August 9, 2020
The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Tenth Sunday After Pentecost
Today is the eighth Sunday that we have gathered for Holy Mass and been able to receive Holy Communion after the closing of the Churches. We should give thanks to God for this great grace.
In the Holy Gospel of today we read the account of Our Lord’s walking on the water and calming the storm. The disciples had been in the boat in the Sea of Galilee (the Romans called id the Sea of Tiberias). Our Lord was on the shore praying on one of the beautiful hills that surround that freshwater sea. When He sees their desperate situation, He comes to them during the fourth watch of the night (between the hours of 3a.m. and 6a.m). Our Lord cried out toe winds and the waves, “Be still.” And thus, was the storm calmed. And to the disciples he asks, “Why did you doubt?”
Confidence is one of the most powerful of all attributes. It is the one thing Our Lord begs from us. Ultimately, anything we do could theoretically be done by another. (Remember the old song: Anything you can do; I can do better)? But there is one thing that only you can do. There is one thing only I may do. And that is to love God with our very own hearts. No one can do that for us. And Our Lord asks that we place all our hope, trust, and confidence in Him.
Admittedly that is always a difficult thing to do…sadly so many of us are reluctant to trust anyone or anything. But it is especially challenging to trust in these extraordinary and unprecedented times. It seems that all we have known and all we have done are in the wink of an eye so different. And in all likelihood things will never be the same. That is why we must ever have in our hearts those words taught by Our Lord to St. Faustina (that we see in the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in our lovely Church: Jesus I trust in you!
And if the pandemic were not enough, we know our beautiful Church was struck by lightning on the evening of Wednesday, July 22nd. The phones were out, the alarm systems were out, the electrical panel was out, the irrigation system was struck so that the back parking lot was flooded. The air conditioning was knocked out (as so many remember on that Sunday July26th. Many trees were damaged. Our wonderful electricians worked for a week to restore things. A completely new electrical panel had to be installed. The irrigation company came to repair things and had to dig in the intense heat of those days. Our tree service came and spent an entire day ere with a great deal of equipment (trucks, hydraulic buckets, etc.). All this cleanup was supervised by Deacon Ray who tirelessly worked to restore everything. No sooner had things been restored but we were struck with the tropical Storm on Tuesday August 4th. Many trees went down and were damaged. We lost power on Tuesday afternoon and it was restored on Friday evening. There were no phones and we were completely isolated from the outside world. We were all on pins and needles since the Funeral for mr. John King, a founding parishioner and very devoted member of St. Paul, had been schedules for 10a.m. Saturday the 8th. I was close to both Mr. and Mrs. King (Rita went home to God in June of 2019). They were loving faith filled Christians who suffered in their later years. Many know them. But I knew Rita would speak to Our Blessed Mother in Heaven so that John could receive a proper and dignified mass of Christian Burial, and the power was restored.
I mention these things, aware that many of our parishioners are still without power, simply to illustrate how we must trust God when things go well and when things go not according to our plan. I remember January 1, 2020. On that day, I told all our parishioners (myself included0 that 2020 would be the best year of our lives. I said that, not because I could read the future, but because, like you, I believed that whatever happened would be God’s will for us. Please join me, dear parishioners, in a resounding Jesus I trust in You.
Our Lord is our Changeless Friend who never abandons us or leaves us.
SCHEDULE: We are pleased that our Church has been open for the Celebration of Mass. Bishop Barres has granted a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass so no one should feel obligated to attend. The Masses are offered at 5PM on Saturday, and 8.30 and 10.30 on Sunday morning. The Church is sanitized after each Mass. We are also blessed with an A/C and Heating system which has a sensor monitoring air quality. It automatically brings in air from the outside so that our air in the Church is healthy Confessions are 4.00 to 4.45PM on Saturday afternoon. Weekday Mass is celebrated in the Church at 9.00AM on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Please follow the state and diocesan directives when attending Mass regarding masks and social distancing. I have been so pleased to see that since the time that the weekday Mass has been changed from 8AM to 9AM so many more people are attending. There are more coming to weekday Mass now during the Covid-19 than ever came at 8AM even before the epidemic and quarantine. If one is compromised because of health issues or age, one should not attend Mass. For example, July 26th was an official air quality alert day. When things like this are the case, we should remain at home. Thanks to one of our parishioners, Mr. Alan Toth, the Mass from St. Paul’s maybe seen on our You Tube Channel. Please see the parish website for our parish bulletin. There will be no printed bulletins for the foreseeable future.
Please remember that in these extraordinary times, the Mass may be different from what we knew. This is the case in every aspect of life. Communion is distributed after the conclusion of Mass, as the Bishop has directed. We are aware that in other parishes the directives of the Bishop are not followed. That will never be the case at St. Paul’s. We do not have Holy Water out in the Church, but there is a canister filled with Holy Water which we may take home. There are no missalettes, but we may find the Mass texts at stpaulsmass.com (This site is prepared by Gary Ducoing, our director of liturgical music). There is no offertory procession (bringing up the gifts). For everyone’s safety we have not been scheduling altar servers, lectors, or Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. There are no bulletins, but one may see the bulletin on our website. Please continue to look to Flocknotes for timely parish information.
Please remember that when receiving Holy Communion, one should pull the mask down so that it is not covering the face. That will allow for the faithful to consume the Blessed Eucharist immediately upon receiving. (I realize that all this is new to us, myself included). When the person inline ahead of you is receiving, please pull down the mask. Please do not take it off. It may perhaps help us to remember that during the Mass the congregation wears the mask and the sacred ministers do not. At Holy Communion, the sacred ministers wear the mask, but the communicant does not when receiving. This will prevent our pulling at the mask with the Blessed Eucharist in our hands.
When receiving in the hand please place one hand on top of the other. Please keep your top hand as flat as possible so that the sacred minister It is perfectly permissible to receive on the tongue. Please go to the rail where the kneeling pad is placed. There one may kneel or stand to receive on the tongue. Those who receive the low gluten hosts should go to the place where they have always gone.
CONFIRMATION: Confirmation had been scheduled to be administered by Bishop Andrzej on May 9th. However, all spring confirmations were cancelled. Our Confirmation class will be confirmed on Saturday, August 29th. The Bishop has asked the pastors of the parishes in the diocese to administer Confirmation to their own parishioners. Therefore, it will be grace to administer the sacrament to our children. Congratulations to them all. The confirmation candidates will attend the 5PM Mass on Saturday, August 15th, and Saturday August 22nd.
ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY: On Saturday of this week, August 15th, the Church keeps the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Feast is both the most ancient and principal feast of Our Blessed Mother. As we all know, the obligation to attend mass has been dispensed for the foreseeable future and so there is no obligation to attend Mass that day. But I know many would like to honor Our Lady on that day, and so there will be Mass at 9.00 a.m. on Saturday, followed by the praying of the Holy Rosary.
From plague, famine, and war, Deliver us O Lord!
From earthquake, lightning, and tempest, Deliver us O Lord!
- from The Litany of the Saints
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda