The Church of St. Timothy

Gathering in Faith, Giving Thanks, Serving the Least among Us

Letters from Fr. LeBlanc During the Pandemic

June 27, 2020                                                      <pdf version>

Dear Parishioners,

We are very happy to let you know that Weekend Masses will begin the weekend of July 4th & 5th.

We will resume the weekend schedule with Masses at 4:00 pm on Saturday and 8:30 am and 10:30 am on Sunday and adjust as we see how things are going and the number of people attending.

As we stated in our last communication, St. Timothy’s may have no more than a total of 100 socially distanced people at one Mass.  For that reason, each person planning to attend a liturgy must reserve a place for the specific Weekend Mass they plan on attending.

All weekend reservations (made on-line or by phone) must be booked by noon on the Thursday before.

Reservations for Saturday and Sunday liturgies may be made online any time the week before, Monday through noon on Thursday, through the St. Timothy’s Website with the following link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0D4CAAAE2FA2FC1-weekend.  If you are unable to sign up on-line, you may call the rectory office at 860 233-5131 x1 during the following times:

  • Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 9:30 am and 2:30 pm; and
  • Thursday between 9:30 am and 12:00 noon.

Reminders for attendance at all Masses include:

  • The wearing of face masks or face coverings at all times except to consume the Communion host.  (If health reasons prohibit your wearing a face mask, please tell the greeter).
  • Please safe-distance 6 feet in an available pew.
  • Please bring hand sanitizer and use it as you enter the church.
  • No Socializing inside or outside the Church, including the parking lot.
  • Per Archdiocesan guidelines, there will be no congregational singing. Rochelle will be the only one who will be singing, though we may mouth the words.
  • Church doors will open 15 minutes before the time for the start of Mass.
  • There will be one entrance door at the front of the church and one entrance door at the back. All four doors may be used for exiting.
  • Directions for receiving Holy Communion will be given at the beginning of Mass.

The Obligation to attend Mass has been lifted by Archbishop Blair until September.  The elderly, those with preexisting conditions, those who are fearful or anxious, and those who are taking care of a sick or homebound person should consider not attending Mass at this time.  We will miss you but will keep you in our prayers.

We look forward to celebrating liturgy with you, our St. Timothy Community of Faith.

June 6, 2020                                                      <pdf version>

Dear Parish Family of Saint Timothy:

Peace and greetings in the Lord Jesus.

Recently you may have heard in the news that beginning this week, parishes in the Archdiocese of Hartford
may begin to ‘reintroduce’ weekday Masses as religious worship begins to reopen around the country.

Nearly 3 months ago, our lives were ‘changed’ almost overnight when the world was confronted by Covid-19
and life and economic realities were altered almost immediately in ways that none of us had ever experienced in
our lifetimes.

The Coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc in the lives of vulnerable peoples because of age or compromised
health issues. But, as it turned out, no segment of society would be exempt from the virus which brought so much tragedy and lives lost, adversely affecting so many individuals and families.

While we live in hope that we are moving in a ‘positive’ direction, we must also ‘keep up’ our guard as the pandemic continues to affect society in various ways and is ever ready to return. In the meantime, we will begin to ‘move forward’ in a deliberative way (with safety and health in mind) until vaccines and/or therapeutics are developed which will lead to a hopeful resolution to this life-threatening Covid-19 virus.

So with summer before us, Archbishop Blair has announced a ‘cautious’ re-opening of ‘ Public Worship’ beginning this week, allowing for the ‘celebration of Public Mass’ under strict directives to try to ensure the health and safety of all involved.

In the last week or so, our Parish Staff and members of our parish Ministries, have begun to review the new Archdiocesan ‘Guidelines’ to ensure that St. Timothy’s will be in ‘full’ compliance with health & safety directives for the ‘celebration of Public Masses’ in the coming months.

a. This will be done initially through the ‘celebration of some weekday Masses’ and then subsequently weekend Masses at a date to be determined by the Archbishop likely later this month.

b. Our 1st ‘Weekday’ Mass at St. Timothy’s will be celebrated this coming Friday, June 12th at the usual 7:30 am time to accommodate those who may be working outside their home.

c. Thereafter, ‘Weekday’ Masses at St. Timothy’s will be celebrated three days a week on Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Fridays at 7:30 am.

d. Given State directives issued by Gov Lamont, henceforth no more than 100 people at a time can attend an individual ‘Mass’ at St. Timothy’s, given our Church size and need to apply required ‘Social Distancing’ guidelines given by the State and Church.

