The Lent / Pandemic beard is gone. Why? Because not only are we back in church, we actually now have more masses then before the pandemic! Because there is less space due to social distancing, we have now for this phase another 8:30 am Mass over at Holy Cross Academy on Sunday morning.
Another sign of returning? Confirmations and First Holy Communions! This past Thursday we celebrated Confirmation and now moving forward we will be celebrating these sacraments this summer in a socially distanced manner. Could you please be intentional in praying for our Confirmandi and Communicants?How can we shape our disposition to receive these sacraments fruitfully?
1. Preparation. Do we know what we are doing and are we therefore turning our minds with faith to the love of Christ being given to us? We do our best to teach our children that Holy Communion is truly Jesus. We do our best to try to lead our young men and women to ‘live and walk by the spirit.” But I promise you that everyone of us (me too) can improve here.
2. Desire. This is so key. Jesus never forces His love on us. He only offers. The spiritual life and God’s love is freely given by Him and a work of His grace; yet it requires our effort. He has given us freedom that means we must cooperate with His work. The Holy Spirit is freely given to those who will receive Him.
I recall the excitement of my First Communion and the cautious hope for Confirmation. As long as I can remember, I would see my siblings and parents go forward for Holy Communion and I would desperately want to accompany them. The wisdom of the Church waits for this desire to be enkindled in the souls of her children. Can you remember and rekindle that desire now?
3. Repentance. Are we continually turning from sin? If we refuse to repent of sin, then we are saying to the Lord that we love created goods or persons more than Him and we are lessening the space in our hearts that He can fill. The solution to our lukewarmness is simply to repent with sincerity.
One of my favorite comments from a young girl after her First Confession was, “I thought it would be hard and sad, instead it was easy and happy!” What a beautiful summary of repentance and returning to the loving embrace of the Lord.
May the joy of our First Holy Communicants re-enkindle the same in our souls. May the Confirmation of our young adults strengthen our resolution to live the Gospel in word and deed.
Word has been sent out that we are scheduling 1st Communion Masses and Confirmation Masses! I am so grateful for the ability to be back in the church the last few weekends, and have worked with staff to offer dates for the reception of the sacraments spread out over the next few months! We can do this! Social distancing will not keep us from Jesus!!!!!
First Communion children will have a refresher meeting over the next two weeks, so that we can be sure they are ready for receiving our Lord with reverence and understanding. Be patient with office staff as we try to accommodate your schedules for sacraments, as we have almost 500 to celebrate!
Welcome Fr. Sina! We are glad to welcome another priest to the parish. Even with social distancing, the care of souls never stops and St. Mary keeps moving forward!
I want to exhort father’s to give something they have, their blessing.
I remember studying blessings in seminary, and the teacher emphasizing that when a father blesses children, it is a ‘real’ blessing. I remember being surprised by this, as it was in the context of discussing the power of the priesthood to bless persons and objects.
It is simple, make the sign of the cross on their foreheads, when you tuck them in at night, when you send them to school, whenever you can. I share with you this recollection from Pope Benedict XVI, in his book “The Spirit of the Liturgy.”
I shall never forget the devotion and heartfelt care with which my father and mother made the sign of the Cross on the forehead, mouth, and breast of us children when we went away from home, especially when the parting was a long one. This blessing was like an escort that we knew would guide us on our way. It made visible the prayer of our parents, which went with us, and it gave us the assurance that this prayer was supported by the blessing of the Savior. The blessing was also a challenge to us not to go outside the sphere of this blessing.
Blessing is a priestly gesture, and so in this sign of the Cross we felt the priesthood of parents, its special dignity and power. I believe that this blessing…should come back in a much stronger way into our daily life.
Don’t be stingy, children need to live secure in the blessing of their father and their Father.