FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “Discernment seeks a glimpse of that unique and mysterious plan that God has for each of us, which takes shape amid so many varied situations and limitations. It involves more than my temporal well-being, my satisfaction at having accomplished something useful, or even my desire for peace of mind.”
I usually write my weekly Pastor’s Corner column on the Monday afternoon/evening of the week prior to the Sunday it is published. My article is already formatted and final deadline is Tuesday morning. The good news is that as I write this on Monday evening, we submitted our paper work to be certified by the Diocese to re-open for weekend Masses and received that certification this morning. Specific plans at this moment are to meet with our Re-Opening Committee and volunteers Tuesday evening and begin training for next weekend.
We have already determined some of the logistics such as the floor plan for the church (marked which rows are open and which are closed), where the check-in station will be, marked the aisles for the 6-foot social distancing and picked up initial supplies of extra face masks and hand sanitizer that we will need, mapped out some new communion stations as well as the directional flow for the aisles leading to and from communion. Since our main aisle is just 6 feet wide, we need to allow only one single line for communion there.
Lot’s of details to attend to, but we have already addressed a number of them. With the elimination of every other row for seating and allowing the mandated 6-foot social distancing between individuals, couples or families, seating in our church is reduced from the normal 1000 seats to 200 seats. We already have a computer program for people to make on-line reservations for each Mass or to call in to the parish office for reservations for those who do not have internet access. The training session on Tuesday evening will be critical to help these new restrictions come together as best as possible. Lectors and Eucharistic ministers will gather for training on Thursday evening.
As of right now, we intend to take things slow and are planning on opening Sunday, June 14th with Masses at 11:00am and 1:00pm (Spanish). We hope to hold our new full schedule of Masses – 5:00pm Saturday, 7:00am, 9:00am, 11:00am and 1:00pm (Spanish) – the following weekend, June 21st. As we saw with some parishes last weekend, initial plans to re-open could run into major snags without warning. A lot depends on the number of volunteers we have to staff the check-in station and the greeters to seat people for each Mass. Much more information will be coming out by the time you read this. We ask for your continued good will and patience as we seek to cover all of our bases as best we can. Without a doubt, this is brand new territory for all of us. We pray God bless our efforts to return to the full sacramental life of our parish.
Today we celebrate the feast of “The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.” Now that we have completed the Lent/ Easter cycle of our church year, we celebrate two additional Solemnities of the Lord before we return to the steady cycle of Sundays in Ordinary Time. Last Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Trinity. Now we celebrate the second of our two special feasts – “The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ” (traditionally known as “Corpus Christi”). Apart from the dark themes of Holy Thursday night, we are able to celebrate and appreciate the tremendous gift of Christ’s presence among us through the gift of the Eucharist. Next Sunday we resume our Sunday celebrations in Ordinary Time, returning to the season at the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We will be in this “green season” of the Church Year from then until November 29th, the First Sunday of Advent.
As we mark the 100th anniversary of our parish this year (founded on March 5, 1920), that also means 99 years of continued Eucharistic presence of the Lord on our parish campus. From the time the first Mass was celebrated in our church (now chapel) on March 27, 1921, the presence of the Lord has remained on our campus through the Eucharist. Until we can work out the details for re-opening our Perpetual Adoration Chapel, we will continue our practice of Adoration from the southwest parking lot near the chapel. One of the good things that happened over these past several weeks was making Adoration possible from the library window of the school to our parking lot. Being able to be with the Lord has meant much to many people.
While Memorial Day traditionally signals the beginning of summer, the official beginning of summer takes place next Saturday, June 20th at 4:43pm CDT. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. Remember back to the winter when it was dark at 4:30pm? It is time to savor God’s gift of light and the gift of the summer.
Many other things are taking place in our parish. Please check the weekly emailed Flocknotes and other notices posted on our parish Facebook page and website. As always, I pray that God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy