My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As always, I hope that this finds you doing well in every way. With the uncertainty of the times in which we live, we can rejoice in the certainties of our faith. What might those be? A short list can be found in the Creed. I believe it would be a gentle little exercise for us all to just recite the Creed to ourselves from time to time. After each sentence or phrase, pause and remind yourself that what you have just said is a certainty of your faith. “I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” Pause. “I believe that with certainty,” and so on. I’ve done this little exercise myself, and I find great comfort in it. I believe you will too.
There are a number of things I want to share with you today. First of all, the new Sunday Missals for 2021, Liturgical Year “B”, are available in the office. In the past we had these available on a table in the vestibule of the church, but in needing to restrict having printed materials in the church, we will make the missals available only in the office. They are $3.00 each, and it would be a huge help to us if you would please have the exact amount when you come to purchase your missal(s).
You may or may not know that I am required by canon law to take 4 weeks of vacation per year and to make a yearly retreat as well. As of today, I still have 3 weeks of vacation that I need to take by the end of the year, and at some point, I need to be on retreat. So, next week I’m going to whittle that requirement down a little by being out of the office for the entire week. I will only periodically check my email, mainly because I want to take a bit of a techno-break as well.
I mentioned in last week’s email that we will not be having a Mass here at Cabrini on Thanksgiving Day, and I just want to remind you all of that again. I hope that in every way you’ll find multitudes of things for which to be thankful. An older lady I knew many years ago used to frequently remind us, “Count your many blessings! Name them ton-by-ton!”
Of course, folks are starting to ask about our Christmas schedule. The fact of the matter is that we just don’t know yet what our schedule will be. With the spike in Covid-19 cases, we don’t know if parishes will be allowed to be open at that time. The situation is so fluid that we need to be prepared to follow whatever directives we receive from our Bishop. We also have to take into consideration the fact that we are only permitted to have a maximum of 70 people in the church for public worship. If we are going to be able to have a Christmas Mass, we may have to use a sign-up sheet in order to limit our numbers. However, because we’re in a bit of a limbo at this time, it’s impossible for me to give any absolute details to our community about the holidays. Please rest assured that as soon as I can give out any definite details, I will send out an email to you all.
Have you ever had the delightful experience of sitting down to read a portion of scripture and immediately have your attention arrested by a single word, phrase or sentence? That’s what I experienced as I prepared to study this weekend’s readings. Our first reading is from Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17. The very first sentence says, “Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep.” I stopped right there because a sense of such comfort and gentle joy had enveloped me. Even with so much uncertainty surrounding us these days, I am not discouraged. I am finding that in so many ways God himself is making his presence more and more real to me, and I so very much long for that same thing to be your experience too. He is doing it in so many little ways, and I can see His gentle love for me in so doing. I’m afraid if it were being done in huge, big ways I could be overwhelmed by it and probably couldn’t take it all in. However, with these little, satisfying portions I can just sit and muse upon what He is giving to me to feed my spirit. That is why that first sentence has been so good for me. Just think of it; God HIMSELF cares so much for the likes of you and me that he PERSONALLY is looking out for us and tending to our needs. I can hardly take that all in. I am not just some nameless face in the crowd who is easily overlooked. God sees me. God cares for me. God will tend to my needs. I am his! So, with being reminded of these incredible realities, I can head into this Thanksgiving week with so much to be thankful for. And truly, can’t we all?
Please remember me with your ongoing prayers while I’m away next week. You’re never far from my heart, and I’ll be praying that you’ll continue to be open to the ways in which God is seeking to bless you.
With deepest brotherly love in Christ,