MONROE—Father Henry Hoffman, pastor of St. Jude Parish in Monroe, recently issued the following email newsletter to his parishioners.
March 18, 2020
Fellow St Jude Parishioners:
Please know that you are very much in my thoughts and prayers. Every morning as I do my Holy Hour. Every day as I celebrate Mass alone. Oh, that word “alone.” Yes, restrictions are being placed on us that physically separate us.
But we are together in Spirit! This is the time for us to rely on what has been built right here, on our Church property, over the years. Some of us, myself included, have spent the past few years helping to build up our Parish Community. Others of you have spent upwards of forty and more years building up our Parish Community. We are the wonderful St Jude Parish Community! We, the St Jude Parish Community, have bonds that still connect us, and that will continue to endure and overcome any current restrictions that we are called to live out.
As I am sure that you miss attending Mass in the very Church that many of you gathered rocks to build, and as I am sure that you miss receiving the Eucharist, please know that I am experiencing how much I miss celebrating Mass with you. As you patiently await the next time that you will — Praise God! — be able to receive the Eucharist, I ask that you enter into a prayer experience.
Imagine yourselves to be the Apostles on Good Friday evening, into the night, and all day Saturday. Along with the many other prayers you are saying, align the fact that you cannot temporarily receive the Eucharist with the experience of the Apostles, who were temporarily without Jesus— from 3 pm on that day some two-thousand years ago that we have come to call Good Friday, until they encountered the Resurrected Jesus. I have included a prayer, below, for the Act of Spiritual Communion that we can pray while we are temporarily removed from the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Please keep all who are affected in any way by the Coronavirus in your prayers. Let us also continue to come together as a parish, in unity with the Town of Monroe, the State of Connecticut, our Nation, and the entire world community, in an effort to do what we are called to do for the health of all.
Please know that I am available in any way that you would like. Although we cannot meet face-to-face, I am available in a more remote way, by phone or email to each one of you individually, or to any group of you. So please do not hesitate to initiate email correspondence with me, or to ask for me to give you a phone call.
We all have to be creative, to figure out how to the best live out our life as a parish family, during this time of restrictions.
Sincerely, Fr. Henry Hoffman
Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.
Announcement: “Moving Forward Together”
The announcement this past Monday that all weekday and Sunday public Masses would be suspended until at least Friday April 4, has left many of us with a large void in our lives. It is a difficult time for our Pastor Father Henry, Father Jim, and our Deacons to shepherd our St. Jude Community when they cannot see or be with the community and tend to their spiritual needs. It is hoped that this will pass quickly.
In the meantime, we will be launching an additional email newsletter entitledMoving Forward Together. This email newsletter will focus totally on the spiritual needs of our St, Jude parish. It will contain items like the above letter from Fr. Henry, meditations and reflections of the day from our clergy, links to on-line masses, prayers, readings, devotions like the rosary, stations of the cross, chaplets novenas, and on-line articles of interest. Some examples are below. It will be short and will be emailed out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The first email will be sent this Friday March 20, 2020. The weekly newsletter which you are reading right now will continue to be sent typically Wednesday or Thursday and will highlight news, announcements, events and other parish activities. If any of you find something that would be of interest, have comments and feedback, please email your ideas or questions to communications.stjuderc.gmail.com.
We will be emailing the Moving Forward Together newsletter to the same emails that we currently have in our database. You will be receiving both the weekly newsletter and the Moving Forward Together newsletter. This means that if you decide to unsubscribe for any reason, you will not receive either newsletter.
Online Daily Mass offered on the Word on Fire website.
Friends, in an effort to continue the practice of our faith in these trying times, when many parishes have closed due to restrictions around the coronavirus, we invite you to join us online for daily Mass from Bishop Barron’s chapel, celebrated either by Bishop Barron himself or by Fr. Steve Grunow, CEO of Word on Fire.
The video will be posted below at 8:15 am ET each day at https://www.wordonfire.org/daily-mass/
Note: additional online Masses are listed on the Diocesan website at https://www.bridgeportdiocese.org/coronavirus-resources-and-information/
Just in! Guidance on Confession and Adoration
Confessions will be offered at regularly scheduled times, with social distancing and number restrictions.
At all times, everybody needs to be at least six feet apart in all directions, including the priest and penitent when the confession actually occurs. If confessions take place in the church and people stand in line in the church, they need to be at least six feet apart, at all times. And only a limited number of people in the church at one time (less than 50).
