This weekend brings much in a sense of relief, as we begin the slow path of returning to a more normal practice of our faith. For many of us, both priests and lay people, this has been a long road, and we have experienced a Lent we all pray is unique, and we will never have another one like that in our lives. However, this does not mean that it was a time that lacked fruit. Any experience God grants, with a right intention, can help us grow in our relationship with God; and through a deeper relationship with God our human relationships in our families, at work, in school or any other event can grow stronger as well.
How do we form this intention? It has to begin in prayer. This is the one thing we hopefully never gave up, even when we could not receive the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Penance. Prayer forms us as disciples, and is the foundation of a sacramental life, for we receive the other sacraments through a form of public worship. Coming to Mass, attending a baptism or wedding, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Anointing; these are all done within the context of prayer. Normally it is a liturgical prayer, but this liturgical prayer should lead to a personal prayer, which then leads back to other liturgical prayers, forming a vortex of prayer that takes us deeper into the center of prayer, the center of our lives, a relationship with the Living and True God.
As we enter into this first weekend, there are some things we need to recall:
- The Virus has not run its course. According to most estimates, it will be a part of our lives for a long time, much like the common cold or flu.
- The dispensation for Sunday Mass remains in effect; for those in high risk categories or caring for one in such a group, for those with symptoms of the cold or flu, please refrain from attending the public Mass.
- We will practice social distancing, limiting our attendance at Sunday Mass, funerals and weddings to 25% of church capacity, for us around 100 persons.
- There are many directives we have received from the Diocese. Please be understanding as we move forward.
- One of the above directives is to remove all Missalettes from the pews, as well as other worship aids. Masses will be more simple and familiar in choices of music and hymns.
- Communion in the hand only: this is how I will be offering Communion. Please know this is temporary until a fuller sense of normalcy returns.
- Online signups will remain for a time as well. An individual may not be able to sign up every week, but I hope that you will be able to sign up at least every other week. If you are able to sign up in a particular week, please refrain from signing up again until late the following week in order to give everyone a chance to attend if they desire.
Come, Holy Spirit... Fill us with the Fire of Your Love, and Renew the Face of the Earth.