As regards ‘Church directives’, Archbishop Blair, (for the time being), will continue to dispense ‘all Catholics (of any age) in the Archdiocese of Hartford, from the ‘Obligation to attend Sunday Masses throughout the Summer months until September 6th , Labor Day Weekend, at which time our given realities in the Archdiocese will be reassessed.

With the understanding that no more than 100 people will be able to attend a given weekday Mass until and if the State and Archdiocese makes an allowance for such moving forward, the following basic directives will be in place for the ‘Public Celebration of Masses’:

a. This limited number of no more than 100 attendees (at any one Mass), will likely necessitate an eventual ‘registration’ beforehand (through the Rectory Office) by those who plan to ‘attend’ a given Mass to ensure that the permitted ‘100 count for Mass is maintained. This registration, especially
when we begin Sunday Masses, will likely involve a ‘web link’ registration or call to the Rectory for those without internet access. We will keep you posted regarding potential registration in the weeks ahead. I don’t believe this should be a concern for daily Mass but time will tell and decision made given our realities.

b. Anyone attending Mass’ (excluding infants and toddlers),must wear a ‘MASK’ throughout the Mass (except at the moment of consuming ‘Communion host’), unless exempted because of a medical reason. Furthermore, Mass attendees are encouraged to bring their own ‘personal’ hand-sanitizers for
use during Mass per directives.

c. Each person attending Mass will be required to keep proper ‘Social Distancing’ while in Church, remaining 6 feet apart (at all times) from anyone ‘not’ a member of their own household.

d. Archbishop Blair notes that the elderly, those with pre-existing conditions, those who are fearful or anxious, and those taking care of someone who is sick or home bound, are recommended ‘not’ to attend Mass during this time of pandemic Again, all are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass (when resumed), if one chooses to do so until at least Sept 6th . Individuals who will not be attending Mass during the summer months are encouraged to continue to take advantage of Masses on TV and/or streamed or taped’ Masses (such as ours here St. Timothy’s) while staying safe at home.

These are the basics for beginning to celebrate ‘weekday’ Masses, with specific guidance to be given at initial Masses celebrated in the 1st days, beginning this Friday, June 12th and Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays thereafter, with weekend Mass resumption to be determined by the Archbishop. Each of you and your loved ones continue to be remembered in daily prayer and Mass. Let us continue to pray for our parish family here at St. Timothy’s, for one another, and for all who have been (or will continue to be) adversely affected by COVID-19 throughout the world. Let us pray also for the end of tragic racial tensions at this time which have arisen yet again in our country, prodding the conscience of our nation for justice in these troubling times. Better days will come again in God’s time, especially as we begin to gather together anew, albeit in a ‘new normal’ moving forward. Continue to stay safe & well and be assured of my daily prayers for you and our parish family of Saint Timothy’s, until we meet again God bless you all.

Your brother in Christ,
Father Alvin J. LeBlanc

May 30, 2020                                                      

A Message from Fr. LeBlanc:

As you may know from news coverage in recent days, the Archbishop will soon allow Churches to reopen for ‘daily Masses’ with ‘no more than 50 congregants, Social Distancing, and mandatory wearing of masks during Mass’, along with a number of other directives. According to the Archbishop, it is up to each individual Pastor to determine when such will occur ‘based on safety and ability to comply with all required directives from the Archdiocese’. Myself along with staff are establishing a parish committee to discuss, coordinate and apply all required directives for reopening, after which an opening date for some weekday Masses at Saint Timothy’s will be announced and resume.

 

Holy Week

Holy_Week_Video

Dear Friends:

Through the blessing and distribution of Palms this past weekend, we have begun the annual commemoration of the most solemn days of our Christian faith.

