say farewell to the previous year and welcome a brand-new year.  Part of moving on always involves rem...

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Pastor's Page - December

Posted on December 17, 2017 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Dear Parish Family, One of our favorite Christmas Carols announces that December is “the most wonderful time of the year.”  And for the most part, I would agree wholeheartedly with that note and sing along with the rest of the world.  But if we’re honest with ourselves, we would also say that it is one of the most challenging times of the year for Christians who desire to journey through the season of Advent in a manner prescribed by the Church.  At this, most wonderful time of the year, our senses are barraged with beautiful lights, festive music, storewide sales and fast paced living.&...

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Pastor's Page - November

Posted on November 19, 2017 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - November
Dear Parish family, This month we remember and pray for the 119 people who passed away last year from our two communities.  Each one of their lives was a precious gift from God that touched lives, raised families, loved enthusiastically and sacrificed willingly.  How different life is without them.  I wonder if our loved ones understood what a powerful influence they had on us and the world.  Do we understand the potential we have to make a positive difference in the lives of others? It’s part of God’s plan that by our example, talent, tim...

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Pastor's Page - October

Posted on October 22, 2017 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - October
Dear Parish Family, October finds us in the beautiful season of fall.  Before our very eyes, we see our world beautifully transformed into a new season.  We witness fall’s brilliant colors, cool temperatures, pumpkins, apple cider and the little ones all dressed up in their favorite costumes parading through our neighborhood.  October is also a transformative month for our parish family as we welcome our brothers and sisters from Sacred Heart Parish who will sadly celebrate their last Mass on October 15th.   This has been a very trying t...

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Pastor's Page - September

Posted on September 17, 2017 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - September
Dear Parish Family, As a young boy, I clearly remember dreading the month of September.  I loved the summer and was never ready to go back to school.  The Sisters of Mercy didn’t always look too thrilled with the arrival of September either!  Thankfully, it didn’t take too long for teachers and students to get back into the rhythm of school and its many opportunities of growth and new experiences.      Perhaps that month of September helped us as young people to expect change in life.  Every year we had to get used t...

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Pastor's Page - July & August
Dear Parishioners, The long-awaited summer has arrived and we welcome it with open arms!  The warm inviting temperatures and the much-deserved vacation time allows families the opportunity to slow down life’s hectic pace and enjoy time together.   Vacations do much more than afford us an opportunity to travel.  Those days at the beach, mountains or backyard unites our families with laughter, stories, conversations, shared meals and prayer.  Time together reminds us of what should be most important in our lives. I would like to wish every...

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Calling all Bakers & Shoppers: We’re seeking new recruits to update our list of volunteers willing to bake or purchase refreshments for various parish events throughout the year. About a week before an event we email a request and those who would like to contribute respond - so easy & no pressure! Volunteers bring items that will be used during fellowship at events like our Christmas Caroling or parish retreats, etc.  This is an easy way you can help build community within our Church Family! If you’d like to be asked when we need refreshments send your contact information to Mary at scibellif...

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Dear Parishioners, It is with sad hearts that we bid goodbye to Dharen, our seminarian. He has been with our community since the beginning of our yoking 2 years ago. We wish him well during the next phase of his journey at Mount St. Mary.  If you would like to stay in touch with him, his new address will be: Mr. Dharen Brochero Mount St. Mary’s Seminary 16300 Old Emmitsburg Road Emmitsburg, MD 21727 Peace, Fr. Rick  

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Pastor's Page - June

Posted on June 25, 2017 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - June
Dear Parish Family, I recently attended my nephew’s graduation from the University of Connecticut.  As I sat through the graduation, I couldn’t help but think about the many young men and women who would be starting a new and exciting chapter in their lives.  I watched their excitement and enthusiasm and wondered what else was going on in their minds and hearts.  Were they anxious or elated about the next step in their lives or perhaps uncertain what the next step would be?    The very nature of change involves a wide range of em...

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Pastor's Page - May

Posted on May 21, 2017 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - May
Dear Parish family, I begin this letter with a sincere sense of gratitude for everyone who was involved in our beautiful celebration of the Easter Triduum.  The three days: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil are meant to open our eyes and hearts to the magnificence of our God and the love He has for us.  The Triduum also identifies who we are as a Christian people.  The importance of these three days, therefore, can’t be emphasized enough so it’s very important that our Triduum celebration reflects that.  This year our two pa...

