Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This Sunday marks the end of the Easter Season with the Solemnity of Pentecost. 50 days ago, we ushered in the Resurrection of the Lord with a very small group of liturgical ministers in a dark empty church. Pentecost is considered to be the “birthday of the Church”, however the mood is not joyful as it was in past years.
We sing in today’s Psalm, “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth” (Ps 104:30). Never in many of our lives has this refrain had more meaning or been prayed with such urgency as we watch violence and riots unfold on our televisions and social media in Minnesota. We feel so overwhelmed and helpless to the pandemic that we have been facing. Many of us know people who have suffered or died from covid-19, and many more have felt the effects of isolation, the economic burdens from the closing of businesses or being furloughed, and the stress of working from home while juggling with Zoom meetings and distant learning for our children’s classroom instruction, and all we can do is cry out, “How long, O Lord?” Our faith has trained us to turn to the Lord with confidence, and on this Pentecost Sunday, we celebrate the transformation brought about by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, upon us, and upon the world. We pray today for a fresh gift of the Spirit to renew us and literally to renew the face of the earth with healing and, please God, peace!
As we continue to make careful preparations to resume public celebration of the Mass, we are keenly aware that our celebration of the Mass will look and feel somewhat different for the time being, and all of us will be making sacrifices. I encourage you to see those sacrifices— such as having to wear a mask, sitting in a different seat, not singing or attending mass at a different time— as part of your offering to God. Worship of God is always stretching us beyond our own limited perspective and our own comforts, and in this time we might experience that in new ways. This, too, is an opportunity to recognize that we are not in control, for none of us is the Author of Life... that role belongs to God alone.
The distribution of Holy Communion is a particularly sensitive topic and presents challenges for us at this time. We will not be able to offer communion from the Chalice for some time, and for many that is a painful loss as we miss part of the Lord’s divine command to “take and eat” and “take and drink.”
Of course the Church teaches that we receive the fullness of the presence of Christ—Body, Blood, soul, and divinity—under a single species in the consecrated host. That is called the doctrine of concomitance. An additional challenge is the way in which we receive communion. During this time we are asking that everyone receive Holy Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue to reduce the risk of spreading of germs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Archbishop Lori have recommended against reception of Communion on the tongue. More importantly, in response to God’s command to love our brothers and sisters, and out of special concern for the vulnerable and for me and Msgr. Jeff, I ask communicants who normally receive on the tongue to make a sacrifice of personal preference. Reverently receiving communion in the hand is the most ancient form of receiving the Sacrament. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, a 4th century bishop and theologian, in his catechetical lectures, described making of one’s hands “a throne to receive the King of Kings.”
Stay tuned to our website, social media posts, and Flocknotes for the latest updates. If you have not subscribed to receive regular email updates, you can do so by calling or emailing the parish office SetonParish@seaseton.org for more information.
You will notice that during our live-streaming of Masses that the altar vesture is red and will change to white for the next two weekends as we celebrate the “doctrinal” feasts of the Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi (The Body and Blood of Christ). The Paschal (Easter) Candle that has been standing in front of the altar will be moved to the baptism font after Mass. We will resume Ordinary Time for daily Mass and with that, I will continue to lead the recitation of the Angelus Marian devotion at 12 Noon, Monday through Thursdays.
Next Sunday, June 7th we will welcome a new summer seminarian, Michael “Mickey” Carroll, for his eight week internship. Check out today’s bulletin letter to view his photo and to read a short bio.
Finally, I am sad to announce that after 19 YEARS of pastoral ministry to our parish, Sr. Katherine will be retiring at the end of June. She will be the lector at Sunday’s Mass and will be speaking at the Announcements. I encourage you to tune in to Mass and spread the word. It is my hope that we can celebrate as a parish community once we are able to gather in a larger crowd.
Here is this Sunday's Worship Aid
As usual, we will continue to live-stream Mass on the parish Facebook (link) and uploaded on YouTube (link), and our parish website, https://www.seaseton.org/Resources/Media. If you do not have Facebook but wish to watch our livestream, click here for instructions.
Have a good weekend!