From the Pastor’s Desk

Easter Greetings!

Happy Easter! Never did we imagine a time when we would be so happy to emerge from the confines of isolation and social distancing.  This Easter has a powerful sense of freedom, even if we are still exercising a good deal of caution. 

Here at St. Brigid we have benefited from new life and investment by paying off our debt.  Installing UV-C light technology to kill off virus and bacteria in church.  With our generous benefactor’s help we are now able to use the Captial contributions you make to prepare for some major upgrades to our school, office and rectory roofs as well as lay the ground for rebuilding our parking lot and saving up to replace the church A/C and air handling (albeit the UV technology gives us some additional time).  We alive because of Christ!

This Easter as we celebrate the ways we are able to come alive in society because of the progress in infection control, treatment and containment, perhaps we can contemplate the reality of the resurrection.  The empty tomb is really too much for us to contemplate.  The resurrection scares us enough that we sometimes prefer to ignore it.  Think of all the fear and anxiety caused by the pandemic, how does faith in the resurrection manifest itself in no fear of death? How does the fact that God has the power to overcome death and bring us to new life scare you? While we sing out Alleluia it’s okay to fear the wonderful power of God to transform, overcome and shatter death!

Knee Deep in Lent

These are the final days of preparation for the coming paschal feasts!  Accept them as a gift, to prepare for the great joy of Easter.  This year I am especially looking forward to the Triduum celebrations.  They are sacred time, and after a year of an empty church, even a half filled church will be a blessing to share it with.  You can reserve Holy Week and Easter Mass space at https://rebrand.ly/stbreservations.  Note that our 11:30am Mass on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is scheduled to be outdoor, No reservations needed.

I know many may have made plans for Spring Break travel, please be careful and smart.  While we all hope CoVid-19 is behind us, there are still risks so be healthy while you go and help our community stay healthy when you return.  Holy Week here will feature a return to outdoor Mass on Palm Sunday.  It will also be the last week with our reservation system.  After Easter we will continue an outdoor Mass until crowd and mask restrictions can ease up so I do not think we need to continue the reservations after Easter Sunday.  As I mentioned, keep using your masks in church, hand sanitizer and social distancing (note the CDC is indicting 3 feet may be as good as 6 feet if everyone is wearing masks).  If you think you might have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms stay home.  We have been able to welcome many vaccinated folks back to church as they are developing antibodies, but help us keep those not vaccinated healthy too.  As a family we can choose to go the extra mile to help each other out.

Lent 2021

It is so hard to believe another Lent already. One year ago we were beginning to wonder when would this mystery illness get here. I remember thinking it won’t be a big deal here and we would never be asked to “lock down”. The rest is CoVid-19 history! It’s been a year where fear and anxiety have crippled us in many ways. As we prepare for Easter surrender that fear and anxiety will help us share the abundant life of Easter!
Our parish has been blessed by your desire to draw closer to God and serve the Lord. In a year that could be known for all that we could not do I am proud of all we have done for each other and the Lord. I am also confident that we have a unique opportunity to share life in Christ as we approach the end of the Pandemic. Help me and the staff at St. Brigid to understand how we can better share faith and life in Christ by taking the Disciple Maker Index survey. You will help us discover our strengths and grow stronger. The survey takes 10-15minutes. There are paper copies if you prefer them to the digital edition https://rebrand.ly/stbsurvey
We begin Lent with Mark’s account of the Temptation of Jesus. Does God ever think it would be better to not have humanity, as weak as we are? In facing down the temptation Jesus embraces weakness and susceptibility. We don’t have to supply everything or be super human or even resistant to disease and illness. Jesus embraces the human qualities we often try to shed or overcome. How can this Lent help me resist temptation by acknowledging my utter dependence on God?
Blessings and Peace,
Fr. Andy Booms

Christmas 2020 Greeting

Now is the time to truly celebrate and enjoy the feast of Christmas. Most years we are exhausted from parties and gatherings before Christmas. Perhaps the quiet Advent will allow you to savor the season of Christmas. This is not a time to take risks or expose yourself to Coronavirus. This is time for true rejoicing in the light that has brightened our night.  As 2020 has given us many challenges may they lead us all to a deeper faith and reliance on God who dwells among us! 

