FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “We need to avoid the spiritual sickness of a church that is wrapped up in its own world: when a church becomes like this, it grows sick.”
We had been warned that the Coronavirus was spreading and would reach our country, but who among us imagined its effects would be so wide-spread. Having our schools shut down for three weeks (or more)? And Religious Education and Youth Ministry activities suspended as well? Having the Bishop cancel weekend Mass at each of our parishes in the Diocese? That has not happened before – not even when the terrorist attack of 9/11 hit us. All sporting events cancelled – including March Madness, the NBA, the NHL, and Spring Training? And now as I write this, all restaurants and bars are shutting down for at least two weeks. Our parish schedule and ministries have literally been closed down. Hopefully these added precautions will stem the spread of the Coronavirus and lead to its demise.
Last Monday evening we received a message from our Apostolic Administrator Bishop Richard Pates permitting weekday Masses with an attendance of 50 or less (CDC standards), and cancelling all larger Sunday Masses. Our parish has a “Crisis Management Plan,” that was last up-dated in July 2019. Part of that plan calls for a “Crisis Management Leadership Team” to come together in the event of a crisis. After several phone calls last Monday, I called the team together on Tuesday morning and have held regular meetings to review urgent issues, share recent developments from the Diocese and local and national agencies, and coordinate communication with the parish and larger groups.
Last Monday, our St. Isidore Catholic Grade School principal, Mrs. Corie Alimento, shared some valuable insights with our school parents and guardians. It has not been easy navigating the national COVID-19 crisis. The situation changes on a daily, if not hourly, basis. As we strive to take the right steps in our actions (including e-learning for our school), it is important to remember that this is new territory for all of us, including our children. She wrote, “Even though today’s students are digital natives, they thrive on routine. This is difficult for them. There will be bumps in the road, so let’s make sure we take time to breathe and take care of ourselves and our families. Balance is critical – now more than ever.” Thank you, Corie!
I received a copy of a “Prayer for a Pandemic” from a friend. It came in the midst of the closings and cancellations. I posted it on my Facebook page and saw that it was shared by many. I offer it here for our consideration:
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose between
preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for
our children when their schools close
remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money
in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us chose love.
During this time when we cannot physically
wrap our arms around each other,
yet find ways to be the loving embrace
of God to our neighbors. Amen.
As Lent progresses, let us continue to pray for and support each other in our Lenten practices. Know that your priests pray for you each day. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy