Thank you to the parishioners who have continued sending in their weekly offertory either by mail or through Online Giving.
Y
our contributions will help support the parish and all of the outreach ministries that are in need during this crisis.
Please consider donating through Online Giving.
Click the icon below to sign up!  It’s easy, safe and convenient.
Thank you again for your continued support.  God Bless and Stay Safe.
Fr. Cyrus

Pastor's Message

  • LIVE STREAMING MASSES . . .

    We are now streaming Masses on Sundays at 10:00am and weekdays at 7:00am & 5:30pm.  All Saturday Vigil and Sunday scheduled Mass Intentions will be said at the 10:00am mass.  All scheduled Daily Intentions will be said on the scheduled day at 7:00am & 5:30pm.

    Monday & Wednesday Adoration: 7:30am  – 5:00pm
    Sunday Adoration:  11:00am – 5:00pm
    Saturday Confession 4:00pm – 5:00pm in the church

    The Church will be open for private prayer Monday – Saturday 7:30am – 5:00pm and Sunday 11:00am – 5:00pm.  The Food Closet is open Monday – Friday 9:00am to 12:00pm.  Contact the Parish Office if you are in need during other times of the week.

    Please Note:  The Parish Office is closed to the public.  If you need assistance please call the Parish Office at 203-227-5161 or email Michelle Hankey: mhankey@assumptionwestport.org or Father Cyrus Bartolome: frcyrus@assumptionwestport.org.


    2020 Holy Week & Easter Mass Schedule
    (All Live Streamed)

    PALM SUNDAY WEEKEND – April 4 and 5
    Saturday Vigil 5:00pm and Sunday 9:00am and 12:00pm

    HOLY THURSDAY – April 9
    7:30am Morning Prayer, 7:00pm Mass of the Lord’s Supper

    GOOD FRIDAY – April 10
    7:30am Morning Prayer, 3:00pm Solemn Liturgy, 7:00pm Stations of the Cross

    HOLY SATURDAY – April 11
    7:30am Morning Prayer, 8:00pm Vigil

    EASTER SUNDAY – April 12
    9:00am and 12:00pm


    Parish of the Assumption Pastoral letter
    “Our Time of Trial”
    (March 26, 2020)

         As both parishioners of our great parish here in Westport and as citizens of our United States, we are unfortunately experiencing a serious pandemic outbreak of the Coronavirus. No doubt that many of us are suffering both physically and mentally. It’s during times such as this crisis that we are reminded about how fragile our human lives really are. But we should also be reminded of our common humanity, as people of this parish, who are connected to our brothers and sisters around the world. We are all one family of humanity under Almighty God. Our faith must remain strong and our prayers of hope and trust in the Lord must rise to Heaven    

         One aspect of our faith that we know for sure is that Our God will NEVER abandon us. We must take into account His presence amongst us because of all of the great efforts that we are now witnessing by legions of scientists, doctors and pharmaceutical companies who are rushing to develop vaccines and drugs to help cure our afflicted citizens. We see God in the actions of so many medical personnel who are working around the clock to triage and heal the victims of this pandemic. We are seeing God present to us in so many news accounts of ordinary people helping people by their caring and generosity. So as parishioners of our Church of the Assumption, we must continue to pray for their on-going efforts that people will be comforted and healed. 

         Through faith, we know that our loving God goes with us and comforts us in this time of trial and suffering. In this moment, it’s spiritually important for us place our hearts, minds and souls in the hope that we should firmly have in Jesus Christ. Now is the time to pray without ceasing for the love of God to come upon us and for us to show love to all of our neighbors. We should also try to draw closer to one another in our love for Our Lord and rediscover the things that truly matter in our lives; loving God and loving our families and neighbors.

          United with our Holy Father Pope Francis and our Bishop Frank Caggiano, let us pray in solidarity for our brothers and sisters in our parish, our Town of Westport, in our nation and, in all of the countries around the world who have been stricken by this horrible virus. Let us pray for those who have lost loved ones to this virus. May our God console them and grant them His divine comfort and peace.

