Be Not Afraid
Dear Friends in Christ,
First and foremost, Happy Mothers’ Day to all of our moms! While this is a most peculiar year and time to celebrate, we cannot fail to remember and thank God for the gift of our mothers. My dearest sisters, please know of our deep appreciation for you, not just for all of the many ways in which you care for us and show us your love, but for you as you! May God in His love continue to bless you and may you always know of the intercession of Mary, our Blessed Mother and follow her example of faith and grace.
Like many of you, my head is spinning from everything. On top of all the craziness that we find ourselves in, I think my allergy medicine is also making my mind foggy! However, I did not want to forget our mothers and fail to express our great love, appreciation and assurance of prayers. It is the month of May and that means we should turn in love to our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary. During this time when we were not able to gather for Sunday Mass, I certainly hope that you were able to pray your rosary more! This past week we resumed the praying of the Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help on Wednesday evenings. If you have never come and prayed the novena maybe you can during this time. It was absolutely wonderful to once again offer daily Mass. In order to accommodate as many as possible during the Phase I period which limits attendance to 25% of occupancy, we are offering three Masses per day Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m., 12:10 noon and 7:00 p.m. with confessions twenty minutes before each Mass. All the Masses are in the church which means we can accommodate 400 people at each Mass! We are so wonderfully blessed that we have such large facilities that allow us to accommodate so many people while still keeping social distancing. We ask that you please abide by the health protocols. In particular, I echo the advice of so many in asking that those in the “at risk” groups and those who are ill to please refrain from attending church at this time. For those who are concerned for their personal situation and coming to Mass may be a cause for fear or anxiety, please know that it is OK, you do not have to come to Mass at this time and there is no sin incurred. Praying at home and making a Spiritual Communion is most advisable.
As pastor of this wonderful parish and as your brother in faith, I want to encourage prudence in all matters. But even more so, I want all of us to recall the words of Our Lord to his disciples when they were terrified, “Take courage. It is I, be not afraid” (Mk 6.51). This is a time of testing for all of us. Each of us need to turn to the Lord in faith and place our trust in Him. The Lord Jesus is truly present and He will guide and protect us. “Fear is useless, what is needed is trust!” (Mk 5:36). As Catholics, we believe that Jesus is the savior of the world. We are a people of faith but if that faith does not guide us during this time, we have a bigger problem than a virus. Act prudently, but do not allow fear or anger to rule your lives. When anxiety or doubt enter our minds and hearts, turn to the Lord and ask for His calming presence. Give to the Lord whatever it is that causes your heart to be troubled. Again, remember the words of Our Lord, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and have faith also in me.” (Jn 14.1) Don’t hang on to fear or anxiety, anger or upset. Simply say “Dear Jesus, I believe in You, I trust in You and I love You! I give you all my fears, my doubts and my sorrows, but most of all I give you my whole heart and my life! Let me love You always and let me share Your love with all! Amen.”
In pace Christi,