Mid-week From the Pastor’s Corner
by Fr. Jim Murphy
With news changing hourly with the Coronavirus Pandemic, I am writing a 2nd “Pastor’s Corner” this week in the hopes of combating the separation we all feel from the people who are important to us – especially our parish. And so in the hopes of keeping us connected with each other, here is edition #2 of “Mid-Week From the Pastor’s Corner.”
Thank you to all who were able to join us for our live-streamed Masses last weekend at 10:00 am English and 11:30 am Spanish. So many who weren’t able to be with us live checked in later in the day to join us in prayer. Your feedback and thoughts were greatly appreciated. And now some good news ….
Last Friday we received guidelines from Bishop Pates, our Apostolic Administrator for the celebration of Palm Sunday, the Easter Triduum and Easter Sunday. We will again live stream Masses on our Facebook page from our St. Isidore Church on Palm Sunday at 10:00 am English and 11:30 am Spanish. The recording will be available later in the day on our website. Mass will be simplified somewhat as we omit the opening Gospel of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the entrance procession with palms. But we will have a Blessing of Palms at each Mass on Sunday and then make them available on a Sunday when we can all gather in person together. Our supply of palms has arrived and is being stored in the milk cooler in the lower level of the Chapel (we do what we need to do). Sunday’s Mass includes the reading of the Passion according to St. Matthew – which will be done by the Deacon without additional readers. Please join us as we celebrate Palm/Passion Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week.
We will also be celebrating the major liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Again, Bishop Pates has directed that we make some adjustments.
On Holy Thursday, the traditional Washing of Feet and Procession with the Eucharist to an altar of repose have been eliminated. We are looking for ways to provide an alternative to our quiet prayer time after the Holy Thursday Mass and will have news of that next week. As we are permitted to celebrate only one Mass on Holy Thursday night, our St. Isidore Mass will be bi-lingual with Father Juan José presiding. Please join us at 7:00 pm for our Facebook live stream (with recording available for viewing later on our website).
On Good Friday we will have a single celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 7:00 pm in English. Again some adjustments will need to be made. The reading of the Passion according to St. John will be proclaimed by the deacon alone. Additional prayers will be added to the intentions during the formal Prayer of the Faithful to include those suffering from the Coronavirus and for the well-being of our first responders, health care personnel and essential workers. We will not be able to do our usual Adoration of the Cross with each of us approaching the Cross, but will provide adequate time for us to honor the Cross from our homes. Father Rey will lead us in our Good Friday prayer. Please join us for our live stream on Facebook at 7:00 pm (with recording available for viewing later on our website). Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer our traditional “Seven Last Words” service nor a live Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.
Holy Saturday & Easter Vigil
Our prayer on Holy Saturday will also see some adjustments. We will not be able to offer our traditional Blessing of Easter Foods. And our Easter Vigil will also be modified. The introductory rites will be simplified as the Easter Fire outdoors will be eliminated. We will begin with the blessing of the Easter Candle and the “Exsultet” – the Easter proclamation. We will have additional Scripture readings as in years past, but the Baptism of the Elect will be celebrated on a Sunday once we all return. Since the Easter Vigil cannot begin until after sunset, please join us on our live stream at 8:00 pm (with recording available for viewing later on our website).
Easter Sunday Masses will be celebrated via a live stream on our Facebook page at 10:00 am in English and 11:30 am in Spanish (with recording available for viewing later on our website).
Our parish Director of Music, Dr. Anne Sinclair, will be providing music for our Palm/Passion Sunday, Easter Triduum and Easter Sunday celebrations. Unfortunately, “social distancing” does not allow our choir to be with us in person. Please sing from home!
We are looking to find ways to offer additional opportunities for personal prayer during these final days of Lent.
Our current plan is to offer a live stream of the Stations of the Cross on ourFacebook page at 3:00 pm this Friday, April 3rd – first in English and then in Spanish. These services will also be able to be prayed at anytime after the live feed. We will also provide an initial live stream on Friday for a Holy Hour from our Adoration Chapel. That prayer time can also be accessed any time later for your personal prayer at our website.
Additional opportunities for our personal prayer that I wrote about last week continue to be available.
(we are currently in Week 1 of the Psalms)
For many of us, the familiar and repetitive prayers calm our heart and soul. If you have been part of the many groups that pray the Rosary at our parish, pray for those who were a part of your group.
These are all offered in an attempt to help us keep connected to our parish and larger church community through our prayer.
The Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet will also be live-streaming the services of Holy Week – Passion/Palm Sunday at 10:00 am, Holy Thursday at 5:00 pm, Good Friday at 3:00 pm, the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday at 8:00 pm and Easter Sunday at 10:00 am. Each service can be viewed on the diocesan YouTube channel HERE
As I wrote last week, an important way to step outside of ourselves is to pray for those who serve us in so many ways – first responders (EMT’s, police officers and fire fighters), health care workers (doctors, nurses, hospital staff, Immediate Care Centers staff), essential service workers, grocery store staff, restaurants who provide carry-out services, mail carriers, delivery drivers, gas station attendants and many more.
Finally, we received a directive from Bishop Pates last week in which he recognized that without our regular Sunday Masses and Sunday Offertory collections, many of our parishes are facing difficult times. Like you, household bills still need to paid. Parish and school staffs are counting on their pay checks to make ends meet at home. As parish income has dwindled throughout our diocese, Bishop Pates has directed that all salaries of full-time employees be reduced by 1/3 across the diocese – including all priests as well as himself. This takes effect today, April 1st. This reduction does not apply to teachers in our schools. If you are able to make your regular Sunday Offertory donation, please do so by mailing it to the parish. Consider on-line giving if you are not already doing so. With recent extensions of the “stay-at-home-order” through April, your generosity is deeply appreciated.
You can choose a one-time gift for each of your regular Sunday and your Easter offerings,
or for your Sunday Offertory gift, choose to commit to an ongoing automatic gift.
Let us continue to pray for each other. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.