Pastor Letter for May 24

Dear Parish Family,

We find ourselves with the disciples in the Upper Room with our Blessed Mother praying since the Ascension of the Lord for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. “Come Holy Spirit” is our prayer as well as we await a New Pentecost. When Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, he promised that he would not abandon us and that “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and your will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” The birthday of the Church is Pentecost, and next Sunday we will celebrate that. Both Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and Cardinal Timothy Dolan write about Jesus who imparts his Spirit to us and intercedes for us before the Father.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen write:” Now that Christ is in glory at the right hand of the Father, what does he do there? Has he a work? Certainly, he’s a mediator. We might say that He is constantly showing his scars to his Heavenly Father and he is saying,

“See, these I was wounded in the house of those who love me. I love humanity. I suffered for them. Forgive them Heavenly Father.” He is our sacrifice. He is ever present before our Father. As Scripture puts it, “ever making intercession for us”. You see, we very often get the wrong understanding of the life of our Lord. We think of him as just living on this earth, preaching the beatitudes and suffering, No, Jesus did not come down just for that. He is living, making intercessions for us, the representative of all who invoke him. Certainly, he has finished the work of justice on earth because he paid the debt for sin. But the work of mercy in heaven is unfinished. That goes on and on. The reason it goes on is because we need this intercession.

When Our Lord was on earth, he revealed the Heavenly Father. It was only through him that we know how much love the Father has for us.  The Father so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son to save it.  The night of the Last Supper, Philip said to Jesus, “Show us the Father.” Our Lord replied, “ Philip, have I been with you all this time still you do not understand the Father and I are one?” It was the Father’s love that sent the Son, so that the Lord was kind of a prism. Just as when the earthly sun shines through a prism and splits light into seven rays of the spectrum, so too Our Lord reveals the full love and goodness of the heavenly Father. “

(May 18- May 19 Through the Year with Fulton Sheem, complied by Henry Dieterich)

Last Monday, May 18 was the 100th birthday of Saint John Paul II and Cardinal Dolan writes, “ I tried my best to read everything that Saint John Paul II wrote, and in doing so I noticed that one word that appears over and over: return. He exhorts priest to return to the Upper Room, where Jesus gave the Church the gift of the priesthood.

He tells young people to return to their inner dignity, for they are in the image and likeness of God. He summons the sick to return to Calvary to share in the Christs cross, which gives meaning to their suffering. He tells married couples to return to the radiance of their sacred bond. – a bond that mirrors God’s love. And to America, he tells us to return to the protection of life and welcome those that in need.

He askes all of us to return to what is most decent, noble and uplifting in our makeup as children of God. He asks us to return to Jesus – to come back to Palestine and be saved.

Saint John Paul II wanted all of us to experience again the excitement, the invitation, the conversion, the promise, the miracles, the teaching- the Person who walked in Palestine 2000 years ago and who lives now in His Church.”

(Who Do You Say I Am? by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Image Books- May 18 reflection).

Questions about Pre Cana have been called in. I received information from the Family Life Office of the Archdiocese of New York (212 371 1000) that in June there will be a virtual Pre Cana and preparations are being made at present for chat rooms. Also questions about re-opening the Church for Mass will depend on the metric system given by New York State and the Corona virus Task Force. Questions also about Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals will depend on the 4th Phase opening up the State. Also questions about Summer Camp are still yet to be determined since children have been having reactions relative to Covid- 19, Kawasaki disease and other symptoms. We are awaiting word. I will keep you posted as soon as I know. Though the bulletin, Wednesday updates on You Tube, Sunday Mass announcements that will be after Holy Communion at 11AM which will be live streamed from our parish website, OLSSPARISH. Org. God bless, stay safe and let us continue to implore the Holy Spirit to protect us.

Come Holy Spirit!

Father Tom Devery

A Letter from Father Tom May 17

Dear Parish Family,

The other day, my cousin Mark send me this adult fairy tale. It’s lovingly told of a dad reading this story to his little son at bedtime. Read it and enjoy.

The Great Realization

Little Boy: Tell me the one about the virus again, then I’ll go to bed.

Dad: But my boy, you’re growing weary, sleepy thoughts about your head.

Little Boy: Please Dad, that one is my favorite, I promise just once more.

Dad: OK, snuggle down though I know you know full well

that story starts before then, in a world I once would dwell.

It was a world of waste and wonder, of poverty and plenty,

back before we understood that hindsight’s 2020.

You see the people came up with companies to trade across all lands.

But they swelled and got much bigger that we ever could have planned.

We always had our wants; but it got to be so quick

we could have everything you dreamed of in a day and with a click.

We noticed families stopped talking, that’s not to say they never spoke,

but the meaning must have melted and the work life balance broke.

And the children’s eyes grew squarer and every toddler had a phone.

They filtered out the imperfections but amidst the noise they felt alone.

And everyday the skies grew thicker, until you couldn’t see the stars.

So we flew in planes to find them; while down below we filled our cars.

We’d drive around all day in circles. We had forgotten how to run.

We swapped the grass for tarmac, shrink the parks, till there were none.

We filled the sea with plastic; but our waste was never capped,

until each day when you went fishing; you’d pull them out already wrapped.

And while we drank and smoked and gambled, our leaders taught us why,

it’s best not to upset the lobbies, it’s more convenient to die.

But then in 2020, a new virus came our way,

the governments reacted and told us all to hide away.

But while we were hidden amidst the fear and all the while,

the people dusted off their instincts. They remembered how to smile.

They started clapping to say thank you and calling up their mums.

And while the car keys gathered dust, they would look forward to their runs.

And with the skies less full of voyagers, the earth began to breathe.

And the beaches bore new wildlife, that scuttled into the seas.

Some people started dancing, some were singing, some were baking.

We’d grown so used to bad news, but some good news was in the making.

And so, when we found the cure and we were allowed to go outside,

we preferred the world we found to the one we left behind.

Old habits became extinct and they made way for the new.

And every simple act of kindness was given then it’s due.

But why did it take a virus to bring the people back together?

Sometimes my boy, you must get sick before you start feeling better.

Now lie down and dream of tomorrow and all the things we can do.

And who knows if you dream hard enough, maybe some of them will come true.

We now call it The Great Realizaton

and yes, since then, there have been many.

But that’s the story of how it started, and why hindsight’s 2020.

 

A blessed Easter season,

Father Tom Devery

 

Let’s Pray A Million Rosaries on May 13th!!

Let’s Pray A Million Rosaries on May 13th!!

Join Fr. Jeff Pomeisi @farrell.pomcast a priest of the Archdiocese of New York in partnership with Spiritual Strength to pray one million rosaries at the same time on the same YouTube channel, in honor of the renewed consecration of the USA to Our Blessed Mother.

Join us May 13, 2020, 7PM EASTERN TIME
on Fr. Jeff’s “Pomcast” YouTube channel and sign the petition to so we can get to one million signatures by May 13th.

A victory for God is a victory for America!  And use the hashtag #millionrosarymay13th To find Fr Jeff’s “Pomcast” channel just go to YouTube and search for “Pomcast” or go this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFxN……  To sign the petition go to ipetitions.com and search for “Million Rosary” or go to this link: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/m…

And remember to use the hashtag #millionrosarymay13th

Ave Maria!

Saint Joseph, Pray for us!

A Letter from Father Tom May 10

Dear Parish Family,

Here’s a pastoral observation on just one of he comments of Governor Cuomo. It’s not an easy read; however, if it is read slowly it make perfect sense.

Bishop Robert Barron writes, “Last week Andrew Cuomo, made on interesting theological observation. Commenting on the progress New York State has made in fighting the coronavirus; and praising the concrete efforts of medical and ordinary citizens, he said: ‘The number is down because we brought the number down, God didn’t do that. Faith did not do that. “I won’t waste a lot of time exploring the hubris of that remark, which should be obvious to anyone. I might recommend, out of pastoral concern, that the governor read the first part of Genesis Chapter eleven.

What I will do is instead explain the basic intellectual confusion that undergirds Cuomo’s assertion, one, that, I fear, is shared by many believers. The condition for the possibility of the governor’s declaration is the assumption that God is one competitive cause among many, one actor jostling for position and time upon the stage with a coterie of other actors. One this reading, God does certain things – usually of a rather spectacular nature—and creaturely causes do other things, usually more mundane. Thus, we can clearly parcel our responsibility and credit – some to God and some to finite agents. But this account is deeply unbiblical and alien to the Catholic theological tradition.

To understand the scriptural sense of the play between divine and human causality, it is helpful to consult the cycle of stories dealing with King David in 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel. What strikes the reader is the nothing “supernatural” takes place in these accounts. Practically everything that happens to David could be adequately accounted for on a psychological, historical, military, or political grounds. However, throughout the narrative, God’s activity and involvement are assumed, for the author takes for granted the principal that the true God works not typically in an interruptive way but precisely though a congeries of secondary causes. Mind you, it is not the case that some explanations of David’s story are political or psychological and some properly theological; rather everything is at once, natural and supernatural- precisely because God’s causality is operating noncompetitively. If you want a one – liner summery of this distinctively biblical perspective, you could not do better that this, from the prophet Isaiah. “O Lord, you have accomplished all that we have done.” (Isaiah 26.12).

Now why should this be true? Here it would be helpful to turn to the Church’s greatest theologian, Saint Thomas Aquinas. For Thomas, God is not the supreme being  (ens summum, in his Latin), but rather ippsum esse subsistens, which means “the sheer act of to be itself.” In a word, God is not one more instance of the genus “being”, one thing, however exalted among others; instead, he is the self- explaining source of existence as such, that great font of being in  and through which all finite things subsist and act. Therefore, God does not compete for space, so to speak, on the same ontological grid as creatures, a zero – sum game does not obtain in regard to God’s activity and creaturely activity – the more we ascribe to one, the less we have to ascribe to the other.

Allow me to ground this rather abstract rhetoric with a homey example. If one were to ask what is necessary to make a bicycle, the response would be something like this: “tires, brake pads, a chain, a metal frame, the skill of the builder, perhaps a schematic to guide the building process, etc.”. No one would ever to be tempted to respond as follows:” tires, brake pads, a chain, God, a metal frame, the skill of a builder, etc.” And yet, a smart religious person, upon finishing the project of constructing that kike, would quite legitimately say “Thank God!” The prayer would be a humble acknowledgement, not that God is responsible for the entire nexus of causes and behaviors that made up the process. The upshot is that the two dimensions of causality—on finite and the other Transcendent–operate simultaneously and noncompetitively: “You have accomplished all that we have done.”

All of which brings me back to Governor Cuomo. To claim that “God did not do that” because we did it is a category mistake. What brought the coronavirus numbers down? It is perfectly accurate to say: “The skills of doctors and nurses, the availability of hospital beds, the willingness of so many to shelter in place, etc.”. But it is also perfectly valid to say that God brought those numbers down, precisely by grounding the entire complex of creaturely causality just referenced. This relationship holds at the metaphysical level, but it is perhaps even clearer when it comes to the psychological motivation of those dedicated physicians and nurses. Why ultimately were they willing to do what they did? I would be willing to bet that a large percentage of them would say that it was a desire to serve others and to be pleasing to God.

So we should thank all of the good people involved in bettering our current situation; and we shouldn’t hesitate, even for a moment to thank God as well. There is absolutely no need to play the zero – sum game proposed by the governor of New York.”

God Bless you during this Easter Season, and may He and we Keep us all safe and well.

Father Tom

A Letter from Father Tom May 3rd

Dear Parish Family,

I was sent this wonderful etymology of the word, “Quarantine”. It has deep significance as you will see.

World Quarantine

The Latin root for Quarantine is “forty”. So what does the Bible say about “40”?

The flood lasted for 40 days. 40 years Moses fled Egypt. 40 Days Moses stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the Commandments. The Exodus lasted 40 years. Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights in the desert he began his public ministry. 40 days for a woman to rest after giving birth is recommended. A group of theologians thinks the number 40 represents “Change”. It is a time of preparing a person, or a people, to make a fundamental change. Something will happen after 40 days. Just believe and pray. Remember whenever the number 40 appears on the Bible, there is “change”.