          We must also remember to pray earnestly for all of the brave doctors, nurses, clinicians and caregivers; for public health officials and all civic leaders in our local, statewide and federal Governments. May God provide them through the power of the Holy Spirit, courage, wisdom and prudence as they try to respond to this emergency with compassion all in the service of the common good.        

       We know that during the upcoming weeks, many of you may wish to contact the clergy of our parish expressing your spiritual concerns and questions. We encourage you to e-mail either of us and we will try and get back to you just as soon as possible. Our addresses are:

    Father Cyrus Bartolome:     frcyrus@assumptionwestport.org
    Deacon Bill Koniers:             dnkoniers@assumptionwestport.org

              Many of you have been asking when our Masses and liturgies will be open again for our parishioners to participate in person. We have been receiving frequent guidance from Bishop Caggiano. Unfortunately, all Masses and liturgies through the balance of Lent and including Holy Week, The Triduum and the Easter Vigil and Easter Masses will be closed to the public to ensure the safety of our parishioners. However, our services will be live-streamed over the internet. We have heard from many of you that our 10:00 AM Mass this past Sunday was live-streamed very successfully. We will be posting on our website, the dates and times of our Holy Week schedule.

         Finally, during this time of need, we invite all of our Catholic faithful to seek together the maternal intercession of Our Lady of the Assumption and so we now share this prayer with you:

    Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, we believe in your triumphant assumption into heaven where the angels and saints acclaim you as Queen. We join them in praising you and bless the Lord who raised you above all creatures. With them we offer you our devotion and love. This day we fly to you as your most beloved children.  We ask you to intercede for us with your Son.

    Please pray for us, loving Mother, and gain for our nation and world, and for all our families and loved ones, the protection of your holy angels, that we may be spared the worst of this corona virus illness.

    For the afflicted, we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance. Please hear the pleas of those who are very vulnerable and fearful, wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

    In this time of trial and testing, teach all of us in the Church and in our world, to love one another and to be patient and kind as your Son has commanded us to do. Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our nation and in our hearts.

    We come to you with confidence, knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother, health of the sick and cause of our joy.  Shelter us under the mantle of your protection and keep us in your loving embrace.
    We forever look to you as our life, our sweetness, and our hope. Help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus.   Amen.

    Father Cyrus Bartolome
    Deacon Bill Koniers

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Parish Happenings

You may have heard that the decennial U.S. Census will be conducted this year.  Participation in the 2020 Census is ry important because it determines congressional representation, informs hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding, and provides data that will impact communities for the next decade. Church of the Assumption  and the Town of Westport understand that the U.S. Census Bureau cannot conduct the 2020 Census alone.  It depends on community involvement at every level.

Church of the Assumption is pleased to announce that we have joined the Town of Westport’s Complete Count Task Force.  The Complete Count Task Force members are volunteers committed to increasing awareness and motivating residents to respond to the 2020 Census.   As a member, it is our responsibility to keep you informed about upcoming deadlines and activities associated with the Census. Our goal is to have every Westporter counted in the 2020 Census! #Westportctcounts

Please continue following Church of the Assumption for our parish notifications, as well as periodic updates and reminder messages about the 2020 Census.

Remember –  when we all respond, we all benefit!

 

 

The Knights of Columbus served up meals at the Thomas Merton Center: Check out the photo gallery.

Prayer Requests - let's pray for each other

Prayer requests are made in support of you, your family or friends. It is an opportunity for our parish family to pray for each other and those in need. We wish to keep this published list current and appreciate your help in doing so. To remove or include the name of someone in the bulletin prayer list, please contact the parish office at 203-227-5161 or bulletin@assumptionwestport.org. If a request is being made on behalf of someone, please get their approval as their name will be published in the bulletin.

