Pastor’s Message: September 25, 2020

Dear Parish Family,

The month of October is dedicated to the holy Rosary, one of the best known of all Catholic devotions. October includes the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7). The best way to celebrate the month is to pray the Rosary. The Rosary draws its mysteries from the New Testament and is centered on the great events of the Incarnation and Redemption with each decade referring to an event in the life of Jesus and Mary. The Mysteries of the Rosary give us “thumbnails” of the life of Christ and his Mother.
  • The Joyful Mysteries are taken mostly from Saint Luke’s Gospel in the New Testament. They involve the joyful events of Jesus’ childhood.
  • The Luminous Mysteries bring a deeper understanding to the public life of Jesus. They fill in the blanks between the childhood of Jesus and His suffering and death on the cross.
  • The Sorrowful Mysteries remind us of how much Jesus loves us. They remind us how He suffered and died just for us.
  • The Glorious Mysteries tell us what happened after Jesus died-His Resurrection, the descent of the Holy Spirit and the love Jesus had for his Mother.
In the coming month of October, let us consider this beautiful prayer of the Rosary as a means that we, as Catholics can draw closer to Jesus and Mary by meditating on the great mysteries of our salvation.
God Bless,
Fr. Cyrus
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Pastoral Letter 3-26-2020

“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

Update: coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 11, 2020
Dear Parishioners:

As I mentioned in last Sunday’s letter, when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we have to be prayerful and sensible to ensure the health of all. Bishop Caggiano issued important directives for parishes in light of the fact that the virus has been identified within the Diocese of Bridgeport. Therefore, effective immediately, we are implementing the following directives for Mass at the Church of the Assumption Parish:

1. All Masses, confessions, and other devotional and liturgical services scheduled for the church REMAIN as scheduled.
2. The offering of the Precious Blood will continue to be suspended indefinitely. A reminder to those who have gluten allergies and therefore would receive the Precious Blood only: glutenfree hosts are available. Kindly inform the priest or deacon of the Mass that you wish to receive a gluten-free host and he will instruct you about where to receive.
3. The exchange of the Sign of Peace will be suspended.
4. If it is your practice to hold hands during the recitation of the Our Father, kindly refrain from doing so.
5. Holy water fonts will be emptied and sanitized.
6. We will ensure that handrails, restrooms, door handles and the tops of pews will be sanitized. Hand sanitizer will be available near the church entrances.
7. Clergy and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will purify their hands with sanitizer before and after distributing the Eucharist.
8. We strongly recommend that communicants receive the Host in their hands and not on the tongue.
9. If you have come in contact with someone in the last 14 days who has subsequently developed flu-like symptoms, please refrain from receiving Holy Communion. Instead, as is the practice of the Church, one can make an Act of Spiritual Communion at the time others are receiving. The Act can be a simple prayer such as “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.”
10. If you are exhibiting flu-like or cold symptoms you are not obliged to attend Sunday Mass. In fact, until there is more information about the Coronavirus and its spread, one should out of charity avoid public events if experiencing such symptoms. Also, the elderly and those with underlying physical conditions that would make them more susceptible to the Coronavirus are not obliged to attend Sunday Mass. Sunday and Weekday Mass televised on Catholic networks like EWTN and Catholic Faith Network (CFN) and also WTNH in CT. Their websites provide the Mass times.

Bishop Caggiano has also strongly recommended that we postpone non-liturgical events in the immediate weeks ahead, especially those at which the elderly and other vulnerable persons may be inclined to participate. I have consulted with parish medical experts about holding parish meetings and events, and their advice has informed my decisions. As important and life-giving as some of these events can be for a parish, looking out for the well-being of others is of primary concern. With that in mind, we are implementing the following directives regarding non-liturgical parish events at the Church of the Assumption:

1. The following parish events are postponed. If appropriate, meetings (such as Mary’s Mantle, Book Group, etc.) can be held via teleconference or other virtual platforms.
2. Religious Education Classes (all levels) are suspended until further notice.
3. Ministry leaders are encouraged to hold their meetings via teleconference, Zoom, or other virtual platforms.
4. Clergy will not visit the hospital unless there is an emergency to which the hospital chaplain cannot attend.
5. At the recommendation of the Department of Public Health, clergy and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will not visit the homebound or those in care facilities until further notice. We recommend that ministers stay in touch with those whom they visit regularly so that we can remain apprised of any needs. As with hospitals, in the case of an emergency, a priest will visit.

I realize that these changes, although temporary, may be upsetting to some; but as the bishop has indicated, we must take care of one another. Let us pray to our patron, the Blessed Virgin Mary to help and protect us always.

The Parish and the Diocese have compiled resources to address concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please click here for the most up to date information.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Cyrus M. Bartolome
Pastor

“Come with us Mary along the way, guide every step we take. Bring us to Jesus your loving Son, come with us Mary come!”
Prayer composed by Fr. Justin Maria Therese O Carm

 

Covid-19

Dear Friends,

The Parish and the Diocese have compiled resources to address concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please click here for the most up to date information.

I would like to thank you for taking time to visit our Church of the Assumption website.  If you are new to our charming area, you are curious about our historical and vibrant church, searching for a place to worship and encounter Jesus Christ especially in the Blessed Sacrament, or might be interested in beginning a new life in Christ as Catholic Christian – I would like to welcome you to the Church of the Assumption here in Westport Connecticut!

Our parish campus is always active because there is always something going on: be it Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Knights of Columbus, Parish Social and Outreach Ministry, Mary’s Mantle, Social Concerns Ministry, Bible study, Religious Education classes, Youth Ministry and the list goes on and on.  But these are not the best we have to offer.  The best that we have to offer is the true Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in the Blessed Sacrament.  We are called to know Jesus Christ and to make him known!

If you are new to the area or looking for a church, I want to invite you to come visit and celebrate the Eucharist with us.  The parish staff and I will be happy to be of help to you in any way we can.

Thank you again for visiting our website.  I hope to see you here this Sunday and if I can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me.

In the Name of Jesus our Lord and Savior!

 

Fr. Cyrus Bartolome

Pastor

“Come with us Mary along the way, guide every step we take.

Bring us to Jesus your loving Son, come with us Mary come!”

Prayer composed by Fr. Justin Maria Therese O Carm

 

Christmas Blessings

As we celebrate the birth of the Savior, we are called to give thanks for the many blessings we have received from God.  The star of Bethlehem is a wonderful sign of this blessing.  Whatever its form, the star reminds us of God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness and of the light which is the life of humanity. It reminds us of the promise of Abraham that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars. We are reminded of the star that pointed to the “great and heavenly light from Bethlehem’s manger shining bright.” The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

This is the message of the Christmas star, which also points to Jesus, who said, “I am the bright morning. It is the star of promise, the star of fulfillment, and the star of hope. Christmas is a Season of Blessings. The star of Bethlehem, invites us to “Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Father Bartolome