Confessionals are not allowed to be used, as the confession needs to be heard in an open area.
Drive-by confessions were specifically mentioned and recommended, in which, outdoors, the penitent remains in the car and the priest stands outside the car.
Communal penances are not allowed. The Bishop has canceled the previously announced Reconciliation Monday.
Confessions will be held at our regularly scheduled times of every Saturday at 3pm-4pm… as well as the following specific dates and times:
Sunday, April 5, 2020 Palm Sunday, 5-6pm confessions
Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 5-6:30pm confessions
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 4-5pm confessions and 8-9pm confessions
On Saturdays. 3pm Fr Jim will be in the church, with social distancing restrictions. Fr Henry will be outside for drive-by confessions, rain or shine (Fr Henry can always use an umbrella.).
If there is only one priest for the other non-Saturday days and times, drive-by confessions only. If there are two priests, one will be outside for drive by confessions and one inside the church for confessions.
Only one person is allowed in the car while the confession takes place. Priest standing outside the car and penitent inside the car, with car window rolled down. (Needless if the penitent is a young child, the parent needs to exit the car while the young child makes his/her confession.)
Sundays: Simple Adoration will be available only during normal mass times.
Therefore, Adoration in the main church Sundays 7:30am to 1pm. There is Benediction.
With social distancing and number restrictions at all times, the Parish is responsible for implementing safeguards to maintain (1) social distancing, six feet apart at all times, and (2) no more than fifty people in the church at any time.
A new statement from the Diocese about Coronavirus 3/16/2020
Daily and Weekend Masses are suspended from March 16th to April 3rd
Effective this evening (March 16) at 8 pm, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has mandated that all weekday and Sunday public Masses celebrated in the presence of the lay faithful are temporarily suspended in the Diocese of Bridgeport. The temporary suspension will remain in effect until Friday, April 3. You will receive a confirmation or revision of that date on Monday, March 30.
Beginning this Sunday, Sunday Mass celebrated by Bishop Caggiano or Monsignor Thomas Powers, Vicar General, will be available on our Diocesan Website (www.bridgeportdiocese.org) or on diocesan social media channels (www.bridgeportdiocese.org/dobsocial/home).
The bishop’s decision was made in response to the March 15, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that, for the next 8 weeks, any in-person gatherings of 50 people or more throughout the United States be cancelled or postponed. Governor Lamont today followed that directive and has limited crowds to less than 50 in the State of Connecticut.
“With those standards now in place, out of concern for the common good of ending the spread of the Coronavirus and for the well-being of the clergy (many of whom are older and at greater risk) and the lay faithful of the Diocese of Bridgeport, I would like to inform you of some important new directives that will be binding throughout the diocese,” the bishop said today in a letter to all priests and diocesan officials.
“Please know that I do not make this decision easily. However, this is an extraordinary—and, in some ways, unprecedented—time in the life of the Church, the country and the world, and it requires extraordinary action to ensure the safety of those whom we serve. I appreciate greatly the cooperation of our pastors in communicating this decision to parishioners in a clear and pastoral manner. May we continue to place our trust in Jesus, the Divine Physician, through the loving hands of Our Blessed Mother, the bishop said.
Churches may remain open for private prayer at the discretion of the Pastor. Some parishes will also begin live streaming of Masses, and the diocese will publish that information on its website. The diocese will continue to provide updates and the latest news on its website: www.bridgeportdiocese.com and on Facebook and other social media.
St. Jude Daily Hour of Prayer – 3 PM
St. Jude community,
Please let us join together in prayer daily to pray this and other prayers for our community, families, friends and the world. Please pray this prayer at 3:00 pm, asking the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for us, asking for an end to this pandemic, for protection, healing, and a cure.
Suggested prayer is the Pope’s Prayer for the Intercession of Mary for Healing and Protection from the Coronavirus. Since it is the 3:00 o’clock hour, please consider also saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet as well.
Pope’s Prayer for the Intercession of Mary for Healing and Protection from the Coronavirus
Let us join in praying the English translation of an excerpt from Our Holy Father”s own prayer, asking the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for us, for healing and protection from the coronavirus.
