Today we celebrate the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. This week we are welcomed by other Christians who gather together to celebrate the Eucharist. Today we will hear of a woman and her husband who offer hospitality to the prophet Elisha whenever he went to their city, going so far as furnishing him with a place to stay. May we try to furnish a place in our hearts for our Lord to stay so that we may gain strength and nourishment on our journey to the kingdom.
Next Sunday we will celebrate the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next weekend Jesus will address us with comforting words, that are so associated with the celebration of the Sacred Heart: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Let those words wash over us and all the responsibilities we have, all the stresses we’re under, especially with the COVID Pandemic and the social justice unrest. “My yoke is easy,” Jesus assures us, “my burden light.” As we gather next weekend, as we remember the freedoms that we truly have, may we rejoice in the TRUE freedom that Jesus offers us from our heavy burdens.
Masses for the Third and Fourth of July: While the “official” holiday for July 4th this year is on Friday, July 3rd, with many things closed, we will still have our 6:30 A.M. Mass on Friday, the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle and the First Friday of the month of July. ALSO, while we ordinarily have Mass at 9:00 A.M. on the four Major Holidays (Memorial Day, The Fourth of July,
Labor Day, and Thanksgiving), this Saturday, July 4, 2020, we will have Mass at 8:00 A.M., as we have been having Mass recently. The weekend Masses will be the same, 5:00 P.M. on Saturday, 9:30 and 11:30 on Sunday. Confessions will be heard from 3:30 until 4:30 on Saturday, as usual.
Gavin Lain: Gavin came through the surgery last Friday with flying colors. As I write this there is talk that he will be home by the time you read this! A true miracle. Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers during this time from the end of January until now. He still has a lot of physical therapy to do, but he is “out of the woods,” his speech is fine, his thought processes are coming back, his therapists are all pleased, BUT prayers are still needed for a complete recovery.
Father Stephen Schumacher, who was ordained last May, and assigned to us for the summer has been a great help after the Universities in Rome closed last March and he came back here. He will be going out to Ascension Parish, Chesterfield, and his new assignment sometime this week. Thank you, Father Schumacher, for everything you did here. As you said last year “Saint Monica was my first assignment as a priest.” Please pray for us as you go to Ascension. (Both Father Westhoff and I will be here until the end of July.)
Phase II for reopening churches: I sent this out as a “blast” last week. It came too late to be put in the bulletin, so Phase II started last Monday, June 22. Here is the “blast” and the things that are now in effect here in the Archdiocese.
Archbishop Robert Carlson, Apostolic Administrator for the archdiocese, announces Phase II guide- lines for public Mass to be implemented starting Monday, June 22.
Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson has granted permission for parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to move to Phase II of offering public Mass during the coronavirus pandemic. In granting permission for Phase II, Archbishop Carlson relays the following to all priests and deacons:
“As the COVID-19 virus remains present in the Greater St. Louis area, my first request to all of you is that you consider your own health as you look to best serve your flock. If you are sick or experiencing symp- toms, please do not offer Mass, participate in parish activities or visit the sick in residences, hospitals or nursing homes. If you are symptomatic of COVID-19, contact your local department of health. Officials will give you information regarding potential testing and the need to self-quarantine.”
Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson
Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis
STARTING MONDAY, JUNE 22
All parishes should adhere to the capacity restrictions mandated by the city or county officials where they reside, but also be mindful of the six-feet social distancing requirements recommended by health officials. So, while some areas will be loosening up to a 50-percent capacity restriction, (Please note that it is still the policy in Saint Louis County for only 25% of the space to be used, so the capacity in Church is still only 113) please be sure that your parishioners can still maintain six feet between themselves.
Masks will still be required to enter a parish within the Archdiocese of St. Louis. While the Archdiocese still strongly recommends the use of masks throughout Mass with the exception of receiving Holy Communion, the requirement of wearing masks in the pews will continue be a decision made by the parish pastor. (I will leave it to your discretion; however studies indicate that more “germs” are expelled when singing and talking, so perhaps when singing and responding during Mass, please keep on the masks)
Holy Communion can now be offered in the hand or on the tongue. Holy Communion distributed by Extraordinary Ministers will be administered in the hand only (please note we have not been using Extraordinary Ministers since the pandemic started). We strongly recommend that parishioners receive Holy Communion in the hand, however, as this is a celebration of God’s love for us and the most important part of our Mass, parishioners who still wish to receive Holy Communion on the tongue must receive from the Mass celebrant only.
Continue the suspension of the distribution of Holy Communion via the chalice.
Parishes will now only be required to clean pews once a day unless otherwise stated by city or county health officials.
Holy Communion for the home-bound:
Holy Communion for the home-bound can resume with safety measures in place including the use of masks, sanitizer and adhering to social distancing.
The Eucharistic minister must wear a mask at all times.
Communicants should wear masks, with the exception of the moment of receiving Holy Communion. Hand sanitizer should be present and used in the event of any contact.
Social distancing should be adhered to in all cases outside of distributing Holy Communion.
I am sure that there will be more regulations coming out soon. Meanwhile, have a great Independence Day weekend and may the Lord continue to watch over and keep us safe!
Faithfully yours, Fr Joe Weber