Dear Ones in Christ,
I’m sending my community email out a day early because Eileen Godollei, who administers our email list, is taking a vacation day tomorrow. Speaking of Eileen, it has been her plan to retire as our parish’s secretary/receptionist soon after her 70th birthday, which occurs on October 13. She has submitted her letter of resignation to me noting that her final day as a paid employee will be October 21, 2020. Eileen has given 25 highly dedicated years of service to our parish, and I have deeply appreciated the privilege of working with her since my very first day here. Consistently cheerful, always ready to find a way to make things work, and blessed with a gently quiet sense of great good humor, Eileen has truly been a very brightly shining light in our office, and I will miss the immediacy of her presence here every day. Fortunately for us, Eileen isn’t going to just fade away! She has offered to do volunteer work here in the office for a few hours every week, and she’ll be instrumental in training the person who succeeds her. Please join me in wishing Eileen every blessing and happiness as she moves forward with this next adventure in her life.
During the days of this pandemic, the needs of those who struggle to obtain the basic necessities of life have not decreased or gone away. As many of you know, we have a very active chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society here at St. Frances Cabrini Parish. They have faithfully continued their ministry without interruption to those in need of food and other necessities ever since the beginning of the pandemic. They have now approached me to ask us to continue our help to them. Starting this weekend, Society members will be placing their blue collection barrels outside the west side of the church close to where Michael Ponce (who also is an SVDP member) usually stands to help receive your monetary offerings for the support of the parish. Please, let’s be very generous in helping to further this wonderful and selfless ministry. Here is a list of the items you can donate which are the most needed: canned soups, canned tuna, canned chicken, canned fruits and vegetables. Also needed: rice, pasta and pasta sauce, dried or canned beans, boxed cereals, peanut butter, toilet paper, dish soap, hand soap, bath soap and toothpaste. The barrels will be available at all of the drive-through Communion opportunities going forward. I thank you in advance for all you contribute to ease the burdens of others in difficult times.
It is no coincidence that we have this weekend’s second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians (Phil. 2:1-5 [shorter form]). Paul writes:
“Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.”
That sentence really is the very spirit which motivates our brothers and sisters who have dedicated themselves to looking out for the interest of others through their commitment to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. They are a living message to all of us of what it means to love our neighbor as ourself. Paul encouraged the faithful in Philippi to continue in this spirit of care by reminding them that this was the very spirit that motivated Jesus. He wrote, “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus.” I find that it is often the lived, unspoken messages of lives who embrace the Gospel which speak the loudest to my heart, and again it is the quiet example of the Vincentians living their commitment to Christ that reaches into the depths of my heart. So, it is with great joy that I commend the members of the Society to the care and prayers of our community as they recommit themselves to their ministry by celebrating the feast of St. Vincent de Paul on September 27.
Finally, I encourage you to be watching for a soon-to-be coming email from me regarding the possibility of a partial reopening of our parish to limited in-person celebrations of the Mass. Reopening is a rather long, involved process which requires the submission of a written protocol to the Bishop, and the protocol cannot be implemented until it is certified by our Bishop and/or his representative. There are numerous restrictions regarding the partial reopening of a parish, but once I receive the certification, I will immediately be in communication with you to let you know when this is to take place as well as what the limitations must be. This will be a small first step which must be taken with great caution for the good of all, but at least it will indicate progress! Please continue to be patient as I try to move us forward.
Please accept just these few lines for today. I continue to be so very thankful for all of you, and I entreat your ongoing prayers on my behalf.
With gratitude for the fellowship which we share in Christ,