St. Mark on Stewardship (2023)

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).

Dear Saint Mark Parish Family:

It is hard to believe that already one month has passed in this New Year! As we begin the year 2023, once again I take this opportunity to write this Pastor’s Annual letter inviting you to participate in the Annual Collection of Saint Mark Parish 2023. This gives me the opportunity to share with you some of the highlights of last year; including the joys, successes, sorrows, and needs of St. Mark Parish. This is truly a loving and faith filled community where so many of you give so generously of your time, talent, and treasure. I am deeply touched and grateful for your continued support of the mission of our parish in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Last year the parish family has seen the joy of 39 Infant Baptisms, 5 Minor Baptisms, 2 received into the full Communion with Catholic Church, 50 First Holy Communions, 94 Confirmations, 6 marriages, and 23 new parish registrations. On a sad note, the Sacrament of the Sick was administered to 66 patients, and 69 funerals celebrated.

Many parishioners assist in the parish administration by serving as Parish Trustees, on the Parish Advisory and Finance Councils, Building & Grounds Committee, and as Parish Communication Directors. We are very happy to have Mr. Michael Mollica as the new chairperson of Parish pastoral council. He brings many years of leadership skills from his professional career. 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 $114,740.00, from 298 donors. Devotional programs for adult parishioners continue with Daily Rosary group, Divine Mercy Cenacles, Seven Sisters, First Friday Holy Hour, First Saturday Devotion, Contemplative prayer groups, and Scripture Study groups. Lay adult ministries include our faithful ushers, weekend and weekday lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, the homebound ministry to the sick and Bridgeport hospital, the regular adorers in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel, children ministry team, and the parish choir. 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. The St. Mark Guild of our Lady continues their support of the parish – helping at children’s Mass and other events. Last year they hosted a tag sale as one of their fund raisers. Last year a new ministry was added to the parish which is Ambassador ministry. Its purpose is to reach out to those parishioners who haven’t been an active part of our community. St. Mark has always been very generous in supporting the poor in the greater Bridgeport area through programs, 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, and Hands to Hearts. All Programs are coordinated by our priests, Deacons, and many dedicated volunteers.

The Committee for Social Events organized events which included, Corn Beef & Cannoli, blessing of the animals by Father Russ, Santa’s Workshop, Annual Parish picnic, and concerts on the lawn. 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. Sam Costa, the new chairperson, and Mrs. Paula Mollica and team, for a 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. However, they are back and doing an excellent job under the leadership of Mr. Brelsford and Maria. Programs for children and teens include our Religious Education classes, children’s Mass & choir, Youth Ministry groups, and St. Mark School.

The purpose of our Annual Collection is to supplement our weekly and monthly collection for some unexpected expenses. Last year’s St. Mark Annual Collection brought in $41,332.00, which is being used to replace the 50+ years old rectory boiler. This is a work in progress. This year we intend to use Annual Collection funds to purchase a new HVAC for the Upper Room. Due to inflation we all are facing economic hardships. Therefore, not everyone is able to contribute toward the annual collection. I absolutely understand that. However, those of you whose resources allow, I humbly request that you prayerfully consider a donation of $200 per family and $100 per individual. If you are able 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.

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,

Father Birendra
Pastor, St. Mark