Palm Sunday Mass
ATTENTION ALL PARISHIONERS from Fr. Joe
April 3, 2020
In this annual mailing, we would normally be welcoming you and encouraging you to participate in the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter. It’s the greatest time of the year for all Christians. But as we all know, there has been very little that could be called “normal” during this season of Lent. The human family has been struggling with a deadly health crisis that threatens the well-being of all of us.
On Monday, March 16, the spiritual leader of our Diocese, Bishop John Barres, announced to all of the parishes of the Diocese several unprecedented measures in an attempt to lessen the spread of the corona virus, and to try to protect everyone’s health. His instructions included the suspension and postponement of all Masses and liturgies, and all meetings and gatherings in church until at least Tuesday, April 14 (two days after Easter). He specifically included the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter Sunday. While our church building will remain open every day for individuals who would like to come in and pray (9 AM to 9 PM), we have been asked not to congregate in any groups that are larger than 10 people and that all individuals stay at least six feet away from each other.
The Bishop also said, “We continue to monitor the situation and will adapt and update as needed.” As much as the Bishop no doubt regretted the necessity of taking these actions, they are in compliance with the recommendations of the National Center for Disease Control, but they are also an expression of the Bishop’s compassion and concern for the health of all individuals, especially the elderly and the most vulnerable among us.
Like all Christians and people of good will, we here at Saint John’s are deeply saddened that this sacred time of year cannot include the special gatherings on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. We have even been asked not to distribute palms because the handling of the palms could contribute to spreading of the virus. The special events of Holy Week lift our hearts, strengthen our spirits, and renew our hope in the future. They are also a time when our parish community shines most brightly.
But since we will not be celebrating together, perhaps that is why, more than ever, we must turn toward and remember the great truth we are celebrating at this time of year: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! Out of the darkness of Good Friday comes the blazing light of the Lord’s Resurrection. The Good Friday that our whole world is now experiencing can be transformed into hope and new life. On the back of this flier is a prayer that we recommend to be used by everyone. This is a time for us to trust in God rather than giving in to fear and anxiety. This is a time to strengthen our bonds as a human family who are concerned for one another. This is a time to reach out, in whatever we can, to offer comfort and true charity to those in need.
Fr. Joe Schlafer, and Priests, the Sisters, the Deacons,
and the Staff of Saint John Nepomucene Parish
The Catholic Faith Network (CFN) will provide televised and online daily Masses, including Holy Week and Easter Liturgies, as well as other devotional and spiritual programs. (Optimum channel 29/137, Verizon FiOS TV channel 296, and Spectrum channel 162/471.) CFN is also available on selected cable and satellite systems and through 24/7 live stream at CFNtv.org.
As we do every year, an Easter envelope in which we are asked to offer an Easter gift to the church is mailed to everyone on our mailing list. Given the unusual circumstances of having no weekly Offertory collection for five weekends, we are more in need than ever of your financial support. We thank you for your generosity. Contributions can be made by mail or by using the link marked donations on the homepage of the website.
Please continue to use the parish website for updates as we receive them.
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If you must contact any one here at Saint John’s for an emergency, please call 631 589-0540 and leave a message.