Dear friends in Christ:
This week, we celebrate the Feast Day of St. John Vianney, our patron saint, on August 4. Usually, we mark this day with a parish celebration. Unfortunately this year due to the Coronavirus, we will not be able to gather as we have in the past. We will however celebrate and thank God for the life and intercession of the holy priest of Ars. We will have three masses on the Feast Day, August 4 at 9:00 am, 12:10 pm and 7:00 pm. We are asking that parishioners consider coming to Mass or adoration anytime from August 4 until the Feast of the Assumption on August 15.
I remind people that if you come to Mass, you are asked to keep a social distance, wear your face covering and to please receive Communion in the hand. If you are uncomfortable or unable to receive Holy Communion, please make a Spiritual Communion. If you are in one of the “at risk” categories it is prudent for your health and safety that you do not attend Mass at this time. A visit to the Blessed Sacrament for private prayer is more advisable.
There is a lot to pray about and to ask God to help us with: an end to this pandemic and the recovery of all who are sick, for the health and wellbeing of our parishioners, for an increase of vocations to the married life, priesthood and religious life, for our children, for an increase of converts to the Catholic Faith, for the return of fallen away Catholics, for the unemployed, the hungry and homeless, for our college students and young people, for the elderly, for married couples having troubles, for all of those who are anxious and fearful, for those who are struggling in their faith, for the souls of our beloved dead, and for our country and our leaders. The list goes on. There is a lot to pray for. The above list is about our many needs. We should not forget that while our needs are pressing and numerous, our blessings are even more numerous! God’s lavish love and mercy have not left us. Our gifts and blessings far outnumber and exceed our needs. We should never lose sight of this.
One of my favorite little things in the life of St. John Vianney is how he always speaks of God as our “Good God”. This was a typical French expression (Le Bon Dieu) of the day. But it is an important phrase nonetheless. God is good! He not only shows us His goodness, but He shares His goodness with us! We are created in God’s goodness. God sustains us in His goodness. God lavishly showers His goodness upon us and God allows us and calls us to live in His goodness. It is all right there – always. Yet, so many forget our Good God and take His goodness for granted. How often do we act as if God does not exist? So many of the problems in our world and our lives are the result of this amnesia. Remembering our Good God every day is one of the most important things that we do. Remembering God, talking to God, praising God, seeking to please God changes the course of our day and the course of our lives. It also changes the course of the world.
I am fascinated by the similarities between the anarchist and the atheist. They both live in denial and desire to destroy. They see the bad, the negative and all that is wrong in the world but not in themselves. The person of faith is one who sees not only their own sins but also the good that surrounds them. The person of faith has hope and lives in hope. The person of faith sees the Good God and the love He has for us and the whole world. The person of faith sees that the Good God is the God of life and love. What better time than during a pandemic, economic meltdown, political chaos, civil unrest, and widespread fear and anxiety for us to stop, remember and praise God for His infinite goodness and blessings! Suffering and evil will pass away but the goodness of God is everlasting! Praise God! Now and forever!
St. John Vianney, Pray for us!
In pace Christi,