News

PARISH UPDATE ON COVID 19 - 3/26/2020

Posted on March 26, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

I hope that you and your families are weathering this crisis as well as possible, and that you are all safe and well.

 

We have now lived through a little over a week of the current restrictions and guidelines, but if you are like me, it already feels like an eternity. It’s amazing how time-consuming and physically draining it can be trying to switch the entire parish over to a new way of doing things either remotely, online, or from a distance. I’m sure many of you feel the same way in what’s been asked of you for work, or for schooling your children at home. Let’s be sure to continue to pray for one another.  Please be sure to check-in on your elderly neighbors to see if they need anything, keep your social distance and wash your hands frequently (that’s the hospital chaplain coming out of me! LOL) Know that I have made the commitment during my daily Evening Prayer to intentionally pray for 10 families by name. How am I doing this?  By going through the entire Parish Directory and looking at each family portrait. I love doing it, but it also reminds me each day of how much I greatly miss seeing you all, especially when I say Mass.

 

I also have several updates to pass along and I apologize if some of these updates are repeated in case you had not received my last update:

Please know that the Parish Office is Closed to the Public Until Further Notice

Your phone calls, emails, and paper mail are all being received and handled just as it normally would, only from a distance. That shift to working remotely has now been made official as Governor Hogan mandated that non-essential businesses must close to the public.

 

Even though we are closed to the public, we are still working hard and are ready to serve you. So please, feel free to send that email, leave that voicemail message or drop that letter in the mail. We look forward to staying in touch and serving you as best we can, even with the current restrictions.

Offertory

Many parishioners have asked if they can drop their Sunday offertory envelopes in the mail. The answer is most assuredly “Yes.”  You can definitely drop them in the mail, and we will process them in a timely manner, and with a deep sense of gratitude.

I want to thank you again for your continued support of the parish during the weeks and months ahead. Our staff continues to work hard, offering creative ways of offering ministries, serving parishioners, and leading faith formation for our children and adults, all the while waiting for our return to normalcy.  So please know that we are grateful for your generous support!

I am especially grateful to all of you who have quickly made the shift to GiveCentral, our online giving platform over the past week. I encourage you to make use of this safe, secure and easy option to support the parish. It requires less manpower on our part to process your electronic gifts than the traditional check or cash gift. This is especially helpful now as we work in such a restricted and limited way. You may access the parish link here: https://www.givecentral.org/location/454

Those in need

With our Food Pantry closing it’s doors due to the virus, many of you have asked where those in need can go to receive help.  If you know of someone in need please direct them to the Anne Arundel County Food Bank’s website for a list of open pantries. The website is www.aafoodbank.org.  The Food Bank asks that you check the website in lieu of calling when possible.

No Distribution of the Eucharist

Many of you have seen news stories with creative ways that priests and deacons in other states and dioceses have found to distribute Holy Communion outside of the Mass. Several of you have asked if this is something that could be done here.

 While Archbishop Lori wants parishes to be creative in ministering to their people at this time, in his concern for health, public safety and for proper reverence of the Sacrament has led him to decree that parishes must not distribute the Eucharist outside of Mass, either by appointment or through any other organized method that is likely to create a group size that is in violation of the law.

Holy Week and Easter  

Some have asked about Palm Sunday and whether there will be a distribution of palm. Current CDC guidelines both for gatherings of groups of people and in one-on-one settings make it too difficult to find a safe way to way to do it that would not violate the social distancing requirements.

For this reason, the Archbishop has mandated that the distribution of palm be postponed to a later date. So while the palm will be blessed on Palm Sunday, it will not be distributed to the faithful until a later, safer time.

You should have received in the mail our parish's Easter Mailing that included our Schedule of services for Holy Week and Easter. Please know that the restrictions in place regarding public Masses and Services will still be in effect during Holy Week and Easter.  

Thus, sadly, we will not be able to have any public services during Holy Week and Easter. We will continue to live-stream all of our services for Holy Week and Easter, however.

Live-Stream Masses

It’s been wonderful to see how many of you take part in the live-stream of our Masses and the Daily Angelus at 12 noon on Facebook and even pray along by adding in your prayers among the comments. Many of you are also watching and praying once the video has been uploaded to our parish website after it has been live-streamed.

Thank you for staying connected in this way!  It means so much to see you fostering a community online as we pray together.  To take part in our live stream Masses, just go to this link –

https://www.facebook.com/seaseton/

I also maintain a personal Facebook page at this link –

https://www.facebook.com/paul.sparklin

Starting this Sunday, I would love to see how you are worshiping along with me at Sunday Mass. Take a selfie of you watching Mass. If you have a prayer table or dedicated area where you are viewing the live stream, take a picture! How are your children participating during Mass? Have them draw a picture of what it means to be a follower of Jesus! Just email them to me at paul.sparklin@seaseton.org and I’ll post them on Facebook during the week!

Our Amazing Parish Staff!

As everything has unfolded over the past couple of weeks our Parish Staff members have done an incredible job. I am amazed and deeply thankful for their devotion, hard work, and creativity in keeping our mission going in such a difficult time! They have been working so hard to keep things going, to take good care of our parishioners, to maintain our campus and buildings, and to manage our resources while in the midst of constant upheaval and uncertainty.

Please join me in thanking each and every one of them for the hard work and devotion to our parish family!  I would encourage you to write a note or email of support and thanks to them!

In the midst of all this chaos and upheaval, we are reminded that one thing stands firm – our faith!  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever… He alone is our rock and our stronghold.  In Him we stand firm. Let us cling to the three words so often echoed in the Scriptures – “Be not afraid.”

Again, I thank you for your patience as we move through this time.

 

God bless you all!

 

In the Lord,

Fr. Paul Sparklin

Pastor

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