Fr. Daniel Gifford
HE CARRIES OUR CROSS
Dear St. Louis Parishioners, What a crazy week it has been! Please know of my ongoing prayers for all of you, your families, and loved ones, in this most strange and difficult season of our global history. As we attempt to stop the spread of this virus and get the situation under control, in a great many parts of our country and our world, including our own, this has even included encouraging people to practice social distancing and stay in their homes as much as possible, which is then reinforced by shutting down schools and many businesses. Furthermore, under the direction of our bishop and many other bishops throughout the country and beyond, it has even included suspending most all activities in our churches, including all public Masses. This all creates hardship for so many people in a myriad of different ways. And I know that many have very good reasons for disagreeing on what measures are appropriate. Let us do our best to remain calm and hopeful, treat one another with respect and kindness, and let us keep our eyes fixed on the cross of Jesus Christ and on the hope of His Resurrection, as we pray for all of our leaders, religious and civil. Let us also make use of our phones and other forms of communication to stay in touch with one another, especially checking in on those who are most vulnerable or most isolated. It is with deep sadness that we are unable to offer the Mass and other services publicly to you all for the time being. But, please know that the Holy Mass is still being offered daily for you all and your intentions. I am also doing everything I can to make the Mass and other prayers and resources available to you all through live-stream or recorded media. Most of the live-streams happen first on Facebook, because of the more interactive nature of the platform, but are then posted to YouTube, where they can be viewed by all who have a computer or device that can access the internet, without needing an account to Facebook or any other social media. Currently, the chapel is also still open for you to go and pray. Please practice prudent social distancing if more than one is present at a time. I know that a good number of our beloved and faithful parishioners are not active on Facebook or likely to check YouTube often. So, we would like to send out daily messages, with easy links for you to click, which will take you straight to a video with the Holy Mass, the Rosary, a recorded Holy Hour, a special message from me, or other devotions and messages from others as well! These emails will also contain any updates regarding when and if the Church or chapel is open and including times and details for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In order to receive these emails, please email Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org or enter your name and email address on the front page of our website and hit the “Subscribe” button. We do not know how long this situation will last. Let us pray that it will end soon, but also prepare ourselves for the possibility that it could be awhile. May our hunger for the Eucharist and for closer fellowship with one another remain alive and even deepen, that we may never take these gifts for granted. In the meantime... Stay safe. Stay calm. Stay hopeful. Keep your eyes on Jesus. And look after each other.
YOUR WEEKLY STATIONS REFLECTION: The Eight Station (front cover) was one of the first ones that really drew me personally, when our new stations were installed. Notice the
Strong Carpenters Hand, outstretched in blessing over the women of Jerusalem, who represent all the people of God. He is suffering immensely and yet He does not withhold the strain of reaching out His Hand to offer a blessing to us. He receives compassion (as we saw in the Sixth Station, considered last week), but He gives it as well. He wants us to understand that it is indeed our cross that He carries. And He came to carry it with and for us. In all our suffering, when the cross seems heavy, may our eyes be opened to notice that we are not alone beneath it. Christ is with us. He lends His shoulder to carry the weight. And He is stronger than our heaviest crosses. Be not afraid of your weakness. Rely on His strength.
ANOTHER READING SHARED AT OUR HOLY HOUR FOR MARRIAGE: From St. John Paul II (Familiaris Consortio 8-9a): “The whole Church is obliged to a deep reflection and commitment, so that the new culture now emerging may be evangelized in depth, true values acknowledged, the rights of men and women defended, and justice promoted in the very structures of society. In this way the "new humanism" will not distract people from their relationship with God but will lead them to it more fully. … It becomes necessary, therefore, on the part of all, to recover an awareness of the primacy of moral values, which are the values of the human person as such. The great task that must be faced today for the renewal of society is that of recapturing the ultimate meaning of life and its fundamental values. Only an awareness of the primacy of these values enables man to use the immense possibilities given him by science in such a way as to bring about the true advancement of the human person in his or her whole truth, in his or her freedom and dignity. Science is called to ally itself with wisdom. … Modern culture must be led to a more profoundly restored covenant with divine Wisdom. Every man is given a share of such Wisdom through the creating action of God. And it is only in faithfulness to this covenant that the families of today will be able to influence positively the building of a more just and fraternal world. To the injustice originating from sin-which has profoundly penetrated the structures of today's world-and often hindering the family's full realization of itself and of its fundamental rights, we must all set ourselves in opposition through a conversion of mind and heart, following Christ Crucified by denying our own selfishness: such a conversion cannot fail to have a beneficial and renewing influence even on the structures of society.”
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!