Dear SJN Brothers and Sisters,
I already miss you! It was both sad and consoling to celebrate Mass without you this morning: sad, because you were not there, but consoling, because I know that the Lord makes Himself present to each of us as the Holy Sacrifice is offered for all of you and your intentions.
Life at the Parish
There have been several emails, posts and communications in the last few days as situations evolved rapidly – that may or may not continue to be the case… We will simply have to wait and see. I know we already miss seeing our parishioners and school families on campus. If it continues to be possible, we will most likely offer Confessions outdoors or spread throughout the Church again in the coming days – as I’ve grown accustomed to saying lately, stay tuned. For the time being, most normal events of the parish remain canceled in order to prevent risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.
This is the first time that the public celebration of Mass has ever been suspended – along with the dispensation of Sunday obligation – on such a scale. While we are not together as much during these holy days, I beg you to pray: to pray especially for those who are suffering from the virus and any illness, for those who are isolated, those who have lost love ones or have family members who are ill, for those who assist and care for the ill – doctors, nurses, volunteers, caregivers, janitors, etc. Pray for and with your families and for your neighbors and their families.
We at the parish have begun and will continue to look for new ways to reach out – first and foremost by continuing to offer the Mass for and with everyone, and by posting the Stations of the Cross and, hopefully within the next few days, talks and other devotions. Fathers Christopher and Mark have been incredible in finding ways to put content online in an effort to keep us connected as a parish and school family. Likewise, Diana Brach and Patrick Wade have been tireless in helping SJN communicate with you. Our wonderful parish staff and school administration have continued to work and we will do our best to both reach out and be available. Our holy Evangelizing Sisters are praying for each and all of you as well and we will work with them to facilitate their presence in your lives over the next weeks as well.
As for when public celebration of the Mass, devotions and group meetings will resume, again – stay tuned. For the time being, the Church will remain open daily for prayer, but please maintain social distancing and if you are a part of the at-risk population, please let us know and we will add you to the clergy/sisters prayer list and know that we will pray with you and for you in our chapels. We are in the process of setting up a prayer intention email address – stay tuned.
8:05 AM weekday Masses will soon be available on Facebook and we will work to put them on the parish website if possible as well. The principal Sunday Mass will be posted on the parish website and other platforms.
At the end of Compline – the last prayer of the Church each day – the superior or leader for the day prays, “May the divine assistance remain always with us,” to which the community responds, “And with our absent brethren.” While acknowledging the absence of some of the brothers or sisters from the community, the prayer itself acknowledges the communion among all the members by God’s grace – those at home pray for those away just as those away pray for those at home.
Strangely enough we are all being encouraged to live a taste of the monastic lives these days – lives of simple routine close to home. It is probably a mix of liberating and daunting for many, if not most, people. However it is important to remember that monastic life is not only a fleeing from the world – though there is certainly a bit of that – but also a time of intercession for the world: for God’s creation, for our brothers and sisters, even for those we might consider enemies or those who might consider us enemies.
This time of social distancing or isolation is a physical Lent in which our fast might make the Feast more festive! I pray that, whether people realize it or not, this period of accidental monasticism will bear good fruit for each of our families and that we might be strong intercessors for all who are ill, lonely, exhausted from work, worried about what comes next or struggling in any way. In other words, may God work a purpose out of this chaos and may we be ready servants of the Lord whether we are at home for the common good or at work for the common good.
Fr. Joe Reed
St. John Neumann Catholic Church
Certificates and Offertory
Please pardon us for any potential delay in receiving certificates or in posting weekly offerings due to any adjustment in work schedules during this time. Remember you can always give online if you would like to do so by clickingHERE.
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The SJN website, Facebook page, and MyParish app are the best ways to stay connected to the parish during this time. Thank you for contacting the parish office only by phone (865-966-4540) or e-mail (email@example.com) as the office is not open to the public during this time