The Year of Doing Things Differently!

08-09-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

In a year when it seems we have done just about everything differently than usual – for good reason–it makes sense that we had to do the Mission Co–op Appeal differently, too. As our priests mentioned at Mass last weekend, our scheduled missionary–Fr. John Tigatiga– could not be with us. He and I spoke early last week and decided it would be best if he did not travel to our parish at this time. I did invite him to come and visit us at some later date when things get back to normal.

That said, I want to thank everyone who supported this year’s Mission Co–op Appeal. Many of you sent in envelopes ahead of time or gave online–and many others took advantage of the boxes in the Church last Sunday. Thanks–one and all–for your usual generous support of the missions. The overall amount collected will be posted and updated elsewhere in the bulletin.

Speaking of missionaries, one way that many of you have shared the faith with others is by referring them to the RCIA. As most of you know, RCIA is the process by which prospective converts enter the Catholic Church. It is a series of meetings and presentations–accompanied by prayer and liturgical rites–that educate people about the Faith and help them prepare to be Baptized or received into the Church. It is also suitable for adults who were Baptized as infants–but never received Confirmation or First Holy Communion.

A couple of people have asked me if we will have RCIA this year–and the answer is absolutely YES! We will start in early October and have meetings–with proper distancing, etc.–for those who wish to come. Deacon Rob–who is part of our RCIA team–has offered to do zoom or virtual presentations for those who feel more comfortable attending from home. He will even help you learn how to do this (I hope he can help me with it, too!).

Indeed, I always look forward to RCIA. In fact, some of last year’s participants – who could not be Baptized this past Easter–will be Baptized and/or Confirmed at upcoming Sunday Masses. Just one more thing we are doing differently this year!

Here’s another thing we are going to do a bit differently. Rather than the usual coffee and donuts after Mass routine, Fr. Wojciech will say a few words at each Mass the weekend of August 22–23. It will be his way of saying good bye–at least for now. After speaking about this together–and considering a couple of options–he and I concluded this would be the safest thing to do right now.

I made him promise that he will come back to visit us for Penance Services during Lent and Advent–as do many of our former priests. I am sure we could also invite him for some other parish activities–once things get back to normal. Again, just another thing we will do differently this year!

My personal suggestion is that people who want to wish Fr. Wojciech well can write him a personal note. You can send these to him directly–or to the parish office. We will be happy to forward them to him.

Many of you know that this coming Saturday, August 15th, is the Solemn Feast of the Assumption. While normally a Holy Day of Obligation, it is not observed as such this year since it falls on a Saturday. This stems from a decision by the Bishops of our country to dispense us from attending Mass on most Holy Days that fall on a Saturday or Monday. It is a bit of a moot point this year since we are currently dispensed from Mass due to the pandemic.

Of course, it would be a good idea to honor our Blessed Mother this Saturday just the same. Those who are able to do so could attend the Daily Mass at 8 AM that day–which will be the Mass of the Assumption. Others could pray a Rosary, or some prayer in honor of our Blessed Mother. You could also spend some time reading and meditating on a Gospel story about Mary (I might suggest John 2:1–11 or Luke 1:26– 45)–asking God what you can learn from her. Any of these would be good ways to honor our Blessed Mother as we celebrate her assumption into Heaven.

In the meantime, please keep me in your prayers–at least one Hail Mary a day. Let’s also pray for Fr. Wojciech as he prepares to move, and for our new priest–whoever he is! Let’s keep praying for the sick, those caring for them, and for peace.

Have a great week!

Fr. John