Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groaning. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. (Rom 8:26-27)
These words from Saint Paul tell us that the Spirit is central to the life of the holy ones and intercedes on our behalf. As a Diocese we rejoice in the appointment of our new shepherd, Bishop Edward Malesic. With this appointment by Pope Francis, we pray that the intention of the Spirit will help him shepherd the people of the Diocese of Cleveland. He comes to us at a time of great spiritual transition for our local church, further challenged by the Coronavirus pandemic. Let us turn to that same Spirit with our prayers for Bishop Malesic as he begins the pastoral and governing care of the Diocese of Cleveland.
While we celebrate the arrival of Bishop Malesic we also realize how tough life has been for so many Americans across our country and for people in our local community, especially this past week. Each of us is affected by this unseen virus. For most of us it’s a nuisance to adjust our lifestyles to protect others and ourselves. However, many us know people who truly have been impacted by this pandemic. People are struggling physically, spiritually, mentally, socially, and financially. People are grieving the loss of loved ones, stressed about employment situations, or have lost the battle against COVID. These people need our prayers. At each parish we have a special prayer book for a list of names of those that, in any way, have been affected by this virus. Please fill free to call or email the parish office with any name(s) you would like to add to this special prayer book. You may also choose to write their names on the paper yourself. All I am requesting is their first and last name or last initial. A special intention will be added to each Sunday Mass to call our attention to this special prayer book and remind us that in so many ways our brothers and sister are in need of and receiving our prayers.
Over the past few weeks, I celebrated many first communion Masses, with a few still to go. It has been an incredibly unique experience. With no music, just a few people, and no fanfare, I was concerned it would not be as special. Boy was I wrong! These young people and their families were so focused on what was going on and WHO they were receiving. I reminded them that the church was filled with angels, saints, holy men and women of heaven, and the community’s prayers for them. How true it is that these young people have such great potential to inspire in others the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist. I am one of them.
This coming Wednesday we will renew our commitment to prayer by offering a monthly time of adoration. From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Saint James Church, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for private prayer and adoration. This time of prayer will conclude with benediction.
Next weekend I will celebrate a Mass that will bring into the church our R.C.I.A participants. I look forward to celebrating Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, and hearing the profession of faith of these members of our community who have been patiently waiting for this celebration. Although, it will not have the grandeur of the Easter Vigil, it will have a full church of angels, saints, holy men and women of heaven, and the community’s prayers welcoming our new members.
We continue to journey together through these summer days, not always doing what we want to do but what we know is the right thing to do. With gratitude, I am humbled by your efforts to stay safe and protect the health and safety of each other. We use the Spirit’s intercession to guide our days. Thank you for your support of the parish and of all our brothers and sisters.
Peace of Christ, Fr. Workman