Matrimony: The Lifelong Union of One Man and One Woman in God's Plan for Life and Love

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex “marriage” is a constitutional right, in a long-awaited decision that will have sweeping and unpredictable consequences for U.S. jurisprudence, cultural norms and religious freedom. Catholic leaders, legal scholars and marriage experts reacted with dismay to the landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and three related cases. But they also expressed resolve that the decision would not discourage their efforts to preach and teach the truth about marriage and to advance respect for the institution as a union of one man and one woman committed to the care and education of children. 

“The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on marriage is not a surprise. The surprise will come as ordinary people begin to experience, firsthand and painfully, the impact of today’s action on everything they thought they knew about marriage, family life, our laws and our social institutions,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, in a statement marking the decision. “The mistakes of the court change nothing about the nature of men and women and the truth of God’s word. The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today’s decision. Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that, from the beginning, marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman."

Here at St. Mary of Perpetual Help, we will be running a series of articles in the bulletin and on our website to help us better understand how this decision will impact the Church, families and society. The articles will also help us better educate ourselves on the true nature of marriage so that we can form our children and families according to the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church. 

This week's article is from St. John Paul II

Apostolic Exhortation on the Family

Familiaris Consortio

Also, watch the excellent videos on the Authentic Meaning of Marriage and Family from the Humanum Series.

Get Ready for Bridgeport's Biggest Garage Sale Aug. 8

Our  annual  Garage  Sale  fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Thursday, Aug. 6 and Friday, Aug. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., we'll accept donations of clean, usable items (no older TVs, clothing, or bedding, please). Let  us know if you have any items you would like to donate. Some items are especially popular! Ladies, if you have old jewelry, we want it! Men, we will take your old tools! We also take movies, CDs, albums, and books. And if you have it, furniture is always in high demand. For $30, you can rent your own table—tables go on sale July 13. Whether you're cleaning house, on the hunt for treasure, or both, we look forward to seeing you there!

Photos from Our Feast Day Picnic

On Sunday, June 28, we celebrated the patronal feast of our parish at the 10:30 a.m. Mass, followed by a BBQ just outside the church. We had perfect weather, great food, and plenty of fun—as you'll see in the photos below. Take a look!

St. Mary's Moms' Group

The St. Mary of Perpetual Help Moms' Group is designed to support and encourage mothers raising Catholic families. Join us and meet other moms in our community for faith, fellowship, and fun! Please come as you are, any time you can—children welcome!

The Moms' Group will no longer meet on Saturdays but rather on the third Tuesday of the month. We will pray the Rosary together while our little ones enjoy a play date! Our next meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. at Bosley Park (2 blocks north of the church). Feel free to bring a friend! If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Tess Barber or Kathy Lipowski, and check us out on facebook.

Parishioners Display their Faith on Feast of Corpus Christi

St. Mary of Perpetual Help's annual Corpus Christi celebration is a unique display of our faith to the Bridgeport community. On June 7, we acknowledged Christ's presence in the Holy Eucharist with a procession after the 10:30 a.m. Mass. Take a look at the slideshow below for images of the procession.

9 Receive their First Communion in May 3 Mass

Nine young parishioners received their first Sacrament of Holy Communion on Sunday, May 3. They also participated in ceremonies to receive a devotional scapular and crown the Blessed Virgin Mary. Below are pictures of the beautiful celebration.

11 Newly Confirmed in April 26 Mass

Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Goedert celebrated Confirmation Mass with us on April 26. Take a look back as 11 candidates listen to Bishop Goedert's homily and are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Support Persecuted Christians

Frustrated with ISIS murdering and enslaving Christians, destroying early Christian villages founded by Jesus’ apostles and detonating historic, ancient churches and antiquities? Now you can show your support. Shortly after Easter, St. Mary of Perpetual Help will sell lapel pins and wrist bands with the Arabic letter “N” or ن which stands for Nazarenes or followers of Jesus. Reminiscent of the Nazis requiring Jews to wear the Star of David, ISIS is forcing Christians to wear this symbol as a sign of hatred. Watch the bulletin in the coming weeks to find out when you can purchase and wear your ن in support of our persecuted brothers and sisters.

