Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” These words are attributed to Julian of Norwich, a mystic of the fourteenth-fifteenth century. It makes sense, since they appear in her written work, Showings. However, these words are actually spoken to Julian by Jesus Christ. While Julian ultimately embraces this divine wisdom, it is not instantly consoling to her. At one point she writes, “Ah, good Lord, how could all things be well, because of the great harm that has come through sin to your creatures?” And Jesus replies: “…since I have set right the greatest of harms, then it is my will that you should know through this that I shall set right everything which is less.”
I find great consolation in this exchange between Jesus and the mystic. While I am no mystic, I happily cling to the promise that the same Jesus Christ is alive in this time, in these circumstances. As we observe the solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, it is essential that we understand that far from the focus being on His leaving the earth, in this event we are led to anticipate how Jesus’ return to the Father is directly related to the Descent of the Holy Spirit.
The apostles—with Mary in their midst— were prepared for the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We are in a time of preparation in our day. At this point along the continuum of time, we are anticipating a graduated return to public celebrations of Mass. On Monday, May 25, our first public daily Mass since mid-March will take place at 8:30 am at Saint Mary Cemetery—since that is Memorial Day. On the weekend of Pentecost, May 30 and 31, some of us will make our way to Mass, either on Saturday evening at 5 p.m. or Sunday morning at 8 a.m. or 10 a.m.
I use the term “some” because there are many individuals who live with realities that place them among the particularly vulnerable. It may well be quite some time before many parishioners feel comfortable to enter the physical church building. For them, as well as others who have found the online “presence” of the parish a great consolation in these months, the online Masses and messages will be continue to be recorded and available.
As you would expect, there are very specific guidelines that are being set in place, covering what needs to happen before we arrive at church, as we enter, while we are together, and as we take our leave after Mass. A video message addressing “Church Protocol Moving Forward” is being created, for viewing by parishioners, which hopefully will serve to answer many questions and concerns you likely have. Please help us by circulating the links that are to be on our website and social media.
I would like to quote from an article that was forwarded to us that addresses the wide range of points of view that exist among people, related to a resumption of public gatherings, such as in houses of worship, and the need for mutual understanding to be extended:
“Those who are not comfortable with physical gatherings should be patient with those who are, and vice versa. As hard as it will be to practice patience, remember that in the scheme of eternity this season—whether it’s months long or years—will be but a blip. (McCracken, Brett. “Church, Don’t Let Coronavirus Divide You,” The Gospel Coalition, May 15, 2020).
For quick access to the entire bulletin for this weekend ONLINE, please click on the link below: