Pastor's Letter 4/5
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today is Palm Sunday, when we celebrate the triumphal entry of our Lord into his city of Jerusalem. This is also the beginning of Holy Week – holy because it commemorates the last week of our Lord’s human life here on this earth. This has been an unusual Lent, so it can be hard to celebrate. The word for Lent in Italian is Quaresima from the word for forty in Italian which is “quaranta”. A group of 40 of something is “quarantina”. People who were suspected of being sick were sometimes put on a separate island or at least in a separate building for a “quarantina” of days (forty days) until others could be sure that they were not infected with some illness. This gave rise to our word quarantine. During Lent we are asked to do some kind of penance. It is sometimes said that the best penances are the ones you don’t choose for yourself. We have certainly not chosen the quarantine that the new kind of coronavirus (Covid-19) has imposed on us. Though this is not the way we would have chosen to spend Holy Week, this is the way we are being asked to live it this year. It is painful to have to fast from the Sacraments, from the fellowship of community, from the procession with palms, from the celebration of the Eucharist and the priesthood in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, from the solemn commemoration of the Lord’s Passion, and the glorious celebration of his resurrection at the Easter Vigil when we celebrate new life in the Church with Baptisms, Confirmations and the Eucharist.
But this is what we are asked to do. To be in solidarity with those who are sick, with those who have lost a loved one, with those taking care of family or friends, with those who have lost jobs or been impacted financially in a negative way, with those who are riddled by anxiety, fear or loneliness. This has been a Lent and will be a Holy Week that we will not forget. This is a time for repentance, prayer and transformation. This is a time for many opportunities of charity: almsgiving made very practical.
If you would like to donate anything to help people in our parish who are struggling financially, (or to support our parish) please stop by the parish office, or you can give through our website through Faith Direct with a process called Text-to-Give. You can also text a dollar amount to 540-264-3300, and they will send back texts to guide you through the process.
Always check the website for new events that will be live streamed at pbcconline.com. We will be live-streaming Mass on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday at 10 AM in English and 12 Noon in Spanish. We will also livestream the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7 PM on Holy Thursday, and the Solemn Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday at 3 PM in English and 7 PM in Spanish, and the Easter Vigil at 8:30 PM on Holy Saturday night (which is already Easter Sunday liturgically because the sun has gone down).
On Holy Thursday, after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, there will be an opportunity for quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the parish hall till 11 PM. Please always be respectful of our Bishop’s request to have no more than 10 people be there at a time. This will also be livestreamed.
I would like to encourage you to pray the Divine Mercy Novena which begins on Good Friday and continues until Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter Sunday: April 19). We will post the Novena on our website; it can also be found at EWTN Here. This year is an especially good year to pray this novena.
Unfortunately, we will not be celebrating Baptisms and Confirmations at the Easter Vigil this year. We will look for another opportunity later on once restrictions on gatherings are lifted.
Also, please read the bulletin for updates on ministry activities; some of the bible studies have online access; others may meet by Zoom chat! Someone asked about having a parish Zoom session for any parishioners who would like to meet that way at least once a week. Please contact the parish office if you are interested, and we can certainly begin that if there is enough interest.
We are also asking for any volunteers who are willing to call up to five other parishioners on a regular basis (at least two or three times a week) to see how they are doing. We would especially like to call those who are more at risk for Covid-19 (the coronavirus) or who are living alone. Please let us know at the rectory if you would be willing to volunteer to call, or if you would like to receive a call.
Due to the pandemic, the early-bird CCD Registration for next year has been extended till June 30. Our regular registration will now not begin till July 1 and will now end on July 31. As of August 1, there will be a late fee for registration. Registration for next year will still end on August 16.