A week ago, Friday, Governor Chris Sununu extended the State Stay at Home Order. Bishop Peter Libasci has been closely monitoring the data from the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. Although there are positive signs the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has not spread to the level it could have if the stay-at-home order were not in place, the data shows that significant numbers of our fellow citizens continue to test positive and die from this virus. Our neighbors in Massachusetts also are experiencing a greater impact as the virus spreads much faster to our south. For these reasons, at this time, Bishop Libasci is keeping in place the decisions already implemented in this Diocese, including the suspension of the public celebration of the Mass. But in the meantime, preparations are actively underway for when we can gather together again, including how to maintain social distancing, how to limit capacity, and the procedures on how to receive Holy Communion. Together, may we look forward not only to the preparations for the gradual re-entry attentive to public health but also to a glorious reunion and re-engagement into the Mystery of Faith.
Fr. Mark’s Announcement:
Over the last week or so, I asked roughly 20 of our parishioners to call about 20 additional parishioners, just to check in and to see how everyone is doing, or whether or not people were able to view the weekend Masses on YouTube, and get the weekly bulletin on the parish website, or to ask if the parish could be of any assistance to them. The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive, not only for those who were called, but also for those making the calls. We have roughly 400 registered families, so everyone was called. One of the biggest concerns that people asked about, was how my parents were doing. Thank you! My parents who live in Auburn, NH are doing fine, and they are staying healthy. My mom who fell and broke her ankle this winter is still recovering at home, however she has made great improvement, and is now walking with either a cane or a walker. They both say to say hi and thank you to all of you! I am doing fine as well, a little bored at times, and sure do miss visiting with people or celebrating the sacraments with everyone. I am still keeping busy with office work, learning new technology, dealing with “Deanery” stuff, and starting to do a lot of graveside services. My diet and exercise routine has turned serious (which I hate), but I am doing good with that as well. Thank you for your continued support and prayers!
A Catholic Priest in civilian clothes waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. He was finally able to pull up to an open pump. A harried man getting gas at the next pump said to the priest, “Wow, it seems, as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip.” The priest chuckled, “I know what you mean,” he said, “It’s the same in my business.”
Here we are, on Mother’s Day Weekend, sun is out, fresh snow on the ground, just awesome! In thinking about it being Mother’s Day this weekend, I was reflecting on growing up. As most of you know, I am a middle child. (3 Boys), oh yeah… As a middle child, I naturally saw my older brother get so much more freedom than I did, especially seeing that he could always ride in the front seat! As a middle child, I always thought that my younger brother was the favorite, seeing that he was mothered and smothered! Of course, as I grew older, I realized like all of us do, that we are all treated and loved equally. It is only natural that the older brother gets more responsibility with those extra freedoms, and that the younger brother gets a little more favor seeing that he is more dependent than the older two brothers.
In this weekend’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of the twelve, you know the older brothers, well they had to figure out a way to hand on responsibility to others, in order for not only peace to exist, but also for the Church to be able to mature and grow. They had to hand on “power” to the younger sibling (The 1st Deacons). The Church was quickly growing and therefore it had growing pains. Favoritism was given to widows and orphans that were Jewish, versus equally given to those who were Greek. Note the “Mission” of the Church from its origin, was to serve the less fortunate, and how it was carried out had to be tweaked.
This weekend’s Gospel from John is the first of a few that begins Jesus’ Farewell Discourse. Can you imagine how the Apostles felt? What are we going to do without you Jesus? The Church doesn’t have a chance! Actually, Jesus’s Farewell is a plan to be carried out. It isn’t a good-bye, but rather it is an invitation to know the Father, by believing in the Son, and that the Holy Spirit will always be with them. The first things that Jesus says is “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith, believe in what I have given you, know that I am here with you, always. Do these things and there will be a time when all of us will gather together worshipping the God of Love”. He goes on and states, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. That the revelation of God comes from the works of Jesus. Whoever believes in Jesus will do the works that he does.
From 1 Peter we read, by being Church, we become the living stones of the foundation, we become the light of Christ that lead the people out of darkness by the light of God. The faithful, becomes a Holy Nation!
In this time of darkness and uncertainty, may we hold onto the challenge of Jesus’ words to his Apostles, “You have faith in God, have faith in me as well. I will come back again and take you to myself. So that where I am, you also will be. Where I am going, you know the way”.
On this Mother’s Day Weekend, let us end this homily, with a Hail Mary: “Hail Mary, Full of Grace… Amen”.