Please know that during this “quarantine” rivers are cleaning up, vegetation is growing, the air is becoming cleaner because there is less pollution. There is less theft, murder, healing is happening and most importantly people are turning to Christ. The Earth is at rest for the first time in many years and hearts are truly being transformed.

So, during this time, enjoy it with your loved ones, and return to the family altar together. Family prayer is a great blessing. Through prayer you will see the changes that God can work in you and in your home. Christ promises us everything works together for the good for those who love God: Romans 8:28!

Remember that we are in the year 2020, add 20 + 20 = 40. Also 2020 is the year that the United States has a census. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the of the world and he was born during a census.

Lastly 2020 signals perfect vision. May our sight focus on Our Risen Lord and live according to His perfect vision for us knowing He holds us in the palm of His hand.

May these days of “quarantine” bring spiritual liberation to our souls, our nation, and our world. The best is yet to come. Trust in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

In honor of Earth Day, I took my trusty pick up stick and first started walking around the circumference of the parish with not one but what would later add up to 6 white trash can liners. Let’s keep our planet clean. It’s amazing looking from space to see how the earth itself is healing from all the pollution and garbage that destroys life.

I felt like the old TV commercial where the Native American has one tear rolling down his eye. Let us be mindful this Eastertide that this is, as Pope Francis says, Our Common Home. There is an old slogan that was once on all the trash cans in parks, it said “A Cleaner New York is Up to You”. Policing the area and keeping things clean will help us take pride in this 15- acre Vineyard of the Lord.

“And God saw all that He had created; and it was very good.” (Genesis). Keep safe and know you are all in our prayers here daily.

Last Wednesday I made a short 7 minute You Tube video and I spoke about the issue of worry. Reverend Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California made some 4 wonderful points about allowing our selves to lead by the Good Shepherd. Also, Sister Christine Sorrentino, a novice from Staten Island, and with the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate in Monroe, sent a lovely card and a letter from their sisters. In it was an inspiring poem call “Remember”. I incorporated these two in this video, and Called it Worrying and Remembering. I hope it enriches you.

Bes filled with Easter Blessings.

Father Tom Devery

A Letter from Father Tom April 26th

Dear Parish Family,

The other day I received this simple Prayer, called Remember. I invite you to pray it now with me.

REMEMBER

O Lord; remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will.

But, do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted upon us;

Instead, remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering-

Our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity,

The greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble.

When our persecutors come to be judged by you,

Let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.

Anonymous- Found in the clothing of a dead child at Ravens Bruck
Concentration Camp: From the Prayers of the Martyrs compiled and translated
– By Duane W.H. Arnold; Forward by Madeleine L’Eng

I was moved by the merciful heart of this child. Last Sunday, this was sent to me from a former parishioner from Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Shrub Oak, where I was a parochial Vicar in the mid B0’s. It was no coincidence, but a God-incidence that I received this on the Feast of Divine Mercy. I am grateful for the magnanimous heart of Jesus for us all. I was also able to listen to Father David Rider’s homily. He had celebrated Mass at 10AM and I at 11AM last Sunday. It was brilliant as usual.

What is so encouraging to me is that as difficult as this time is, isn’t it wonderful that we now live in a digital age, where we can share Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, and all the means of making ourselves present despite Social Distancing. I am reminded when I pray each day of the heroism that is to be found in our nursing homes and hospitals. But I heard one person who works there tell me, that although it is tough and the level of grief is high, they feel that they are called to be angels of mercy to the ones who are sick and isolated from their families. Yet, it’s also in the random acts of kindness, the bowl of soup sent over, the phone call from Costco or Stop n Shop, asking, “While I am here, do you need anything? I can pick it up for you!”. I am also aware of the domestic heroines and heroes that not only take care of their children’s schoolwork and homework, but also find the time to do their own computer work and manage a household full of chores. Things have ramped up with people now having to wear face coverings and masks .and keep six feet social distance.

