Greetings from a very quiet St. Francis campus, in these days in which everything seems different and changed, and each day seems to bring some new announcement, some new prediction, some new rumor. These are unsettling times in which normalcy has given way to uncertainty, and we don’t know for how long. The streets are quieter, traffic is less, we don’t see as many airplanes from nearby RDU flying overhead. We keep our distance, which seems a cruel twist especially in a time in which we want to gather. In the morning I sit in the empty church to pray, and I imagine what it looks like on a typical Sunday morning, full, lively, preparing to hear the word, preparing to receive communion as the Body of Christ gathered. It’s all different now.
As you know, all masses and all events and activities have been cancelled here until we hear further notice from diocesan and government authorities. As you see on our parish website, we are moving, in these strange and different times, to becoming a virtual church until the day comes when we can once again gather in our church sanctuary. We will continue to live-stream our 9:30 mass on Sunday morning. The friars will continue to film a short daily reflection. There is a 12 noon “lunch break” with Jim Wahl, and evening prayer at 7pm. Continue to check our website for anything new.
We friars subscribe to a monthly prayer book called “Give Us This Day” which provides the daily mass readings, reflections, and also morning and evening prayer. We have heard that Give Us This Day is offering free access to a digital version of their content: go to www.giveusthisday.org and click on the “digital” button on the upper right side and it should come up. You can see the daily readings and also pray along with the morning and evening prayers. The psalm from morning prayer this morning, psalm 86, reads in part “In the day of distress I will call to you, and surely you will answer me.” A line from a psalm, a voice that calls out from a place of distress, confident faith in God. This is where we are right now.
Thank you to our staff which has rallied in unsettled times to help keep our church community as normal as possible in these far from normal times. Perhaps, these “far from normal times” are inviting us into a deeper sense of God’s presence in an otherwise frantic and distracted world. As we continue adjusting to this new sort of normal, I will continue to write in this space on different topics. In the words of St. Francis, may the Lord give you peace!
Fr. Steve Patti OFM