Dear Families and Friends of St. John Neumann,
Christ is risen, Alleluia!
And happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms in our parish and school!
Jesus tells us in this Sunday’s Gospel, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” So many important people teach us how to follow Him – teachers, catechists, religious, clergy – but our parents are our first teachers in the ways of faith. This weekend, in the U.S., we honor our mothers and in a few weeks we will honor our fathers in a similar way. Our homes are where we first learn what it means to be living stones – we are part of something larger than just ourselves. Those living stones not only build up our homes, they link our homes to our Father’s house in heaven “where there are many dwelling places.” I pray this weekend, in a special way, for all our mothers, living and deceased – may the Lord bless them, protect them, and encourage them. Let’s all pray, even more this year, for mothers who are struggling during these difficult times.
This is graduation season, and we are celebrating our SJN graduates here at school. On Friday we had a rainy, but lovely, socially distant May Crowning in front of the school and next week we will have our annual “honk out”. We’ll be honoring our graduates with a MEDIC blood drive next week – see the information at the end of this letter. Graduation will be later in June. I am praying for all our graduates from all the local schools – I’m proud of y’all and cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for you in your next steps on the Way!
Guy Shelton, who oversees the Irish Media Network at Knoxville Catholic High School, is assisting us as we move forward on the Church livestreaming project. We will submit the project for approval to the Diocese early this week. Working with KCHS gives us the added bonus of keeping the project totally in house, thus keeping the cost down, while having Guy’s expertise. I am not certain when the project will be complete, but I am fairly sure it will be as soon as possible! Stay tuned.
You have most likely already seen Bishop Stika’s most recent letter and the guidelines for the resumption of public Masses Pentecost weekend (May 30-31). This is exciting news, but we have quite a bit of work to do in addition to what has already been done. Over the course of the next week we will post a survey or sign-up list – it will not be for reservations, strictly speaking, rather, we will use it to plan which Masses may need to be double scheduled. We will most likely add some Masses in the gym near our regular Mass times. This week you will also receive some instructions and guidance on where to park, which entrances we will use and the manner for receiving Holy Communion and making offerings. I’ll try to make it as clear and digestible as possible. I will be enlisting the help of Schuster & Floersh Productions Co. to produce a video so you have a visual aid as well.
Many of you have already reached out to offer help as we resume public Masses – thank you! I hope to communicate various tasks and needs with you in the week ahead.
Again, thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued prayers, volunteer efforts, generosity and notes of encouragement and your fidelity – you are incredible and I am very blessed to be pastor of such a wonderful parish and school community. May God bless you all!
Fraternally in Christ,
Fr. Joe Reed
St. John Neumann Catholic Church and School