O Blessed Virgin Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us to see how Jesus took upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
How to Recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet
The Chaplet of Mercy is recited using ordinary rosary beads of five decades. The Chaplet is preceded by two opening prayers from the Diary of Saint Faustina and followed by a closing prayer.
- Make the Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
- Optional Opening Prayers
You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
(Repeat three times)
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You!
- Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.
- Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
- The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
- The Eternal Father
Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
- On the 10 Small Beads of Each Decade
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
- Repeat for the remaining decades
Saying the “Eternal Father” (6) on the “Our Father” bead and then 10 “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion” (7) on the following “Hail Mary” beads.
- Conclude with Holy God (Repeat three times)
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
- Optional Closing Prayer
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
The Church is open for private prayer March 17 – March 22
The Bishop has given us permission to have our church open for private prayer only. There will be no Mass or Sacraments at these times. If more than one person are present in the church, they are to remain at a distance from one another. This schedule is from Tuesday March 17th to Sunday March 22nd only.
We will open our church from 8am until 10am on Tuesday March 17.
From 8am until 12noon for the remainder of the week.
Church is closed Saturday morning.
Church is open Saturday 3pm-5pm.
Church is open Sunday 7am until 2pm. Sunday March 22, 2020.
While you are there, you might consider lighting a candle or saying the following prayer which can be offered for all those who have died or are suffering from Coronavirus.
Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
Knights of Columbus Palm Cross Sale
If you have not placed your order for palm crosses due to the suspension of masses for the next 2 weeks we need to adapt the ordering process for the final week. Please email your form to Kevin Donovan at email@example.com or call 203-570-4372, email is preferred. You may pay for your palm crosses when you pick them, the Knights trust you. Pick up is still scheduled for the weekend of April 3/4 after the masses in the social hall.
The Knights thank you for your support.
Parish Cancellation Announcements
Bishop Caggiano has strongly recommended that parishes consider canceling non-liturgical events. Because the health and safety of our patrons and our volunteers are a top priority, out of an abundance of caution we are canceling the following events and activities as of Tuesday March 17.
Knights of Columbus 4th degree and Assembly Meeting Tuesday March 17 canceled.
Friday Evening Stations and Adoration March 20 and March 27 Canceled until further notice.
Knights of Columbus Monthly visit to Southbury March 31st canceled.
Friday Night Bingo Canceled until further notice.
Emmaus Lenten Dinners. Friday evenings 3/20, 3/27 and 4/3 canceled.
Columbiettes Soup Night March 28 canceled.
Pro-Life Ministry Prayer Vigil in Bridgeport, March 29th has been canceled. Please continue to pray for our precious babies and for an end to abortions. Prayer Vigil in St.Jude Church is also canceled.
4th Lecture of the Ignatian Parish Pilgrimage March 28, alternatives are currently being explored. (in case, you could not attend the 3rd Lecture on March 14, you can view the entire session at https://saintjude.smugmug.com/2020/Videos/Ignation-Parish-Pilgrimag
Family Rosary Sunday March 29, 2020 canceled.
Day of Reflection, April 1st at Dominican Sisters, Helen Kieran and Melanie Hannigan, O.P. canceled.
Relics of the Passion event on April 2 is postponed to a later date.
Living Stations Good Friday April 10 canceled(however, you can view a video of the Living Stations 2007 at https://saintjude.smugmug.com/2020/Videos/Living-Stations
CT March for Life April 15 canceled.
Please check our parish website (www.stjuderc.org) or call the office (203-261-6404) for updates.
Ignatian Parish Pilgrimage Next Lecture is Saturday March 28th at 10:30
At this time, the 4th lecture planned for Saturday morning, March 28th in the Social Hall has been postponed. We are currently looking at alternatives.
Our Deepest Longing Men’s Retreat May 1st – 3rd
All Men Long for God
Men, especially Catholic men, long for a deep, authentic relationship with God. Defining, reaching and sustaining that goal, though, can be elusive and fleeting. Men from St. Jude are encouraged to attend the May 1st to May 3rd weekend retreat at the Passionist Retreat Center, to explore ways to fulfill one’s deepest sacred longings.
To learn more about enriching your life and registering for the retreat, email Gary Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (203) 209-9072.
The Living Stations Update
The Living Stations scheduled for Good Friday April 10 are canceled. However, you can view a video of the Living Stations 2007 at https://saintjude.smugmug.com/2020/Videos/Living-Stations.