Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It’s been a relatively quiet week here in the office, so there really isn’t a lot of news to share.
I shared at last weekend’s Masses that I’m working on two things that will have an impact on our liturgical life here at St. Frances Cabrini. The first one involves returning the reception of Holy Communion to its regular place in the Mass rather than receiving it outside following the Mass. I will be working with the E.M.s to bring this about. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do. The two E.M.s will come forward at the regular time to take their ciboria from the table in front of the altar. They will continue to wear gloves and masks and will pass down the blocked-off rows to distribute Communion. Communion will continue to be received in the hand only. We are not yet permitted to receive the Precious Blood. Also, we are still required to wear masks throughout the entire Mass. The only exceptions to this requirement are the lectors when they are proclaiming the Word and the presider when he is in the Sanctuary. This change won’t take place for at least another couple of weeks, and I’ll let you all know in advance when we’ll be making the change.
The second thing I’m working on is the possible addition of a Saturday afternoon in-person Mass. As you know, I have been doing a private Mass each Saturday in order to consecrate the Eucharist for those who come for drive-through reception of Holy Communion. I’m trying to decide what will be the best time for the in-person Mass so we can continue to have drive-through Communion for those who still wish to receive it in that manner. Again, this isn’t completely worked out yet. We will need to have Eucharistic Ministers, Hospitality Ministers and Lectors for this Mass. I’m thinking that in order to accommodate those who will continue to want the drive-through Communion, we may have to have the Mass at 3:30 p.m. That way, the parking lot will be empty by the time the folks start arriving for the 5:00 drive-through experience. As you can see, there are some logistical things to work out still, but when those details are settled, I’ll let the community know.
One of the most wonderful things we’ve been given as human beings is the gift of friendship. When we think about the blessings of friendship, we realize that this gift allows us to disclose ourselves to and receive from our friend in complete openness and trust. We can think out loud with our friend, and with our friend we can participate in each other’s joys, sorrows, hopes and fears. Because we have a friend, we have one to whom we can turn in our times of loneliness and despair. We turn to our friend when we don’t have the answers to questions which sometime haunt our lives. With our friend, we can be our authentic self. It is, therefore, a wonderful thing to reflect upon Jesus’ words in this weekend’s Gospel from John 15:9-17. He said:
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.”
Just think; Jesus looks upon us as His friends! He includes us in the company of John the Baptist, whom He identified in John 3:29 as “the best man” at a wedding. In Hebrew, the word for “best man” is shoshben, and it translates as “the friend of the groom.” We think of the friendship that Jesus had with Mary, Martha, and especially for their brother, Lazarus, for whom Jesus wept. We can think of the Apostles as Jesus’ very special friends because of all He shared with them in love. We remember that Jesus spoke these words during what we call the Last Supper. I believe he spoke them in order to teach those who shared that meal with Him how they were to look upon and treat each other. They were to be friends. The Bible is full of references about friends and friendship, and it is a very profitable exercise to study those many, many references. By making this little study, we can learn more and more about how we are to look upon and treat each other. Two of my favorite passages are from the Book of Proverbs. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend is a friend at all times,” and 18:24 says, “There are friends who bring ruin, but there are true friends more loyal than a brother.” In these two verses alone, there is much which can instruct us. I’m so thankful for the friendships which have become such blessing to me here at St. Frances Cabrini, and I recognize them as gifts which the Lord has given to me. Thank you for being among those whom I call “friend.”
I will be out of the office all of next week but will be back the weekend of May 15/16. Connie will be in the office all week if you have any needs that require her attention.
Your brother and friend in Christ,