Pastor's Corner 8/30
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. The three traditional acts of piety are: prayer, fasting and almsgiving, so I would also ask you to consider giving some alms to the poor. 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.
Just a reminder that our 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.
Also, we have additional seating in the balcony and in the parish hall. If you arrive to Mass and the Church doors to the Sanctuary are closed, please use either of the other two locations.
Saint Joseph’s Table, our parish pantry ministry, served 22 families last week. There continues to be a need in our community. Thank you for your generosity in providing bread for the hungry. Those serving in this ministry have said there is a need for more perishable food, body soap and laundry soap, and diapers (including bigger sizes).
Currently Epiphany Catholic School is looking for people who are interested in a paid, part-time position as the extended morning and afternoon care takers. The hours would be approximately 6:45 AM to 8 AM, and 2:45 PM to 6 PM; either shift or both are needed. The applicant must be VIRTUS – compliant (compliant with the diocesan requirements for child safety.) Please contact Mary Leslie at 540-825-9017 for more information. The first school Mass will be Friday, September 11, at 8:30 AM.
Please note that on Fridays during the school year when I have the Mass (usually every third Friday) the only Mass will be at the school. Due to covid safety recommendations, no outside visitors will be permitted to attend. When I do not have the Mass at Epiphany, we will have a Mass at the parish. We will do our best to announce the location each week.
Sunday, August 30, is the last day to register for CCD and our faith formation classes. (We have postponed the final day twice, and we can’t postpone it anymore.) 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 most 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.
Our Precious Blood Choir is starting rehearsals the first week in September. You can contact Theresa Watson, the music director, at email@example.com for more information.
We are looking into the possibility of having our Parish Picnic on Sunday, September 13th. Of course, we would have it outdoors and would need to maintain physical distance. If you are interested in organizing this, please contact the rectory office. If there is enough interest, we can still offer it this year.
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.
Please take a bilingual missalette and a songbook (in English) from the cart for your personal use. The missalette has readings through November 27. If you would like to help defray the cost of these worship aids, please use the purple envelopes.