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Dear Parishioners of Saint Bridget,

Buongiorno da Roma!

I pray that you and your families are doing well. As I begin a new academic semester, and more importantly my last semester of seminary, I want to write to you all and give you an update on my formation. It is hard to believe that there are now less than four months until my ordination to the Priesthood on June 25th. It has been seven and a half years since I first entered seminary and now the light at the end of the tunnel is here! I am inexpressibly grateful for your prayers and encouragement.

The past year has been filled with blessings, opportunities for growth, and time for reflection. Being ordained a deacon last May was an incredibly beautiful and powerful moment in my life. I am truly in awe of the gifts the Lord bestows upon me. Being conformed to Christ the Servant has given me the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel and preach homilies, to give the Church’s blessings upon the People of God, and to intercede in prayer for the whole world. I now eagerly look forward to being conformed to Christ the High Priest, to lead the faithful in praise of Almighty God, and to bestow His sacraments upon His people as a spiritual father.

This past year, however, has not been without its challenges. The devil hates little else more than to have another priest added to the arsenal of the Church on earth. He is waging spiritual battle upon every man and woman who strives to follow the Lord. Please continue to pray for me and my brother seminarians. Pray that we may persevere, stay close to Our Lord and Our Lady, and become further docile to the Holy Spirit in the mission He has for us.

Other blessings this year include travel to Cinque Terre, Croatia, France, and England. I have prayed at the tombs of Saints Vincent de Paul, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Thomas More, Francis and Claire of Assisi, and Peter and Paul. Be assured that you were in my prayers during these pilgrimages. These trips not only provide time to rest from studies but to encounter the universal Church and steep myself in the cultures of the world. The memories and experiences I gain from these pilgrimages and travels are not kept to myself but will be shared with the faithful throughout my ministry.

This year I began my licentiate in Dogmatics and Fundamental theology. It is a two-year program at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum). The program focuses on several aspects of the Church’s teachings about the faith according to Thomas Aquinas’ thought. Courses this year include The Shape of Modern Christology, Thomistic Trinitarian Theology, The Theology of Marriage, The Life of Saint Thomas Aquinas, The Problem of Evil, and The Relationship between Theology and the Sciences. The aim of the program is to prepare us to teach the faith in the parish and in Catholic institutions. Of all the gifts of living in Rome, the opportunity to study about Jesus and His teachings at the Angelicum is one of the greatest blessings. I cannot wait to return to the Diocese to share what I have learned with the People of God.

Of course, learning about Jesus and knowing Jesus is quite different. I am grateful for the prayer life and liturgy schedule at the seminary. The daily opportunity to worship the Lord, to thank Him, and simply listen to Him are precious moments. I know I will never have this amount of time to focus on my relationship with the Trinity in such an intense way again. In a particular way, I am looking forward to my annual week-long silent retreat at the great monastery in Solemneties, France during Easter Week. Please pray for me during that time to encounter the Lord as I prepare to become His priest.

The seminary has also been preparing our deacon class for priestly ministry. This year we have had workshops and practica on parish administration, pastoral counseling, Baptism, Holy Matrimony, Confession, Anointing of the Sick, and Mass. The seminary does a great job preparing us to celebrate the sacraments reverently and with confidence. My favorite part is when the formators role play as penitents, the sick, or even wedding couples to prepare us, as much as they can, for the unexpected and real-life situations. After we practice, the formator and four other deacons provide feedback and offer suggestions. It has been humbling to meditate with the rites of Reconciliation and to imagine people pouring out their souls to Jesus in search of healing and mercy. And to think that I will be an instrument by which that happens! One of my favorite practices this year is preparing to celebrate Mass. We have several practice chapels to learn how to celebrate Mass, prepare for celebrating our First Mass of Thanksgiving, and to get feedback on how we do the gestures and pronounce the words. I have been practicing once a week and appreciate that I now think less about what I am doing and more about the significance of what the Mass means.

As mentioned before, I will be ordained to the Priesthood on June 25th, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond. It would be an honor if you and your families could attend. I also look forward to celebrating Mass with you all at Saint Bridget at some point over the summer! I pray that you will have a fruitful Lent, and may God bless every one of you.

Sincerely,

Deacon Dillon Bruce

Contact Info

Saint Bridget Catholic Church
6006 Three Chopt Road
Richmond, Virginia 23226

Office & Clergy: (804) 282-9511
Fax: (804) 285-7227
parishmail@saintbridgetchurch.org

Office Hours
Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Mass Schedule

Tuesday:
Adoration (in the church) & Reconciliation: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. 

Saturday:
Reconciliation: 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Vigil Mass: Live-streamed at 5:30 p.m.

Sunday:
Vigil Mass live-stream available for viewing.

Daily:
Masses live-streamed at 8 a.m.

 

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