This is a long one, but I have a number of important items to pass on to you. The first is that I am praying for you, for your patience, for your confidence and fearlessness, for your generosity of spirit, and for your health and safety.
The second is that I and the parish pastoral team and staff are fine. The seniors have all gone home to work from a safe place, and most of the staff do as much from home as possible, which is quite a lot. We had some confusion as our first round of responses, limiting exposure, have all been undone by subsequent instructions, eliminating exposure. Sigh.
Dominic MacAller and I are working on next week’s liturgy. Be there at 10:00 am on Sunday.
Brett Becker, our youth minister, is doing amazing things online in Zoom meetings and the like with the teens. If you have a lonely teenager twiddling her thumbs, suggest she look in on Brett’s online gatherings (firstname.lastname@example.org). Guys too!
Tere Delgado is working with her lovely team to get lessons home to all the children in faith formation, to do with their parents. This will be a team effort, parents. Do your best!
Among Teresa’s goals at this time is to keep people in ministry connected to each other. If you belong to a parish ministry that needs to meet, please contact her (email@example.com) and ask how we can help set up a Zoom meeting. It’s fairly easy, even for this 60 year old who never attended a Zoom meeting until this last week.
Among the parish ministries that deserve particular praise is St. Vincent de Paul and members of the Young Adult Ministry, who are working very creatively to take care of households in financial crisis. Now would be a very good time to consider a donation to St. Vincent de Paul!
On that point, the parish collection this last weekend was under 1/5th of what we would normally receive. I know that many people have financial stresses. If you can contribute to your parish, now would be a very good time. Checks can be mailed or online offerings can be made at: www.osvonlinegiving.com/4191
Appointments with me:
The sacrament of reconciliation / confession:
Pastoral care of the sick
(Please read even if no one in the household is sick yet)
Sunday and weekday Mass
Stations of the Cross
Holy Week and Easter
Baptisms, weddings and funerals
If you have general questions, email the parish (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the parish number (805) 482·6417 and Jane will direct your question to the right person.
In everything, we have to keep seeking those ways in which we can experience Jesus, even in a more constrained environment, and be His disciples in these troubled times.
Love from your priest,
Some of you have asked how to enter the moment of Communion, when our current circumstances make it impossible for you to receive. The centuries-long practice of making a spiritual, rather than physical, communion while sick certainly applies here. The essence of it, as St. Thomas Aquinas puts it, is to express “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in communion at Mass, and to lovingly embrace him as if we had actually received him” I have a few options for you to consider. The first, which allows you a lot of freedom to say what you need to the Lord, is good for those whose words come easy to them. Some more traditional versions give a tried and true approach for those for whom that’s helpful. Be free to do what you want here…so long as you do something at that moment.
Four worthy steps for a deep spiritual communion, to do in your own words:
A traditional spiritual communion suggested by Pope Francis (only slightly altered by me):
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire you with all my heart. Since I cannot receive you now sacramentally, I ask you to come into my heart spiritually. I embrace you as if you were already in my heart, and unite myself to you completely. Please do not ever let me be far from you. (St. Alphonse Liguori, (1696-1787)
A spiritual communion suggested by Archbishop Gomez:
I wish, my Lord, to receive you with the purity, humility, and devotion with which your most holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervor of the saints.
The prayer (taken from Matt 8:6) in the Mass just before Communion can be enough:
“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
A final suggestion from me is to pray Psalm 63, vv. 2-9:
O God, you are my God — it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless, and without water.
I look to you in the sanctuary to see your power and glory.
For your love is better than life, my lips shall ever praise you!
I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.
My soul shall be sated, as with choice food, with joyous lips my mouth shall praise you!
I think of you upon my bed, I remember you through the watches of the night
You indeed are my savior and, in the shadow of your wings, I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me.
So...I’m certainly having a different Lent than the one I set my mind to those days before Lent. You too? The governor’s announcement has thrown my plans for keeping the parish open into complete disarray. I accept what Gov. Newsom is hoping to accomplish (flattening that curve of infections / not overwhelming the medical personnel and facilities).
As we move into this odd Lent of restrictions on our movements, and our current inability to work and support ourselves, I remember the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Ash Wednesday: “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you” (Matt 6:16-17).
That has a renewed meaning for us as we deal with enforced enclosure, boredom, difficulties in shopping, loneliness etc., that we are to do it with good will, with calmness, and with a supportive attitude to others who will be having a harder time than we are.
Regarding the parish:
I will leave you these words that have been attributed to Pope Francis:
“Tonight before falling asleep, think about when we will return to the street.
When we hug again, when all the shopping together will seem like a party.
Let’s think about when the coffees will return to the bar, the small talk, the photos close to each other.
We think about when it will be all a memory, but normalcy will seem an unexpected and beautiful gift.
We will love everything that has so far seemed futile to us.
Every second will be precious.
Swims at the sea, the sun until late, sunsets, toasts, laughter.
We will go back to laughing together.
Strength and courage.
See you soon!”
What challenging times!
As I hope you already know, Archbishop Gomez has waived the responsibility to attend Mass for the next three weeks, through the end of March. There may well be extensions of this decision.
I am the last person to suggest we take our liturgical obligations to God and each other lightly, but these are exceptional circumstance. We will continue to have Mass, but I ask you to consider the following concerns.
Also visit: Regarding COVID-19 at Padre Serra
Sacristan ministry is coordinated by Deacon Neil Kingsley.
Sacristans ensure that all the materials needed to celebrate liturgy are ready and in place for each celebration.