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Fr. Ron's Blog

Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

I give my column up this week to Archbishop José Gomez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and his statement on the death of George Floyd. We were all horrified at the video which brought the tragedy and injustice of his death into our very homes. This should be for us a time to look into ourselves to be sure no taint of racism lingers there and to ask ourselves how we can bring an end to this scandalous evil in our country.

God Bless. Be Well and Be Safe
Fr. Ron

PS. As I write this on Tuesday morning, it is clear that churches will be cleared to open very soon. Please be sure to check the website daily for updated information.

Dear Friends,

Below is a column I wrote two years ago but I repeat it now. Especially in this pandemic and even more especially as we eagerly anticipate the gradual (for some, too gradual) easing of restrictions, we need to be reminded of who we are as Catholic Christians and what God is asking of us as our world starts up again. I pray that it renews your hope that the Spirit of the Lord Whom we love truly never abandons us but forever leads us to new life.

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost, the gift from the Father and the Son of their Spirit to the disciples, gathered again in a room, which officially makes them the Church. And so, as we used to say in times past, today is the Feast of the birthday of the Church. We old timers remember the days when Pentecost would have been highlighted as the birthdate of the Church. And this is something that can’t be denied. As it is with all birthdays, so it is with the Church, born from the side of her crucified Lord, (as many great spiritual writers have reflected down through the ages), and brought to life by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so, Happy Birthday, Church! I repeat below some thoughts from years past because, I believe they help us reflect on the full reality of this great gift the Church receives from her Lord.

Dear Friends,
In my column last Sunday, I told you I would share with you parts of the directives we received for the implementations of Phases II and III when it comes time. As I was going through them, it became clear to me that rather than try to summarize them, it would be better to let you read them, in their entirety. If you click on the green COVID 19 – UPDATES icon on the homepage of the parish website you will be able to read the directives in their entirety to give you an idea of what things will look like as we move from phase to phase. More specifics about the parish implementation of these directives will appear as we are about to move from one phase to another.

I just want to say a word about the Solemnity of the Lord’s Ascension which we celebrate today. This celebration has always been called Ascension Thursday, because it was celebrated 40 days after the Lord’s Resurrection. Most of the country moved the celebration of the Ascension to the Sunday before Pentecost some years ago but the northeast kept it on a Thursday. This year, because of the coronavirus, it has been moved to this last Sunday before Pentecost so it will be the first time in many years that many Catholics will be celebrating it. The Ascension marks the final event of the Paschal Mystery, the single saving event that is the heart of our Catholic faith, the suffering, death, Resurrection and Ascension into glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is the return of the Lord to the Father after completing the work of our salvation.

Dear Friends,

I was not going to write a column this week because I really had nothing new to share with you and I didn’t want to just keep repeating the same things over and over, as some of our political leaders seem to like to do. But late on Monday evening a new set of directives came out from the Archdiocese which, in fact, seems to be the opening of a new door.

The re-opening of churches and liturgical celebrations will occur in three phases. In Phase 1, churches will be re-opened for personal prayer. According to the directives, this re-opening will be “during limited and designated hours.” Persons coming into the church must be wearing masks and practice social distancing. Here at Mount Carmel we have not yet designated those hours but one thing we do know is that the church will not be open on Sundays, because we live-stream two Sunday masses, one in English at 11:00AM and one in Spanish at 3:00PM. But the church will be open for private prayer Monday through Saturday, beginning Monday, May 18. Please check the website on Sunday, May 17th, for those hours. I also ask you to follow the directional markings on the floor once you enter the church. From Mondays through Saturdays, the Blessed Sacrament will be reserved on the altar in the main church. Public celebrations, devotions and any group prayer are not permitted, according to the directives. Hand sanitizers are now available when you enter the interior doors into the church and I ask you to follow the directional markings on the floors. By the directives, all books and hymnals have been removed from the pew racks. Holy Water fonts will remain empty until further notice.

