Mid-Week From the Pastor’s Corner
by Fr. Jim Murphy
In the hopes of combating the separation we all feel from the people who are important to us – especially our parish, I am providing another “Mid-Week From the Pastor’s Corner” column. And so, to keep us connected with each other, here is edition #6 of the “Mid-Week Column.”
We have been live-streaming our Sunday Masses at 10:00 am English and 11:30 am Spanish for five weeks now. Somewhere during that time we were talking about the e-learning taking place with our Grade School students. Since we regularly celebrate a school Mass each week on Wednesdays at 8:15 am, I wondered if we should consider live-streaming a few school Masses on Wednesdays. And so it happened – I celebrated our first shelter-at-home era school Mass this morning. Even though it was live-streamed with only seven people in the church, it was our first school Mass since March 11th. And it came at the right time during our celebration of the Easter season. Last Friday we began reading from John’s Gospel, Chapter 6 – the great Bread of Life discourse. It began with Jesus feeding the crowd of five thousand men (plus women and children) with five barley loaves and two fish. Once their hunger had been satisfied, Jesus begins the Bread of Life discourse. Today we heard the central core of his teaching: “I am the bread of life; whoever come to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst” (John 6:35). The timing of this Gospel struck me on two counts. First, we were hearing this with the Grade School community at a live-streamed Mass in which they were unable to receive the Eucharist. And second, this Saturday was the day that was scheduled for the second grade class to make their First Communion. Even though I can still receive the Eucharist daily when I celebrate our individual Masses, the majority of us are unable to receive the Eucharist during this time of shelter-at-home. We have lost a precious gift that was the core of our faith.
Bishop Robert Barron helped us appreciate this tremendous gift when he recently wrote: “The ultimate means by which we understand Jesus Christ is not the Scriptures but the Eucharist, for the Eucharist is Christ himself, personally and actively present. The embodiment of the Paschal Mystery, the Eucharist is Jesus’ love for the world unto death, his journey into godforsakenness in order to save the most desperate of sinners, his heart broken open in compassion.” We are totally joined to the Risen Christ through our reception of the Eucharist – and for the time being, we have lost that gift! One of the moms joining us for Mass this morning shared a thought, “Both of my boys miss communion. My youngest just said ‘My soul is hungry.’” Out of the mouths of babes …. And so like the Israelites in exile, we yearn for the time when we can gather together again as a community and be nourished with the Lord himself, the Bread of Life. Our souls are hungry! We pray for that time to come soon to us. And we also pray for our 2nd graders who were scheduled to make their First Communions last Saturday and this Saturday.
With the shelter-at-home restrictions extended now until May 31st, our spring sacramental celebrations have been postponed until a later date. First Communion celebrations were scheduled to take place last Saturday and this Saturday. Confirmation was scheduled to be celebrated on May 30th. We will re-schedule our First Communion Masses once we have an idea of when we can gather again. The diocese will let us know when the Bishop is able to join us for Confirmation – most likely in the Fall.
We were very sorry last Sunday to hear the news of the death of Father Peter Jarosz (1962-2020). He served as a Parochial Vicar at our parish from 1999-2002. Yesterday we received news of his funeral arrangements. The Mass of Christian Burial for Father Peter will be on Friday, May 1st at 10:00am at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet. Since only a small number of family will be permitted in the cathedral, it will be live-streamed HERE. We remember him in prayer, as well as his family and the people of St. Ann’s Parish in Channahon.
In closing, I’d like to make a simple request. In providing our live-streamed Masses, we are hoping to provide an opportunity for prayer while we are unable to be in our church building. Please remember that we are gathering for prayer. At times we can forget and treat our live-stream Mass like a chat room. Comments or typed responses are not necessary – only the joining of our hearts and voices is needed.
Please see my regular column this Sunday in our bulletin. It contains additional news of our Mother’s Day May Crowning and “Renewal of our Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary” and an up-date on the opening of our Centennial Year celebration, the 100th Anniversary of the founding of our parish.
Please stay healthy and keep safe. God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, CA and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops shares this prayer with the nation:
Prayer during a Pandemic
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas, we fly to you today as your beloved children. We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother, and gain for our nation and world, and for all our families and loved ones, the protection of your holy angels, that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted, we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing, teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind. Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence, knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother, health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection, keep us in the embrace of your arms, help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus.