Astonishing, here it is, the Fourth Sunday of Easter. First Communion is next weekend, as is Mother’s Day. One of the perks of being pastor is that I can choose the Masses at which I preside. I always preside at the 9:15am Mass on Mother’s Day. I do so because it is our tradition here at St. Jerome to have First Communion on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. All year long we have been watching the first communicants prepare for the day. Then, the next day, which is usually a Sunday of Easter, the children come back to be with the 9:15am congregation, who have been praying for them all year long. Add in our May crowning and our weekend blessing of mothers, mix it all together and you have one exciting morning!
Speaking of exciting, I am happy to share a CONECT victory with you. CONECT is a multi-faith, multiracial, organization of Congregations that work together both for the common good to help the world move from being as it is to being as it should be. Last summer, the son of one of our leaders was murdered. There had been a fight at Slyce Pizza Bar in Hamden. Jonathan Cooper was with his cousin driving through the neighborhood, when one of the men involved in the fight mistook Jonathan for a combatant. At a stop light, he shot and killed this good and innocent man. CONECT went to work. We canvassed the neighborhood to see what issues folks had, including some from member Congregations. As a result of numerous complaints from the neighborhood as well as the Dean of Students at nearby Southern Connecticut State University, CONECT decided to challenge the bar’s liquor license that was up for renewal. A lawyer from a member Congregation devoted over 100 hours of pro-bono work. We sent over 40 people to the hearing and, just last night, the Liquor Commission took away the liquor license.
Now a source of much violence and disruption in the SCSU area is being blocked. It took Congregations coming together to help each other to do this good work for the common good. If you have a relative at SCSU he or she will be safer because of CONECT. Community organizing is bringing people together to make societal changes that no one person could do on his or her own. I am so proud that St. Jerome is a founding member of CONECT.