Dear Friends,

Today is Mother’s Day. Had we been in the church, we would have given a special blessing, which we will still do live-streaming and we would have given out carnations, which we will not do. In any case, we wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers. Each of us has our own stories to tell about the special woman who so shaped our lives. Tell them again today, even if it’s only to your own heart. There is an old Spanish proverb which I’ve quoted before: “An ounce of mother is better than a pound of clergy.” How true. I heard the mayor of a large city near us say that in the past, the greatest gift you could give your mother was to gather around her, but today, the greatest gift you can give her is to stay away. I’m not sure I buy that but, in any case, if your mom is still with us, reach out in some way to be near her. Today, the reflection below seems more appropriate than ever.

Dear Friends,

Thoughts that run through an idle mind:

Gratitude. I am so grateful to all the staff who continue to provide service to the community. Two weeks ago I expressed my thanks to our Music Ministry for the work they do for our live-streaming liturgies and for our maintenance staff for their continued care of the plant, and for those who help provide the livestreaming, as well as the other aspects of our “virtual” parish. But there are so many others who keep the parish alive. The members of our Religious Education office, Cathy Hunt, and Angela Krempel, assisted by Pat McGarvie, continue to provide resource materials, as well as prayer opportunities for our children and their families to complete the program year in their religious education journey. The same is true of Glen McCall and Natalie DeCandia, assisted by Jocelin Hernandez, who do the same for our teenagers in both the middle school years and high school years. And Peter Denio does the same for the adult community. Even from her “lock in” at Convent Station, Sr. Mary continues to keep me informed about the sick and homebound. And the rectory staff, Peggy, Patti, Rose and Luz continue to provide their services in such areas as the bulletin, the collection, housekeeping and cooking (on a limited basis), and Joan, the parish accountant, who keeps the lights on and the phones connected by paying the bills. Thanks to all of them the regular functions of the parish continue, even in a“virtual” and limited way.

Dear Friends,

If this were a normal year, on the 1st Sunday after Easter, officially called the Second Sunday of Easter, and also, Divine Mercy Sunday, I would be writing a column filled with thank-yous to all of the people who made our Easter celebrations possible. This year, that list would be a little shorter. First on that list would be the three people who were responsible for getting the Holy Week/Easter celebrations into your homes, Peter Sicko, our Director of Music, Glen McCall, our Director of Youth Ministry and Josip Zubac. Without these three we would have been in the dark, technologically speaking. All of the things that needed to be done, the production, the internet connections with our webmaster, Facebook, YouTube, and whatever else goes into live-streaming were done through their knowledge, expertise and dedication. A special “shout-out” (to use a phrase that seems to be popular with our Governor) to Josip. This is his line of work and he came forward, not only to offer his services, but his equipment as well which has made a world of difference in the production. I am so grateful to him and to Peter and Glen for all their efforts, and to Chris Wright of our maintenance staff who ran the necessary wiring to the equipment and who also saw to it that the church looked as close to normal “for the seasons” as we could possibly get.

Dear Friends,

As I write this on the Monday of Holy Week, the temperature outside is forecast to reach 65, the sun is shining and the sky is a bright blue. The weather outside belies the great war going on in our community, in our country and around the world against the latest enemy of our peace, COVID 19.

Dear Friends,

Thoughts that run through an idle mind, but these days my mind is filled with thoughts so it should read:

Idle thoughts that run through an over-active mind.
-First and foremost, I think of those who have passed from this virus, for the dying and the sick, especially the members of this community. They are always on my mind and in my prayers. If you have a family member who is sick, please let us know so we can put that person on our numerous prayer chains. But because of the HIPPA laws, only a family member can do this.

Dear Friends,

Before a reflection on today’s Scripture, I just put a few reminders out there.

1. On Sunday, 3/29, we will live-stream Mass at 11:00AM from the Mary Chapel (daily Mass chapel). Like last Sunday, I think the plan is to put the link on the homepage of the website. Also like last Sunday, it will only go live at 11:00AM so be patient.

2. At the direction of the Archdiocese, all churches are to be closed until further notice. In addition, all wakes, funerals, weddings and baptisms are suspended and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, (confessions) is suspended until further notice, with the exception of extreme emergency which means in the possibility of death. All these until further notice.

TRANSLATE

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