My Dear Friends,
It was so great to return to the parish this past Monday after spending some much-needed vacation time refreshing the batteries with family and friends. I have missed all of you, and we are ready to embrace all the wonderful ministerial and pastoral activities that this fall will bring to the Church of the Little Flower.
When I left on vacation in early July, things looked much different on the COVID front than they do now. Last week, the archbishop sent the priests an update of where we stand with COVID protocols and restrictions which I would like to share with you: “By this time, we had hoped to have been able to relax some of our protocols, but given the surge in cases, we continue with our present policies: for liturgies – social distancing, wearing of masks…” Yes, I had hoped to announce to the parish today that we were going to start going mask-optional, but the recent surge prevents us from making any changes. In fact, charity impels us to be more cognizant of our brothers and sisters and to double down on wearing masks in church. We had been getting a bit lax in some Masses towards the end of June. So, I implore, as an act of charity towards your brothers and sisters in Christ, please continue to wear your masks inside our church during liturgies. As the gospel readings have reminded us over the last several weeks, we are here to encounter the very Bread of Life, Jesus Christ himself in the Eucharist. Nothing should prevent us from encountering Christ on this personal level. Not even the inconvenience of wearing a mask for an hour.
Another little luxury that we were going to bring back this weekend was the return of missalettes in all the pews. We ordered them a few months back with the hope of returning them to where they belong. Since the shipment of missalettes has come in, we are going to distribute them at the door this weekend as we did at the beginning of the pandemic, and have you take them home and bring them with you every Sunday. Again, the missalette is yours. We just ask you not to leave them behind after Mass.
Finally, some good news to share with the entire community. Our renovations of St. Joseph’s Adoration Chapel in the parish center is finally complete. The Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance is now reposed in a box that our maintenance crew built that has a curtain that opens and closes when there is no one there for adoration. (This is similar to what they have down the street at St. Augustine, and I thank Fr. Vigoa for the idea and his help during these last two months.) As of right now, our adoration hours continue to be the same as our office hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. However, now that we have the side entrance available with a passcode and the reposition of the Blessed Sacrament controlled automatically, we want to start moving towards our goal of adoration 24/7. We want you to come visit the Lord at all hours, but for that to get started, we need to start signing up for
adoration hours. So today we are kicking off a pre-campaign before we kickoff a big one in the fall. You can get first crack at the adoration hour of your choice by visiting www.cotlf.org/adoration. Once we have enough adorers, my hope is to be able to have the Adoration Chapel available 24 hours a day by Christmas, if not sooner. In today’s gospel, Jesus reminds us that he is the living bread come down from heaven. We need his presence now more than ever. Sign up to spend one hour a week (or more) with Him today!
May God bless and protect you all,