Dear fellow parishioners,
As the Chinese say, "It is a curse to live in memorable times."These days are definitely memorable, as well as unprecedented in our lifetime. We are a church that respects life, and in order to protect human lives, we are prompted to take some drastic measures.As you may know, Bishop Dewane has discontinued all masses until after Easter. As a result, Catholics within our diocese have no obligation to attend mass physically until after Easter.However, we are obliged to attend mass remotely, either by watching it on television, or by attending the masses that will be live-streamed from our church on the internet. These will be available for viewing on our website and Facebook page. For those of you who arranged for a mass for a loved one, these intentions will be honored in private masses celebrated by priests without a congregation.Both the church and the office chapel are closed.
Although the office will be open, we urge you to contact us by phone, rather than coming into the office physically. Some of our staff will be working from home. In addition, no confessions will be heard in the church. As you know, venial sins need not be confessed. A simple act of contrition remits venial sin. If, however, you are truly in need of confession, you may contact the office to arrange an appointment for confession in the office parking lot. In addition, priests will be stationed in the church parking lot on Saturday mornings at 10:00.Simply drive up to the priest, but do not leave your car. Confess your sins to the priest through the car window. Only one person should be in the car. If you have not committed a mortal sin, please consider refraining from going to confession, since the whole point of these precautions is to limit contact between people. Baptisms will only take place if the person to be baptized is in danger of death. Funerals may take place, but only with immediate family present. Those who lose a loved one may prefer to delay the funeral until these precautions have elapsed. The sacrament of the sick will only be administered in cases of dire emergency. Please be patient with these new precautions.St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that “Grace builds upon nature.” In other words, we must do our very best to quell this pandemic, and then God will add his grace to our best efforts. We have to do our very best as we invoke God’s aid.
They say that "absence makes the heart grow fonder." May this time of absence make us all the more hungry and devoted to our Eucharistic Lord.Although we are apart, may we as a community grow into a fresh respect and appreciation for each other.Although we are separated physically for a time, we all share in the same Holy Spirit, and we have been knitted together into Christ's mystical body. And let us remember that even in our isolation, God is very much with us.As we read in the letter to the Romans, "What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?...No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things,nor future things, nor powers,nor height, nor depth,nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Let us devote these days to prayer for those we love, for the Church, and for all the sick.