Navigating COVID-19 Together with Christ as our Guide
My dear Sisters and Brothers,
Be not be afraid! It is hard to believe that we are not coming together as a parish family to celebrate Mass as all of our Sunday and weekday Masses have been cancelled until further notice. I want to assure you that I continue to offer Mass in our parish, now privately, for the needs of our parish, our community, our country, and our world. The Mass is the source and summit of our faith. As I have said, every time the Mass is offered, the entire church gathers around the altar. So, we are united together through prayer in the offering of the Mass. Yes, it is difficult not to gather as a community and to receive the real presence of Christ in communion, and so we are reminded, now more than ever, of our prayer of spiritual communion:
MY JESUS, I BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE PRESENT IN THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT. I LOVE YOU ABOVE ALL THINGS, AND I DESIRE TO RECEIVE YOU INTO MY SOUL. SINCE I CANNOT AT THIS MOMENT RECEIVE YOU SACRAMENTALLY, COME AT LEAST SPIRITUALLY INTO MY HEART. I EMBRACE YOU AS IF YOU WERE ALREADY THERE AND UNITE MYSELF WHOLLY TO YOU.
NEVER PERMIT ME TO BE SEPARATED FROM YOU. AMEN.
We are reminded that Jesus is the prince of peace, and I pray that we experience the peace of Christ that only he can provide.
Additionally, all events and gatherings at our parish have been cancelled until further notice.
While our office is closed until further notice, we continue to be at your service. Please call our office at 905 684 5603 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone and email messages will be checked on a regular basis. As always, you can email me directly at email@example.com. I encourage you to email your intentions or concerns which I can bring to our Lord at the altar.
As we have been advised, the best place for us to be right now is at home. This makes our website all the more powerful for keeping us connected. Visit us at www.stjuliastc.com. Here you will find links to the televised mass that you can watch from home, at any time. Also be sure to like us on Facebook (search St. Julia Roman Catholic Church) where you will find daily posts and the most up-to-date information.
In the midst of all of this, let's continue to be united in prayer as we navigate through COVID-19 together with Christ as our guide.
May God continue to bless each of you and those that you love.
Fr. Greg Schmidt
That God calls us to transform our weaknesses into strengths? Looking back at our life journey for just a moment, growing up in our families, attending school, or in figuring out what we want to do in life, at every turn we look at our strengths and weakness. What am I good at? What gifts have I been given? When I was working in retail, S.W.O.T. analyses were often completed, to identify not only strengths and weakness of the business, but also opportunities and threats. Most importantly, the analysis asks the probing question: how do we turn those weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities? Our Catholic faith also calls upon us to look at and identify our strengths and weaknesses, and the importance for us, to transform our weaknesses into strengths. However, we are called not to look back and dwell on the past, but rather to look forward, all in order to become the people God intended us to be. Mathew Kelly writes: “Our weaknesses are the key to the
future that God has envisioned for us.” God has a plan for each and every one of us – and the plan continues to unfold each day as we continue to listen in our hearts to where God is calling us. During this season of Lent, may each of us take the time to bring our weaknesses to God, and allow Him to transform us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to be the people He personally calls us to be. May God bless each of you and those that you love, Fr. Greg.
That most of the spiritual plans we bring to Lent end up working for a short period of time? It would be my guess, that for the few days prior to Lent we were busy reconstructing our usual programs for Lent, the things that worked the last five to ten years, so that all would be in place for Ash Wednesday. It is like pulling out of storage a box of old decorations that have brought us some useful comfort and familiarity. The lists of things we give up – and the list of things we do – the books of prayer, the pasta and fish dinners, even the resolutions that provide us an opportunity to be renewed. However: Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on us what God has prepared for those who love Him. (I Corinthians 2:9) These are good things! How about us leaving them in our spiritual trunk? How about we go to the Lord with heart, mind and soul open to what He will bring? What He will want of us! I am speaking only for myself – most of the spiritual plans I bring to Lent end up working for a short period of time or only take me as far as I want them to go (maybe Forty Days). If the Lord is calling the game, inviting us to join in, to surrender to the unknown – new heights, to new ministries in His name and most importantly new intimate moments of prayer and to come
away to those holy places where we have need of nothing, for the Lord suffices – then Lent will not be a program of accomplishments but an immersion into His transforming Love in ways we can’t even imagine.
That we need a constant reminder that things get out of sync in our lives? That is exactly what the season of Lent is all about. I find for myself, more times than not, I get out of balance when it comes to work, rest, and prayer. At the end of a long day, we let our prayer life falter. We allow things to control us rather than us controlling them. And then there is Lent. It stops us, and gives us the opportunity to say “I want to get it right.” I want to be renewed; I want to be refreshed. May this season of Lent be a time that all of us try to improve ourselves, to turn away from the presence of sin in our lives, that has crept into our lives. At the end of this 40 day journey, may we celebrate Easter, an Easter renewed in spirit, with a refreshed prayer life, and being reconciled with God. That is my prayer for each and every one of us this Lent.
From Our Pastor