Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
As we celebrate the birthday of the Church with our observance of Pentecost, we are reminded that each of us are sent into the world to bring the good news. Jesus’ greeting: “Peace be with you,” echoes throughout our Church’s history as a greeting of comfort and hope. In the present time, we need to take this greeting and extend it to others. We see and hear the phrase “We are in this together,” a very similar effort to bring comfort and hope. The giving of the Holy Spirit then, and its continued presence among us today, guide us to support each other even through social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Each of us becomes a unique example of discipleship that, guided by the Holy Spirit, brings comfort and hope to our world.
As the diocese begins to reopen our churches please remember that each of us has a role to play. By following the required guidelines, we will be expressing our love for God and one another. Some churches in our area may have made scheduling changes. The Mass schedule at both Saint James and Saint Clement Parishes remains the same as prior to the pandemic. If you choose to come to church, face coverings are required and social distancing guidelines should be respected. Space is limited. Recall that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is still suspended, and invite you to use proper discernment about attendance, especially if you are in a high-risk group.
People have expressed excitement about coming back to church. Please realize that our worship will be sacred but different. Keep in mind that Mass during this time is not a social event. Though we look forward to seeing one another again, caution should be exercised on how we interact while in the Church. I ask that you avoid group gatherings while in the Church. Throughout the Mass the priest will give instructions as needed, especially on how to receive Communion. Things may change as we move forward each week, so please listen and observe all instructions. This is a work in progress to ensure guidelines are followed to allow us to worship God safely.
We typically experience a reduction in offertory donations throughout the summer months, and the parish collections are already down for obvious reasons. Please consider your financial support to the parish. Many people have signed up for online giving or have sent in their contribution; thank you for your generosity! There is concern that by not having a standard collection during Mass, people may not realize how to contribute or may forget. Donation baskets will be placed at the exit doors of the church. As you leave the church after Mass, consider placing your donation to support the parish in the marked baskets.
Fr. Deo and I have been celebrating the weekday Masses, and so far everything seems to flow. We anticipate that, with your cooperation, Sunday Mass will flow in much the same way. There are several openings to offer a Mass. This is a traditional way of offering prayers for loved ones living or deceased. We are beginning to schedule baptisms, first communions, and will eventually schedule the R.C.I.A group. These will be smaller celebrations with just the family present. While this is not what the Church envisions, we don’t want to delay these celebrations much longer or create safety issues with a large gathering.
Whether you are in church or in your home this Pentecost Sunday, let us join together with the universal Church in prayer that the Holy Spirit strengthen us in fighting the Covid-19 virus and keeps safe all of our brothers and sisters.
Happy Birthday Church!