Mr. Eric Frenette, LPC, NCC
Principal of St. Joseph School
Mr. Frenette's Bio:
- Graduate of St. Joseph School (Class of 1998)
- Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (UConn, 2006)
- Master's Degree in School Counseling (UConn, 2009)
- Master's Certificate in Catholic School Leadership (Creighton, 2017)
- Six years as a Secondary School Counselor
- Began tenure as Principal of SJS in Fall of 2015
- Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of CT
- Nationally Certified Counselor
- Long-time Bristol resident and parishioner of St. Joseph Parish
- Father of two boys (one currently enrolled at SJS)
November is traditionally a time to remember. Many of us spend the first part of the month remembering family and friends that we’ve lost this year. All Saints Day and All Souls Day are two church celebrations that bring our hearts and minds to those who have gone before us. But November also ends with remembering. Thanksgiving is a time for us to reflect on all that we are thankful for in our lives. Even during difficult moments, like the loss of a loved one, there can be glimmers of hope and light. The challenge is to search for those brighter moments.
This month of reflection is intended to prepare us for the long winter ahead while also drawing our hearts and minds to the months that have passed. We reflect on those memories of summer vacations and family outings with nostalgia and happiness. This year, however, I challenge us to reflect on something a bit different.
To be blunt, St. Joseph Parish is in need. While our Parish’s Annual Appeal is going very well, the Parish requires more from us than just financial support. It needs our presence. Our Parish is not just Fr. Ivan, Parish staffers, or the same volunteers who come to everything. It is all of us. I get very worried when I see our national culture hint toward the full-scale retreat from community and social interaction. Social clubs and organizations across the country are either closing their doors or losing members at a record pace. Online shopping and automated check-out lines seem to be the only way to get what you need. We are apparently investing much energy into finding ways to completely remove any type of social interaction in our daily lives. But why? At what cost? Children today have record levels of social anxiety and depression. Is there a correlation?
The elephant in the room, in my opinion, is that we (myself included) have fooled ourselves into saying we are too busy for others. “We just don’t have time.” “There aren’t enough hours in the day.” “People just annoy me these days.” While these are true at times, they become an easy excuse to isolate ourselves. But our society, our local communities, our children need interaction! We need each other!
Two easy ways to start are with faith and family. So as we begin a new holiday season, I ask that you reflect on what you’re thankful in terms of community. What can we give to improve our communities, our families, our Parish? Often, it is just our time and presence. Be there for each other. Be kind to each other. And BE with each other. If not for yourself, for your children and their children.
October, for me, is always a very full month. Since childhood, I’ve always seen it as the unofficial start of the “holiday season”, kicking off the end of year Holiday trifecta of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It is also when the arrival of autumn becomes unmistakable with sweatshirt weather becoming more and more common. Hayrides, pumpkin picking, and the remaining local fairs fill up the weekend schedules.
Personally, it is also my birthday month (which, as a near-sighted kid, used to seem like the real beginning of the “holiday season”). October also brings many school events including school pictures, Octoberfest, mid-trimester progress reports, the first Home and School meeting, and our first Saturday vigil class Mass. With such a stacked calendar, no wonder it feels like Christmas sneaks up on us every year!
But one thing that may often be overlooked about October is that it is the month dedicated to the Rosary. While many of us probably have rosary beads around the house or in the car, when was the last time we really gave some time to reflect on what the Rosary is (or at the very least, can be) for us personally?
During the 2019-2020 school year, SJS will reflect on one fruit of the Holy Spirit each month. We invite families and parishioners to follow along with us throughout the year and to look for these fruits in your own lives. It is a simple thing to do each day that allows God an avenue to communicate with us. Just ask yourself two questions each morning and allow the answers to direct your thoughts and actions: How can we act out each fruit to others? Where can we find each fruit throughout our day?
The school year began with PEACE in September. October will be GOODNESS. What better way to bring both of these fruits into our lives than with the Rosary and the Blessed Virgin Mary. This simple and meditative prayer can bring God’s peace to our busy lives while also helping us stay focused on the good around us. In our busy lives, it is easy for us focus on the things that annoy us, frustrate us, and get in the way. But why should we spend our days being miserable? Let us strive to find the goodness in each and every day. And with the hectic schedules we all carry around these days, we may need a little help to do it.
Mary, Blessed Virgin, pray for us!