The Homestretch

03-21-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

It’s hard for me to believe that next Sunday is already Palm Sunday! We are clearly in the ‘homestretch’ of Lent.

Please know that, in addition to our usual Confessions on Saturday (9:00–9:30am and 3:15–4:15pm) we will have Confessions this Friday evening from 6–7pm. Two visiting priests will join Fr. Gilbert and I in hearing Confessions that evening. My hope is that will keep the lines short and give people a choice of confessors.

Know that we have set up the Confession areas to maintain distancing, etc. Please also wear a mask to Confession. Finally, if there is a line, please remember to maintain social distancing between you and other families on line. I really appreciate everyone’s cooperation with this!

Regarding Palm Sunday, the good news is YES, we will have palms this year! But the distribution will be a bit different. Rather than simply leave all the palm in big baskets around the Church, our faithful ushers will hand it out as you enter the Church. Please tell them if you need more or less, and they will be glad to help you. If you arrive to Mass late on Palm Sunday, just see one of the ushers, priests, or deacons after Mass and we’ll be happy to help you. Also, please do not leave your palm in the Church!!! Thanks!

Looking ahead to Holy Week, I want to give you some idea of what to expect. We will have all the usual Liturgies of Holy Week this year, with the Church filled only to 50% of its capacity. We are asking that you call ahead to reserve space for Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Good Friday Service at 3 PM, the Solemn Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday at 7 PM, and Easter Sunday Mass at 7, 9, and 11am and the 1pm in Spanish. This will help us make sure everyone has ample space. God willing, this will be the last time we have to do this!

On Holy Thursday, the Church will remain open for private prayer and adoration, as in year’s past, until 11pm. Spending time in prayer with the Blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday night is an ancient tradition rooted in Jesus’ invitation to Peter, James, and John, asking them to stay awake and pray with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Everyone is welcome to stop in and spend some time with our Blessed Lord that night. Please maintain the proper distances, as with everything these days!

I want to thank everyone who participated in the St. Joseph’s Novena. Whether you came in person, watched and prayed along on line, or prayed the prayers privately, I’m glad you did! It was a beautiful witness to our faith in the power of prayer, and a great way to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day in this year dedicated to him.

This weekend we welcome some old friends from Corona Self Help Center. These gentlemen have visited our parish before with their inspiring stories of recovery and healing.
I know we will make them welcome, and keep them in our prayers.

Please also keep me in your prayers. I rely on the help of your prayers, and assure you of my daily prayers for you. Let’s also keep praying for the sick, for a complete end to this pandemic, and for peace.

Have a great week!
Fr. John