As we mark the Feasts of the Christmas Octave, the new calendar year, the Epiphany and prepare for the Baptism of the Lord. Don’t skip ahead. Take these days one at a time. Christmas, St Stephan, The Holy Family, Mary the Mother of God, Epiphany and each weekday and feast. What will you savor most of the past year? What treasure will you give to the Christ child? Don’t worry about tomorrow – God is in the present and that is an awesome present for us this Christmas!

The End Times

As we conclude these final weeks of Ordinary Time before the beginning of a new Liturgical year with Advent.  I invite you to reflect on the year that has passed, and the many wonderful graces.  Take a look at our Annual Report of Parish Life.

Finally, help us close out the year by showing your support to the annual Christ Mission Appeal campaign.  Join me in supporting the work of the Diocese of Saginaw.  You can learn more and pledge your support here!

As we mark our annual feast of gratitude (although very different this year).  Know that I am truly grateful for the gift of this parish community.  You nurtured me back to health, and continue to support and challenge me in sharing abundant Life from Christ!

Gratefully,
Fr. Andy Booms
Pastor
frandyb@stbrigid-midland.org

Your Conscience and your choices

Recently Bishop Gruss announced that he would no longer be lifting the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.  As he shared this news he also reminded each of us of the value and importance of a well formed conscience.  Your Conscience is the place you already stand before God, your conscience is the place you are called to meet the Lord.  From your conscience you can make decisions which guide you toward the Lord.  You can discern in your conscience that it is not safe for you at Mass right now.  You might want to read the Bishop’s own words and advice here.

His reminder served as inspiration for a fall series of homilies on conscience.  This fall our nation exercises the privilege and responsibility to vote.  There are candidates from President to city council, and each vote should advance you along the path with God.  To that end I began a series of homilies on conscience and the 7 principles fo Catholic Social Teaching that should form our conscience.  If you want to watch them the Masses I preach at will be grouped into a playlist on YouTube, you can catch up here.

This fall has brought a return of students to our school.  It is a wonderful sound to hear laughter and shouting on the playground.  It’s an even better sight to see students praying and listening to their teachers.  This year is one built on the certainty of God’s presence no matter our condition.  While it is important we do all humanly possible to keep each other healthy, it is God who heals and provides the hope.

No matter if you are regularly attending Mass, still praying from home or ready for new volunteer opportunities please be sure to stay connected.  Support our mission of sharing life in Christ.  You can find all the resources you need to stay connected here.

Blessings and Peace,
Fr. Andy Booms
Pastor

The New Normal

In such times of struggle I cannot imagine my life without such a deeply connected faith community. We have faced down a pandemic and survived record floods, together! Even though it has been over two months since we shared Mass in the same building each of you and your intentions have been in my daily offering of the Eucharist. I have experienced your spiritual communion in each Mass as I pray with and for you.

Let me thank you, first, for your continued support of the Parish mission with your prayers and sacrificial giving during the suppression of public Masses as we all work to mitigate the spread of CoVid-19.

Our parish is blessed with so many committed individuals like yourself. If you have not already made the switch to online giving I’d like you to consider this tool. Signup is easy for onetime or repeated offerings at http://www.osvonlinegiving.com/665. You may choose to designate funds to General Offerings or our earmarked Helping Hands funds. Those Helping Hands funds are there to help our neighbors with their direct financial request. They are there to help you if needed as well. Email lsira@stbrigid-midland.org to initiate your request for financial assistance.

