5th Sunday of Easter, 2020
Dear parishioners and friends of Saint Eugene Parish;
May we continue to keep in our prayers all those who have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis as well as all who have faithfully and courageously continued to work in various health care, public safety, education and retail operations. By working together (following ‘stay at home’ directives, limiting gatherings, practicing social distancing, etc.) we will get through this!
Regarding the question ‘WHEN’ … when will we be able to gather for Mass and the Eucharist, I am sorry to say that I do not know the answer. Like you, I anxiously await the decisions of our Archbishop, governor and other religious, medical and civic leaders as to when we can once again open our church for public worship. What a wonderful day that will be! Studying the history of our Catholic Church (as well as ‘faith’ in general), it becomes very obvious that periods of trial and suffering are almost always followed by periods of tremendous growth in faith on both a personal as well as general level. One thing for sure, it will be a long time before we ever again take for granted the Mass and Sacraments!
One of the most powerful moments in my ordination to the priesthood was when I knelt before Cardinal Bevilacqua who placed his hands over mine, stared me in the eyes and asked: “Do you promise to be obedient to me and my successors?” The two word answer, spoken by all who are ordained to the priesthood is, of course, I do. (Isn’t that the same two word answer spoken in the Sacrament of Matrimony?). It is a vow I’ve taken very seriously throughout my priesthood. I mention this because I’ve been contacted by more than a few people recently wanting to know why I am not allowing daily and Sunday Masses in our church. I’ve been told that “other pastors allow it.” Well, I (as well as all pastors in the Archdiocese) have received written directives from Archbishop Perez (a successor to the Bishop who ordained me, and therefore a bishop whom I have promised to obey) which specifically state that “public Masses are prohibited until further notice.” So, if you’ve found a parish that is hosting public daily and/or Sunday Masses, lucky you! But please do not ask me why I do not permit such Masses. I suggest that you instead ask the pastor of that parish why he IS permitting such Masses. Keep in mind that he, like me, promised obedience to our bishop. (We were also instructed to NOT distribute palm on Palm Sunday, and there’s a good reason for that …. but that’s another story).
Now, on a more positive note, I’d like to thank all of you who through your prayers, cards and, where possible, your financial contributions, have continued to support YOUR parish! Your thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated!! More proof that Saint Eugene is a wonderful parish and it’s the parishioners who make it so!
Oh, and in case you’ve overlooked it, this Sunday is Mother’s Day!! May God bless all moms, living and deceased! Another ‘casualty’ of the current health crisis is that we probably will not be able to celebrate our moms in a manner that they deserve. May they all know our appreciation and love for being ‘a mom’!
By the way, have you noticed the ‘THANK YOU’ signs placed in front of our church? It’s just a small gesture of appreciation from all of us at Saint Eugene Parish for the tremendous efforts of so many people working to ‘get us through this’! Let’s all do our part, and don’t forget to pray!
Thank you, and may God continue to bless you!