Pastor's Corner 8/16
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am sure you have been concerned about the divisions in our country, and even the hatred and violence that have been increasing in many parts. I think that the pandemic restrictions have exacerbated the situation. As we approach the fall, and the November elections, I fear that the tensions and vitriol will only increase. Although we may disagree, even within our parish, over many things, I hope we can all agree on one thing: our country and our culture need prayers. As your pastor, I would like to ask you to set aside some time each week for prayer that you would not usually do – whatever prayer appeals to you. It would be good if you could set aside 15 minutes or 30 minutes or even an hour. I also believe that there are certain spirits that only go out by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). Therefore, I would also like to ask you – if your health permits – to choose at least one meal a week from now until the crisis we are going through has passed, and fast from that meal. We need to ask our Lord to give us light in the present darkness, and to bring good out of evil, as only he can do.
I recently read that there are over 1000 confirmed people who have been exposed to COVID-19 in Culpeper County, which our parish covers. With an estimated population of 50,000, that would be about 2%. There are also estimates that many more people could have been exposed who are asymptomatic or who have not been tested. My understanding is that a person is only contagious during a certain stage after having been exposed to the virus. Still, I think this is a good time to remind everyone that the Bishop has said that everyone is expected to wear a mask when they come to Mass, and to maintain a physical distance of six feet (unless they are family members or live together). I know that not everyone likes to wear a mask, but I would ask you please to do so out of charity for others. Many people are very afraid, and have high levels of anxiety, and are not coming to Mass when they see people without masks on.
Our Bishop has also asked us to consider receiving Communion on the hand during this time. There are some people who are afraid to receive Communion after someone else has received on the tongue before them. Out of charity for others, please consider doing what our Bishop, the Shepherd of 500,000 souls in our Diocese, has asked us to do. If you are going to receive on the tongue, please wait until after everyone else has received, and remember to stick your tongue out so that the hand of the minister of Holy Communion will not have to touch your tongue. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation on this.
I would like to thank Kelly Wilton for having set up and overseen Saint Joseph’s Table, our parish pantry ministry, beginning in March. With the new religious education year about to begin, she will be stepping down in order to be able to focus on her work as Director of Religious Education in what appears will be a challenging year. I would also like to welcome Terri Miles who has graciously agreed to be the new Coordinator of Saint Joseph’s Table. She has already let me know that the ministry is thriving and continues to serve many people in need.
Good news for Epiphany Catholic School, our inter -parish school serving residents of Culpeper, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock Counties. It is well positioned to open to our students all day and every day in August starting Wednesday, 8/26. Our reopening plan provides the structure to safely bring our children back to the building. Our school will stay true to our mission by providing strong academics and spiritual formation in a Christ-centered learning environment. We will be offering a full curriculum, all academic subjects and special classes, while abiding by all of the requirements and guidelines set forth by the Governor, the Virginia Department of Education, the CDC and the Diocese of Arlington. Our students will continue to receive a quality education in the safest environment possible while being supported by our compassionate and caring staff.
I am happy to report that four of our classes (as of this writing) are full and have a waiting list: Pre-K4, Kindergarten, 1st grade and 3rd grade. 6th grade is also full, though currently it does not have a waiting list. We have limited space available in the following grades: Pre-K3, 2nd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you - or anyone you know - is interested.
Epiphany Catholic School is looking for people interested in several part-time positions: a Resource teacher, a Spanish teacher, Extended Day Care assistants (AM and PM) and bus drivers (AM and PM). If you are interested, please email your resume to: email@example.com. The salary is negotiable, and the applicant must be VIRTUS – compliant (meeting diocesan requirements for child safety.) Please contact Mary Leslie at 540-825-9017 for more information.
Please register for our faith formation classes. For children, CCD is offered from Kindergarten through 12th grade; for adults we have RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) in English (beginning September 14 at 7 PM) and RICA for Spanish speakers (beginning September 13 at 3:30 PM). There are also separate sessions for children or youth. We will start up CCD classes September 13, with some students studying at home, and some coming to our parish campus. Please register for any RCIA, RICA, or RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation for Children) classes and CCD classes with the Precious Blood Parish Office as soon as possible or online through our website: pbcconline.com.
We are grateful to our parishioners who are able to continue to support the parish during this time as we still have our payroll expenses. We would like to encourage you to sign up for FaithDirect, by going to: https://membership.faithdirect.net/ enroll/va226 Thank you for your continued generosity.