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Pastor's Page - April

Posted on April 18, 2017 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - April
Dear Parish Family, As I sit at my computer on March 24th I know that we have just entered the season of Spring, – but the snow-covered property, heating bills, gray skies and barren trees inform me that winter is reluctant to let go!  Such is the life of a New Englander!  The month of April not only witnesses the change from winter to spring but also finds us journeying from Lent to Easter.   As dramatic as Spring is from Winter, the Easter transformation is even greater.  Everything of who we are, what we do, why we gather, is based on...

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Pastor's Page - March

Posted on March 19, 2017 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - March
Dear Parish Family, March 1st, Ash Wednesday, begins the holy season of Lent.  It is the time in our Church year where many of our people make a concerted effort to step up their faith game.  It is a time of deeper prayer, fasting and receptivity to God working in our lives.  I love this season and the incredible opportunity it offers each of us.  In the past our parishes have provided some very good books and devotional readings to assist your time with the Lord in this holy season of Lent and Easter.  This year we are trying something new, d...

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Pastor's Page - February

Posted on February 15, 2017 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - February
Dear Parish family, One evening in the middle of January I found myself driving the now familiar route from Tolland to Rockville.  It was a cold night and somehow the trip seemed different.   About half way home I had an Epiphany moment (aha!) and realized that the many Christmas candles that had illumined the windows were missing.  It was the end of the Christmas season and they had all been packed away for another year. Except for the occasional porch light, the ride home was much darker and colder than in previous weeks.  It’s amazing th...

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Pastor's Page - January

Posted on January 22, 2017 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - January
Dear parish family, On behalf of my staff and brother clergy I would like to wish you and your loved ones a very blessed, healthy and joy filled 2017! At the start of a new year it is customary to make a few resolutions for ourselves.  We are often very good at deciding what we want and need in our lives to make us happier and healthier.  We can be very organized with our life’s plans.  Unfortunately, in our desire to have everything planned out, we can leave an essential component out of the equation.  Perhaps one of our resolutions needs to...

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Sports and Spirituality: How Do We Balance Both in Today’s World?   Vs.  Who:  Adults, Coaches and Parents When:  January 10, 2017, 7-8:30 pm Where:  Our Lady of Lourdes, Gales Ferry A panel of experts with over 70 years of experience in organized athletics on the college and high school levels will discuss the importance of “Coaching the Whole Person” Speakers include: Mr. Anthony Jaskot, Athletic Director, Xavier HS, Middletown, Ct Mr. Nicholas Cerreta, Varsity Baseball Coach Xavier HS, Middletown, Ct. Fr. Gregory Galvin, Pastor St Bridget of Kil...

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Pastor's Page - December

Posted on December 19, 2016 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - December
Dear Parish family, As a young boy I seem to recall that time often moved at a snail’s pace.  I’m sure my parents have very “fond” memories of our road trips when my two sisters and I continually asked the question from the back seat, “are we there yet?!”   I also recollect that Christmas seemed to take an eternity to arrive.  Today, however, I am of the mindset that time is a great sprinter and I’m running out of breath trying to keep up with it.  I would imagine that today my road trip response from the...

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Pastor's Page - November

Posted on November 25, 2016 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - November
Dear Parish family, It’s no coincidence that at the end of our Church year we celebrate two feast days that center on the topics of mortality and eternity.  All Souls and All Saints Days are clear reminders that our earthly journey is a temporary one and our true home awaits us.   The contemplation of life, death and eternity is a natural, healthy, and spiritually awakening exercise.  The Church, through her sacramental life, teachings and Scripture - educates and encourages her people to broaden their understanding of who we are.  The Holy S...

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Pastor's Page - Picnic Message
Dear Parish family, There are many instances in my priesthood when I reflect on an interaction, a meeting, a liturgy or an event and realize that God’s Grace was flowing in abundance at that moment or in that situation.  I believe in my heart of hearts that our Community Mass and picnic was one of those very powerful moments.  When I reflect on our gathering I can’t help but be moved by the experience of Celebrating Mass in the Dome with six hundred people surrounding the Lord’s Altar.  It was amazing to look out and see such a strong ...

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Pastor's Page - September

Posted on September 21, 2016 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - September
Dear Parish Family, We are very aware that January first marks the beginning of our calendar year and that Advent is the beginning of our Church year. From the perspective of many, however, September marks the beginning of a new year too. This month represents a time of new beginnings and getting back on the fast track. The school year begins and our young people head off to new adventures in education. Committees, activities and meetings sprout out of nowhere and our calendars quickly fill with names, dates, times and places. The Church is no different as we too prepare...

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Pastor's Page - August

Posted on August 24, 2016 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - August
Dear Parish Family, Happy Anniversary everyone!  Believe it or not, August 1st marks our one year anniversary as a yoked community.  Last year at this time I wrote in my August newsletter that, “the yoking of our communities has the potential to open doors to new faith opportunities, new friendships, new challenges, and new horizons of growth - as parishes and as individuals.”  As I reflect on these past twelve months I think the journey truly included all of these things.  It hasn’t always been easy but few things worth having are.&...

