Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19: 20-21
PASTOR’S PEN My Dear Sisters and Brothers, Jesus is Risen! Alleluia! I pray and hope that you and your loved ones will have a happy and blessed Easter. It is always uplifting to see the church filled to capacity with so many people coming to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord. It is certainly a sign that no matter where we are on our spiritual pilgrimage, our Blessed Lord is still alive in the lives and hearts of so many of His people. We may be at different points on our Christian journey, yet we have a compassionate and merciful Lord who continues to call each of us by name always challenging us to grow in the gift of Faith He has given to us. As always the Church and the Sanctuary looked splendid for our Holy Week and Easter Liturgies. I wish to thank all those who have given so much of their time, talent and treasure in preparing the environment for our Easter Celebrations. I thank all our wonderful volunteers for the many hours they spent preparing the church for the Sacred Liturgies. I know that all our Faith Community of St. Brendan extend our profound thanks to them. I thank also all of our Sacristans, Ushers, Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Cantors, Choirs and Altar Servers for their presence at the Liturgies this past week. Words simply cannot express how grateful I am to each and every one of these good people for all they have done. I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to Msgr. Devine, Msgr. Irwin, Fr. Burshnick and Deacon Greg for their assistance not only during Holy Week but the entire year. And thanks to all of you, my dear parishioners, for your active participation in the Liturgies. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless you with His many graces and gifts. Please know that you are in my prayers daily and you have a very special place in my heart.
Palm Sunday, 2017
Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entrance of Christ into Jerusalem when palm branches were placed in His path, before His arrest on Holy Thursday and His Crucifixion on Good Friday. It thus marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent and the week in which Christians celebrate the mystery of their salvation through Christ’s death and His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday represents a preparation, a setting up for the Resurrection to occur. The Gospel story tells of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. He rides upon a donkey, just as Mary, His mother, rode a donkey in Bethlehem. Beginning in the fourth century in Jerusalem, Palm Sunday was marked by a procession of the faithful carrying palm branches, representing the Jews who celebrated Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem. As the practice spread throughout the Christian world by the ninth century, the procession would begin in each church with the blessing of palms, proceed outside the church and then return to the church for the reading of the Passion. The faithful would continue to hold the palms during the reading of the passion. In this way, they would recall that many of the same people who greeted Christ with shouts of joy on Palm Sunday would call for His Death on Good Friday-a powerful reminder of own weakness and the sinfulness that causes us to reject Christ. May the palms today be a reminder to us not of our failures and sins, but of Christ’s great victory over sin and death and His rule over our hearts forever.
ANNUAL PASTORAL APPEAL – 2017 “REJOICE IN HOPE”
With renewed spirit and hearts full of hope, we must rise as Christ has commanded us and serve one another. Our Annual Pastoral Assessment this year is $103,655.00 and as of March 3 our total pledge amount is $66,693 of which $50,072 has been paid and the number of pledges as of this date is 155. I am hopeful we will reach our assessment during the next few months as the community of St. Brendan is one of faith, love and generosity. For those who have made a gift/pledge, I thank you and for those wishing to give at this time, there are pledge envelopes at the end of the pew. Please make your check payable to APA and note it for St. Brendan #230. Please remember every gift, every prayer, and every sacrifice brings hope to someone seeking the love and mercy of Christ. Our God sent His only Son to be among us here on earth. Jesus’ death and resurrection are His gift to us. He is with us always. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us in our prayers, and grant us the grace and blessings that sustain and fortify us to joyfully serve on another in honor and glory to God. Thank you and May God continue to bless you
In Jesus Name, Father Hunter
July 3, 2016
My Dear Sisters and Brothers, Thank you to everyone who has made a pledge or a one-time gift to the 2016 APA Campaign. It is not too late to make a pledge or one-time gift as the Campaign is ongoing until December and and envelopes are located in the pews and at the entrance doors to the Church for your convenience. Kindly make your check payable to APA and note it for St. Brendan Church #230. Please know that no gift is too small, no prayer too humble. Every gift is needed, appreciated and changes someone’s life. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) I wish you and your families a very safe and Happy Fourth of July.
