Message from Father Jay – March 31, 2020

My dear ones in Christ,

Since the beginning of the present pandemic I have been working with both Eileen Godollei and Connie Bracamonte to devise a way to communicate with as many of you as possible via email.  Since we don’t have the capability to network our computers, we have put together an email “tree” by which I plan to be in more regular contact with you in an attempt to not only keep you as updated as possible about the situation as it effects our parish and our diocese but to seek to be a spiritual comfort to you as well.

Here is where we are as of this writing:

  • The parish office is closed to the public while the “stay-at-home” order from our Governor remains in place.
  • All liturgical celebrations are suspended until such time as our Bishop deems it appropriate and safe for our communities to gather again. These celebrations include Mass, confession, religious education, tutoring, or any other gathering of the faithful on parish properties.  This directive from our Bishop also and specifically includes all of the celebrations we would be looking forward to celebrating for Passion (Palm) Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday.  To make this abundantly clear, there will be no public celebrations in the parishes of these sacred days.  However, each priest is asked to celebrate a private Mass on the days where a Mass would have been celebrated and to pray the Sacred Triduum privately.  Let me assure you that I will be doing all of this, and most certainly our parish will be foremost in my intentions for those days.  Even though we cannot gather together we can continue to pray for each other, for the healing of our nation and for the healing of our world.
  • If you have internet capabilities you can log onto the diocesan website  and join our Bishop as he livestreams his daily Mass.  If you have cable tv I believe you would probably already know that EWTN has a televised Mass each day as well.  It has been the consistent teaching of the Church that if any of the faithful are impeded from attending a Mass and receiving the Eucharist that they can receive it spiritually if they have a firm intention within their hearts arising from a holy desire to receive it.  Going back to our Bishop celebrating and livestreaming his Mass each day, as of this writing he is working with Fr. Malu Musumbu, Rector of St. Augustine Cathedral, as well as perhaps one other priest and possibly a deacon to livestream all of the Holy Week liturgies.
  • At this time, immediate penitent-to-priest confession is not permitted due to the proximity of persons during such a celebration.  Also, confession via telephone or any other electronic technology is forbidden.  What to do?  Until such time as confession in the normal form is restored the penitent can make a perfect act of contrition which has been preceded by a careful examination of conscience.  Then, motivated by a deep love for Christ the penitent can either recite the Confiteor (“I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters …”) or his/her own prayer recognizing their sin, making a firm resolution to forsake that sin, and asking God to strengthen them in their resolve.  Then at such a time as the penitent is able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance in the presence of a priest he/she is encouraged to do so in order to be reassured of the full forgiveness of the confessed sins.
  • Again, if you have internet capability please check in on our parish website   We are making every effort to keep it as updated as possible with all that I am sharing with you today.

Finally, a personal word to each one of you.  I miss you!  As I offer my private Mass here at the rectory, I am struck by the wording of the Mass.  It is intentionally written for there to be a response from a gathered community, and when there is not a response it has a very strange effect upon my heart.  Imagine saying, “The grace and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you,” and then not hearing anything in response!  That is why it is important for me to offer my Mass in faith for all of you.  I try to offer that Mass at 5:00 p.m., and if you remember that please know that at that time your pastor is praying for you.  May I please entreat your continued prayers for me as well?  I believe that in these times many are going to rediscover not only the power of prayer but will also come to know a deeper dependence upon the strength and wisdom of God.  We are created for these times, that in these days our faithfulness can continue to shine as lights in dark places.  God has not and will not forsake us.  With so many things being suspended for the time being, a brother priest recently reminded me that, “… our redemption is NOT suspended!”  Covid 19 cannot defeat God!

Accept my deepest brotherly love and care in Christ.

Fr. Jay

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