My Dear Parish Family:
What a Holy Week we just celebrated! This was the first Holy Week we celebrated together in two years because of Covid, and boy did we celebrate! Every liturgy, every song, every word that was prayed was said with such fervor that you could feel the church shake as the Easter Proclamation says. I can’t thank all of liturgical ministers enough for all their hard work. Our music ministry excelled. Our lectors and Ministers of Communion were always present. Our altar servers were so reverent. And our ushers, who had to navigate seating people socially distant and manage big crowds, did an exceptional job under such difficult pressure. At our 10:30am Mass on Easter Sunday, we had to celebrate that Mass in three locales: in the church and in both floors of Comber Hall! Thank you to all our parishioners for your patience and understanding as we dealt with so many visitors who felt so welcomed in our parish. And finally, thank you to all the behind-the-scenes workers who go unseen who decorated our church, prepared the liturgies and did so many little things that go unnoticed. I would be remise if I didn’t thank all of you for your generosity in your Easter gifts, but above all, I want to thank you for your presence. Having you here in our church healed so many wounds from being absent for Easter last year. Your priests felt your joy, and we pray that joy lasts throughout this Easter and beyond.
Now we look forward to what the experience of the resurrection is calling us to do as a parish. The message of the Risen Jesus must be shared to draw other to Him. Last Sunday at some of our Masses, I made the big announcement that our ministries would be returning to the parish for the first time in over a year starting on April 19. Some ministries have been faithfully meeting over Zoom but it isn’t the same as meeting in person. More details on where and how our ministries will meet will be forthcoming as well as the protocols we need to follow to stay safe. I also announced last week that Adoration will return to St. Joseph Chapel in our Parish Center on April 19 as well. The chapel will be open during our office hours and the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed during those 8 hours. We need to return to Adoration! It was a big pastoral point of emphasis that I was making early last year before the pandemic hit. My hope is by year’s end that we can get to 24/7 Perpetual Adoration. We can do this!
Finally, today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. We entrust ourselves to the mercy of our Lord so that we may accomplish the many ministerial goals we have as a parish. Some goals may sound ambitious, but we look to the Divine Mercy image and see those beautiful words: “Jesus, I Trust In You.”
We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and as a parish we must be ready to meet the pastoral challenges of a Post-Covid world. We must take Christ and his mercy to all, and it begins with you and with me. As I said in one my homilies during Holy Week, we can’t be spectators when it comes to our faith. Faith in Christ requires us to be active participants in the life of our parish. And we’re just getting warmed up!