Doing Good Differently.

11-15-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of joining some of my family to celebrate my mother’s birthday. As you might imagine, it was not nearly as big a gathering as it would usually be. But both of my sisters and brothers in law were there, with three of my nieces and a few other family members. We were at the home of my sister Christine, who has lots of room and a spacious yard and patio. God blessed us with a beautiful day, and lots of time was spent outdoors. Like so many things these days, it was good but different.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, I’d like to talk about a few good things we will do a bit differently this year. The first is the annual Thanksgiving Food for the Needy Food Drive. While social distancing makes it impossible for us to collect and sort all the food we usually do in Mercy Hall, we can still do some good things for those in need. Donations of food, cash, or grocery gift cards can be dropped off directly at Catholic Charities located at 387 South Main Street. TURKEYS are always a big need, and this year is no different. Please drop them off at Catholic Charities back door (on Sitgreaves Street – marked 387). It will be a big help!

This year’s Giving Tree will also be a bit different. Rather than taking actual tags from the tree, we will accept monetary donations that will be converted into gift cards for the children. Please make donations in an envelope clearly marked: GIVING TREE. Checks should be made payable to SPSJ Giving Tree. I’m sure you can also directly donate Gift Cards, too.

The next thing that will be a bit different will be the Christmas schedule, which will include more Masses than usual. Christmas Eve Masses will be celebrated in our Church at 2 PM, 4 PM, 7 PM, and 12 Midnight. On Christmas Day, we will celebrate Holy Mass at 7 AM, 9 AM, 11 AM in English and at 1 PM in Spanish. Reservations will be necessary (which drives me crazy, but….) due to the fact that we must still limit attendance to no more than 150 persons per Mass.

A letter explaining the Christmas schedule has been mailed to all our parishioners. Please watch for it! It will also be posted on the website and inserted into an upcoming bulletin. My hope is that we can have a beautiful and prayerful Christmas celebration–even if it is a bit different.

I’m sure that, like me, you are hearing all kinds of stories about the surge in COVID cases. With that in mind, let’s be sure to do our best to keep people as safe as we can. Please remember to wear your mask in Church, and remove it only to receive Holy Communion. Please also remember to social distance in and around the Church and to sanitize your hands when entering the Church. Finally, please remember that the dispensation from Mass attendance remains in effect. Those who are high risk should stay home, and anyone who has a fever or feels sick must stay home.

I know these things are inconvenient for many, and downright difficult for some. But I’m sure it was inconvenient for Mary and Joseph to stay in a stable on Christmas Eve. My suggestion is that we offer these difficulties to God as a sacrifice, as a bit of the Cross we carry with Jesus in this life, so we can enjoy Eternal Life with Him in the next.

Please say a prayer for me today–at least one Hail Mary. Be assured of my daily prayers for you.

Have a great week!

Fr. John

P.S. The Solemn Mass at Midnight will be livestreamed and put on our website for those who wish to watch from home (or watch it on Christmas Day).