This was an extraordinary week at the parish, one in which I watched what makes us who we are. Last week at a pastor’s meeting Bishop Caggiano shared his pastoral plan with us. Put simply it is to build relationships with each other and the Lord who is at the center of the Church, the Body of Christ.
Last week we had three funerals in four days for: Ronald Brunelle, Marian Ainsworth, and Sean Sullivan, an 18year old who had just left for his freshman year at UCONN.
On Tuesday night 400 people, mostly teens, came to a ‘word-of-mouth’ prayer service at Church. At that time of prayer many of our young people got up to talk about Sean. It was inspiring to hear all he had accomplished in such a short time. People stayed after the service just to be with each other.
Under the leadership of Joe and Daniela O’Callaghan, and before them Pat Olson and Judi Dennehy, what we have strived for in youth ministry (TOTAL) is to have a place where the teens feel welcomed, accepted, included and affirmed. At the same time we provide prayer experiences in hopes that they will come to see how critical it is to have faith and be a part of a welcoming worship community.
Then, on Friday night, we had Sean’s wake in Church followed by a funeral Mass and reception on Saturday. Once again, the parish came together to make both days beautiful, even as we struggled with sadness and grief, looking to the Lord for hope.
Annette Maiberger and Rona Lee Grant lead the funeral reception. We were ready to feed the whole Norwalk Band, as well as all of Sean’s friends and family. In an email to all who helped, Annette Maiberger said this “truly, we could not have managed such a big funeral reception without you wonderful moms of teens bringing food, setting up, serving, washing dishes and cleaning up. It was a love-filled community effort and yet once again, I feel blessed to be part of our St. Jerome family.”
This parish is an example of what I think Bishop Caggiano wants a parish to be. We are not perfect, and we can always be better, but we have a real gift in each other.
Finally, watch for a sign up list to attend a house meeting in the weeks ahead. Come to one meeting to get to know others on the parish as well as to identify social problems that can be worked on by this community, the member congregations of CONECT and other sister organizations throughout the country.