By the time you read this I am away for my winter break and will return for Masses on February 13th and 14th.
It’s hard to believe that next month marks one year since the coronavirus pandemic forced us to close our doors and re-imagine everything we do. We faced unprecedented times last March. Today as I look back on it all, the obstacles we faced and also what we have accomplished, I find myself full of gratitude and awe.
First, I want to thank you for being so generous towards the Offertory, Special Collections, Poor Box, Food Pantry, our sister parishes in Haiti and West Baltimore City, holiday outreach and the Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries. So many of you answered the call to sign up for electronic giving and mailed in your offertory envelopes so that we could continue to pay our Staff, our bills and provide assistance to those in need.
I want to thank our Deacons and the office staff for their dedication and excellence in working remotely and coming up with ways for us to continue our programs and ministries virtually. During this time we were able to welcome a new staff member, Sr. Maureen Roe, RSM. Our sacramental preparation, Faith Formation and high school youth ministry programs were restructured so that our young people and adult parishioners could learn more about the faith and the scriptures. We have continued our daily staff “huddle” via Zoom, first as a way to pray together and remember your intentions, and also to keep our lines of communication open so we can still work as a team. We expanded our use of technology to connect extended family members and friends for couples exchanging their wedding vows or those grieving the loss of a loved one as I commend them to the Lord.
I am grateful to our parishioners. We created a task force that continues to make sure we implement procedures to keep us safe. We set up hand sanitizing stations, ordered masks and cleaning supplies, relocated to a larger space and expanded times for Confessions, moved seats in the church to establish social distance and set up online Mass registrations. There are those who make sure you are safe when you come for reconciliation or to attend in-person Mass, welcome you at the Main Entrance to check you in or show you to your seat and then sanitize the Church after each liturgical celebration. Because of this, since we reopened on July 4th, we’ve only had one instance when we had to use our contact tracing protocol!
Lastly, I am grateful that we found ways to be present in the Crofton-Gambrills community by hosting the Crofton Farmers Market, Red Cross Blood Drives, and even the Food Pantry came up with a great way to carry out their ministry when they reopened last June!
Even though we as a community have been physically apart, and I look forward to us coming together again fully for Mass, meetings, and social activities when it is safe to do so, I know that in the months ahead and as we begin the Season of Lent, together we will continue seek out ways to share the Good News and live our lives in service to others as Jesus intended.
Speaking of Lent...
Ash Wednesday is February 17th. Masses will be at 9AM, 5PM, and 7PM. If you would like to attend Mass in person, we are going to start sign-ups this Wednesday, February, 10th at 9:30am and end them on Sunday, February 14th at 9:30am.
Next week, I will share with you more opportunities to celebrate Lent as a family or individually.
We are beginning week four of our video series, Elements of the Catholic Mass. I would invite you to watch Episode 4 this week titled The Church Building, and reflect on how this might help you in your faith. Here is the link to the episodes page.
Here is this Sunday’s Worship Aid
I encourage you to sign up for weekend Masses through the parish website or FaceBook page. The link is available after the 9:30 Mass each Sunday UNTIL Wednesday evenings at 10:00pm.
Don’t forget to wear your mask, use hand sanitizers in the Narthex and keep your social distance as you approach the Main Entrance of the Church!
Please Note: I have decided to extend the no walk-in seating policy through the end of February in light of the more contagious strain of Covid-19.
As usual, we will continue to live-stream Mass (Mon—Thurs at 9:00am and Sunday at 9:30am) 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 week!