FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “If we are to know the Lord, we must go to him. Listen to him in silence before the tabernacle and approach him in the sacraments.”
On this first weekend in September, this Labor Day holiday weekend, we celebrate the 23rd Sunday in the season of the Ordinary Time of the Year. In our Gospel reading this weekend, we reach a turning point in the Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus is now making his way to Jerusalem where he will ultimately face his death. His days are limited. Time is short. From here on out, he speaks about the most important things on his mind and in his heart. For this weekend … his disciples must be peacemakers and freely share the gift of forgiveness that they have freely received! The community of his disciples (the church) must be a home that all feel free to seek out.
Labor Day is filled with many different memories and meanings. For many of us it signals the end of summer and all that is associated with summer. It is the time for the last fling outdoors. It is a time for a BBQ with family and friends. It is the weekend the summer home is closed. It is the weekend the boat is pulled out of the water and placed in storage. It is the time for moving from one season of the year to another. The holiday itself, “Labor Day,” gives us a chance to take a day off from work and reflect on the meaning of labor.
This weekend we pause to thank God for the ways in which we participate in the act of creation through significant and fruitful work. And we pray for those who are looking for work at this time – especially those who have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As is our custom on civil holidays, we will celebrate a single Mass on Monday at 9:00am in the Church. Our parish offices will be closed in observance of the Labor Day holiday.
I suspect that we all remember, and will probably always remember, exactly where we were and what we were doing on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Friday we observe the 19th anniversary of the Terrorist Attacks on our country. A common reaction at that time was that everyone had to really ask themselves what was most important in life. The normal things that we get so excited about were all cast aside. Again this year, the news coverage of this anniversary gives us ample opportunity to reflect on the many ways the events of this day have changed us. Our individual experiences these past nineteen years have been varied. For myself, I believe that we have become much more aware of how fragile human life really is. Despite our efforts to control the circumstances around us, none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. The invitation that comes in remembering 9-11 is to not take anything for granted and to intentionally celebrate the gift of today. We need to do the things we need to do and to say the things we need to say now, today, so that there are no regrets tomorrow. Without a doubt, people are far more important than things.
Our experiences over the past several months with the COVID-19 pandemic have also taught us to appreciate the truly important moments and things in our lives. So many of the losses that we have experienced were really the loss of the relationships associated with the events that were postponed or cancelled. We missed being with the people who are an important part of the fabric of our lives. On the other hand, our pandemic experiences have also helped us to appreciate a group of people that we easily take for granted – especially our first responders and healthcare workers. Last April we celebrated a “White Mass” honoring our healthcare workers. Next Sunday, our Father John Guinery Knights of Columbus Council will host our annual “Blue Mass” honoring our first responders. This will take place at the 10:00am Mass next Sunday, September 13th. Local police, firefighters, Sheriff’s deputies, Emergency Medical Technicians and rescue workers of all faiths are invited to join us for this Mass and will have a place reserved for them. The “Blue Mass” takes its name from the blue uniforms worn by police, fire and emergency services personnel. It is very appropriate that we honor our local first responder heroes as we commemorate the 9/11 anniversary this Friday. Local police and fire departments have been individually invited. All first responders serving in departments in the larger area are most welcome to attend.
Thank you to all who have been maintaining their parish stewardship commitments during this difficult time. As we are not permitted to pass the collection basket during Mass, we have baskets available at both the entrance and the exit of the church. For a number of people, electronic giving is a good way to continue supporting our parish. Others have dropped off their Offertory envelope at the parish office. Thank you to all who are trying “to catch up” for the Sundays we were unable to gather in person. We are currently operating with a reduced staff on a reduced budget and have eliminated any unnecessary spending. As our bills continue to come in, we are finding that our weekly income isn’t covering our expenses. Please join me in doing our best to continue to be faithful stewardship of our parish. If you are not enrolled in our online giving program, please consider taking this step.
Please see our weekly bulletin posted on the parish website for additional news, the additional notices with this mid-week Flocknote and other notices on our parish Facebook page. We try to use as many social media vehicles as possible to keep everyone up-to-date with all that is happening here. Enjoy the holiday weekend. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy