Father David Ousley reports again from the dynamic new parish of St. John the Baptist, Bridgeport, PA

Bishop Lopes’s Visit

Our new Bishop, the Most Reverend Steven Lopes, will be making a visitation to St John the Baptist on April 8th-10th. His main time with the parish family will be Sunday morning for Mass (at 10 as usual) and coffee hour. At coffee he will make a few remarks and take questions. On Friday evening, 7:30, he will preach at Evensong & Benediction. We are inviting our friends from Holy Cross, Our Lady of the Assumption and Sacred Heart to join us for this service and a reception afterward, as our chance to thank them for their hospitality towards us, and to welcome them to our new home. While he is here he will also be meeting with the Pastoral and Finance Councils. I’m grateful for his coming to us so soon after his ordination. Please be sure this is on your calendar, and help spread the word, especially about the Evensong: an ideal time to invite folk who are or might be interested in the Ordinariate.

The Move

The movers are due to move us to the Bridgeport rectory on March 8th and 9th. The floor refinishing in the St John’s rectory is done, and the painting is well along. Provision for the parish offices is not settled, but will no doubt get done after we move. Things are bound to be a little chaotic that week, so please bear with me if I don’t respond right away to email or phone messages. Barring unforeseen glitches, I should be able to get messages in both media during the move, even while the phone and internet are being transferred from Mount Airy to Bridgeport. The phone remains the same, 215-247-1092. Email and web address don’t change either. The new parish and rectory address is 502 Ford Street, Bridgeport, Pennsylvania 19405.

Beginning March 5th, all weekday Masses will be in Bridgeport. The times will remain the same, except for Saturday, which moves to 9 from 9:30. The others are Tuesday and Thursday at 6 p.m., Wednesday (with healing) at 10 a.m., and Friday at 8 a.m. There may be other changes as we discern the needs in our new location. There will be no Masses on the 8th or 9th because of the rectory move.

Work continues on our property – including treatment for a small termite infestation in the school building. More visibly, the marble of the high altar has been cleaned. Along with the Tabernacle, it has been restored to its original – and lovely – condition.

Lent

Meanwhile, Lent continues. Every Friday there is Stations of the Cross and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 7:30. We specially blessed at our new location with splendid marble Stations. They appeal to our hearts as well as our aesthetic sense, bringing home the reality of what Jesus suffered for us. Come and see, and allow Jesus to touch your heart through this devotion. I have been giving addresses at Stations on the Eight Capital Temptations. Recordings are on the web site. Hopefully next year we can restore the Lenten suppers before Stations.

The Lenten Quiet Day will be in Bridgeport on Saturday, March 12th. It will follow the usual format, and we should be much more comfortable in our own space. Mass is at 9, followed by breakfast, which will be provided. Silence begins with the first address (of three). There is opportunity for confession between the addresses. The day concludes with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 2. Bring something for your lunch. The Quiet Day is an opportunity to draw apart from the usual routine of daily life to devote some time to God. This is helpful for all of us from time to time. Our devotions, and especially our quiet when we seek to hear God and let Him tell us what we need to hear, so often get squeezed out by seemingly more pressing concerns. We lay aside those concerns for the time of quiet, and focus on being with God, and letting Him be with us.

I offer a word of encouragement for your Lenten Fast and self-denial. While the Precepts of the Church require a strict fast only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the collects for the Lenten weekdays frequently speak of our fast. Without fasting or comparable self-denial in Lent, we miss out on much of the spiritual blessing that God would like to give us. I know it isn’t always easy or pleasant, but it can be very fruitful. At this point in Lent especially, it can become tiresome. I repeat Joshua’s words (himself a type of Christ, his namesake): be strong and of a good courage!

youthful cleaning helper

youthful cleaning helper

I wrote last time about our cleaning routine for the church and parish hall. The weekly cleaning takes only 15-20 minutes for one person, less for a family working together. If everyone able-bodied helps out, no one will need to do it more than two or three times a year. The monthly cleaning is on a Saturday after Mass. Again, if everyone who is physically able can pitch in, once a year will satisfy the obligation. You can sign up at the parish web site or at coffee hour. There will also be a special cleaning on Holy Saturday when we will also be decorating the church for Easter (since this is our first time, ideas for decorating are also most welcome), in addition to the monthly cleaning on the Saturday before Palm Sunday (March 19th).

There have been some great additions to our web site, including an album of photos of the altar restoration, and a new Events section, which includes a calendar of our coming events. Dates and times are now easy to find. Many thanks go to our web master, Bruno Dantas! (Editor’s note: St John the Baptist’s website is indeed exemplary and provides a wealth of information! Congratulations!)

I also want to thank the Bridgeport Council of the Knights of Columbus for including St John’s in their Easter grocery support for those in need. Through their generosity, I have been able to help several impecunious folk connected with St John’s. We are planning to have some of the Knights come to speak to any interested men of the parish about the work of the Knights of Columbus (we haven’t set the date yet). I hope the men of the parish will consider becoming Knights. They do good work and the Bridgeport Council meets in our school building.

Last but not least, thanks goes to Wendy Ewing, Bill Gatens, Chelsea Nunziato and all those who made Mardi Gras an enjoyable diversion before the beginning of Lent. Thanks!.

Yours faithfully,
Fr David Ousley

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