As we move toward the merger of our parish with St. Agnes Parish on June 29, it might be helpful to clarify some terminology. With the merger, we will have one new parish, but two churches. What is the distinction? A parish is a community of faith, a gathering of people who share faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. The purpose of any parish is three-fold. A parish exists for the worship of God, including the celebration of the sacraments. A parish exists to provide formation in the Christian faith and the Christian way of life, according to the Roman Catholic tradition, for all the members of the parish, young and old. A parish, finally, exists to promote the values and the teachings of Jesus Christ through concrete outreach to the needy, both within the confines of the parish itself and beyond. A parish is normally determined by territory. In our case, the new Precious Blood Parish will have as members all those who live within the confines of what was formerly St. Mary Parish and St. Agnes Parish. In addition, we warmly welcome anyone who lives outside the territory who wishes to be part of our parish life.
A church is a structure, a building in which the members of the parish gather for worship, for formation in faith, for organizing outreach to the needy, and also for socialization. We are fortunate in that we will have excellent facilities both at St. Mary’s as well as St. Agnes’ churches. As we move forward, it is important to stress that all are welcome to worship with us at either St. Mary’s Church or St. Agnes’ Church. As of June 29, the assets and the liabilities of the former St. Mary Parish and the former St. Agnes’ Parish are jointly held by Precious Blood Parish. Going forward, we are going to have to accustom ourselves to thinking more broadly, not solely in terms of St. Mary’s Church or St. Agnes’ Church but in terms of the larger, new parish.
As the graduation season winds down, on behalf of the parish, I offer congratulations to all who completed college or graduate degrees this spring, to all who graduate from elementary or middle school, especially those who graduated from St. Mary’s School on June 7, to all who graduated from high school, be it the public high schools here in Milford or the various Catholic high schools in Milford, West Haven, Hamden, Trumbull or Fairfield. I also offer congratulations to the Foran High School baseball team which overcame many obstacles to win the CIAC Class L state baseball championship.
Have a good week!
Rev. Aidan N. Donahue