Since I was young, Holy Week has always been the most meaningful week of my own faith life each year. The meaning of the coming days annually remind us of the heart of the ‘Good News’, namely, that ‘God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish, but might have eternal life’ (John 3:16). As I come to more deeply understand this in my own faith life year after year, it has led me to an ever-deepening love of the Lord Jesus, who always loves us and desires that we know and experience His love and daily presence in our lives.

My reflections and prayer this morning led me to the following 10 minute ‘You Tube’ Video which I now share with you. I ask that you view it during this time, offering us its consoling message and reminding us that we are never alone. Have a blessed Holy Week.

Fr. Al LeBlanc

March 27, 2020                                                      <pdf version>

Rectory_MassDear Parish Family of Saint Timothy:

I just finished celebrating Mass at the Rectory for each of you as I have been doing on a daily basis since St. Patrick’s Day.  As you know, at that time the Archbishop cancelled public Masses and other Church public events until April 3rd,  now extended until April 30th, because of the Coronavirus pandemic across the world. Sadly that will mean that no public Holy Week services will be conducted, including Easter which is hard to believe but necessary. I pray that each of you and your loved ones are well and remaining safe. What is happening is truly ‘surreal’,  something rarely seen in human history. Most of us became aware of Coronavirus in February as an epidemic in China but it soon engulfed the world as a pandemic so quickly in recent weeks. Let us keep in our prayers all victims of this tragic pandemic and their families, praying as well for the sacrifice of doctors and nurses, other medical personnel and first responders, brave men and women on the frontlines trying to save lives and all involved on the national, state and local levels dealing with this tragic pandemic. As good neighbors and citizens, we are now called upon to do our own part, by living for a brief time in a way we have never lived before – through ‘Social Distancing’ and ‘Stay in Place’ directives. These are crucial not only for our own safety but for the safety of others by ‘staying away’ from one another so that the Coronavirus can be contained and limited in its devastation – our ‘temporary’ isolation from one another crucial for the containment and hopeful eradication of this virus in the coming months.

On the 1st Sunday of Lent at the beginning of March, many of us gathered together at Saint Timothy’s with fellow parishioners to begin our Lenten Journey with Jesus, who enters the ‘Desert’ on the 1st Sunday of Lent – the ‘Desert’, which is a barren, mostly lifeless place of dryness and aridity, where Jesus was ‘tempted by the Devil’ but put Satan in his place, reminding him that ‘The Lord your God shall you worship, and Him alone shall you serve’.

 We are asked to do the same in our own lives, continually addressing those places of dryness, aridity, and lifelessness in us which has lead us at times to waywardness from God. But even there, in the ‘desert’ areas of our lives, God is seeking to quench our thirst through ‘living springs’ which Jesus  desired to give to the ‘Samaritan Woman’ at the well (on the 3rd Sunday of Lent), and continually desires to give to us so that we may have life through Him.

None of us could have imagined the reality of our lives as we now know them at this point of Lent 2020 – so different than the way Lent began this year only a few weeks ago on March 1st.

I don’t know about you  but I didn’t even know what ‘Social Distancing’ meant on March 1st – words which, only three weeks ago, would have been foreign to most of our ears. To be sure, even now, in our present ‘lived’ experience, Social Distancing has already confirmed something which we should already know, namely, that as ‘human beings’ we were created by God to be ‘social’ beings. That is why ‘Social Distancing’ seems to be so alien to us at this time, so un-natural, because it us unnatural, for God did not create us to be ‘solitary’ beings but ‘Social’ beings. We need one another. We are not meant to be alone in this world but to be in ‘relationship’ with one another as ‘GOD’ is in relationship –‘ONE’ in BEING – (yet a ‘Trinity’ of persons – Father, Son & Holy Spirit).

