Father's Bulletin Letter 3.21.21

Mar 18, 2021


Today at 4 o’clock in the church there will be a concert.  The Koto Ensemble will be performing Japanese music in traditional dress.  Due to the nature of the concert, an anticipated smaller audience and by the urging of the performers, this will be one of the very few portions of our concert series that has survived during COVID.  Masks are required.  This performance is made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.


PALM SUNDAY:  Next weekend is Palm Sunday.  The only real differences due to COVID regulations that you will see is that only ministers will participate in any processions and ushers will pass out the palms to be blessed as you enter.  In the afternoon, there will be a table set up outside as we did last year, for those who are still not able to attend Mass because of health reasons and still wish to have some palms.

IS IT TIME?:  The Bishop came to visit St. Sebastian a couple of weeks ago and one of the things we talked about was the future of diocese and COVID.  It seems as though we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for many of the regulations that have been placed upon us to cope with the pandemic.  As restaurants and such inch toward returning to pre-COVID days, so we begin to think about what that will look like for us.

Relatively soon we should expect to begin to hear about the return of the Sunday obligation to attend Mass.  Before that takes place, there will be a period of formation (or re-formation) and preparation.  The Bishop remarked that one of the things that he discovered when lifting the Sunday obligation was how many Catholics didn’t even know that there was an obligation to attend Mass in the first place!  Which, in a way, is kind of great thing because that meant those people were attending just the same.  Since the 4th century, Catholics had a codified law in this regard and it will eventually be reinstated.

Speaking with some of you, there is still a definite fear of returning to Mass, especially among those with compromised health who also live alone.  The obligation to attend Mass never included those who too ill to attend or who were likely to make someone else ill.  But as all other public venues begin to open and regulations ease, I want to encourage those who are taking advantage of those opportunities to also consider returning to your spiritual home, to pray with and support your brothers and sisters, and to express, in this particular way in which He instructed us, “Do this in memory of me,” by returning to the Mass and engaging in its prayer more deeply than ever before.

Also, take this time to pray for the parish and the diocese in general as well as our bishop.  It may have been a challenging year and getting back on track is sure to continue the anxiety among some.  Please know of my prayers for you.  Thank you for all of your prayers, support, understanding, and great patience during this last year!  Whew!

God bless,

Fr. Valencheck