Pastor’s Message – Covid 19
This Holy Week is going to prove to be different than all the rest. Firstly, most of you won’t be away for Spring Break! What a shame I can’t look forward to your presence for the sacred Triduum celebrations.
We may feel deprived of the Lord this Holy Week. Keep in mind the proximity of the Blessed Virgin Mary who is so prominently at the Lord’s Cross, but all is effectively employed to be with the Church (the Apostles) when our Lord ascends into heaven. She prepared them well for this new experience of Christ. Nevertheless, I shall keep the church open as normal for your visits (6pm – 8pm daily). Regardless, Bishop Burbidge does want me to lock the doors for the Lord’s Last Supper Mass, the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and the Easter Vigil. Frankly, I don’t see myself gathering enough enthusiasm to offer those liturgies without at least some of you in attendance, so you won’t actually be missing anything.
Speaking of “some in attendance,” this Sunday there is yet another way to participate. I mentioned last week of the details of the private Masses that I offer. Please, refer to that if you are unclear. This Sunday, in addition to what was previously mentioned, if you happen to pull into the church parking lot and a maximum of ten people are already gathered in front of the church, you may stay in the comfort and protection of your car. Tune into 89.5 FM and enjoy the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass broadcast live from one end of the parking lot to the other.
Here are the details about receiving Holy Communion. If you are in the Church, come to the Altar Rail. If you are outside, I’ll come to you. If you are in the Parish Hall, I’ll bring you Communion. For those in their cars, there is no “drive-thru” service offered. Seriously the Bishop forbade it. If you are parked closer to the front of the church, come up the walkway and I’ll meet you at the steps. After you receive, break right and walk back to your car down the driveway. If you are in the parking lot by the Parish Hall, wait at the bottom of the steps at the walkway to the Parish Office. I’ll place a traffic cone there to mark the spot.
Bishop Burbidge worked out a satisfactory way for us priests to minister the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to those with the virus in the hospital. This is being employed at Fairfax Hospital. Please note, Prince William Hospital seems unwilling. I can press the issue with the powers that be, but I have to know for whom I am advocating. It is important for you to contact me and we can better work things out together. If not, the hospital staff will run interference.
I know that we won’t be together physically at this most solemn time of the year, but we are together in the Lord and in prayer. The parish doesn’t just bring us together in thoughts and prayer, but it continues to rely on your generosity. We still have a wonderful staff who are serving you. Our religious education staff members are organizing lesson plans for each class, each week to study their catechism and prepare for the sacraments. With the help of staff, this week I offered RCIA class in English and in Spanish via a video conference. This was another first for me this week as I offered preparation for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony on FaceTime. Correspondence, website and Facebook postings, organizing the bulletin (you can find it either at SSM or SKD website), office work, bill paying, and answering requests from the community are still happening because of your continued support in absentia.
Thank you so much for those who are remembering to send us envelopes. It is so reassuring to see this support arrive. Nevertheless, there are many who have discovered the ease of use of Faith Direct and I am equally grateful and encourage others to find its advantages.
Please, be assured of my continued prayers as we weather this difficulty. I pray that your Holy Week may be the unique experience of drawing ever more closely to Our Lord and his Blessed Mother.