Dear Friends in Christ,
Just a few weeks ago, none of us could imagine the situation in which we now find ourselves. Last week we had to furlough our YCP teachers, sextons, nursery workers and other staff members. This week, we had to send the remaining members of our staff home. They will be working from home trying their best to keep pastorally serving you and all of our parishioners in this critical time. We will continue to use our website, e-mails, Facebook and other social media to serve you and help keep you informed. Our parish Administration staff is working to keep us moving forward, keep communications working and pay the bills. During this time, I hope that you are using our website where you will find a Liturgy of the Word with the Sunday readings that can be prayed at home by you and your family, a scriptural reflection by Fr. Richard and other spiritual resources, including how to make a Spiritual Communion. There are also podcasts of sacred music by our choir and parish musicians. I encourage you to pray the Liturgy of the Word at the regular time that you would normally come to Mass. While everyone is now restricted by the Stay at Home Order issued by the County Judge, I hope that this will be a time for you and your family to come together in prayer. If it is not your regular practice, now would be the perfect time to initiate a regular family rosary, nightly prayers or other devotions. Above all, I hope that you are praying every day. There is never too much prayer. On the website, you will continue to find our parish bulletin with my weekly letter and other offerings. Many have discovered the website to be a treasure trove with resources like FORMED. We are continuing our Youth Formation with videos and presentations being sent to our children and families in our Religious Education programs. Our Adult Formation is live streaming bible studies and other offerings over the internet. The Young Adult Ministry had a virtual Movie Party!
While we are unable to gather, we must continue to minister in the ways available to us. I would like to invite you to reach out to families who may be having a difficult time during this crisis, especially young families with children at home. This can be a time of stress, fear and uncertainty for many. Call them, reassure them and pray for them. Reach out as well to elderly and those who live by themselves. Call or e-mail the folks that you normally sit next to at church. Reach out to friends, neighbors or co-workers who are estranged from God or who do not know Jesus. Share with them a message of Jesus’ love for them. One of the best ways that we can cope with everything that is going on is to share the love of Jesus with others.
In all likelihood, we will not be allowed to have public masses for Holy Week and Easter and perhaps even longer. Among other consequences, this means that those in the RCIA, the elect, who have been preparing since last August to be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil will not be able to receive the sacraments until a later date. Likewise, there are engaged couples who were planning on their weddings and families with children to be baptized and others preparing for their First Holy Communion. Please keep all of these men and women and children especially in your prayers.
On a more mundane note. As I mentioned last week, some of you may be wondering how the parishes are going to make financially through this crisis when there are no public masses and no collections. Every pastor is wondering the very same thing! Quite frankly, there is no way without you! Shutting down all of liturgies and activities did not shut down our bills! We are still 100% dependent upon you and your regular faithful stewardship. This is truer now than ever before! For details please consult our parish website and the bulletin.
During this time, stay strong in faith and ardent in prayer! Reach out to one another in Christian love. Put your trust in the Lord and know that He is with you! And keep smiling!
Mary, Our Mother and Our Queen. Pray for us!
St. John Vianney, holy curé of Ars, patron of our parish. Pray for us!