Pastor Letter August 23

Dear Parish Family,

We are in the home stretch before school opens and there is so much happening these days. I made a video update for our website and invite you all to review it.  I am posting the Pandemic Mass Schedule for the month of September. Weekday Masses will remain at 9AM and Saturday / Sunday Schedule will be 9AM and 11AM and 7PM. Baptisms will resume at 2PM with a maximum of 6 babies and their families.

After every Mass, Funeral, Baptism, Memorial Mass, and Wedding, we sanitize the Church. We are able to do that in about fifteen minutes. There is a jet pack sprayer that sanitizes the pews and the doors of our church.

Last week there was a meeting with all the priests on Zoom in which Cardinal Dolan and the Chancery Officials told us that we can now have a maximum of 33% attendance at Mass. During this pandemic the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holydays is suspended. We do encourage you to attend if you are able. Many people have been able to tune in on our Live Stream for Mass. Every time we offer Mass we recite the prayer for Spiritual Communion and for all who are self- quarantined, or frail or feel in any way that they are compromised the graces of attending Mass and the reception of Holy Communion is available to you; even you cannot physically be present to receive. Again, thank you for your generous support to our parish during this time.

We will continue to have Shared Homilies and Updates in video on our website.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available every Saturday from 3:30 until 5PM. If anyone is in need of Reconciliation or the Sacrament of the Sick, they may call the rectory for an appointment. Several people have been preparing for surgery and we priests have met you in the barbecue area outside our rectory for the reception for the Anointing of the Sick. Also, we have been attending to those who are homebound.

The School and Gym is sanitized and looks like a hospital.  There are no posters, papers and with desks set six feet apart and spreading out over the gymnasiums, O’Mara Hall and the D’Amato Room, we are going to be in good shape in September. The student enrollment is up to 650 students and our teachers have been given the green light should they wish to wear scrubs. Having extra people on staff to take incoming temperatures, wipe down door handles and surfaces throughout the day is part of the regiment to keep the school squeaky clean. This all takes time, given the amount of children with blended learning and the volume of space to be cleansed each day. .

We are sad that we cannot have in classroom Religious Education classes during this pandemic. Having remote learning on line is no substitute for the faith taught and caught by our dedicated catechists. Hopefully this will only be one semester.

In his book, Who Do You That I Am, Cardinal Dolan writes about the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

I once met a group of young people years ago and posited this question: “Who do you think has a more exalted uplifting noble view of sex: Playboy founder Hugh Hefner or the Catholic Church?

          Everyone has a different viewpoint. But after about an hour: a consensus seemed to have developed that Hugh Hefner’s promiscuous “anything goes” mentality about sex had led to disastrous consequences, such as the objectification of women, the reduction of sex to a contact sport instead of an act of love, abortion, venereal disease, AIDS, divorce, and the disappearance of reverence, mystery and romance from sex.

          In the Bible, God compared His love for us to the passionate attraction of a young man courting a beautiful young woman, and He told us that His relationship with us is as strong, romantic, and tender as that between a husband and a wife. Saint Paul tells us that Christ loves His Church (us) just as a groom loves his bride.

          The group ended agreeing: If you want a freeing exciting, respectful, uplifting approach to sex, look to the Church and not Hugh Hefner!

          Sexual love between a man and a woman in marriage is an actual hint of the love God has for us and as such is a tremendous gift. This gift is freeing, not enslaving, selfless, not selfish, giving life, not just satisfying and urge. As with any gift, it requires care, reverence, and proper use.

          I want to honor all couples who are a Sacramental witness to the love of God in this world. Be blessed during these remaining days of summer!

Father Tom Devery