Happy Memorial Day

05-24-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I want to begin by wishing a Happy Memorial Day to all. My wishes go especially to all the veterans in our parish. You – and your fallen comrades – are in my prayers today. Thanks for all you have done to protect our freedom.

As a priest, I am acutely aware of how many people around the globe do not have the freedom to practice their faith that we so often take for granted. The freedom to worship according to one’s conscience was one of the primary reasons many of our ancestors first came to this land. On Memorial Day, take some time to pray for those who died defending that freedom.

Please know that when Fr. Wojciech and I offer our private Masses on Memorial Day, we will keep all those who have been buried from our parish in our prayers – especially those who died defending our country. That said, this might be a good time to explain just how our priests are covering all the Mass intentions during this time. When we began having to offer Mass privately, whatever priest had been scheduled for a given Mass simply offered it privately for the listed intention. Now, we simply have set up a system whereby Fr. Pat is offering Mass for the intentions listed for the 4:30 PM Saturday and 7 AM Sunday Masses, I’m doing so for the 9 and 11 AM Sunday Masses, and Fr. Wojciech is doing so for the 1 PM and 5:30 PM Sunday Masses. On weekdays, I’m covering the intentions for the 6:45 AM, Fr. Wojciech for the 8 AM, and Fr. Venditti – the visiting priest who usually offers the 12:10 PM Mass – is covering those intentions. I have been offering Mass for those listed in the Mass Association.

Please keep in mind that the Church is open from 7 AM until 6 PM for private prayer. The Blessed Sacrament is in the Tabernacle so that you may visit with our precious Lord. I trust everyone to maintain proper distance, keep things clean, etc. We have placed hand sanitizer in the narthex (lobby) near the main entrance.

Please also know that – although our regular schedule is listed on the website calendar and bulletin, there are no public Masses or devotions until further notice. While we do have not firm date as to when things will change, we have been told that our Churches will reopen in stages – with certain restrictions about capacity and distancing at first. I will do my best to keep you posted here and via our parish website. Let’s all pray for the day when – with this virus under control – we can enjoy the blessing of worshipping God together at Holy Mass!

Last week I told you that our parish has welcomed a new seminarian named Joseph Ho. Joseph has been studying for the priesthood at St. Vincent’s Seminary in Latrobe for the past few years. He will begin the new school year at Seton Hall here in New Jersey, where he will complete his final four years of study. Joseph is originally from Vietnam, where he spent some time in formation with the Jesuits. One of his goals is to work on his English, which is pretty good already. He seems to be a fine candidate for the priesthood, with a keen mind and a loving heart. I know you will keep him in your prayers.

Next Sunday is Pentecost – the end of the Easter Season. It is the day on which the Holy Spirit strengthened the first disciples to carry out the mission that had been entrusted to them by Jesus. We received the same Holy Spirit in Baptism – and especially in Confirmation. Be sure to pray to the Holy Spirit this week, asking Him to renew your awareness of Him. The more we pray to Him and cultivate our relationship with Him, the more attuned we will be to the help the Spirit wants to give us each day. Personally, my own awareness of the Spirit’s presence within me has been big help at this time – when we are separated from so many of the usual ways by which we connect with our good Lord.

Happy Memorial Day!

Fr. John