All these interruptions of our freedom, our trying to comply with health and safety regulations point out clearly that we are not in control. We don’t like uncertainty, the ability to plan ahead. If you have been as frustrated as I, you may have heard yourself say to others, “I just don’t know when …. “This week would have been traditionally the time we celebrate First Holy Communions. This past Saturday and the next, would have been the special time to fill our church, three times over with sweet cherubic faces, coming to receive Jesus. I was hoping that by the time that the Feast of Corpus Christi, 6 weeks from now, we would be having 1st Holy Communions but now it seems we have to wait until September. Not knowing is part of the sacrificial suffering, we are going through. I am praying for yours and my patience.

In the meantime, let us walk with Jesus on the Road to Emmaus. Like the disciples downcast in grief and sadness, we are told in Luke’s Account, there were prevented from truly seeing Jesus with them. It wasn’t until the Risen Lord Jesus went into their shelter, and stayed with them and when it was time to bless the food before Him, He Blessed, Broke and Gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened. This is the
formula for living daily the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We, too, will be blessed, broken (many times) and Given to others. Before that moment, Jesus explained how Scripture was fulfilled in his passion, suffering, death and now Resurrection. May you too, no matter what you are feeling and experiencing, come to recognize Jesus’ presence with you. He is always near, even closer to us that the air we breathe (behind those temporary masks). I am praying for you and asking our merciful and Risen Lord to once again, flood your heart with light, fire and peace.

Fr. Tom Devery

A Letter from Father Tom April 19th

Dear Parish Family,

This Sunday is the wonderful Feast of the Divine Mercy. It was on May 5, 2000 that Pope John Paul II declared the Sunday after Easter Divine Mercy Sunday as requested by the Lord in visions to Saint Faustina. It was on the Vigil of this Feast on April 2, 2005 that Pope John Paul II died.

In the diary of Saint Faustina the Lord revealed the following to her:” I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, especially por sinners on that day the very depths of my tender mercy are open….(Diary #699). Our Lord also related to her, “Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion, I am giving them the last hope of salvation that is the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My Mercy, they will perish for eternity… tell souls about the great Mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My Justice is near” (#965).

It is through the diary of Saint Faustina, which she wrote out of obedience to her superiors that we find very rich and mystical reality of the soul’s interior relationship to God. In it we find out Lord wished to communicate to the world the great message of God’s mercy and to reveal the pattern of Christian perfection based on trust in God and in having mercy to our neighbor. So you may ask what exactly is the message of Divine Mercy?

This message of Mercy is that God loves us all, no matter how great our sins in the past have been. We see His Mercy to King David (who committed adultery and murder) Mary Magdeline ( a prostitute) and the good thief (St. Dismas), to name a few. Our Lord wishes us to recognize that His Mercy is greater than our sins so that we can call upon Him with trust, receive His Mercy and let it flow through us to others. The message of Mercy can be broken down into three parts that are as simple as to remember as A,B,C.

  • Ask for Mercy. We must first realize that God is merciful!He wishes us to ask for His mercy – upon ourselves, our nation and the whole world. Todays Gospel contains the institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Penance, whereby Jesus gave the power to forgive sins to the Apostles on the first Easter Sunday evening.
  • Be Merciful to others, He wants us to receive His Mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us. Remember the beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the Merciful for they shall obtain Mercy.” We set the limits of how much we want God to forgive us by how much we forgive others each day when we say in the Lord’s prayer, which Jesus taught us,

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We must, therefore, be merciful to others!

C.- Confidence and complete trust in God. The Risen Lord Jesus wants us to trust in Him; to know and truly believe that He is GOD. He is in charge and is a loving God who is infinitely merciful. God does care for you! Last week during Holy Week we recalled how much he cared for us, by dying a horrible death and then three days later rising for the dead – for us. It is for this reason that in the image of the Divine Mercy, Jesus had rays of red (his blood) and white (his water) flow from his heart and Jesus directed Saint Faustina to paint these words “JESUS I TRUST IN YOU”.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the meeting place for this overflowing mercy. During this sad time of the coronavirus, it is not possible for us to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation in Church, or to receive His precious Body and Blood. Perhaps it is reminder to us all, how we take Eucharist, Forgiveness and our faith for granted. People are suffering, and in that suffering we turn to Jesus for healing, consolation and above all his mercy.