Yet while such is all true, namely that we are meant to be ‘Social’ and not ‘solitary’ beings, we are also created ‘individually’, with our gifts and intelligence to commune not only with each other, but also with God as ‘individuals’. To that end, I would like to encourage each of you to strive to see this time of  ‘Social Distancing’ (not only as a ‘negative’) but as a spiritual opportunity this Lent to use as a reflective time, a time for introspection, a time to look at ourselves objectively and analyze our personal reactions to the new realities which we are living now ‘for a time’. If we reflect on our reactions, we may be surprised at how we are dealing with these new realities – either positively or negatively. Either way, they are avenues for greater self-awareness, even for self-growth. Our deeper reflections in prayer and openness can help us not only to possibly make changes with God’s grace but also help us to  see what we truly value, to see what we may be’ missing’ in our relationship with God or with others, clarifying or solidifying what our true treasures are in life. Our reflections may lead us to think more deeply about life – why are we here, what are we meant to do. And as importantly, it may even lead us to reflect on our eventual mortality as part of our life journey. We should not be afraid of such. For indeed, our limited time here on earth should help us to make the most of our given time – striving to become our better selves, making our world the better for others while we are here, and living in a meaningful relationship with  the Lord who wants us to have ‘greater life’ even now in this world by living for HIM and others each day.

So let us pray and reflect, learning more about ourselves during this time given to us during Lent 2020 through ‘Social Distancing’ – (a time of special  grace this year), to turn to God, to reflect on those ‘desert areas’ of our lives which have grown dry and need to be renewed, to reflect on life and its meaning for us and those for whom we care, to reassess our priorities (including the precious gift of ‘time’ given to us on earth ), striving each day to become our ‘better self’  and ‘giving’ of ourselves for others and for God.

Each of you and your loved ones, (including my ‘littlest parishioners😇 to the eldest’), are in my daily prayers and Mass intentions. Let us pray for one another and for all those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic in any way throughout our world. All will be well in God’s time.

Stay safe and be assured of my prayers. God bless you all.

Father Al LeBlanc  

March 14, 2020                                                 <pdf version>

letter-cover-3d-1Dear Friends,

I hope that these early days of Lent have been going well and that this Lenten season before us will continue to be a graced time of reflection, reconciliation and renewal in preparation for the celebration of Easter in five weeks’ time.

As we are sadly aware, recent years have brought great challenges to the Church and deep disappointment and disillusionment on the part of Catholics throughout the world over the disturbing revelations of clerical sexual abuse which has come to light in recent decades. This has left many of us, laity and clergy alike, feeling hurt, angry and demoralized. What has occurred to so many victims has been traumatic and has often shaken their faith and that of their families, wounding the body of Christ. Believers have been left confused and questioning of how this could have occurred and where we go from here.

As we enter this penitential season with these scandals in Church and society sadly in mind, Lent calls for conversion, penance, reconciliation and healing. As a parish community, we wish to strive to shed light on the grave harm which clerical sexual abuse has brought to victims and the faith of believers alike. At the same time, as people of faith and hope, we want to affirm the overall goodness of the mystical body of Christ, the Church, and not abandon her during these troubled times, as she is founded by the Lord Jesus and has borne, nurtured and sustained our Catholic faith journey through life and, guided and sustained by the Holy Spirit, will do so for believers until the very end of time as promised by Jesus himself.

As part of our Lenten journey this year, committed to continuing communal and personal conversion, reconciliation and healing for the body of Christ, the Church, our parish has decided to share with you during this Lenten time a book entitled “Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis”, written by Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, founder of “Word on Fire Catholic Ministries”. Only 100 pages, this small book is an easy but profound read for Catholics, which addresses the sexual abuse crisis head on, but also provides hope to us in our questions and encourages us as Catholics in our faith. One book will be made available for each parish household. Our hope is that you will read it attentively, and after you’ve read it, consider passing it on to a friend or family member, or to anyone you know who has been struggling with the Church during this crisis.

If you wish to receive a copy of the book, we ask that you fill out a registration sheet (listing your name, address and phone #) and drop in the collection basket during Mass or mail it to the Rectory (1116 N Main Street, West Hartford, CT 06117) so that we can provide a copy in the next couple of weeks.

In addition, if any of you would like to attend a ‘discussion’ of the book, I will hold “Discussion Sessions”, with those sessions to be re-scheduled once circumstances suggest that it is appropriate to do so.

May the coming weeks of Lent be for each of you and yours, a grace-filled time of spiritual renewal in preparation for Holy Week and Easter a few weeks from now.

Your brother in Christ,

Father Alvin J. LeBlanc, Pastor