This weekend we celebrate the Second Sunday of Lent. Each year on the Second Sunday of Lent there is one of the passages about the Transfiguration of Jesus. This year it is from Saint Matthew. (Be sure you look at the beautiful Stained Glass window of the Transfiguration, located on the SOUTH side of our church.) During this penitential season we are called to make a conscious effort to avoid sin and be faithful to the gospel, as we heard on Ash Wednesday.
This weekend we will hear Saint Matthew’s account of Jesus climbing a high mountain on which He is transfigured in front of His closest disciples. Whether isolated in the wilderness, as we heard on the first Sunday of Lent, or accompanied by friends on a mountaintop, Jesus remains faithful to the will of God. May He be a model for us and may we respond faithfully!
Next weekend will be the Third Sunday of Lent. During this Holy Season we are asked to examine and reflect upon our lives and call on God for aid. There are times in our lives … and this may be one of them … when we feel alone or abandoned. We make ask, as the Chosen People of Israel did, when thirsting in the desert, “Is the Lord in our midst or not?” As we grow weary crossing the deserts in our lives, may we remember Jesus’s words: “I am with you always.” (During the 9:30 Mass we will have the first of the “Scrutinies” of our Elect. A brief ceremony it asks the Lord to continue to guide them on their way to the Easter Sacraments.)
The FLU (and Coronavirus): This past week we received a letter from the Archbishop giving us suggestions about Holy Mass (and other church services) during this time of sickness. You might have heard that there were no public Masses in Northern Italy on Ash Wednesday and all of the Catholic Churches in South Korea have also suspended their Masses at this time. We aren’t going that far … yet!
In his letter to the priests and deacons last week the Archbishop made the following points:
- Seasonal flu is currently making a bigger impact in our communities. There have been 10,000 deaths from flu in the U.S. this season, and two deaths from coronavirus so
- The potential global public health threat posed by this virus is high; however, right now, the immediate risk to most Americans is
- People at greater risk are those who have recently traveled to China or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Here’s how we can help protect parishioners from the spread of illness when they gather for Mass:
- Sanitize all sacred vessels before and after all Masses (with soap and hot water), because germs may survive on surfaces up to 24 or more
- Suspending the exchange of the sign of peace (or instructing that it be exchanged without physical contact).
- Advise parishioners to keep a distance of three feet from the nearest neighbor when
- Share reminders that Holy Communion is encouraged to be received in the
- Suspending the distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful via the
- Once a week the Holy Water fonts should be sanitized with the Holy Water being poured out on the ground.
- Encourage good hygiene, including alcohol-based hand sanitizer lotion in restrooms and public areas, and proper cough-and-sneeze etiquette. It is especially important for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to implement these (There are anti-bacterial bottles on both side of the Sanctuary.)
- Remind the elderly—who are among the most vulnerable–that they have the option to participate in the Mass on TV via channels such as EWTN, and to request that Holy Communion be brought to their place of residence. (PLEASE we don’t want you to get sick!);
- People with a respiratory infection, the flu, a fever or a serious cold should be encouraged to stay home and reassured that they are not bound to attend weekend
- Read more information about Influenza and the Liturgy from org.
The State of Missouri also has a website set up for information https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/
Accordingly we will NOT be offering the Precious Blood at our Masses until the “crisis” has passed. For the Sign of Peace, just make a nod, smile, or wave to the people near you. It will be difficult to stay three feet away from people … but try not to “infect” them. Thank you.
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network: In addition to what I put in the bulletin last weekend there is a special prayer suggested to be prayed this month for the Pope’s Intention, a prayer written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:
Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trails, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus. In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love. Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built. Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and forever. Amen!
Food For The Poor: Next weekend Father David Delich, OP, will be here to speak about this very faithful ministry of the Church. I hope that you will be open to his presentation and be generous in his appeal for this Catholic program during this Lenten season.
Please remember the special EVENING OF REFLECTION on Monday, March 23: Healing Our Woundedness: An Evening of Reflection with Sr. Kathryn Hermes, FSP. Sr Kathryn, author of “Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments” will lead us on a spiritual path for healing the wounds we all carry. The evening will last from 7 -9 P.M. in the parish hall and will consist of a talk, prayer and reflection. Sr. Kathryn will be available to sign her books. (There is no charge but a free will offering will be taken up. Thank you!)
Have a blessed Lenten Season,
Fr Joe Weber