I have now a long list of names I lift up everyday in my private Masses. For those who have died, the grief is compounded by our inability to comfort and support one another. Social distancing and isolation can add a stress that doesn’t get filled with Zoom, Facetime or Conference Calls. Our very nature is to be merciful, loving, and reaching out the best and safest we know how. We need to ask Jesus on this special day for how to re-enter to workforce of life, changed, mindful and more confident that we will come out of this better and not bitter. If you have an image of the Divine Mercy, express your sorrow for sin before it. Place yourself into His heart and Ask for mercy. Then be merciful to others and entrust yourself with complete confidence that His love will sustain you.

Some Google suggestions: Bishop Robert Barron’s Easter Homily, Harry Connick Jr,’s tribute to Father Richard Guastella on his Easter Show, Andrea Bocelli’s music from Milan and all over Italy, If you like to take a virtual tour of Sacred Art, especially the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, then there’s a17 minute TED Talk by Dr. Elizabeth Lev. All these are brilliant, insightful and rewarding. Be assured of my love and prayers.

Father Tom Devery

 

A Letter from Father Tom April 7th

Dear Parish Family,

Hallelujah! Jesus is Risen from the dead. The Tomb is empty, Jesus is Risen and He is alive in us. We want to shout this out from the very depths of our souls on this wonderful Easter Morning.

However for most of us, this may continue to be ‘A Good Friday Moment” as Cardinal Dolan alluded to on Palm Sunday. We don’t have the church full of people, the beautiful Easter lilies, the bright white vestments, the people all dressed in their Easter finery. With most of the trappings gone, even the very Real Presence of Jesus in Holy Communion, this is a most unique Easter. All this isolation, virtual distancing and checking our phones for texts, emails, downloads. It can be disheartening. And yet somewhere deep in our souls, we can still cry out”Hallelujah”

I often wondered; how do people in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, China, Russia, even the Holy Land, Haiti, Nigeria, Sri Lanka celebrate Easter when there is a war going on. We find ourselves in this “War Time Condition”. The enemy is invisible. It’s a worldwide pandemic. We can think we are New York Strong, tough, compassionate, enduring bravely, yet Easter tells us an important spiritual lesson for our time. It’s not the trappings of worship, family celebration or even all the chocolate bunnies and eggrolling competition that make this happen. It is the undying belief that Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Jesus suffered, died and rose. So will we! We try our best to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, Our Risen Lord. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

For the next 50 days until we celebrate Pentecost we will see over and over again the many accounts of Jesus revealing Himself to the disciples as Risen Lord. He is directing us, like Doubting Thomas, to probe the nail prints in his hands, feet and side. Jesus is walking with us on that road to Emmaus and trying to explain to confused, grieving disciples, how the Scriptures were fulfilled; and then, with great astonishment, they totally realize it is Him in with the breaking of the bread. Their hearts were set on
fire. They saw the Eucharistic Formula of Jesus, blessing the bread, breaking the bread and giving to them his very Risen Self. All this is happening spiritually in your souls this Sunday. Let Jesus come alive as Risen Lord in your souls!

We are not on Holy Communion line, stretching out our hands to receive our God in the Eucharist, but spiritually he never left your soul. Did you leave him? That’s the question. We can become just like the disciples and be so stressed over who has the virus. Or worse still, who died from the virus, and the pain of not being able to properly bury a loved one with consolation or comfort of family and friends is indeed horrible. We are on hold. We ask being asked to wait So how can we cope with cabin fever, not shopping and being out of work, or having to work in risky environments. No one is denying that this is difficult and terrible. On the other hand this. is a time for Easter Faith.

Jesus speaks to our souls “It is I”, “Be Not Afraid”, “Shalom!”. He has conquered sin, death and all suffering. Yes, there is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice. How can I create in these tense times, a spirit of gratitude for the very gift of life and health and compassion? How can I welcome and have space in my heart for self compassion for this awful reality? Give it all to Jesus. Indeed, the real Easter celebration is how we reach out to one another and care for one another in ways that are patient, prayerful, and prudent.

