Message for April 23

Dear Parishioners of Saint Eugene Parish and Guests,

While it is true that Easter Sunday ended a little over 2 weeks ago, we are still in the ‘Easter Season’ and we will remain in the Easter Season until the evening of Pentecost Sunday, May 31.  And so it is still appropriate, despite the crisis we still face, to wish all of you a Holy Easter!  The ‘word of the day’ until May 31 should be ‘ALLELUIA’!  As we continue to work together to deal with, and eventually overcome, the challenges we all are facing, be they health, social or economic challenges, as people of faith we must never lose sight of the significance of Easter.  In our own sufferings let us remember that it was through the sufferings of Jesus Christ that any hope of eternal salvation became a reality.  All the more reason to make our ‘word of the day’ be ALLELUIA!

It is only the 3rd week of our Easter Season, but it is the 6th week of our coping with this COVID 19 Crisis.  Let us all keep in our prayers those who have suffered tragic consequences of this pandemic.  Whether you know it or not, in addition to the vast numbers of people throughout the world who have been made ill, and even died, because of this virus infection, some of our own parishioners, friends and neighbors are enduring various profound effects because of this crisis.  Some have had to ‘self-quarantine’ at home, others have been hospitalized, some have had to endure being cut-off from personal/hands on contact’ with loved ones in nursing facilities, and unfortunately some have had to deal with the death of a loved one.  Please keep all in your prayers!

Let us not forget the many of our family members, neighbors, friends, and even total strangers who have sacrificed their own safety and have shown such courage during these difficult times.  Those in the medical professions, public safety, community services, essential businesses, and transportation services.  We owe them so much gratitude!  Keep in mind (and prayers) our teachers who have shown such wonderful resourcefulness in adapting to a totally new approach to teaching our students.  The efforts and cooperation of families to adjust to these new demands, their willingness to become more involved in providing for the education of their children, has been truly amazing! Our students deserve recognition as well for their willingness to adapt to this totally new way of life.  Also, for all of us who have been willing to sacrifice during these difficult times: to respect the calls to ‘stay home’, to practice ‘social distancing’, use of face masks when venturing outside and  accept the need to limit gatherings – Thank You!  Your efforts and cooperation give meaning to the statement – together we will overcome this!

Some have asked, and may more probably want to ask, some variation of this question – why did God do this to us?  Well, part of the answer is this: God didn’t do this!  Never forget that Jesus Christ never promised any of us ‘an easy life’!  (I’ve found it interesting that when you consider all the saints of the Church, ‘patron saints’ for just about every aspect of human life, nowhere will you find the Patron Saint of the Easy Life!).  A simplified reason for the difficulties and challenges of life is this: Original Sin!  (Yes, it did happen and yes it does affect all of us; but more on that later … what a homily that’ll be!).  But out of the love God has for all of us, God did provide us with the ways and means of dealing with the inevitable challenges and difficulties of everyday life.  Among these we have each other, we have prayer, the graces of the Sacraments, and we have the gifts of wisdom and common sense.  We need to use them!

Someday, this too will pass!  Perhaps we’ve come to take for granted so many things in life, even life itself!  Someday, hopefully someday soon, we will again have the opportunities to celebrate the wonderful things in everyday life.  We will again be able to gather together to celebrate Mass, to receive the Eucharist, to offer thanksgiving to the God who makes all of this possible, even life itself!  And for this we should all proclaim: ALLELUIA!!

May God continue to bless all of you!  I will continue to pray for you, please continue to pray for me!!

Fr. McDermott