Starting Again

As we gather again for public worship we celebrate the great feasts of the Ascension of our Lord, Pentecost, The Holy Trinity and The Body and Blood of Christ.  It is literally a new beginning.  And we approach it from perhaps the most vulnerable experience our community has known in our lifetimes.  Even as we remain vulnerable to the virus, to growing anxiety, to a fraying of the edges all around us, our soul knows that God is ready to reveal himself in ever more powerful ways.  God will send his Spirit to awaken his spirit already at work within us.  Our love will be more tender, our humility will be more acceptable, our faith will become the fire which descends upon everyone in our community to bring healing and peace to a troubled world.  And as we count on God alone to save us, let us also be patient with one another.  Let us search for creative ways to stay connected.  At the first Pentecost, the disciples, gathered around Mary our mother, moved from fear to courage, from doubt to faith and from despair to hope.  And the world caught fire with their love for one another.  We are being called right now to light a fire on the earth, to become the very body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, to be life for the world.

Please be mindful of the disciplines we are putting in place to facilitate meaningful and safe public worship, beginning Monday, May 18.  Our Mass schedule is, again, 6:30 am Monday-Friday; 8:00 am Saturday; 4:00 pm Saturday; 7:00 and 10:00 on Sunday morning.  This schedule will be used even on the fifth Sundays; we will not celebrate a “Unity” Mass until further notice…though we are one, just as the Father and Son are one.  

We will add a noon Mass on Sunday, May 24, to make sure everyone who wishes to come to Mass can.  Please call or email us to let us know if you wish to attend at noon; that will help us make preparations.  If we have more than 80 or so at any one Mass we will have to ask some to leave and return for the noon Mass.  I do believe it will work out beautifully; please, though, be patient with us and one another as we begin again this great offering of Praise and Worship to God.

Here are the protocols we have put in place:

  1. All parishioners will wear masks and practice 6′ social distancing while on Church property.
  2. All parishioners will enter church through the accessible door in the southwest corner of church.
  3. All parishioners are encouraged to use sanitizer when entering church.
  4. Breaking Bread Missals will be available as parishioners enter; each person can take one, then keep it, take it home and bring it whenever they come to Mass.
  5. Also, as you enter you will see the collection basket in front of church; please drop your contribution in the basket as you enter.
  6. Twenty pews will be available for seating in the church.
  7. The kneelers will not be used in church; they are not to be touched; we will all stand (or sit) during the Eucharistic prayer.
  8. Communion is to be received in the hand. 
  9. All parishioners will exit through the center east doors of church.

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Returning Home

We are returning to the public celebration of Mass on Monday May 18.  Alleluia!  We will return to our regular Mass schedule, with 6:30 Mass on Monday-Friday, 8:00 Mass on Saturday morning, 4:00 PM Vigil Mass on Saturday afternoon, 7:00 and 10:00 on Sunday morning.  On Sunday, May 24, we are adding a noon Mass, just in case it is necessary in order to implement all the safety protocols in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Please be mindful of the following procedures to facilitate meaningful and safe worship:

  1. All parishioners will wear masks and practice 6′ social distancing while on Church property.
  2. All parishioners will enter church through the accessible door in the southwest corner of church.
  3. All parishioners are encouraged to use sanitizer when entering church.
  4. Breaking Bread Missals will be available as parishioners enter; each person can take one, then keep it, take it home and bring it whenever they come to Mass.
  5. Twenty pews will be available for seating in the church.
  6. The kneelers will not be used in church; they are not to be touched; we will all stand (or sit) during the Eucharistic prayer.
  7. Communion is to be received in the hand. 
  8. All parishioners will exit through the center east doors of church.

Archbishop Carlson has extended indefinitely the dispensation regarding the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.  He has encouraged all persons who are particularly vulnerable to the virus (underlying health condition or and/or above the age of sixty) to stay home. Our 10:00 Sunday Mass will continue to be live streamed on Facebook and on our web page.

Please email or call us to let us know if you are willing to attend the noon Mass on May 24; if we can get fifty or more committed to trying that Mass on that day, we should be able to confidently accommodate all who attend the other Masses. 

