What a year it has been. We have passed the one year anniversary of the shutdown, and many folks are beginning to feel more comfortable returning to Mass. For that I am grateful. I have received several emails from folks wondering just how the accommodations for COVID precautions will affect their experience of praying the Mass. Or alternatively, emails from folks who recently returned and are grateful for those accommodations. We are going to begin including altar servers once again at our Masses and recently sent an email to reconnect with the team. If you did not receive an email or are interested in altar serving please email email@example.com. A quick word of thanks to Vicky Kopcak who has faithfully directed this ministry for many years, may God reward you, and a welcome to Lara Traylor who is taking the reins moving forward.
I must also thank the many staff members and volunteers who have displayed great generosity in serving during this pandemic. It has required a degree of flexibility and understanding in the face of ever-changing parameters and requirements from the Commonwealth. I honestly don’t think that most parishioners understands how difficult it has been this year to keep this parish running. I will leave you with these words of Pope Benedict in an address to Volunteers from 2008:
“Volunteers want to be asked, they want to be told: “I need you” – “You can do it!” How good it feels to hear words like these! In their human simplicity, they unwittingly point us to the God who has called each of us into being and given us a personal task, the God who needs us and awaits our response. Jesus called men and women, and gave them the courage needed to embark on a great undertaking, one to which, by themselves, they would never have dared to aspire. To allow oneself to be called, to make a decision and then to set out on a path – without the usual questions about whether it is useful or profitable – this attitude will naturally bring healing in its wake. The saints have shown us this path by their lives. It is a fascinating and thrilling path, a path of generosity and, nowadays, one which is much needed. To say “yes” to volunteering to help others is a decision which is liberating; it opens our hearts to the needs of others, to the requirements of justice, to the defense of life and the protection of creation. Volunteer work is really about the heart of the Christian image of God and man: love of God and love of neighbor.”
Brothers and Sisters, you are wanted, needed, appreciated and loved! Welcome back to all of our parish members, and all who work so hard to make St. Mary’s a family!
Father John Mosimann