State of the Parish Gathering
May 21, 2020
State of the Parish
Liturgy of the Word and Gathering
The virtual Prayer Service and Gathering held on May 12, 2020 allowed the members of our parish to gather once again. In this gathering we also reviewed rules which will keep us protected from COVID-19 during weekend Masses. As you may have heard, this past weekend we were again able to worship publicly.
I ask that you pray for those who are sick, those who are on the front lines caring for those with the pandemic and those who have lost their jobs. In April 20.5 million persons lost their jobs. Please pray for all who have been furloughed and lost their jobs and for their families.
I chose the first reading because I believe the reading speaks to our situation. In the first reading we hear, “and, like living stones, let yourself be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5)”
The reading is saying that Christ is the sure foundation of our lives of faith. As well the reading says that Christians are living stones who are built up by Christ into a spiritual house. Through the work of Christ, the Christian community becomes the dwelling place where God can be encountered and worshiped.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish was founded in 1984. Thus, for 37 years Christ has been building this parish into the community that we have become. At the same time, Christ is not finished with us. Christ has much more work to do.
As a result of this pandemic, we have been through a unique and uncertain time. We have gone without public Mass and have been unable to meet in our facilities since March 13, 2020. It is as if time stopped and we were able to begin again and, in many ways, to start fresh. I have found this to be a very fruitful time in which the parish has continued to grow. For example, during the pandemic our Three-Year Parish Plan was finished and voted on by the Pastoral Council. The plan shows that our parish has great opportunity for growth. Our implementation of the plan will be ways in which we cooperate with Christ as He builds up our parish. As we move through this pandemic, because this is not over, it is imperative that we work together. Building up our parish will be a continual process, even when the pandemic ends. Thus, this is not only a time of reflecting on where we have been but also reflecting on where God is calling us to go.
I believe that the image of a crossroad also fits our situation. If we see ourselves as standing in the midst of a crossroads, we could reflect on going backwards. And yet I believe that God is calling us not to move backwards but forwards. We could think about sitting in the middle of the crossroads and staying where we are. Again, I hear God calling us to move ahead on a new path. And of course, we are to move ahead together.
THREE YEAR PLAN REPORTS
In September of last year, we began a planning process. In the planning sessions, it seemed that parishioners were ready for change in various areas. When we are able to meet at church again, we can implement the goals upon which we decided.
At this point five parishioners presented each of the sections of the parish plan.
PLAN TO REOPEN CHURCH
Lori Mainiero then spoke about the rules for the reopening of the church. Among the important items that she mentioned were that only 100 individuals could worship in the church for one Mass. People have to register through the church website or by calling the church office in order to attend Mass. Those who attend Mass are required to wear masks. If more than 100 individuals come to Mass, the number above 100 would watch a simulcast of the Mass in the Burleigh Center, where Holy Communion will be brought and distributed at the appropriate time to those in attendance.
I invite parishioners to consider helping to sanitize the pews between Masses. I want to invite parishioners to hear Jack Jezreel speak to our parish about the JustFaith program. This program will take place as a zoom meeting on Tuesday, June 9 from 7 pm to 8:30 pm. You will soon receive a flyer by email.
I invite all to work together as we transition to this unique time.