Just when we thought life would not require more restrictions, we find ourselves still unable to celebrate public Mass on Palm Sunday, Easter and beyond. I know the inability to come together to worship the Lord at Mass and to receive Jesus in Holy Communion creates a deep yearning and longing within. This is a Lenten sacrifice that none of us envisioned. It has been imposed upon us. We need to embrace it and offer it to the Father to protect all the people in the world and bring an end to this pandemic. We certainly must continue to stay safe, wash our hands frequently, practice social distancing and remain at home a much as possible for now. But do not give into the worry and anxiety and even fear that surrounds us. God has not abandoned us. Jesus is with us.
The Holy Spirit continues to renew the love of God within our souls as we take the time to pray whether alone, with our families at home or virtually with others. Prayer opens us up to the presence and the closeness of God. Pope Francis conducted a special prayer celebration and special blessing for the world on Friday, March 27. I was unable to participate in the livestream due to a Funeral and Sick Call. So, it was last Sunday afternoon when I finally was able to view it. I hope you all had the opportunity to do so, its available online and through YouTube. The celebration was very prayerful in its simplicity and depth. The Holy Father’s homily was comforting and hopeful drawing us into the mercy and power of God. He puts the experience of this moment of suffering, pain and isolation into perspective. Only as we return over and again in prayer to God, can we hear God’s voice, experience His presence and come to know how our Faith leads us to hope ~ for truly, Jesus is risen and is Lord of all!
This week I hope that you will schedule at home dedicated prayer times on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and of course Easter Sunday. We are working on making videos, and perhaps livestreaming, as well as other items available so that all of us as Saint Eleanor Parish Family can stay close together during this most solemn week of the year. I suggest, especially for Easter, that the family dress in their Easter clothes while watching Mass. It is important for us to enter into the prayer of the Mass not just spiritually but even materially by our dress for the occasion. It will mark the day as different and special. I know that this virus has caused great disruption in the ability of people to continue working. So many businesses have had to shut down.
If you are in need, please do not hesitate to call the parish office. I am very grateful that despite the inability to come to Church for Mass, so many of you are mailing in your donations, dropping them off at the parish office or getting involved with our E-giving options. The Sunday collection has decreased, of course. And, as this situation continues on, I ask everyone who can to be mindful that the bills for our parish continue to come in. Please know that your donation is greatly appreciated and needed.
May you and your loved ones continue to remain safe and well!
A blessed Easter to you all!
God bless you, God love you,