Second, I want to thank you for your prayers on my behalf as I contracted the Coronavirus and continue to recover. Your prayers and support have certainly been a huge motivation for me and a great source of consolation.
Public worship is returning soon. Bishop Gruss wants to emphasize the safety of all as we resume public Mass on May 26, 2020 at Saint Brigid. Please note that you are dispensed from your Sunday Obligation until at least August 30, 2020. That means you can choose to come to a weekday Mass instead and receive the Eucharist. In addition, it means you may continue to shelter at home if that is safer for you and participate in the live stream of all our Masses at http://rebrand.ly/stbrigidmass

In an effort to limit the chance of spread of CoVid-19 we will observe the following:
Facemasks must be worn inside the church building at all times
Social Distancing of 6’ between households must be followed at all times (even during communion procession)
Pews have been measured and x’s placed in locations where you may sit alone and in household groups
Hand sanitizer must be used by all who enter the building
Public Restrooms will be closed
Capacity of the church will be limited to 104 people due to social distancing (families may be able to fit more than 3 or 4 in the half pew blocks and that is okay).
Worship aids have been simplified and all books removed from the pews

To help you avoid the surprise of having to sit in your car and watch the Mass livestream on your cellphone (which you are welcome to do and enter the building at the time of communion) we will use Eventbrite to issue free tickets for each Mass. On Sundays we will also issue additional free tickets for the Cardinal Hickey Parish Hall. You can find all events at https://rebrand.ly/stbreservations. When you make a reservation, it assures you that there will be space for you and your family at that Mass. The office staff will be happy to assist you Monday-Thursday and they are only a phone call away.

In Christ,
Fr. Andy Booms,
Pastor

Easter joy admist CoVid

We celebrate for 8 days as if each day were the feast of Easter and Christmas.  These 8 day celebrations remind us that time starts over, because God is doing something good.  It is fitting today that we celebrate the gift of God’s Divine Mercy.  The devotion was popularized by Pope Saint John Paul II, he was drawing from the life of St. Faustina, a Polish nun who had several visions in which Jesus made it clear His mercy was there for all who asked.  God’s Mercy is very much related to the resurrection, and we give thanks for all he is doing in our midst.

With the extension of the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Order I wanted to update you on the impact to our parish.  The finance council and I are united in desiring to avoid layoffs.  Many have shifted to online giving (www.osvonlinegiving.com/665) and many mail in contributions.  Thank you!  We have continued to pay our staff even though many cannot report in person.  What will this cost us, we don’t know just yet.  Further we have applied for a PPP loan from Chemical Bank, this could help offset costs of our nearly $100,000/month payroll expenses.  At this time your continued support means so much! We are saving money on utilities, shutting or turning down heat in school and the church.  Did you know the CARES Act rewards your generosity? The Act creates a $300 deduction for charitable giving.  If you would consider making St. Brigid the recipient of your extra gift we promise to use your gift to continue the mission we have been entrusted – share life in Christ.  If you’re inclined to itemize your income taxes the CARES Act allows you to give away 100% of your taxable income.  In all of this I promise to share information with you.  We are still scheduled to make $32,000 in investments to our campus.  The fixing of the paint and plaster over St. Joseph, the replacement of leaking membrane over the office and church side entrance, some additional carpet in the school and the restoration of the church doors.  While we had identified monies in the budget for these projects we would always accept additional donations for those who prefer to make targeted gifts.

As you continue your worship in your domestic church (your home) these days of Easter are meant to be a time of experiencing new life.  Lent was about preparing the soil.  Easter is letting the seeds of the resurrection taking root.  This year we get a bit more time to remain in waiting.  Don’t be afraid to return to a few of the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  In Lent we do it to prepare for new life, in Easter we do it because we know the joy of the resurrection.  How will you make these days of continued quarantine a preparation for new life? Think this Easter is unprecedented? What about that first Easter? Now is a great time to read the Book of Acts and consider how it was Pentecost that changed the lives of the early Church… perhaps we too need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit?

