As we celebrate our July 4th holiday this week, I invite you to begin the day by joining us for 9am Mass as we give thanks for the great blessing of belonging to this country. This is also an important time for us to pray that God may restore unity to us despite our great diversity. There is no doubt that our country is experiencing a time of great division these days. Regardless of our political affiliation or views, we all need to learn how to engage each other respectfully in conversation. Pope Saint John XXIII, when opened the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960’s, also sensed a great difference of opinion regarding those who took a more liberal or conservative view of the Church. He wrote, “In essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.” Good words for us to heed even today.
A note regarding the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick: it is a good thing for family members to call when a loved one is seriously ill, requesting that they be anointed. Many hospitals and hospice centers also have a Catholic priest as Chaplain but if they are not available, do not hesi- tate to call us. However the Church would like to accompany such a person at the beginning of their illness instead of anointing them “at the 11th hour” or shortly before they are expected to pass. So I would encourage you to notify us early on when a loved one has become seriously ill so that we may not only anoint them but be present and available to them throughout the course of their illness to offer support, even if their illness is not terminal. When we are called just hours before someone has “made a turn for the worst”, it may not be possible to anoint them if I am away from the parish or some situation keeps me from being able to be present to them immediately. So please do not hesitate to call long before someone reaches that stage. We also have now a Deacon and his wife, besides myself, who are able and willing to visit and bring Holy Communion to those who are in a Hospice situation especially. We want to do whatever we can to minister to those who need us at such a difficult time.
Beginning this weekend we will return to the practice of processing toward the altar from the back of the church instead of from the sacristy door. So you’ll hear the bells ring behind you instead of in front of you to signal the beginning of Mass. We will use the “cry room” to prepare for Mass but parents with small children are still welcome to use that space. That room is also used as the “bride’s room” before weddings so it has many purposes. I can also make faces at you from there without you knowing it.