In these days of COVID, we hear of clusters of infection breaking out. These are outbreaks that occur with people who are in close proximity to each other. Clusters of outbreaks happen not only with infectious diseases. This kind of outbreak is also the way that holiness spreads! I am hoping for a pandemic of holiness in our parish!
Let's talk about the contagion of holiness. There was, for example, an outbreak of holiness in Lima at the time of Saint Rose. The bishop who confirmed her is a canonized saint. He must have been a "super spreader" because there are several other canonized saints from the same time in Lima. St Bernard of Clairvaux, whom we celebrated last week, came from a family infected with holiness, and then he also became a superspreader. When he would go to preach in a town, the mothers would lock up their sons because they all would go off to join the monastery after hearing St. Bernard!READ MORE
Our parish offices are now generally open as the staff has gradually returned to inperson work from working from home. Because of the cramped conditions of the reception area of the parish offices, we have established a new reception area at the entrance to the meeting room wing behind the church. When you enter the building, there is a reception area with glass doors in front of you before you enter the hallway. At those doors, there is a call button that you can push to alert the staff of your presence. The staff will be able to see you and to communicate with you about how to serve your needs at the office. This will provide a safer environment for staff and for visitors. It will also take a little getting used to! A drop box remains at the front of the parish office, but otherwise we will no longer use the front door of that building as an entrance. Instead, we will use the entrance to the meeting room wing behind the church as our new reception area.READ MORE
I am happy to report that more people seem to be coming to Mass each week little by little. I am glad that those who are coming feel comfortable and safe with the precautions we are taking. Of course, there is still risk in gathering so please judge prudently whether you should come to Mass or not. The dispensation is in force until the end of year.
I appreciate very much the collaborative spirit of those coming to Mass. I know that the precautions are a distraction, but please persevere in them.
Since we are having more people coming to Mass, it is even more important that you take the time to sign up for the Mass you plan to attend. This way we do not have concerns about crowding.READ MORE
The Church at Saint Rose remained open for prayer and for Confessions throughout the suspension of public Masses, and we added Adoration back as well. When the bishop allowed, we began the celebration of public Masses with more frequent Mass times on the weekends. Gradually, more people seem to be comfortable coming to Mass. The worship of God is the most important thing we do. It comes first.
Our Food Pantry has been operational in some capacity throughout the pandemic. We were also able to restart the Bridge Ministry and other outreach opportunities. It is important to keep helping those in need in the community and in the parish, especially in these very difficult times.
Now we begin the reopening of school, followed by PSR. This will be the next phase. Youth activities and RCIA will also be beginning soon, if all goes well. As we settle into these routines, other groups will be able to consider starting in person gatherings again. At each step we want to make sure that we are on sure footing before taking the next step. Thank you for your patience as we begin again our life together in the parish.READ MORE
It is understandable and reasonable that we have many fewer people at Mass these days. And yet, the Third Commandment is still the Word of God. Even though we do not have an obligation to attend Mass during this period covered by the bishop's dispensation, we do still need to keep holy the sabbath. We will need to be intentional about this, especially in families. Here are some helpful words from St. Pope John Paul II, from his Apostolic Letter Dies Domini -- The Day of the Lord:
"Sunday is a day which is at the very heart of the Christian life. From the beginning of my Pontificate, I have not ceased to repeat: "Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!" In the same way, today I would strongly urge everyone to rediscover Sunday: Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ! Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that he may cast light upon it and give it direction. He is the One who knows the secret of time and the secret of eternity, and he gives us "his day" as an ever new gift of his love. The rediscovery of this day is a grace which we must implore, not only so that we may live the demands of faith to the full, but also so that we may respond concretely to the deepest human yearnings. Time given to Christ is never time lost, but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human."READ MORE