CoVid-19 Mitigation Update March 16, 2020

Hello Dear Members of the Saint Brigid Parish Family:

As we continue to adapt and change as a result of spread CoVid-19 I want to assure you we are doing everything we can to provide refuge and safety from the anxiety and panic that has begun to engulf us all.  We also want to foster your ability to worship, pray and remain part of a community of disciples.  These coming days are certainly a challenge to our faith, hope and desire to gather with others.  Early today we began assembling a master email list which encompasses all known emails that we have. The purpose of this group is to provide you with ways you can remain active in your faith at home while we refrain from public liturgies.  Yes as of today Bishop Gruss has suspended all public liturgies in the Diocese of Saginaw until April 6, 2020.  Further details about Holy Week will follow.  In the meantime we are committed to helping each household know and enter into Spiritual Communion, and foster devotion and reverence.  You can:
  1. Find our Live Liturgical Feed at http://rebrand.ly/stbrigidmass
  2. Note that our public Calendar now has video links when appropriate, using the Google Hangouts Service the calendar can be see here https://calendar.google.com/calendar/b/1?cid=bm1lZHNqc3BjOTkyNnBsMG5qZjM0ajlsaWNAZ3JvdXAuY2FsZW5kYXIuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbQ
  3. Call the office for individual appointments as needed (989)835-7121 – these include need for Confession or Anointing of the Sick.
  4. You may submit sacrificial offerings via mail or electronically at http://www.osvonlinegiving.com/665
Last week my concern was helping calm the fears and anxiety of all our dedicated and hard-working employees.  These women and men have often taken jobs with lower pay than other institutions.  As is right and just we committed to continue pay and benefits until April 6, 2020.  These are extraordinary times and I am confident God will honor us for being faithful.  These are days in which we are all being forced to slow down, and learn how to live without a hectic and overcommitted calendar.  These are days in which many are being liberated from the commitments of work.
It is my honor to serve as your pastor and I want to remind you that my commitment to accompany you is in no way lessened because we must observe social distancing. I will offer daily Mass for your intentions and will be at the forefront of my mind.
Wishing you health, holiness and peace!

Blessings and Peace,

Fr. Andy Booms
Pastor
(989) 835-7121 x34
P.S. Should you desire to be added to our General Membership list please email nschwartz@stbrigid-midland.org she will add you to the list for future mailings.

Lent 2020

Lent is one of my favorite seasons! Truly I love the challenge and opportunity to draw closer to the Lord.  It is a season that we realize just how deeply God loves us.  It is also a time when our faith naturally integrates into our daily lives.  This bulletin is your 6-week guide to all the ways we prepare, participate and receive life from Christ in Lent.

A refresher on the minimum expectations. For Roman Catholics, fasting obligations apply to adults age 18 through 59. We are asked to fast by eating only one complete meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  The USCCB explains Lenten fasting as one meatless meal, and if necessary, two smaller meals may be consumed that combined equal less than a full meal. Liquids are allowed at any time, but no food should be eaten between meals. All Catholics aged 14 and up are asked to abstain from meat every Lenten Friday and Ash Wednesday.  While muskrat is considered seafood in Michigan don’t forget that Chicken, Turkey, Pork and Beef are all meats and to be avoided on days of Abstinence.

We don’t fast to save money for a later indulgence we fast so that we can make a difference for others.  That is what the CRS Rice Bowl helps us do.  If not the CRS Ricebowl, give money to other charities from the money you save by Lenten fasting.

The third pillar of Lent is prayer.  We are encouraged to spend more time in personal prayer and liturgical prayer.  We offer Stations of the Cross on Tuesday evenings after Mass, we offer Wednesday exposition and adoration, we offer night prayer and benediction and we also have expanded times for reconciliation in a communal setting or individually.

However you spend this Lent, make sure you let go of whatever keeps you from coming alive in Christ!  We share His life in our Worship, Service and Education.  We are glad you’re with us as we discover the empty tomb in our own lives and the graces of resurrection freeing us today.

Blessings and Peace,
Fr. Andy Booms
Pastor
(989)835-7121 x34
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