Letter from Father Hreha
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Dear People of God,
I hope and pray that all is well with you and your loved ones during this grace filled season of Lent!
There can be no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for everyone on the planet. In our instantly connected world we learn of reports from other countries in real time with all too graphic details. Intermingled constantly are updates from points around the country. Neither the numbers nor the predictions are encouraging!
Further, necessary social distancing and imposed state lockdowns isolate us with the news reports. Our minds race with “What if…” scenarios. Fear of a zombie apocalypse leads people to stockpile everything from cash to toilet paper. American capitalism thrives on supply and demand as greed joins the party.
…And the devil, the master of lies, dances amid the music of chaos in our world. With delight, Satan turns up the volume of uncertainty with thoughts of economic collapse and personal financial ruin. The temptations that the devil offers us to dwell upon concerning the future are almost limitless during this pandemic!
Clearly, obsessing about the future does not help the uncertainty of our lives. It does not provide us with peace. It has no answers to our questions. So why do we spend so much of our time and energy obsessing on the vision that the devil places in front of us?
The short answer is free will. God gave us the ability to choose what we focus on. Remember the lesson of the half-filled pitcher! Faith sees what is present in the pitcher and trusts in God to refill the void.
Ironically enough, to understand the path to the future, we must focus on the past. Instead of looking forward into uncertainty, we need to remember the solid foundation of the faith that we stand upon. God has never abandoned His faithful people! He protected them from the flood; delivered them from slavery; led them through the desert; formed covenant after covenant with them; sent the prophets, kings, judges as their world changed; --- and these realities are in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The story of God never abandoning His faithful people continues in the Incarnation and the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, who conquered even the uncertainty of the grave. As we know that story continued through the Church persecutions, famine, plague, wars, genocides and all of the other horrors that the master of lies could assemble in our world. People of faith have always survived the unimaginable!
Yet, this promise of Matthew 16:18 requires us to deepen our connectedness with Holy Mother Church. The pillars that have guided His children through the centuries, will likewise support us in the challenges of our time. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass continues to be offered as it has since the earliest days of the Church.
Yet, while the Churches are empty, more people attend Mass through spiritual communion than ever before. Prayer has grown through the gift of modern media. In caring for others through social distancing, we stand on the pillar of fasting. In time, we will learn more fully the wisdom of the Church in this endeavor. As we all know, almsgiving is the third component to our Lenten journey. (Website, Faith Direct, and snail mail all assist in this pillar.)
Yet, we are all frustrated because we are not in control of our practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We have to suffer as we learn new ways to live our faith. We have to die to what is familiar and we don’t know what God will do next to bring us the new life of the Resurrection. This is the Paschal Mystery of our faith that unites our lives to all of the generations that have gone before us. It is also the reality that future generations will look to us as they stand on our example of faith during this pandemic.
May God strengthen us to become part of the ongoing story of the Paschal Mystery!
Rev. James D. Hreha
Online Mass with Msgr Steven Hurley
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Diocese Response to COVID-19 (March 15, 2020)
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Online Giving During COVID-19 Pandemic
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The adornment of our Church with plants and flowers from God’s creation is a way for us to remember loved ones and to give thanks to God for people or events in our lives. Altar flower requests envelopes are currently being accepted for Easter. Easter envelopes can be found in the racks on the back of the pews. Thank you for your love of our church.