Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
A lot has been going on in both parishes behind the scenes these past few weeks. At Old St. Mary’s, we are in the process of repairing some plaster spots in the ceiling that needed new plaster and paint. The sanctuary should be complete early this week, and perhaps we will then move on to a few other spots in the nave (where the pews are) that need some work. At Sacred Heart, we went ahead and upgraded several of our electrical panels, which is something we obviously want to ensure we keep up on. Several panels were old and some fuses were faulty and could have caused a fire. They have also begun putting up the scaffolding around the school building to replace the roof there. Something that was long overdue. We continue to look at projects we can during this time, including fixing the clock at Old St. Mary’s, working on the HVAC at Sacred Heart, and ensuring everything remains clean and laundered for when we can fully re-open.
I thank everyone for their patience and their support over these past few weeks. I am fully aware that they have no been easy. But without your prayers, these past few weeks would have been all the more difficult. Without your financial support, we could not keep up both buildings or keep paying our bills. Thank you!
Currently, we have two young men making a month visit to the Oratory. This is the final step before they decide if they wish to pursue entering the novitiate. If you happen to be visiting the church and see them around, they have made a few visits before, that is why. Please be sure to keep them in your prayers. As I said last week, it is up to us not only in our prayers, but in the culture we develop, to promote vocations so that we may have abundant priests and religious.
Today, we continue with that theme of the Good Shepherd, as today is when that Gospel is read at the new Mass. The image of the Good Shepherd appears throughout the Paschal Season and in the Divine Office. Last week, I focused on the importance of praying for, encouraging, and forming a culture in which vocations can flourish. Where the priesthood and religious life, even with all of its issues, is still seen as something as respectable and worth sacrificing for. We must each do that in our lives, homes, and parishes. It is also up to us to ensure that each of our young people has at least considered the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood and religious life.
Today, I want to encourage prayers for the clergy and religious we have. We may not always be the clergy and religious you want or deserve, but we are what we have. We give much and make it is easy to be critical of us, but as I speak of in my sermon today, are we also willing to pray for the clergy and religious. Especially those we are most critical of? Are we willing to do penance for them, to ask the Lord to also make them Good Shepherds? Are we willing to ask ourselves the difficult question, am I difficult towards this one or that one simply because he challenges me?
There is much to unpack and consider in the current landscape of the clergy and religious. Decisions we don’t like, decisions we don’t understand, decisions that are simply bad. Actions that are sinful, examples that cause scandal. Priests and religious we sometimes just don’t like because we don’t. But do we pray them? I often wonder if Our Lord himself would meet the standards we often set. We know He didn’t meet the standards for being the messiah that was desired. Would we listen to the Lord today any better?
Pray for priests and religious, and beg the Lord to make them like shepherds after His own heart and example. If we beg enough, the Lord will certainly hear our prayers. He has said so in the Gospels. We rely upon your prayers and encouragement, especially in the dark days! Our prayers and sacrifices can be the difference between a priest following in the footsteps of Judas or in the footsteps of St. Peter.
Per previous updates, please remember that you can find suggestions here on prayers and where to watch Mass.
Also, be sure to continue to check the parish webpage calendar for the hours that church will be open, and when confession will be offered. You can find the calendar at this link: Google Calendar. This will be the most accurate and updated list, but please be sure to check daily in case something has changed. Please enter through the side door of church.
There is Holy Water and other materials available near the side door. Holy Water bottles are available to be purchased for $1, which simply covers the cost. Please drop this in the donation box under the high pulpit. You can also drop your Sunday collection envelopes for either Old St. Mary’s or Sacred Heart and/or other donations in there as well. You can also set up online giving for Old St. Mary’s here, for Sacred Heart here, and the Oratory here.
Please note that the physical parish office is closed, but everyone is working remotely and responding to phone calls and emails during this time.
Finally, my sermon for this Sunday can be found below. As always, pray for a swift end to the pandemic, for all those who suffer, and all those who have died. Have a blessed week ahead!