I believe that we are all excited about the possibility of opening up church soon. That is very understandable and, believe me, I am looking forward to it more than I had even earlier anticipated.
However, I want to share a warning with you as well as a word of caution. Certain news stories have identified dates when churches will reopen. I cannot emphasize enough that this cannot happen until we are certified and given permission to let anyone in our building.
We have already surfaced a small leadership team as per Archdiocesan guidelines and have begun training the team. The training is very intense and thorough and the process of reopening will be methodical. This process supports standards set by the State of Illinois with the support of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Our team will engage volunteers to assist with the Set Up, Greeting and Sanitizing of our facility BEFORE and FOLLOWING each liturgical event that will be limited to 10 attendees. We ask you to cooperate with the guideline that will be set and be faithful, pro-life citizens. For more and ongoing information. please be attentive to the weekly email blasts, webpage and bulletin articles.
I miss all of you! I miss celebrating with you and receiving the real presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. I miss the activity and the strong daily hum of people filling our expansive campus with such life.
It is more pronounced for you I’m sure, because you can’t come here to Holy Family. For Fr. Rich and I, it is pronounced in a different way. We ARE here but no one else is. That fact makes me yearn to gather again even more. Every day this empty facility reminds us of what we are missing – YOU!!!
Fr. Rich and I really missed taping Mass for a three week stretch because we were quarantined. I was exposed to Covid while giving the Anointing of the Sick to a man who tested positive. His results came the day following my visit. I want to send a heartfelt thanks to those of you who extended prayers and good wishes during our quarantine. As always, I want to send a great big thank you also to Friar Johnpaul for taping Masses during our absence. He was scheduled to preside periodically anyway but his additional generosity is much appreciated.
We are concluding the Easter Season with two important liturgical events – Ascension this weekend, and Pentecost next weekend. I liken the Ascension to The Last Dance of Jesus on earth. Coach Phil Jackson labeled the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls season as The Last Dance because he was informed by management prior to the start of the season that it would be his last as head coach of the team.
A 10-episode documentary of the same name and season has been aired the past 5 weeks, and my observation is that the Bulls’ Last Dance was an ending. The Ascension of Jesus and Pentecost are beginnings. The energy of the Bulls Last Dance was down and in. The spiritual energy of Ascension and Pentecost
are up and out.
Jesus ascends UP, but he first commissions the 11 apostles to go OUT to ALL nations and Baptize and assure his loving presence in the world for all time.
I often point out that the Holy Spirit then gives the apostles what they need to accomplish or start such a huge task. The Acts of the Apostles (Ch 2:1-4) tells us that Holy Spirit helps to surface Matthias to take the place of Judas, thus completing their group, and then the same Spirit directly gives them what they need to baptize ALL nations in their native language. That gift enabled them to tell ALL nations the story of our God becoming human in Jesus Christ and his salvific acts that continue today–by the working of the same HOLY SPIRIT.
I hope that you all have as good a Memorial Day as possible given the restrictions that we are living in. It is an opportunity for us to use the precious gift of our memory to stay in communion with our loved ones who have passed away. Similar to the limitation of contact
with each other now, our contact with them is limited. May no barriers prevent us from cherishing the gift of life that God has given us. May we appreciate each other’s presence now more than ever, even though we are limited by distance and physical touch. The life that God has given us is too powerful to be limited by a pandemic or death.
Happy Memorial Day!