“. . . and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” – Mt 13:44 I decided to write a very brief synopsis of where we’ve been as a parish over these last few months, and my hopes for our future.
In mid-March, we were required to close our parish office and church, as well as discontinue the public celebration of Masses. With direction from our diocese, we would furlough staff as our site would be closed and hope to bring back staff as our activities, operations and finances allowed. Joyce, our finance person, was writing checks to pay the bills (yes, they kept coming in) and Fr. Lou and I became the counting team each week for our mailed in donations. I cannot thank you all enough for continuing to support our parish with your prayers and financial donations. It is only by your continued sacrificial giving that we can continue the work of Jesus in our parish.
From mid-March until the weekend of June 14th, Fr. Lou, Fr. Jim and I celebrated private Mass each day, including the Triduum! During that time, I prepared for reopening with endless discussions and work on procedures, researching disinfectants and purchasing supplies, masks for the priests and myself, etc. to make reopening possible, publishing bulletins, steaming Masses, reaching out to those I could, answering phones, etc. We continued to offer confessions throughout this time and Fr. Lou and I probably spent hours just coming up with a safe way to do that! Everything was an issue to be discussed: from how to clean groceries to how we would accommodate reopening when allowed to do so.
On June 8th, Samir, our maintenance person came back to work and we began celebrating public Mass on the Solemnity of the Body & Blood of Christ, the weekend of June 14th. We are making good progress in bringing back our counting teams, volunteers coming in to help in the office, etc. Of course, our activities are limited due to the occupancy/gathering restrictions for our office and our site. I’m looking forward to getting our candidates for confirmation confirmed, those preparing for first communion to their next steps, those in RCIA to celebrate the sacraments, as well as opening up religious education and youth ministry in ways that are safe and that take into account the many different needs each family has for learning and participation.
So, what does this have to do with buying that field in the Gospel? Simply this, when I look back on the challenges of the past few months and years, I am so grateful that the Lord has put me here. In my prayerful discussions with the Lord, I always thank Him for allowing me to work in this field of His kingdom. It is with joy and gratitude that I humbly ask you for your continued prayers and support of me, the work that needs to be done, and our parish.
May God bless you and keep you safe!