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.”
It doesn’t seem possible that we are already observing the Fourth Sunday of Lent today. We are now past the half way point of this season. During these middle weeks of Lent, we continue to focus our attention on the ways God helps us to respond to the call to be disciples of the Lord Jesus and the call to conversion. The main image in the Scripture readings of this week is the image of light. We are called to see as God sees. As we heard in today’s Gospel, God’s desire is that we all experience life and salvation in his Son. We were made for life and God sent his Son among us so that we might live in his light and to bring us to eternal life. God sent his son Jesus into our world to be a light that leads us to the Father. We pray for the grace to see ourselves and our world as God sees us.
It was on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 that the COVID-19 virus was declared a pandemic. Following that we faced the closure of our restaurants, work places, schools and churches. Everything came to a halt. At that time, we had no idea what we were dealing with or what lay ahead. Last Wednesday, in the Mid-Week Pastor’s Corner, I reflected on the many losses we faced and what we did to move forward. Most important, I pointed out that our faithful God stood by us though every moment. All that we were able to accomplish was through God’s guidance. God has brought us to the point where we are today and will continue to direct us in our “new normal.” As we remember this first anniversary of the COVID pandemic, it is important to remember that with each of the obstacles we had to overcome, we did not face them alone. God stood by us.
As we prepare to renew our Baptism commitment at Easter, Lent is an ideal time to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Regular times for this sacrament are on Saturdays following the 8:15am daily Mass until 10:00am. Additional times during Lent are on the Fridays of Lent following the 7:00am Mass (7:30-8:30am). Since we are unable to hold our regular Lent Reconciliation Service, additional times have been scheduled for Monday, March 22nd (7:00-8:30pm), Wednesday, March 24th (3:00-5:00pm), and during Holy Week on Tuesday, March 30th (3:00-5:00pm) and Wednesday, April 1st (7:00-9:00pm).
This weekend, we have the opportunity to join with Catholic parishes throughout our diocese in responding to the annual Catholic Relief Services Collection. Funds raised through this annual collection go directly to Catholic Relief Services and are used to make an immediate response to natural disasters as they occur throughout the world. Envelopes for this collection were included in the packets mailed to our homes for those receiving envelopes. Additional contributions may be made through our parish web site. Thank you for your generous response to this annual appeal.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day on Wednesday to all who celebrate St. Patrick! Happy St. Joseph’s Day on Friday to all who celebrate St. Joseph! Since the Solemnity of St. Joseph falls on a Friday in Lent this year, the normal obligation to abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent does not apply. And closing out this week we have the beginning of spring with the spring equinox on Saturday at 4:37am CDT. Life is returning to the earth.
During this Year of St. Joseph, we have been gifted with a statue of St. Joseph for our church. Since Friday is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I will bless the new statue of St. Joseph at the 7:00am daily Mass on his feast day. While the COVID pandemic prevents us from holding our traditional St. Joseph’s Table this year, we are able to honor the Year of St. Joseph with the addition of this statue in our church.
I received this “Prayer for a Pandemic” from a friend a year ago. As we mark this anniversary, I offer it again 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.
Please see our weekly bulletin posted on the parish website for additional news, the additional notices posted on 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. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy