Patronal Feast of St. Frances X. Cabrini
My Dear Ones in Christ,
In every way, I hope that this finds you well and prospering in your faith. There have been so many challenges to our faith over the course of 2020, but what a joy it is to me each weekend to see so many of you faithfully coming to St. Frances Cabrini either for the drive-through Reception of Holy Communion on Saturday or for one of the two Masses on Sunday. You’ve all made wise choices in the way you have decided to celebrate your place at the Lord’s table, and you will certainly be rewarded in abundance for such decisions.
It is, however, very important that I address some issues that are now before us. As you are all aware, the number of Covid-19 cases are surging in Arizona. This is, of course, very concerning to us all and to our Bishop. Therefore, he has directed that the Diocesan Department of Human Resources formulate some additional guidelines for the health and safety of all our brothers and sisters. In recent weeks three of our parishes have had to be closed due to exposure/cross-exposure in the parish offices to the virus. In one instance, the pastor had to be hospitalized and was only released earlier this week. We absolutely must continue to observe the three major protocols established by the CDC and by our Bishop: 1.) Wear a mask at all times in public 2.) Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds 3.) Maintain social distance from other people of at least six feet at all times. Even with those requirements, we now must enact further protocols concerning parish offices. No longer will it be permissible for people to just show up at the parish office. If your purpose in coming to the parish office can by handled either by phone or via email, please use those means of communication as a priority. If you absolutely need to come to the office, you must call first to make an appointment. In making your request for an appointment, please understand that there is a possibility that you may not be admitted into the office itself. Again, even with an appointment, you must wear a mask when coming to the office. If you are admitted to the office, we can have no more than two people in the lobby at a time. You will have to sign a log-in sheet, and your temperature will be taken. Under no circumstances are you to come to the office if you are experiencing any symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, labored breathing. Even if you are convinced you do not have Covid-19, ANY symptoms should be viewed as suspect, and you must not come to the office. I know that these sound like heavy measures, but the risk is simply too great for me to be lax as I try to keep our office and this parish as safe and Covid-free as possible. I just cannot take these things lightly or in any way just brush them aside.
Because of the ongoing concerns with the spread of the virus, Bishop Weisenburger has written to all pastors about being forced to reevaluate over the course of the next couple of weeks the possibility of “reverting back to Phase 1 protocols.” He wrote, “With the holidays quickly approaching, I very much was hoping that we could move in the other direction with Advent and Christmas. However, in the current environment of increasing spread of the virus and growing hospitalizations, this does not seem to be likely.” It is with such concerns weighing upon all pastors that I have made the decision to not have a public Mass on Thanksgiving Day here at St. Frances Cabrini Parish. I cannot imagine that we are going to see a decline in the number of positive cases over the course of the next several weeks, and it is with that, as well as the greater good of all in mind, that I have made this decision. I would like to hope that we will be able to celebrate Advent and Christmas in the safest, most joyful ways possible given the ongoing circumstances. This is such a fluid situation, so I will do my very best to keep the parish as informed and up-to-date as possible.
Having said that, I am going to continue to have the drive-through Reception of Holy Communion at 5:00 p.m. each and every Saturday until further notice. We will also continue to have the 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Masses celebrated each Sunday unless we receive word that such celebrations are to be suspended.
This year’s Catholic Men’s Conference in Tucson was, of course, held virtually. For those of you who would have liked to have attended the conference or missed the notifications of how to participate in it virtually, it can now be viewed on demand by going to the following link:
There are some on-screen instructions on how to view the presentation.
Please enjoy reacquainting yourselves with this weekend’s Gospel reading. It is the very familiar parable of the talents, and it can be found in Matthew 25:14-30. One little phrase has caught my attention, “… entrusted his possessions to them.” For your homework, and as a spiritual exercise, I’m asking each of you to do another spiritual inventory keyed upon this question; What has the Lord entrusted to your care, and how are you using and nurturing it? Usually, you know that I would lead you into reflecting on some of those great possessions, but this time, no, I would hope that you’ll dig deeply into your own hearts and spirits to surface those treasures afresh. Then, after you have feasted upon those reflections, please share them with me. Do you know that I, too, get spiritually hungry for what others can share with me? God has been, and continues to be, so gracious to me by feeding me so abundantly. Nevertheless, one of the ways I try to gauge your spiritual health is by the things you share with me. So, please share some of your spiritual possessions with me at some point. I know that in so doing, you will be blessed.
I rejoice in you always. Please let me continue to be in your prayers; you are never out of mine.
With joy and thanksgiving for God’s wonderful gifts, I remain your brother in Christ,