PALMS, PRAYER, PROCESSION
As many of you know, we have had two drive-thru opportunities during the pandemic, one for the feast of St. Francis last October and one during the season of Advent in December. These drive-thru opportunities have made it possible for Fr. Jairo and me to meet various households in the parish (along with Fr. Jim) and to gift them with things to celebrate the feasts and seasons during which they took place. We will hold a third drive-thru on Palm Sunday (March 28) between 1:30-3:30pm. During this drive-thru, the three priests of the parish will again be out on the parking lot to distribute palm branches, prayer cards, etc. to help you celebrate Holy Week. We hope you will come by and use this event as a great way to begin the most important week in our liturgical year.
HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE:
A year ago, Holy Week was virtual for everyone in the parish. I watched the archived videos and they truly seemed surreal with no one in the church. This year, we will be able to welcome 250 parishioners to each of our Holy Week celebrations beginning Palm Sunday while also livestreaming them. Please go to our parish website and consult the bulletin for the schedule of liturgies and see which ones will be livestreamed. Note that on Easter Sunday we will have a Mass at 7:00am in the Memorial Garden (limited to 100 to maintain social distancing requirements of the CDC) and a 12:00noon Mass in the church in addition to our normal 9:30am Mass (which will be livestreamed). Registering for these Masses will remain in place. There will NOT BE a 5:30pm Mass on Easter Sunday after consultation with 50+ people who come to that Mass who unanimously indicated they would not be coming to Mass at that time on that day. I am told this is a long-standing practice for Easter Sunday.
REOPENING OF THE PARISH:
Over the past few weeks, it has been nice to meet more parishioners at Mass who are slowly returning after a one-year absence from the parish due to the pandemic. Newly vaccinated, their expressions of joy over being back in the worshipping community live and especially receiving Holy Communion, some for the first time in a year, is a wonder to behold. I am looking forward to more and more of you rejoining us for Mass as the weeks and months unfold.
We are starting to organize a plan for the reopening of the parish that will take shape over the next few months. Once it is ready, we will begin a progressive re-launching of parish life at SFA. While the crystal ball is still cloudy, I am hopeful by Labor Day that we will begin reflecting the normal life of community, in the church, the pre-school, and TFS. That is not a promise but it is a hope.
If you would like to be part of the planning for this reopening, please drop an email to Kathy Sales, the Director of Pastoral Ministries of the parish (Kathy.Sales@stfrancisraleigh.org).