I Miss Celebrating the Sacraments

A Note from Fr. Tom

Dear fellow Parishioners:

We started Lent with St. Columbkille parish “entering the desert” and St. Joseph the Worker “seeking clarity in all the voices” of the season. On Ash Wednesday, who would have guessed that the desert would be parching for the scarcity of Sacramental refreshment, and among the loudest voices heard would be “don’t gather for the Eucharist!” I’d have bet the farm such would not be the case!

But here we are in this unfamiliar and worrisome landscape! Yet, as with everything humans experience that involves, fear, separation or death, we know that Christ has been here before us. He is here with us even without the easily accessed oasis, the soothing voice, of His Sacramental presence. In these first days of no public celebration of the Eucharist, I wanted to share a few thoughts about this time.

New for All of Us

First is that this is a new experience for all of us—your priests too! As these days unfold, we intend to share further reflections (on no particular schedule) drawn from events, the day’s Scriptures or news of what is going on. We invite you to check our parishes’ websites or Facebook pages from time to time.

Why is Eucharist Unavailable?

So, why is the Eucharist unavailable to the homebound, or those who stop by the churches? Our duty is to be partners with the civil authorities charged with minimizing the seriousness of a very serious situation. To best “love one’s neighbor as oneself” we must not make our churches, staff or lay ministers into points of contact for people that increases likelihood we are spreading this disease. COVID-19 is a shared threat and so we need to share in the sacrifices that will help overcome it.

What About Reconciliation?

The same is true for offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Grace of this Sacrament is a powerful source of healing, peace and renewal from our sins. It needs to be available, but it can also become a point of shared space and communicated virus. We will do all we can to minimize that by utilizing the cry room areas of our churches, screens between us, and frequent cleaning of the space. Call the parish office for brief, individual appointment times. However, now is not the time for a devotional (every week or two weeks) celebration of the Sacrament.

What if a Loved One is Close to Death?

Rest assured, for those in danger of death, we will readily go to minister the Sacraments of Anointing of the Sick, Eucharist as Viaticum, and Reconciliation. Even in those situations, we must abide by the visitation requirements of those in charge of patient care.

We Need Prayer!

This IS a serious disease situation! We do need to turn to God as prayerful, humble partners seeking His help to overcome this illness—so PRAY!

Faith-Building Resources

The isolation this forces upon many is a common desert experience. It quiets many demanding voices. No longer pulled in so many directions, individuals and whole households can use this time of simplified schedules to pray and learn how to find Jesus with us. Please explore the multitude of faith-building resources for every age offered on our websites. They are free for now. We hope after you have learned from them, you can help us decide what to continue offering long after COVID-19 is but a memory.

We hope in using them, families will understand better what our hearts are now telling us: receiving the Sacraments of Christ’s presence matters! They nurture us in knowing we are never alone even when separated from life or loved ones! May this Lent of forced abstinence renew our desire to splurge in God’s clear and present love offered so generously in the Sacramental life of our churches—once we can gather there for the Eucharist again!  May God make that day soon!

Fr. Tom, Fr. David & Fr. Paul

A Moment to Ponder“A Moment to Ponder” is a faith blog written by members of our Parish Staff and posted under the Adult Faith Formation tab on theworker.org.

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