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Pastor's Page - July: New Parochial Vicar
Dear Parishioners, On Saturday, June 25th, Bishop Michael Cote ordained to the Roman Catholic Priesthood four transitional Deacons.  Congratulations Fr. Juan Aguirre, Fr. Jeffrey Ellis, Fr. Thomas Griffin and Fr. Peter Langevin.  We are blessed to have these individual serving the good people of the Diocese of Norwich.  I am also very happy to report that Bishop Cote has assigned Fr. Jeffrey Ellis as a Parochial Vicar to the Catholic Community of St. Matthew and St. Bernard.  I know our Bishop feels that our community is a wonderful place for a new...

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Pastor's Page - June

Posted on June 14, 2016 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - June
Fr. Rick with Amy Blanchard, new Catholic Community Bulletin Editor   Dear Parishioners, June marks our eleventh month since our two beloved parishes were yoked.  It has been a true privilege to make this journey with you and I am often reminded of how blessed I am to Pastor two such faithful, dynamic, cooperative and compassionate communities.  Thank you for all that you do – you are a blessing.  Our combined Pastoral Councils have been a great help to me and together we have established certain priorities for the two communities.&nbs...

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Pastor's Page - May

Posted on May 24, 2016 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - May
Dear Parishioners, Unless you’re an allergy sufferer, who doesn’t love the month of May?  May is a month where we see our world transformed from dreary shades of brown to the vibrant shades associated with spring. This is a month we continue journeying through the fifty days of Easter, the holiest season of our Church year.  Our second graders from St. Bernard and third graders from St. Matthew are very excited about May since they will be receiving their first Holy Communion.  Please remember to keep our young ones in prayer as they prepare fo...

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Pastor's Page - April

Posted on April 18, 2016 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - April
Dear Parishioners, The month of April finds us immersed in the beautiful season of Easter.  Easter defines, directs and motivates us into living lives worthy of being called Christian.  How blessed we are to have our Catholic roots deeply rooted in such dynamic and alive parishes.   As I mentioned in my Easter homily, it was very evident that the Risen Christ was in our midst during our Easter Triduum and Easter Sunday worship.  Thank you to everyone who attended our services and to the many who helped make our liturgies so powerful and moving.&n...

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Pastor's Page - March

Posted on March 20, 2016 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Dear Parishioners, Last month during that incredibly frigid weekend, our seminarian Dharen and I were in the car having a conversation about the New England Seasons.  I assured him that they are quite different than Columbia!   I shared with him (through chattering teeth) that we are accustomed to the changes associated with each season and welcome the variety.  We probably love spring more than most since we’ve endured winters that are very challenging.  Difficult winters help us never take for granted the smell of spring as the ground begins to thaw, or rejoice in our hearts when we feel...

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Pastor's Page - February

Posted on February 24, 2016 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - February
Dear Parishioners, I saw several commercials a few weeks ago where Oprah Winfrey was encouraging people to get on a particular diet and exercise program in order to make 2016 their healthiest year ever.  Oprah has a huge following and a lot of advertising money so I’m sure people will jump on the band wagon.   Watching Oprah’s success, I would like to make a similar pitch to our parish family.  Admittedly I don’t have a huge following like Oprah and my advertising budget is nonexistent - but I still am going to encourage our two c...

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Pastor's Page - January

Posted on January 20, 2016 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - January
Dear Parish Family, On behalf of the Staff and Clergy of St. Bernard and St. Matthew Parishes I would like to wish you a blessed, happy and healthy 2016.  A new year always arrives with a spirit of hope, and an excitement for fresh beginnings.  It is also a time when we look back at the previous year and remember those times that made the year memorable, both positively and negatively.  Certainly one of the high notes for Catholics everywhere was Pope Francis’ visitation to the United States.  He made a very positive impact, not only with the Ca...

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Pastor's Page - December

Posted on December 01, 2015 in: Pastor's Thoughts

Pastor's Page - December
January, 2016 Dear Parish Family, On behalf of the Staff and Clergy of St. Bernard and St. Matthew Parishes I would like to wish you a blessed, happy and healthy 2016.  A new year always arrives with a spirit of hope, and an excitement for fresh beginnings.  It is also a time when we look back at the previous year and remember those times that made the year memorable, both positively and negatively.  Certainly one of the high notes for Catholics everywhere was Pope Francis’ visitation to the United States.  He made a very positive impact, not...

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