I am praying to God, most especially for all medical personnel, for all military deployed to our city and locally, for all transit workers and essential workers, like people in our grocery stores. I am praying especially for all who mourning the loss of dear loved ones. I am praying for those who have lost their jobs and wondering how they will financially face the future. Let those who have help those who don’t. I want to end this unique Easter message with a note of gratitude for your resilience and loving kindness to us all here at Our Lady Star of the Sea. We will be busy with all sorts of Sacraments and I ask you tor patience as we sort things out. In the meantime, realize how loved you are by our Risen Lord.

Here’s a poem I would like to share with you.

When this is over, may we never again take for granted

A handshake with a stranger, Full shelves at the store, Conversations with our neighbors, A crowded theatre, Friday night out, the taste of Holy Communion, A routine check- up, , The school rush each morning, Coffee with a friends, The stadium roaring, Each deep breath, A boring Tuesday, Life itself.

When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be, and may we stay that way- better for each other because of the worst
– Laura Kelly Fanucci

A blessed Easter and the Risen Lord’s Peace remain with you and your loved ones.
Father Tom Devery

Holy Week Pastor Letter 2020

Dear Parish Family,

May the Lord truly watch over you and protect you with peace during this Holy Week. We apologize for not having palm to distribute. The company selling us palm agreed to give us credit for next years delivery. As we go through this difficult time, I was struck by the words of Father Richard Rohr, OFM and his writing on the topic, “Life is Hard:” I will now share this for your reflection and prayer.

“You have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired before recovery can begin-Twelve Step Wisdom”. All great spirituality is about what we do with pain. Creation has a pattern of wisdom: and we dare not shield ourselves from it, or we will literally loose our soul. We can obey commandments, believe doctrines, and attend church all our lives and still lose our souls if we run from the necessary cycle of loss and renewal. Death and Resurrection are lived out at every level of the cosmos, but only one species of the cosmos thinks it can avoid it – the human species.

I am afraid that many of us with privilege have been able to become very naïve about pain and suffering in the United States and the Western world. We simply don’t have time for it. However, by trying to handle all suffering through willpower, denial, medications, or even therapy, we have forgotten something that should be obvious: we do not handle suffering; suffering handles us-in deep and mysterious ways that becomes the very matrix of life and especially new life. Only suffering and certain kinds of awe lead us into genuinely new experiences. All the rest is merely the confirmations of old experience.

It is amazing to me that the cross or the crucifix became the central Christian logo, when its rather obvious message of inevitable suffering is aggressively disbelieved in most Christian countries, individuals and churches. We are clearly into ascent, achievement, and accumulation. The cross became a mere totem, a piece of jewelry. We made the Jesus symbol into a mechanical and distant substitutionary atonement theory instead of a very person and intense at-one-ment process, the very reality of love’s unfolding. We have missed out on the positive and redemptive meaning of our own pain and suffering. It was something Jesus did for us (substitutionary) but not something that revealed and invited us into the same pattern. We are not punished for our sins, we are punished by our sins ( such as: blindness, egocentricity, illusions and pride).

It seems that nothing less than some kind of pain will force us to release our grip on our small explanations and our self-serving illusions. Resurrection will always take care of itself, whenever death is trusted. It is the cross, the journey into the necessary night, of which we must be convinced, and then resurrection is offered as a gift.

In this time of suffering, we have to ask ourselves, what are we going to do with our pain? Are we going to blame others for it? Are we going to try and fix it? No one lives on this earth without it. It is the great teacher, although none of us want to admit it. If we do not transform our pain, we will transmit it in some form. How can we be sure not to transmit our pain onto others?

Prayer for our Community:

O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us to become a community that shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts longings for the healing or our world (Please add your intentions) Knowing you are hearing us better, than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in the all Holy Name of God. Amen. “

“ Help! Is definitely on my tongue as a one-word prayer when I can’t form coherent words. Help! Is what I am asking for, as I face and unpleasant future, that is preceded by a couple of unpleasant years. Help! Came on time: I am still hurting, grieving this loss of a hoped for, dreamed about, new future, but I am reminded to hang in there and yell from the depths of my soul, Help! – F. Ngunjiri.”

I send my prayers and blessings for a powerful Holy Week. “We adore you, O Christ and we bless you, because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Prayerfully,

Father Tom