Easter greetings to all as we continue in these strangely unfolding times. We continue to adapt to our new virtual presence. Holy Week was unlike any other we’ve had; the church was set up for it, the friars were ready for it, we had staff helping out with the technical parts of streaming, and yet no one was quite prepared for all of that in a mostly empty church. My mother and father, watching from home, were happy to have a shoutout from their son, and as they said to me, as they watched, all they could think of was their little Stevie as a six-year-old riding his Big Wheel around the driveway. Oh how we change….
We have now been in this new way of being for more than a month. Our doors are closed, but our parish is still running in a new virtual mode. Our staff meets regularly via Zoom calls. Pastoral care is now being done mainly by telephone. Outreach is still happening under distancing guidelines. Liturgy and prayer and reflections happen on the front page of our website.
Thank you to everyone who has continued to support us financially. About half of our offertory comes through Faith Direct – a form of automatic giving – and that has been a huge help for us. If you would like to sign up for Faith Direct, please contact them directly at 866-507-8757. Our parish code # is NC674. The other half of our offertory comes through envelopes and any cash or checks we receive. Every day in the mail we receive envelopes with donations, and we are grateful for all who continue to support us in that way. Our offertory, as you can imagine, has been affected by this pandemic, and we are grateful for any financial support we receive in this time.
We are not sure – no one is sure – when our doors will be open again. We will continue to look for guidance from civil and diocesan authorities as to when we might open up again. Events that typically happen in April and May have either already been called off, or are being evaluated as we go forward. The same is true for events in June and after. At this point, so much remains unknown. For now, our website is our front door and entryway into a new and adapted life of our parish. And again, thank you to all for your ongoing kindness and support.
To review also, for the friars, our provincial chapter has been postponed until August at the earliest, and changes typically happen after a chapter, and so as far as we know, we will be here sometime into August, but that could change also. The decision by our province to withdraw from St. Francis still stands, we just don’t know the timing of the departure.
The gospel reading for this past Monday describes Mary Magdalene’s arrival at the tomb, and she is “fearful yet overjoyed.” (Matthew 28:8). A reflection on that passage, written by Michael Jordan Laskey from “Give Us This Day” reads: “This passage has the seeds of a good Easter prayer: Lord, when I’m afraid or confused, help me lean into your love and joy.” “Give Us This Day” by the way, is a very good source for daily scripture readings and reflections, and you can find them at www.gutd.net.