Saint Mark on Stewardship…
I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. (Phil.1:3-5)
My Dear Parish family,
In the midst of COVID-19, as we begin yet another New Year, I take this opportunity to write this pastor’s annual letter inviting you to participate in the Annual Collection of Saint Mark Parish 2022. This gives me the opportunity to share with you the joys, successes, sorrows and needs of St. Mark Parish. This is truly a loving faith community where so many of you give so generously your time, talent and treasure, and I am deeply grateful for your continued support of the mission of our parish in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 2021 was the second year in a row when the whole world continued to be devastated by COVID –19. As a result, we couldn’t plan out many of the activities we normally do in the parish.
This past year the parish family has seen the joy of 23 Infant Baptisms, 5 Minor Baptisms, 2 received into the full Communion with Catholic Church, 38 First Communions, 51 Confirmations, 5 marriages, and 24 new parish registrations. On a sad note, the Sacrament of the Sick was administered to 55 patients, and we celebrated 66 funerals.
Many parishioners assist parish administration by serving as Parish Trustees, on the Parish Advisory and Finance Councils, Building & Grounds Committee and Parish Pastoral Planning Team. The parish participated in the Annual Catholic Appeal of the Bridgeport diocese and exceeded our goal of $110,000. The final amount of our Annual Catholic Appeal was $114,000.00, from 318 donors. Programs for adult parishioners continue with Divine Mercy Cenacles, Seven Sisters, Bereavement Group, First Friday Holy Hour, First Saturday Devotion, Contemplative prayer groups, and Scripture Study groups. Saint Mark Knights of Columbus Saint John Paul II Council 8 led the parish in praying the Rosary in the months of May and October. They also volunteered to help out at our food drives which benefitted Blessed Sacrament parish food pantry, and also collected food for the needy in our community during Advent Season. Despite the global pandemic, activities for giving and helping those in need in our communities continues; which includes Merton House, Lord’s Kitchen, Feed the Hungry, Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Sterling House Food Pantry, Blessed Sacrament, Saint Charles and other parishes in Bridgeport, “Project from the Heart”, the Annual Thanksgiving turkey collection, Christmas Giving Tree, the ongoing Gift Card and weekly food collection, Families helping Families and Hands to Hearts. All Programs are coordinated by our priests, deacons and many dedicated volunteers. Your generosity in the form of gift cards and food donation, which were the most needed items this year, is greatly appreciated.
The Committee for Social Events couldn’t organize too many programs last year due to COVID-19. However we did have the blessing of pets by Fr. Russ on the occasion of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Annual Parish picnic, and Parish family Fun and Friends Night. The Welcome Committee continues to mail “Welcome” packets to all newly registered families, and follows-up with families to ensure their baptism, funeral Mass, and other needs have been met with excellence by the parish. Thank you Mrs. Paula Mollica and team for the job well done. Deacon Andy Dzujna continues to work with the adults in the RCIA program, and new parents in our pre-baptismal class. St. Mark adult choir could not fully operate due to COVID restrictions. However Mr. Breslford was able to put together a beautiful choir for Christmas which was amazing. Programs for children and teens include our Religious Education classes, Youth Ministry groups and St. Mark School. Despite COVID-19, it was so good to have in person classes and activities for St. Mark school, religious education children and the youth group.
The purpose of Annual Collection is to supplement our weekly and monthly collection for some unexpected expenses. Last year St. Mark Annual Collection brought in $40,379.00 which was used for repair of the part of the parking lot which was in a bad shape. This year we intend to Annual Collection to purchase a new boiler for the priests’ residence. Due to the global pandemic many families continue to face many hardships of all kinds; which include financial stress due to loss of job or business closure. Therefore not everyone is in a position to contribute toward annual collection. I absolutely understand that. But to those of you whose resources allow, I humbly request that you prayerfully consider a donation of $100 per individual and $200 per family. If you are in a position to make a donation greater than the recommended amount, that is greatly appreciated. If not, whatever you can afford will be gratefully accepted and greatly appreciated.
As we continue our lives amidst pandemic, let us to pray for each other and for our families; especially those we lost last year and those suffering from COVID-19, that God may protect us and keep us safe and healthy in this New Year.
Finally, heartfelt thank you dear parishioners for your love of St. Mark parish and stewardship shown through financial support which helps continue our ministry in bringing people closer to God. May God bless you and keep you safe!
Sincerely yours in Christ,