Popular 'Word on Fire' Website Proclaims Christ in the Culture

Fr. Robert Barron of Chicago started a website called Word on Fire in 2000, and over the years it has evolved from a simple way to share his weekly homilies to a place that attracts millions of visitors who can browse thousands of resources by topic, Biblical verse, Catechism paragraph, liturgical reference, and more. The site was recently redesigned, so check it out at For a peek at some of the newest features, watch the video trailer below:

We are Catholic: Welcome Home

View these short videos from the "Catholics Come Home" campaign for inspirational messages about the Catholic Church throughout the world.

Please visit

Become Part of Our Parish's Prayer Tree

St. Mary of Perpetual Help Parish has formed a Prayer Tree ministry. A prayer tree consists of a small group of people quietly praying behind the scenes for their fellow parishioners, their families and our community. They pray for successful surgeries, medical needs, misfortunes, physical and spiritual challenges and so much more. There are no meetings, no minutes and no reports. All are welcome.

Prayer by many people can work miracles—and the prayer tree is a great way to accomplish it. If you are interested in joining the Prayer Tree or are in need of prayers, please contact Lucie Weir at 773-908-6046 or email her at Prayers can also be written in our book of prayers located by the Marian Shrine.

Preservation Fund Campaign: A Message from our Pastor

Dear parishioners and visitors,

For more than 130 years, St. Mary of Perpetual Help Church has been the spiritual home for thousands of Catholics. God has entrusted the care of this spiritual home to us so that thousands more for generations to come can call this beautiful church their home.

I am grateful to everyone who contributed to and continue to give to the Preservation Fund.  If you were unable, as of yet, to give to the campaign, you will have an opportunity over the next month to make a pledge for the future restoration.  Pledge cards will be available after all of the Masses during the month of May.  You can also contribute online through GiveCentral.   As you can imagine, this church requires a lot maintenance!  The cost to maintain this church in all of its beauty is rather high.  The electrical, plumbing, painting, exterior dome, bell towers, cleaning, air and heat all cost money.  In addition to maintaining the church, we have to provide salaries to the employees who continue to make St. Mary of Perpetual Help a growing and vibrant parish.  

Without your generous contributions, we would neither be able to worship God in this heavenly building, nor have priests to celebrate Mass.  As mentioned before, we cannot rely on a small number of parishioners to carry this financial burden; we must all contribute according to our means.  Sometimes that means making sacrifices for what is most important in life and will last into eternity.   Through the intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, I pray that your continued generosity will keep St. Mary of Perpetual Help a beacon of hope and salvation for generations to come. 

I am grateful for the ways God has blessed our parish, and I am honored to be Pastor of St. Mary of Perpetual Help. I am truly excited about the great things we plan to accomplish together for this parish community in the years to come.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas Aschenbrener

P.S.: See below for a glance at some of the "before" pictures of our ongoing restoration project.

Listening to the Bible? There's an app for that.

A new Catholic Bible app called "Truth & Life," available for free for smartphones and other devices, brings the eternal words of the Bible to life with a radio-drama style audio presentation. The production features a forward by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The free version of the app includes the entire written text of the New Testament, made easily searchable, and a two-hour dramatized audio presentation of the Gospel of Mark. More audio is available for a fee.

Go to to try it out.

Forming Disciples to Become Saints after the Heart of Christ

Come to Lourdes Hall in the first of the school on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for a series of discussions on the Catholic Faith. 

Tuesday Evening Scripture Study

Join us for scripture study on Tuesday evenings, when we'll focus on the mysteries of the Catholic Faith. We'll meet each Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Lourdes Hall first-floor conference room.