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READ FR. PHIL’S LETTER
June 17, 2021,
Recently I was sitting in a chair in the kitchen wondering what I was going to eat. I am learning how to cook for the first time in my life. Fr. Vincent Doolin was such a wonderful cook and when he died a few months ago, I knew I would have to learn how to cook. I am not starving but I have discovered anew the meaning of adventure. More importantly, I think of some of the conversations and the meals we shared and it is still difficult at times to speak about his loss.
These past months have been a time like no other time. Many of us have lost family members, friends, and associates or have seen them become very ill as a result of covid 19 or other illnesses. Many of us have experienced pain because of this and not being able to be with them or even say good- bye has caused even more angst and pain. All of us have seen restrictions in what we can do or not do including not being able to gather to celebrate Mass together. If you are like me, you wondered when this would end and what “being normal” would look like. It was prayer and other people who helped me through this period and the times I felt almost helpless wondering about the future. Nobody likes going through such times of pain.
Pain may serve a purpose. Pain shows us that something may be out of the ordinary and needs to be addressed. Pain takes us out of our comfort zones and lets us know we have issues that need our attention. These past fifteen months have been full of pain. Some of this pain has been devastating and life changing like losing friends and loved ones, loss of employment or wondering if we will see some people and friends again. Personally, some I will never see again; they have died. So many have lost loved ones.
For many of us it was painful not to be able to celebrate the Eucharist together or even be with each other. For a moment now, please picture and think about our church, the tabernacle, the altar, the crucifix, the candles, the children, the singing, the seasons of the year and the special moments of St. Mary Church in your life. I trust you are missing the church, but please know that others are missing you as well if you still, for whatever reasons, are not with us. (This is not a judgement, but to let you know you are missed.) These past fifteen months have been difficult because you were unable to receive our Lord in the Eucharist at Mass and be with others in our parish family.
I hope that the inner pain during these past fifteen months have helped all of us to think about and focus on the important parts of life such as faith, family, hope, health, forgiveness, friendship, kindness and each other. Hopefully, by the grace of God, we are turning the corner on this pandemic. Each of us is called to do our part. Cardinal Sean has lifted the dispensation from participating in Sunday Mass. We have decided to take down the blue tape and completely open the Church. People are now being vaccinated, but it is going to take time to return to normalcy. We are excited for this to happen and our parish and ushers will be ready to welcome you.
Our Parish Council has assembled a Welcome Back committee. This committee is hard at work planning events to celebrate our full return to Eucharist and our parish “re-opening” in a big way. I think we can all use a celebration this year! Our first event is scheduled for Friday July 9th at 7P.M. called “Fill the Church with music”. We are excited to welcome back a group of our young people to put the song books back in the benches. And save the date for the weekend of Sept. 11 & 12 for our WELCOME BACK weekend. Please stay tuned for more details.
These past months have shown us that life is short and fragile and that we cannot take anyone or anything for granted. Your being part of our parish family means a lot to me and to others.