Welcome!

WELCOME TO THE ROMAN CATHOLIC
CHURCH OF THE ASSUMPTION

We are glad that you are able to visit us online.  We would like to extend an invitation to you to become a regular part of our Parish Life!  Please refer to this website and our weekly bulletins for mass times, phone numbers, and other information.  Please call or e-mail us with any questions and again, welcome!

OUR MISSION
The Church of the Assumption Parish is a Roman Catholic Christian Community in Westport Connecticut, called by Jesus Christ to know, love and serve Him.  Our mission is to strive to live a full sacramental life centered on the Eucharist, committed to living and spreading the Gospel of Jesus through faithful worship, witness, education and generous stewardship.

OUR VISION
We at the Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption commit ourselves to be a guiding light of the Catholic faith recognized as a large, welcoming, generous and effective faith community.

Inspired by the holiness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the graces given in the celebration of the sacraments, we will use our gifts of time, talent and treasure to provide the services and ministries necessary to promote the Catholic faith through our commitment to educate the young, meet the spiritual and material needs of all God’s children, and to glorify the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit by our Christian example with the intercession of our patroness, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Parish Survey

My dear friends,

The parish recently announced that our Pastoral Council will be conducting a Parish wide survey during the months of May and June.  Unfortunately due to recent events, the subcommittee on the parish survey has postponed the focus group until after Easter.

However, if you are interested in being part of a focus group, you can sign-up using the following link: https://forms.gle/zaDWxRnXHpk57A6UA. We will contact you the date, time and venue of the meeting.  Thank you again for your help!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. Fr. Cyrus M. Bartolome

Pastor

Beware of Email Scams!

Be Aware! There have been a number of email scams where the sender appears to be Father Cyrus. The actual email address is not his, it is some fake Gmail address.

Note: Father is never going to email you asking “for a favor” or for you to send “Gift Cards”. If you have any questions about the authenticity of an email, please call the office @ 203-227-5161.

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Bishop Caggiano's Corner

Bishop Frank Offering Answers to
Frequently Asked Questions

I treasure the spiritual nourishment I receive in Holy Communion. What can I do now?
Throughout the Church’s history there were times when the Sacraments were not available because of persecution, lack of priests, calamity, war or illness.  Even in the Bible we hear of times of Exile when God’s people were taken far from their homeland and far from the Lord’s temple.  But God, in His goodness, provides grace and strength to those who seek Him even in these times of trial. His love for us is demonstrated most perfectly in the Eucharist. But even when we are separated from our churches because of illness, His love for us remains “always, until the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).

In her wisdom, the Church encourages those who cannot receive the Eucharist to make an Act of Spiritual Communion. Saint John Paul II reminded us of the value of this, citing the words of Saint Teresa of Jesus: “When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 34).

How do I make an Act of Spiritual Communion?
If you are viewing an electronic version of the Mass, you would say this or a similar prayer at the time of Holy 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.”

If you cannot view the Mass electronically, you may set aside some quiet time in your home for the prayer.  Make the Sign of the Cross, reflect on God’s word with a reading from Sacred Scripture (the Mass readings for the day if available to you), call to mind your prayer intentions, pray the Our Father and the prayer of Spiritual Communion and close with the Sign of the Cross.

What can I do to grow in the spiritual life while the Eucharist is not available to me?
This extraordinary time in our lives offers each one of us an opportunity to read and meditate more on Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, or to do some spiritual reading from the great writers of the Church’s history or the lives of the saints. Also, we could take up – again or for the first time – prayerful devotions, such as the Rosary, Novenas and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  Also, some parishes are providing online resources that include religious videos, faith sharing, Bible study groups, etc. Check your parish website for more information.