This is indeed a new beginning for all of us.  Let us remain open to the good work which God is preparing to accomplish in us.  The first reading in the Office today included,

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.  The former heaven and the former earth had passed away…I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.  He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God.  He will wipe every tear from their faces, and there will be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.  Behold, I make all things new.’  (Rev. 21:1-5)”

This vision from John, first shared at the beginning of the second century, is so important for us today.  It encourages us that we are already, even now, in this very moment, participating in the life of heaven.  Jesus is the lamb upon the throne who makes all things new.  During these days of living in the midst of a pandemic it is difficult to imagine heaven on earth.  Yet it is unfolding, one act of love at a time.  This world is being transformed into the Kingdom of God, a creation which is a returning home for us, a long, sacred journey back to the Garden of Eden, and all God’s children shall see it together.  While our attention is clearly on persevering through to the end of this pandemic, the horizon of God’s love for us poured out in Christ Jesus remains our lasting hope.  Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Mary is Queen of Heaven

My dear friends,

During this month of May we honor Mary, our mother and the Mother of God. I commend to you this delightful poem from Gerard Manley Hopkins. God bless you, and Happy Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe

Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that’s fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing’s life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life’s law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God’s infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race—
Mary Immaculate,
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess’s
Was deemèd, dreamèd; who
This one work has to do—
Let all God’s glory through,
God’s glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.

I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same 1
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms’ self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.

If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man’s beating heart,
Laying, like air’s fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Saviour still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one
More makes, when all is done,
Both God’s and Mary’s Son.

Again, look overhead
How air is azurèd;
O how! nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steepèd sky will not
Stain light. Yea, mark you this: 2
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.
So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man’s mind.
Through her we may see him
Made sweeter, not made dim,
And her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.

Be thou then, thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God’s love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.

DACA Solidarity Prayer Service

Please pray for our brothers and sisters among us who are impacted directly by this upcoming Supreme Court decision.  I will be participating in the webinar prayer service.  I will post my remarks separately.  God bless you.

Fr. Mitch​

Archbishop Carlson, along with the archdiocesan Immigration Task Force, and other Catholic leaders, will hold a virtual prayer vigil to express solidarity with DACA program recipients and to call for a more just and merciful immigration system.

  • ​The Supreme Court is expected to decide on the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program within the next few weeks. If the decision is released on a Monday, the prayer vigil will be held from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Wednesday of that week. If the decision is released on a Thursday, the prayer vigil will be held from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Friday of that week.

  • The vigil will be live streamed on Facebook and other social media platforms.

  • Further information will be distributed as it becomes available. Please contact mariekenyon@archstl.org with any questions.

Beatitudes for Mothers

Blessed are mothers
who did without for us,
they will be rewarded.

Blessed are mothers
who lost sleep when we were sick,
they will find rest.

Blessed are mothers
who taught us how to pray, they
will share God’s kingdom.

Blessed are mothers
who comforted us,
they shall be comforted.

Blessed are mothers
who taught us right from wrong,
they will know justice.

Blessed are mothers
who shared with us
the meaning of peace,
they shall know peace.

Blessed are mothers
who taught us the importance
of loving God and each other,
they shall see God.

–author unknown

In Memoriam: Connie Rohrbach

In your charity, please pray for the soul of Connie Rohrbach who passed away Thursday, May 7, 2020. Please include her family in your prayers.
Visitation and services will be private.

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Her, O Lord……

One Step at a Time

Dear Friends,

Archbishop Carlson has communicated to us that we may resume public Masses on Monday, May 18.  He will provide guidelines directing how can best open while being safe and respectful of the ongoing concerns regarding the presence of the coronavirus in our community.  I will likewise post, probably on Tuesday, May 12, our guidelines regarding how to attend Mass the following week.  

The good news is that we will be able to celebrate together.  It will not be the same; and I believe we are learning it will never be the same.  What is the same is God’s love for us.  What is the same is God’s presence to us and within us.  What is the same is God’s promise to us.  The Holy Spirit will be sent upon each one of us and we will search together for the ways God is calling us to reveal his glory through our love for one another.

We will continue our Friday Eucharistic Processions for healing and peace in our community, every Friday at 6:00 pm..  This evening we will travel west on Delor, north on Ridgewood, east on Taft and south on Newport back to the Grotto.

Please also note that roses will be available on the sidewalk in front of church this Sunday from 9-11:30 AM.  Please come by!

You are in my daily prayer.  Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.