Pastor's Column, Sunday, July 23, 2017

Submitted by St. Mary on Sun, 07/23/2017 - 1:56pm

Dear Parishioners:

   How the days pass! It seems it was just a couple of weeks ago that we hosted the framing of the Habitat ecumenical house in our parking lot—actually, it’s going on two months.  In this issue you will find both a narrative update and a schedule of upcoming tasks set to take place at the building site, just about one block away from church on Nold Avenue.  I hope that those who, in the parish survey we conducted, identified wanting to see more outreach efforts undertaken, will make contact with Habitat and volunteer your gift of time and talent.
   As I related last week, it has been a rather busy summer, related to activity on the church property.  Again,  before the beginning of the school year, the Bowman Street house will be razed.  I want to assure parishioners that while we must acknowledge that this is a kind of loss— there was a good deal of parish history wrapped up in the building— yet we can take comfort in knowing that a very high percentage of the “innards” of the house will be reclaimed by Habitat for Humanity.  Some of these will actually be used in the ecumenical build house on Nold.  
   A few architectural treasures have been safely preserved.  For the time being, there is no plan for construction on the site.  I am hoping that someone will come up with a creative use of the space along “green” lines.
   Further, the Parish Hall is being repainted, ahead of the replacement of the current flooring, which has really been showing signs of extended wear.  This is no surprise, since — happily— this space receives a great deal of use.  Naturally,  we are looking for something that will be enduring as well as attractive.
   It is always wonderful, to be able to welcome back individuals who have been a part of St. Mary in the past.  Fr. Chris Trenta, in the states for a couple of months prior to resuming his studies in Rome, was with us for weekday Mass Wednesday through Friday of this past week.  Don’t despair if you weren’t there.  He will be back with us on the weekend of August 12 and 13!
   A good many of us may have read recently of a letter from Pope Francis to bishops on the bread and wine for the Eucharist.   Knowledge of parishioners with gluten issues, one may wonder what is being prohibited and what is being permitted.  And so, hopefully to provide clarification.  The letter, largely, amounts to a restatement of norms distributed in 2003.  According to those norms: 
“Hosts that are completely gluten-free are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist.  Low-gluten hosts (partially gluten-free) are valid matter, provided they contain a sufficient amount of gluten to obtain the confection of bread without the addition of foreign materials and without the use of procedures that would alter the nature of bread” (24 July 2003, Prot. N. 89/78 – 17498) — A. 1-2). 
The small number of parishioners currently receiving alternate hosts are receiving approved matter.  If there are further questions, they can be addressed to me.
   Of course, in addressing the issue of liturgical protocol, it makes sense to issue a reminder that chewing gum during Mass is surely not appropriate, and certainly not necessary.  Please be respectful and retire your gum before entering church for Mass.  Thanks for your awareness.

Peace, Fr. Stephen