News from St John the Baptist, Bridgeport, PA

Our New Ordinariate Flag:

Bridgeport July 2016 - new Ordinariate flag

Bridgeport Welcome Community Cookout

We are new to Bridgeport, and have wanted to make an opportunity to welcome our new neighbors, and get to know them and invite them to get to know us. To this end, we are inviting our neighbors to join us for a cookout (free food) on Saturday, August 13th, 11-1 in the parking lot on Ford Street. Please come! Since the purpose is to get to know the folk in the community, and let them get to know us, it is essential that SJB people be here. David Livezey is organizing the event, so speak to him if you would like to lend a hand. In any case, mark your calendar, and plan to be here if at all possible.

The Organ

Planning continues for a permanent replacement for the temporary electronic organ we are currently using. We are moving in the direction of augmenting the existing Moeller pipe organ now in the choir loft. It is small and limited, but it seems that much of it can be incorporated into a larger instrument. We would need to acquire additional pipes and windchests to supplement the Moeller. We would also need a larger console (the part with keyboards and pedals). That part of the project has been taken care of, thanks to the generosity of Kevin Chun, sometime organist at St Michael’s and continuing friend of the parish. He has donated a fine Moeller console originally at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Elkins Park (where Bill Gatens played it when he was organist there). The console is now on site, stored for the time being in the school building, until we are ready to move it into the choir loft.

Bridgeport July 2016 - Organ consoleNeedless to say, this is a very generous gift, and takes care of one of the key needs for the organ. We (Bill, Kevin and other experts) continue working on the details of what we will need for pipework, and then proceed to seeing where we can acquire it (and how to pay for it). Thanks, Kevin!


We expect some work on the property this summer, some obvious, some less so. The most obvious is the grotto out front: it is now gone. It has been rebuilt at Sacred Heart, bringing some of the precious heritage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to the merged Sacred Heart. Once the work at Sacred Heart has been completed, they will finish cleaning up the area here. And we will continue the discussion of what we should do with the area.

Bridgeport July 2016 - dismantling grottoAnother contractor is due to begin work later in July putting up the walls for the offices in the thrift shop room of the school building. This will give us space for a parish office, as well as an office for me. He will also be working in the church: taking out the bracket over the high altar, and restoring the wall. The plan is then to install a large crucifix over the altar as a new focal point in the sanctuary. In addition, we hope to cut down the size of the marble step in front of the altar, which was extended when the altar was moved out. The marble part of the floor will be returned to a better proportioned size, and the wood floor restored where the marble is removed.

We will also be dealing with the two underground oil storage tanks beside (and under) the school building. Since we now heat with gas, they are no longer in use. Before we conclude the purchase of the property we want to be sure there is no soil contamination from the tanks, which could present a major environmental liability. If you notice some excavations next to the school building behind the rectory, that is what is afoot. Pray that they find no contamination.

Novena of Prayer for Peace

I mentioned earlier the divisions in America at present, which certainly includes the controversies over how police treat black men, as well as the recent Dallas shooting of police. I don’t pretend to have a solution. The divisions are deep and intractable. This does mean that we, as Christians, should be careful that we are always open to listening to those we might disagree with.

“There has been way too much deadly violence in this country. One of the saddest comments about this country right now is that it is nearly impossible to talk about it without raising suspicion about your true intentions, and to immediately find yourself in a harsh political argument. … I believe I can say to many nods that everyone, myself included, need to do more listening to people they don’t agree with, and caring and loving people they don’t agree with. Each one of us has a role to play in solving this problem. We need to cry for every victim of violent death in this country as we work to solve the problem together.” (From Ben Dourte, a local investment advisor)

The Knights of Columbus invite us to participate in a Novena for Peace in the country July 14th-22nd. To participate, please add this prayer of St Francis to your daily prayers:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
nd it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Coming Events

The annual Sacred Heart parish Festival of Families is July 15th-17th. This is a major fund-raiser for them, as well as an important community event featuring Polish as well as Italian food. I’m sure those who are nearby will want to come. In addition, St John’s offered to help out, and we will be staffing the raffle booth (get the Protestants to encourage the gambling, right?). There are a few times on Saturday and Sunday where we could use some help. If you can give us an hour or two, please contact Wendy Ewing, who has the schedule. Being there to sell raffle tickets does not mean that you will miss out on the food!

Most of you are probably aware of the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal and service organization for men within the Catholic Church. There is a Bridgeport chapter, which includes all of the Bridgeport Catholic parishes (formerly five, now three). The chapter meets in our school building, along with the Catholic War Veterans (which is open to all who have served in any branch of the military, whether in war or in peace). I suspect that there are men at St John’s who might be interested in one or the other of these worthy organizations. At coffee hour on the Ninth Sunday after Trinity, July 24th, representatives of the Knights and War Veterans will be with us to talk about what they do, and the obligations and privileges of membership. Among many other things, the local Knights of Columbus chapter is responsible for the monument in front of St John’s with the Beatitudes and the Ten Commandments, which I am grateful to have.

August 15th is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This falls on a Monday this year, and we will observe the day with a Sung Mass at 6:30 p.m. When the day falls on a Saturday or Monday, the canonical Obligation to assist at Mass is abrogated: so it is not an Holy Day of Obligation this year. Nevertheless, it is still the Assumption, and I trust your devotion to God and love for the Blessed Virgin will bring you to Mass either at St John’s, or locally.

A couple of reminders. Everyone is welcome to give the altar flowers as a memorial or thank-offering. A few people do this now: others are welcome to do so. The procedure is simple: give me the date and the memorial information at least a week ahead of time, so that notice can be put in the service leaflet. Customary offering is $25-30 to cover the cost of the flowers. Also, the church and parish hall cleaning is something we should all take responsibility for. It is getting done now, and done well: which is wonderful. My sense, though, is that this is the result of the efforts of only a few of our folk. Cleaning the church with our own hands will help us enormously to make it “ours” in the deepest sense. Cleaning bathrooms will probably help with our humility as well. Those who live far away will have to be content with (say) a little sweeping and dusting on a Sunday before going home. It is easier for those nearby to come during the week. I hope everyone (not otherwise unable physically) will pitch in at least once a year. Leslie Altena (bless her heart) keeps the schedule and list of tasks, so coordinate with her how and when you can help out. And apart from the formal cleaning, we should all be ready to clean up after ourselves, to pick up trash when we see it around, and generally help keep the place in first rate condition. Thanks!

Thank yous

Special thanks goes this month to:

– Lisa Livezey, for organizing the successful home schooling mother’s Adoration & tea last month.
– John Boyden, who kindly spent a day washing windows in the rectory.
– Mark & Angela Johnson for donating, and Pat Lincoln for ordering, a new set of altar linens for the
high altar: we now have a set that actually fits the altar in its current location.
– Fr Edward Rix for donating a couple dozen hymnals to fill out the number needed for the pews.
– David Livezey for putting in the changing tables in the church and parish hall bathrooms.
– Doug Sherlock for the new flag.

Yours faithfully,
Fr David Ousley

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