June 26, 2016
My Dear Sisters and Brothers, In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis calls us to be attentive to the voices of those on the margins and respond joyfully to their needs and especially the needs of our children. He has asked us to “open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, those who are homeless and hungry and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help!” Pope Francis has told us that “mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope”. Your participation in this weekend’s Peter’s Pence Collection will help each parishioner become a witness of charity, a force of mercy that reaches out to those around the world. If you forgot your envelope that was in last weekend’s bulletin, please use the Special Envelope at the end of the pew and make your check payable to St. Brendan and note it for the Peter’s Pence Collection. A parish check for all donations will be sent to the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Please accept my gratitude for your support of Pope Francis and his charitable works. In His Name, Father Eric Hunter
May 29, 2016
My Dear Sisters and Brothers, Our 7:30AM Sunday Mass will end this weekend and resume on November 6 and I wish you all a very Blessed and safe and relaxing summer. Also, I wish to extend my deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported the 2016 Annual Pastoral Appeal to date and because of your generosity we have surpassed our Assessment of $116,163.00. Thank you to everyone who has made a pledge or a one-time gift. If your pledge is paid on a monthly or quarterly basis and you do not receive your payment envelope from the APA office, please do not hesitate to contact them at (727) 344-1611 ext. 5311 so we can keep current with meeting and surpassing our Assessment. You may also make your payment by using an APA envelope that is in the pew and at the entrance doors to the church until you receive your regular payment invoice from the Diocese and make your check payable to APA and note it for St. Brendan Church #230. Please know that no gift is too small, no prayer too humble. Every gift is needed, appreciated and changes someone’s life. In His Name, Fr. Eric Hunter
April 3, 2016
My Dear Brothers and Sisters, Jesus is risen. Alleluia! I pray and hope that you and your loved ones had a very happy and blessed Easter. It was truly a blessing to see the Church filled with so many people coming to celebrate the Resurrection of the lord. It is a sign that no matter where we are on our spiritual pilgrimage, Jesus is still alive in the lives and hearts of so many of His people. We may be at different points in our Christian journey, but we have a Lord who continues to call us by name and to challenge us to grow in the gift of Faith that He has given to us. I wish to congratulate Terrie Byrne who was Confirmed, Candice Wigglen and Robert Matthew who received Confirmation and First Communion at the Vigil Mass last Saturday night. I know they were moved by the liturgy as were we all. I pray that they will be blessed by the Lord Jesus as they continue their new journey as baptized Catholics. I thank Karen Werner for her dedication to them over the past months in our RCIA program as they prepared for the Holy Sacraments. She took them by the hand and assisted and prayed for them on their journey. Parishioners such as Karen are blessings from God. The Church and the Sanctuary looked splendid for Easter. I thank all those who gave so much of their time and talent in preparing the environment for our Easter celebrations. On behalf of our St. Brendan Catholic Community I thank Patti Stough and all who assisted her for the many hours they spent preparing our Church for Holy Week and Easter. Their efforts are deeply appreciated. I thank also all our Sacristans, Ushers, Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Cantors and Choir, and Altar Servers for their dedication and willingness to give of their Time and Talent to our Community during these past weeks. And a special thanks to Terri Gerstner and Donna Tarsitano. Terri and Donna gives so much of their time and talent to St. Brendan and words simply cannot say how grateful I am to them. Then, of course, is Deacon Bill. I don’t know what I would have done without him. He spent unknown hours putting the Holy Week Liturgies together and literally taking me by the hand during the celebrations. Not only that his homilies deeply touched so many of our people including myself. He is most certainly a gift from God to our Parish. And thanks to all of you, my dear parishioners for your active participation in the Liturgies. May the Lord continue to bless you and your families with His many graces and gifts. You are in my prayers daily and you do have a very special place in my heart. In His Holy Name,
HE IS RISEN - HAPPY EASTER! May you and your families experience the joys of the risen Lord today. This is my sixth year celebrating the Holy Week and Easter Liturgies at St. Brendan Faith Community. It has been a wonderful and prayerful experience for me. Yes, St. Brendan is small but the spirit and support is as strong as any parish. I was quite surprised by the number of visitors and families. What a pleasure to celebrate with all of you. I want to extend my personal thanks to all who made the Liturgies of Holy Week so beautiful and meaningful. The Choirs, Cantors, Music Ministers, Frank and Harriet, Altar Servers, Mass Coordinators in the Sacristy, Ushers, Readers, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, the Environment Committee, Priests and especially Deacon Bill. Over a hundred people are involved in different ways making these Liturgies of Holy Week joyous and prayerful. I think I have and I hope I have thanked most of them individually, if I missed you, I am sorry. I want to extend my personal thanks to Deacon Bill for coordinating all the Liturgy celebrations here at St. Brendan. He made things very easy for me to slip right into the flow. Easter is a time when many find their way back to the Catholic Church. Something – or more likely someone - brought you here today, and we welcome you. This is a perfect opportunity for us, as the church, to apologize for any misunderstandings or resentments extended by the church. Over the years people have been hurt or felt unwelcome (often in cases of divorce) by the words or actions of a priest or church employee and these actions cause someone to stay away for an extended period of time. What better time to return than at Easter. If this has happened to you I invite you to give us another chance. Feel free to contact me here at St. Brendan if you wish to discuss your concerns. I am aware that many of our seasonal parishioners will be returning north this week. Let me express my appreciation to you for your participation and support of our St. Brendan but more importantly for me getting an opportunity to meet many of you, get to know you, and to share stories. We will miss you and I look forward to seeing you again next year. Stay well and know that you are always in my prayers. Let me also congratulate the St. Brendan Council of Catholic Women (SBCCW) as they celebrate their thirty fifth anniversary on April 5th. They may have had two or three organization names but from day one they have always been active members of St. Brendan and have always in some way or another contributed to the good of St. Brendan, financially, spiritually and in fun. I thank Mary AnnDiGiovanni, the current President, and all the past presidents who made the parish important to their existence. . HAPPY EASTER! HE IS RISEN AND HE IS LORD. I love you all and I pray for you and your families every day. Fr. Eric Hunter, Pastor
St. Brendan's Catholic Church of Clearwater, FL, located on Island Estates, is a loving, vibrant Catholic Church seeking for each and every member a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.