Messages From Fr. Anthony Smith

logo

Welcome back!!  We are so pleased to be able to open our doors to our parishioners for Sunday Mass. We’ve missed you over these past few months.  As we begin the gather changes in the way we celebrate liturgies are inevitable, but the presence of our Lord in the Eucharist remains constant.  We also recognize that not everyone will be ready to gather in a public setting and many should not until we have a better control of COVID-19. For those unable to return we will continue to livestream our Mass.   We will work to keep those safe who do attend.

This weekend we also celebrate Independence Day.  It is a time to give thanks for the great courage of our founders who signed their name to the Declaration of Independence 244 years ago.  Through the years our country has endured many wars, many economic downturns and many struggles with establishing our identity, but what we find in the Declaration of Independence remains unchanged: Than all are endowed by God with unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  As we celebrate our country’s birth perhaps we can take some time to focus on what unites us as Americans and offer prayers for our country that we may uphold the unalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all people.

Last Sunday we returned to ordinary time in our liturgical calendar. I have to admit that I look forward to this season. The joy of the Easter season and the solemnities of Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi are truly wonderful celebrations in our Church but there is something about slowing down and getting back to a normal routine.  Post Easter Ordinary Time also coincides with the beginning of summer and as I get older I enjoy summer more and more.

Calling this time “ordinary’, however seems like a contradiction in terms this year. What is ordinary about our life today? A pandemic has claimed the lives of over 100,000 people and shutdown our world for weeks.  In the midst of adapting to this pandemic many families are left with worries about their jobs and about the future. And there is social change. The senseless and tragic death of George Floyd has sounded the call to root out the scourge of injustice wherever it occurs. ‘Ordinary’ does not describe the summer of 2020.

We live in a restless world where change, whether good or bad, and unforeseen challenges will always be with us. There will be some periods when life seems calm and ‘normal’ but throughout life we will all be required to constantly adapt to a new normal. 

In the midst of a constantly changing world we need a stable foundation.  Without stability our lives can become very fragile. We can be swept away by the tides of strife or the winds of change. But if we have a stable foundation we can withstand the storms in life and adapt to the  ebb and flow of the tides

Stability can be found in strong family ties, and in long held friendships, but even these foundations can be shaken at times.  We need a solid unmoving base that we can return to again and again. Our foundation is faith. Faith in an unchanging God whose message is constant.  The message stays the same no matter what happens in our world or in our personal lives.  The message is love – that we are loved and are called to Love God and love our neighbor. The message is mercy – God’s great mercy that redeemed all mankind. The message is joy – that we are destined to experience joy. The message is peace – peace in our world and peace in our hearts. The message is hope – the virtue that overcomes all despair.

Our lives may seem far from ordinary during this season of Ordinary Time, but our faith assures us that no matter what we may encounter in life Christ is that sure foundation upon which we can form a just world and a fruitful life even in the most challenging of times.

As I look outside today on a warm spring morning the beauty of spring is in full bloom and soon our trees will be giving us some nice cool shade.  In the midst of our current health crisis we still have reason to be thankful for the new life we see growing all around us. Of course we always have reason for thanksgiving in the season of Easter when we are reminded by the resurrection that, through faith, we are called to experience the beauty of new life in Christ.

I have yet another reason to be thankful.  Since the first weekend of suspended Masses at the parish so many of you have been incredibly supportive of our church.  Your continued support both financially and spiritually has been overwhelming.  Many of you have sent notes of appreciation and support which has been extremely encouraging in this very difficult time.  You have also shared your sorrow at the passing of our pastor Fr Hickey.  I want to take this opportunity to say ‘Thank you’ for your continued presence at St Mary Magdalen Church. While we can’t be together physically your presence is still felt and your support helps keep the ministry of the parish going. Your patience has also been appreciated. I know there is a tremendous yearning to receive the sacraments and this time has been very distressing, but you have manifested great kindness and understanding as we navigate the safety of all.  I pray every day this pandemic will loosen its grip on our community and we can safely gather again to celebrate the Eucharist and pray together.  So my friends I say,‘Thank you’.

I am also so very grateful to our staff and clergy at our parish. The parish staff along with or deacons have made sure that all of you have an opportunity to stay connected to the church in many ways.  In the wake of the passing of Fr. Hickey and the restrictions on public Masses, our staff has worked hard to maintain that all important connection through the bulletin, letters, phone calls, Masses online, distribution of palms and food collection.  They have done all the leg work to keep, not only the business end of the parish going, but also the spiritual and social ministry as well.  Thank you!

To our school administration, faculty and staff who, from the very first week our school building was closed, have been online teaching our students and continuing the excellence in Catholic education – I say ‘thank you’.  This has been a tremendous challenge for our teachers who had to quickly adapt to a new way of teaching and they have been innovative, creative and persevering in their work.

Each year when we celebrate the Easter season we give thanks and experience the joy of the resurrection.  This Easter season has been challenging, to say the least, but one to still give great thanks to God for all the blessings manifested through you.  Thank you!

April 21, 2020

I am Fr Anthony Smith, the pastor of St John the Evangelist Church, and I have been asked to be the temporary administrator of St Mary Magdalen Church in the wake of Fr Hickey’s passing. I am humbled to be asked to assist St Mary Magdalen in these very challenging times.  I look forward to meeting with you in the near future.

We are in the midst of very uncertain times. This uncertainty caused us to postpone our Confirmation Mass and I am sure you have been wondering when we can reschedule. Unfortunately this pandemic does not allow us to make definitive dates for previously scheduled events including our Confirmation.  I pray that we are on the back end of this crisis and we can see the end in sight soon.  I will let you know when we can expect to schedule Confirmation as soon as we get directives from the Archdiocese.

