Source & Summit
Since today is a federal holiday, the parish office is closed. The church will be open for private prayer from 2-4 PM and 6-7 PM. I'll be available for confession in the parish hall.
The freezing rain prompted many people to stay home this weekend. We had 214 people in church, a new low. It looks like the weather will be interesting a little bit longer. I'm looking forward to slightly warmer temperatures next week.
Ash Wednesday on 2/17
We will have Masses at 8 AM, 10 AM, 12 PM, and 2 PM. Ashes will be distributed using Q-tips at the end of Mass both inside and outside the church. Our Religious Education children will receive ashes during class in the evening.
Unfortunately, I don't see a safe and practical way to provide ashes for those at home or in nursing homes. Neither are we prepared to accommodate those who make unusual requests.
I'm sure that neighboring parishes will have evening Masses. It just so happens that our Religious Education children meet on Wednesdays.
Pandemic Winding Down
As far as I can tell, the pandemic is slowly winding down. I'm seeing a variety of responses. Many continue to be very careful and stay at home all the time. Others act as if the pandemic is already over. I'm trying to navigate a prudent course down the middle. I hope that we'll be back to something like normal in September. Until then, I would like to see us gradually move toward normalcy. That means, we'll continue to fraternally correct the imprudent and gently encourage the timid. I don't know when the rules for wearing masks and households staying six feet a part will be relaxed.
Source and Summit of Our Faith
The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. Our primary mission has been to make the Mass available during this pandemic. Many people have been unable to receive Holy Communion. Before the lockdown, we had Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) visit the homebound. Perhaps we could restart with some volunteers. That is, if both a homebound person and an EMHC have been vaccinated (or already had the coronavirus) and are willing to take the risk, then the EMHC could make a short visit to bring Holy Communion to the homebound. If any EMHCs or homebound persons have immunity from the coronavirus and are willing to take the risk, then contact Joe Pittarelli. We don't have to restart just yet, but I see the day coming sometime in the next couple months.
When Mass attendance increases I would like the help of two EMHCs at each Mass. Currently, we're only using EMHCs under 60. For those over 60 who have immunity and fast reflexes, then contact me or Joe. The fast reflexes are needed in order to avoid contact when distributing Holy Communion.
If someone new would like to become an EMHC, then contact Joe.
I'll write again tomorrow with some Lenten information.
God love you,
Fr. Jim O'Neill
on Monday, February 15 at 12:58PM