Is Confession being offered in parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport?
Yes, but many of the planned schedules may have changed or been cancelled due to restrictions on gatherings.  Confession is God’s gift to us – a gift that sets us free from sin. Through Confession we can repent and recover deep friendship with God. With Absolution we have the certainty of His forgiveness and healing.  Confession is available in parishes either by appointment or scheduled times, but, during this pandemic, both the priest and the penitent must observe safe social distancing. Please check your parish schedules for more information.

What should I do if I am unable to go to Confession?
Since the schedule for Confessions may have changed, as well as our availability to come together, you may have challenges connecting with your priest for regular confession during the rest of this Lenten season. If that happens, do not despair. These are not normal circumstances.  During World War II, at a time and place where the Sacrament of Confession was not readily available, Saint Maximillian Kolbe exhorted faithful Catholics, “Whoever can, should receive the Sacrament of Penance. Whoever cannot, because of prohibiting circumstances, should cleanse his soul by acts of perfect contrition.”

While we believe that the Sacrament of Confession gives us the fullness of God’s mercy, we know that God is never far from the one who seeks Him, and His power to forgive extends far beyond the confessional. If for these days the Sacrament of Confession is not able to be scheduled, you can make an act of perfect contrition before God.  “Perfect” contrition comes from a pure love of God above all else. “Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible” (CCC #1452). It is a prayerful way to begin the process of receiving God’s healing and mercy, a process that will be culminated when you go to Confession at a later time.

Part of this could include the words of the Act of Contrition: “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.”

Has Pope Francis spoken about this?
Yes. Pope Francis approached the question this way during his homily at Mass on March 20th: “I know that many of you go to confession before Easter… Many will say to me: ‘But Father…I can’t leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me… How can I do that unless I find a priest?’. Do what the catechism says. It’s very clear. If you don’t find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He’s your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord. I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterward I will go to confession.’ You will return to God’s grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God’s forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.”

Does this eliminate the need for Confession for the rest of us?
The Sacrament of Confession is and remains the ordinary means Christ has given us for receiving forgiveness for our sins, and a regular reception of this Sacrament is a necessary and beautiful part of our lives in Christ.  The Church recognizes that extraordinary circumstances sometimes arise which can limit some people’s ready access to this Sacrament, and thus provides accommodations and suggestions for receiving God’s mercy when access to the Sacrament of Confession is impeded.  Yet none of the accommodations made during this extraordinary time should be understood as obviating the need for Confession, especially when this pandemic has passed.

Is Anointing of the Sick suspended in the Diocese of Bridgeport?
No. Thankfully, priests continue to provide the Anointing of the Sick to the faithful who request it, but they have been asked to use caution for any anointings during this period by using cotton swabs and gloves for the Sacrament.  It may be the case, however, that a priest may not be permitted to anoint a patient in a hospital or nursing home under quarantine, especially if that patient has the COVID-19 virus. Those situations will be treated on a case-by-case basis and will involve the input of healthcare administrators and caregivers.

What about the Sacraments for those in healthcare facilities with COVID-19? The protocols of the facilities sometimes will not allow contact with the priests for health reasons. Can they receive Absolution or Anointing of the Sick in hospitals or nursing homes?
Regarding Absolution from sins, know that hospital and healthcare priest chaplains can be granted permission to absolve sins collectively due to the gravity of the outbreak. Here is how it could be done: “At the entrance to hospital wards, where the infected faithful in danger of death are hospitalized, using as far as possible and with the appropriate precautions the means of amplifying the voice so that absolution may be heard.” This would grant the sick the consolation and grace of forgiveness without individual Confession. Many of the most afflicted would not be able to confess normally because of their illness. The priest can also invoke the Apostolic Pardon for the dying, granting them a full remission of all sins.

Regarding Anointing of the Sick, the problem is that this Sacrament requires close contact with the infected. Because this is not always possible and the need is so great, the Church is granting a Plenary Indulgence (remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins) to those who upon death find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of Holy Communion “provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required).” For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended.  The Church, in imitation of Christ, would never forget her children in their hour of greatest need, even if distance must change the way that comfort is offered.

Don’t I have an “Easter Duty” to receive Holy Communion?
One of the Precepts of the Catholic Church is that the faithful are to receive the Eucharist at least during the Easter season. If Masses were to be suspended for a portion of the Easter Season (which has not happened yet), and there was a problem receiving Communion to fulfill the Easter Duty, the law of the Church allows this to be completed at another time during the year.

When this pandemic is over, do I need to confess that I missed Mass for these weeks?
I dispensed all Catholics in the Diocese from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass beginning the weekend of March 14-15. Now, of course, public Masses are suspended. Therefore, one does not have to confess missing Sunday Mass after March 14th, as long as one would have attended Mass if possible.  If a person missed Sunday Mass due to negligence before then, the sin should be confessed.  During this unusual period when Masses are suspended, we should still try to honor Sunday as the Lord’s day, a day for reflection, prayer, rest and family. If possible, Catholics should participate in Sunday Masses that are broadcasted electronically. If that is not possible, they should aside time each Sunday for reading of the Scriptures (preferably from the day) and prayer.  While we hope that by the beginning of May we will be able to gather again in our churches for worship, we will be guided by state and local health officials regarding that decision.

If God provides grace to us when we cannot attend Mass, why should I bother going to Sunday Mass at all when the public Masses resume?
While it is true that God “himself is not bound by His sacraments” (CCC #1257), we are bound by them and have a serious obligation before God to attend Sunday Mass.  “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’” (CCC #1324). The Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the Cross, and Jesus is the High Priest who offers His life for the salvation of the world. Catholics not only have an obligation to attend Sunday Mass, but to do so is beneficial to their well-being here on earth and through eternity. At Mass we are gathered together as a community of faith to honor and glorify God, to thank Him for His graces and obtain graces and blessings to become the saints we are called to be.

In these days of trial, we are forced to be physically separated from the Eucharist, and possibly from the ready reception of the other Sacraments. We have all experienced similar moments of painful separation throughout life, as when spouses must be apart for work or when children cannot be close to parents because of education or military service. These moments are extraordinary and painful, but sometimes when we are forced to live without the things that were always readily available to us, it makes us appreciate what was right before us all the time.  When this time of separation ends and the Sacraments of God’s love are once again offered before us, then our exile will be over. That day will be a time of rejoicing. Returning to the Mass will be a cause for joy, not burden.

This whole experience has been difficult for me. For what can I offer any suffering I am experiencing?
Each one of us needs to ask the Lord to enlighten our minds and to show us as individuals how our personal suffering can be offered up and sanctified during this crisis. Some ideas, among others, may be to offer up one’s worries, sadness, fear and longing for the Eucharist for:

  • all those afflicted with COVID-19 and their families;
  • for those who have died from the virus;
  • for healthcare personnel courageously serving those in need;
  • for researchers searching for a cure;
  • for government and civil leaders, who bear great burdens and uncertainty.

During this period of “Eucharistic fast,” we may also want to remember and pray for the many Catholics throughout the world who are only able to receive the Sacraments on rare occasions. Especially when this is due to persecution, they live out their Catholic faith heroically, armed with the hope of receiving the Sacraments that are normally available to us every day. While our trial is temporary, some of our brothers and sisters in the Faith have little reason to believe that their situation will change. We are, possibly more than ever, united in solidarity with them.

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Throughout this current crisis we should remember that the Lord will grant us the grace we need to persevere, to remain steadfast and to grow in faith, hope and love. Knowing “that all things work for good for those who love God” (Rom. 8:28), we daily entrust ourselves to the care and protection of our Blessed Mother. At the same time, we eagerly await the day when the doors of our churches are open again and we are able to worship at Mass together in person. At the end of this pandemic, may we all appreciate and love the Mass even more, and may those who were unfortunately not in the habit of attending Mass on Sunday be given the grace to come home and to join their brothers and sisters in praising God.

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