I have been in contact with Sherrie Gemmell to get a report on your status of preparation.  She assures me that most of the preparation had been completed prior to this current shutdown.  When we get a firm date and allowed to gather again we will schedule a time to meet and take care of any questions and any unfinished preparation prior to the Confirmation.

Until then please do not hesitate to contact me and our staff at this email or by calling the office (860) 274-1955.  Please be assured of my prayers as we persevere through this challenging time.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr Anthony J. Smith

April 21, 2020

I am Fr Anthony Smith, the pastor of St John the Evangelist Church, and I have been asked to be the temporary administrator of St Mary Magdalen Church in the wake of Fr Hickey’s passing. I am humbled to be asked to assist St Mary Magdalen in these very challenging times.  I look forward to meeting with you in the near future.

This is the time of year when flowers and shrubs are manifesting their beautiful blooms. The beauty reminds us that its First Communion time in the Church. Normally it is a time when excitement builds for our children as they prepare to receive Holy Communion for the very first time.  Unfortunately we are living in a very challenging and uncertain time. As you know, with the current shutdown of all public events, our scheduled First Holy Communion Mass has been postponed.  The uncertainty of this pandemic does not allow us to set a definitive date for this Mass at this time.  I am hoping and praying that we will soon see the end of this health crisis and begin to gather as a faith community once again.  We will need to wait for directives from the Archdiocese before any scheduling of Masses can take place.  When we get word that we can celebrate public Mass we will begin planning for our First Communion Mass.  We will keep you posted when any further information becomes available.

Until then please be assured of my prayers for you and your family as we persevere through this very challenging time.  If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me or our staff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (860) 274-1955.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr Anthony J. Smith

April 15, 2020

In light of the continued assessment of the spread of the coronavirus within Connecticut and Governor Lamont’s Executive Order of April 10th mandating the cancellation of school classes and the extension of closures of non-essential businesses through May 20, 2020, the Archdiocese has deemed it necessary to update the cancellation of public Masses and liturgies that had previously been extended through April 30, 2020. Given the constantly changing landscape, and the decisions of civil authorities in this regard, the cancellation of public Masses and liturgies in the Archdiocese of Hartford (the counties of Hartford, Litchfield, and New Haven) will remain in effect until further notice.

Read More..

 

Dear parishioners

Yesterday a letter was sent to all parishes with the directive that confessions have been suspended until further notice due to the growing severity of the pandemic. Archbishop Blair included in his letter the teaching of the Catholic Church (from the Catechism of the Catholic Church) in regards to emergency situations when a penitent is unable to attend the sacrament of confession. Below is the announcement of the suspension and the reference to the Catechism explaining the ability to receive absolution outside of the normal practice of the sacrament in cases of emergencies.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, confessions have continued to be heard in the Archdiocese, and anyone who felt secure in approaching the sacrament has been able to do so. However, the time has now come to suspend publicly scheduled confessions until further notice in light of the growing spread of the virus in Connecticut, which is anticipated to peak in the coming weeks. This is necessary for the protection of both penitents and priests. I repeat once again what is clearly the teaching of the Church as set forth recently by the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome, as follows:”

“Where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the penitent is at present able to express) and accompanied by votum confessionis, that is, by the firm resolution to have recourse, as soon as possible, to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. CCC, no. 1452)

Fr Anthony Smith

 

To receive notifications of future video messages please consider subscribing to YouTube. 

To St Mary Magdalen Parish and School Community;

It is with a heavy heart to inform you that the Archdiocese of Hartford has notified me the mandate canceling all public Masses has been extended to April 30, 2020.  This mandate extends to all Holy Week and Easter Masses as well.  We will do our best to share the liturgy with you by streaming our Sunday Masses and the liturgies during Holy Week. 

Further information will be sent to you in the coming days regarding other previously scheduled events at our parish and the changes that will need to be made. 

I will continue to celebrate Mass daily and offer up your prayers and intentions during Mass.  I am also available by phone (860) 274-9273 or (860) 274-8836.  Attached is the announcement from the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Together in prayer and faith we will persevere through this time of great challenge.  The day we gather together again in celebration of the Eucharist will be a day of great joy! Until then know you are in my prayers.

Fr Anthony J. Smith

Extension of Closures and Cancellations in the Archdiocese of Hartford

To the community of St Mary Magdalen Parish:

I am Fr. Anthony J. Smith, Pastor of St John the Evangelist Church. First let me express my sincere condolences for the unexpected passing of your pastor Fr Hickey. This past weekend we prayed for Fr Hickey and you, the parishioners, at St John the Evangelist Church. 

Archbishop Blair has asked that I assume the responsibility of temporary administrator of St Mary Magdalen.  This will give me the ability to assure that the financial and administrative activity at St Mary Magdalen continue without interruption.  I am also responsible for the pastoral needs of the parishioners and will do my best to assure the sacraments continue to be available.

We find ourselves in unprecedented times with advent of COVID-19. As a result all the churches in the Archdiocese have canceled all masses, both weekday and weekend Masses, until April 4, 2020.  We will keep St John Church open for individual prayer from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. We invite you to come during those hours for prayer during this challenging time.  We will keep you posted with any directives that come from the archdiocese regarding the pandemic.

I look forward to meeting many of you in the coming weeks as we mourn the loss of Fr Hickey and endure the challenge of the pandemic in which we find ourselves.  Please know I will do my best to be available for you and to serve the community of St Mary Magdalen.

Sincerely in Christ

Rev. Anthony J. Smith

Mass Schedule

Weekend Masses
Saturday Vigil, 4:00 PM;
Sunday, 8:30 & 10:30 AM
Daily Mass
Monday-Thursday; 8:00 AM Rectory Chapel

Sacrament of Reconciliation
Suspended