Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we approach the middle of August, the days are getting shorter and the Fall season is around the corner. We continue to hear about the increase of Covid-19 cases and the unfortunate deaths that have resulted from this tragic pandemic. In the midst of social unrest that has gripped some of our most beautiful cities, political disarray, and the thousands of acres of forests and homes devastated by wildfire out west, we need to be persistent in our prayer to the Lord.
In the Gospel this weekend, the Canaanite woman is persistent in calling out to the Lord. Even when Jesus seemingly dismisses her, she does not back down but intensifies her resolve to receive Jesus’ help in dedication to her daughter. Jesus points out to his disciples and to us that “great faith” can come even from outside “the house of Israel.” As we continue to support one another, let us also notice the faith within each other, even those we don’t personally know. There is no indication that Jesus or the disciples knew this woman. Saint Matthew only identifies her as a Canaanite woman, meaning that she was not part of the Jewish people. Like Jesus, we need to look past those we know around us because an example of faith can come from a very unexpected place.
Within the coming weeks, a lot of attention will be focused on the restarting of local and private schools, the Parish School of Religion, sports activities, and parish programs and social activities. Each of these presents its own set of challenges and requires its own set of guidelines. Regarding the education of our children, I encourage you to visit the Lakewood City School’s website (www.lakewoodcityschools.org), Lakewood Catholic Academy’s website (www.lakewoodcatholicacademy.com), and other local private high schools to view their guidelines and procedures for providing education to our children in a safe environment that encourages academic growth. These websites are also a good resource to learn about the local sports programs.
On the parish level, much discussion is happening about best practices for parish activities during this pandemic. We recently signed up for a Zoom account to provide us with a tool to help fulfilled the mission of the church in a new way. Although some activities are cancelled for this year, like the cluster parish picnic, other programs are exploring creative solutions to overcome the requirements of social distancing and the limited size of gatherings. I meet with the coordinators for “Walking with Purpose” this week. They have many ideas that will help them to continue offering this program for women interested in growing their faith. In regards to the Parish School of Religion program and sacramental preparation, Colleen Houk has attended many virtual meetings over the summer months to learn best practices from diocesan officials and other Catechetical leaders about providing religious education to our Family P.S.R. community and those preparing for Reconciliation, First Eucharist, or Confirmation. If you have any questions, please email her directly at pcl.stclementlakewood@gmail or pcl.stjameslakewood@gmail.
Patience, understanding, and respect for each other during the days and months ahead will guide our vision of faith. It will provide for each of us the opportunity to see “great faith” in those around us, and open our eyes to seeing faith in the unexpected. This will in turn give us the courage to be an example of persistence and of great faith to others.
Peace of Christ,