My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it was to see so many of you last Sunday as we gathered for the first Masses celebrated here at Cabrini in such a long time. There was such a spirit of gratitude manifested by all, and while it’s true that things looked and felt a bit different, we rejoiced that once again we could gather. There have been a number of people who have communicated with me that they are making the decision to continue to come to the “drive through” reception of Holy Communion on Saturdays as they, for many legitimate reasons, don’t feel this is the right time for them to gather in the church. This is perfectly acceptable, and I affirm them in their decision. The Sunday obligation to attend Mass in person continues to be suspended for all Catholics residing in or visiting the Diocese of Tucson. So, for those who attend the Saturday reception service, I encourage you to continue to participate in the Mass virtually online or on television.
I’m thankful that Fr. Marty has agreed to celebrate the Sunday Masses for us while we are still not fully open for public worship. I am still restricted from celebrating public Masses since I am multiple-compromised according to CDC and Diocesan protocols. I will continue to offer a private Mass each Saturday and will communicate the Body of Christ to all who present themselves for the reception of Holy Communion at 5:00 p.m. A reminder that the Mass times for the two celebrations on Sundays are 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
In my 24 September email to the community I wrote at length about the wonderful ministry of the St. Vincent De Paul Society. I reminded our community that the Vincentians are oftentimes the only source of help for many who struggle to obtain the necessities of life, and it is only through the generosity of our community that the Vincentians are able to be that source of help. I was overwhelmed by the response that I witnessed that very weekend as people drove up with super-abundant donations of food and other supplies. So, on behalf of the Vincentians, I thank you for your outpouring of generous love. Now that our parish has partially reopened for limited public worship, the Vincentians have asked me to inform you that they will have their blue collection barrels available at ALL of our celebrations every weekend going forward. The barrel will be available on Saturdays at the place where you have been giving your monetary offerings these last few months. The barrels will also be outside both of the doors on the west side of the church after each of the Sunday Masses. May I encourage you to continue your selfless contributions to the SVDP mission? Here is a list of the items which are the most needed:
- canned soups
- canned meats (tuna, chicken, etc.)
- canned fruits and vegetables
- pasta and pasta sauce
- dried or canned beans
- boxed cereals
- peanut butter
- toilet paper
- dish soap
- hand soap
- bath soap
- tooth paste
Do you all remember that song that Frank Sinatra made so famous called, “My Way?” In it the person is looking back and reflecting upon his/her life with all its ups, downs, joys, sorrows, failures and accomplishments. As I remember the song, at the end of almost every reflection we heard, “I did it my way.” Now, I’m not here to offer a critique of that song. Many people very much enjoyed it, and that’s fine. I was just personally never very comfortable with it mainly because I haven’t done everything in life “my way.” There have been times when I’ve bowed to the will of others (sometimes willingly, and sometimes not so much!), and have not done those things in the way that I would have wanted to. In all honesty, the times that, from the bottom of my heart, I have prayed, “…nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done,” have been the times when I’ve known the deepest peace as well as a deepened relationship with God. That is why the last portion of our Gospel reading this weekend has made me stop and question if I’m still trying to assert too much of my own will in my life. Do I truly mean it when I pray that God’s Will will be fully done within my life?
In our reading, a king has prepared a wedding feast for his son. You remember how that so many were invited to the feast, and yet, there were many, many who found excuses not to attend. Finally, the king looks out over the banquet hall and sees there is room yet for many more. He sends out his servants to invite whomever they could find so that the celebration would be full of people. When the king came to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. We’ve been told that it was a custom in some of the countries of that day for kings and other rich and powerful people to provide clothing for the guests at their feasts. The purpose seems to be so that everybody, rich or poor, high-born or low, would be richly dressed according to the will of the host. Nobody would truly know who was who. The important thing was that they had been invited, and they had accepted the invitation and the garment. That one man who wasn’t wearing a wedding garment showed up in his own clothes apparently with the attitude that what he had was just as good as anything the king could provide, and he was going to show up doing things “my way.” The result? He was bound hand and foot and thrown out of the feast. He was banished from the king’s presence because he obviously believed that his way of doing things was just a good as the way the king wanted. I admit, I can sometimes find myself with that same spiritual attitude, and it’s very easy for me to forget that such an attitude if acted upon has consequences. So, I’m purposing within my heart to seek to be more sensitive to the will of God for my life, and rather than singing, “I did it my way,” I’ll be singing, “I’ll do it God’s way.”
Please accept just these lines from me today. Please continue to stay safe and sane. Remember, we are in God’s hands, and He continues to hold His people close to His heart.
With brotherly love in Christ,