Transitions and Mass Update
We are now only a week away from the end of the Easter season and the great feast of Pentecost. As we commemorate the Ascension of Jesus this weekend, we see the meaning of this feast not so much as remembering an event, but an insight into the nature of Jesus’ identity as fully divine and the identity of the Church. The ascension is a mysterious experience for the apostles, who couldn’t adequately describe it. For them and us, the meaning is that God has indeed shown His victory through Jesus’ suffering, death, and rising. Now those who are baptized and believe in Him carry on His saving work in all times and circumstances. That’s us, here and now in the year 2020 and all it holds.
Change is the stuff of life, and we sure have our share of it these days. As I shared in the last week, I have heard from the archdiocese that Monroe will not be receiving another priest when Fr. Kevin leaves July 1st, at least not at this time. We will adjust to make this work, but it will involve change and flexibility on the part of all of us.
Fr. Giancarlo, Fr. Bob (when he returns in June), visiting priests, and I will serve God’s people as best we can, with the support and dedication of our parish staff.
On the positive side, a seminarian deacon will join us in ministry and pastoral presence beginning June 1. His name is Zaid Chabaan and he was just ordained a transitional deacon this past Friday. He has completed his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and will be with us full time for a year, at which time we pray that he will be ordained a priest. Zaid’s home parish is National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak. So we will be blessed with his faith, dedication, and enthusiasm, which will be good for our parishes and connect us to the larger Church. He loves history and is looking forward to getting to know this part of the archdiocese. Please welcome him when you see him.
On May 12, Archbishop published a letter with guidelines for the resumption of public Masses in the archdiocese of Detroit. This is great news that we have been waiting for! Here in Monroe, we resumed public weekday Masses on May 19. Even if it doesn’t show it in the bulletin, we have returned to our usual weekday Mass schedule at all three parishes, except that there is no Friday Mass at St. Mary at this time.
Public weekend Masses at St. John and St. Mary will begin next weekend, the great feast of Pentecost. The parish staff, parish leadership and I have been working out the details, since there are many guidelines that we must implement for the safety of all who come into church. When we return, it will be a new feeling, not back to the way we are used to experiencing mass. We trust in God that many of the changes are temporary.
If you haven’t done so, check out the archbishop’s letter and latest guidelines on the parish or archdiocesan website. Also, I have created a document to help you prepare to come back to Mass. It is included on the parish website. Please read it and maybe make a copy to refer back to. We plan to have people in church to welcome worshippers, give guidance for seating, and answer questions.
This weekend we will announce a provisional weekend Mass schedule at
St. John and St. Mary. We will evaluate things in the weeks to come, including attendance, knowing that we can only accommodate so many people at each Mass. Please remember that the Sunday Mass obligation is suspended through September 6, Labor Day weekend. If you are ill, have a health condition, or are nervous about returning to Mass at this time, please stay home and tune in to taped Masses. We fully understand and God will not hold this against you. I appreciate your patience as we learn together during this time. Please check the parish website and Facebook page for updates as they evolve.
For those who are able to come to Mass next weekend, if you can, wear something RED as an outward sign of our unity in the Holy Spirit, and our need for the Spirit’s guidance.
This holiday will likely be different for most of us as we begin the traditional summer season. Given our current situation, there will be no Mass at St. Joseph Cemetery on Memorial Day. Maybe this year we could expand our prayers to include not only those who have given their lives in service to our country, but all who have died because of the Covid 19 pandemic. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace!