To My Dear Holy Family,
Unprecedented! That is the word that I find myself using to describe our current situation in the face of the Covid 19 Virus. I write to you as your Pastor today both concerned about our physical health AND my ever evolving desire to make Holy Family a creative, innovative and engaging vehicle for profound spiritual expression, unity and compassion–hallmarks of what we have always been, and in a new and different way amidst this challenge.
In these days when we have not been able to gather for prayer and particularly the sacred celebration of the Eucharist, I have come to appreciate even more how much I see God in you as we gather. Your real presence, God’s real presence through Jesus Christ are, in my eyes and heart, inseparable. I find myself longing more than ever for the time when we can gather again as the Body of Christ.
In the meantime, I want to convey how you are all in my prayers and how sensitive I am to the many different feelings you may be experiencing such as anxiety, isolation, fear, frustration. I want to convey to you how diligently our staff and leadership have been working to respond to your many needs. My heart goes out to those of you who are parents as you face extra challenges with energetic children at home and attending to their continued learning.
I pray for those of you who feel isolated, particularly with unique or serious health issues, for any of you with heightened anxiety in the face of uncertainty. I am aware that some of you may be particularly vulnerable physically, emotionally and spiritually now. We began saying “We are in this TOGETHER” before Mass about two years ago and I find it interesting that many public officials and organizations are saying those very words now in response to this virus.
Unprecedented times call for deeper compassion and greater faith. Please know that we continue to field a great number of online suggestions and other ideas to be as supportive and compassionate as possible. Our staff continues to prioritize these many resources for you and offer them via our website. We are also well aware of many in our parish who can’t or don’t access the website and we are strategizing on how to best extend compassion, spiritual help and support for them.
May I suggest a few spiritual exercises for us all during this challenging time. First, utilize our website and the many spiritual suggestions there. Please pray along with the taped Weekend Mass and the Wednesday Recharge also available on our website. Please regularly pray the beautiful “Prayer in Uncertain Times” written by our Director of Liturgical Arts, Gene Garcia.
In the midst of a significant challenge simple acts such as checking on each other, contacting those who may have unique or significant needs and offering whatever help we can, may become more profound spiritual acts than you realize.
Finally, take advantage of this situation. Use silence and alone time to deepen your prayer. Don’t fear the silence or the lack of human interaction, use it to strengthen your relationship with God. As I always say, it is amazing how God can speak to you when you shut up.
This challenge can force us into greater spiritual resolve like the early Christians. They huddled in isolation and fear amidst severe persecution. This led them to appreciate their shared presence and the Lord’s even more. Approach this as an opportunity to more fully appreciate what we are discouraged from doing now–shaking hands, hugging, being near, look beyond your isolation to trust in God ever present with you.
Finally, please know that we as a staff are working to provide resources to assist any needs that you may have, above and beyond those listed above. Our Human Concerns Ministering Community and our Parish Pastoral Council are very attentive to the evolving needs that any of you may have. This is a fluid changing situation and we will respond as best we can to challenges yet to manifest. We will provide more details on these initiatives soon.
Please view Archdiocesan guidelines in light of Governor Pritzker’s shelter in place edict by CLICKING HERE. Note: The Church and Adoration Chapel are closed for private prayer effective 5:00 pm Saturday.
We are embarking on the holiest time of the church year when we focus on the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. It is holy because it applies to our lives so regularly and sometimes very dramatically. We are in the midst of profound suffering and death now but if we view these with the eyes, hearts and souls of faith, we will experience new life. Perhaps we can all use the image of our “Cross of New Life” as a reminder of what lies ahead.
In the love of God in challenging times.