I hope this finds you and your families well!
The Church celebrates today the Feast of Pentecost – the coming of the Holy Spirit. As we celebrate this feast today I find myself thinking about a number of things.
God’s Spirit is a Spirit of power, love, healing, peace, courage, consolation and reconciliation. These days we know all too well how much we stand in need of these gifts. As if the pandemic has not been enough, our country has been torn this past week by violence stemming from deep seated hatreds and prejudices. Peace we hear over and over can only come through justice. Yet so often a just society seems beyond our reach. I think it is beyond our reach when we are left to ourselves. We stand in need of our God who can give us the grace and fortitude to work for justice and to be people of reconciliation. Praised be to God that He has given us His Spirit who can empower us to accomplish things that we cannot do on our own. Let’s pray for the gift of the Spirit to heal us as a country and to give us the courage and strength we need to work for the justice and peace that God calls us to.
I’m reflecting today too that Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. On Pentecost through the power of the Spirit the Church came into being, as Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, was first preached. The same Spirit impels us once more to ‘go and make disciples.’ Over past months we started a discussion group in the parish which began reflecting on issues raised in the book, Divine Renovation. Written by a Canadian pastor, Fr. James Mallon, this book articulates many issues that I have come to appreciate over my years as a parish priest. It’s a hope of mine that we as a parish might engage in reflection and conversation on some of these issues. We don’t have to wait till the end of shelter at home to do this. I was happy to learn recently that the ideas of Divine Renovation are available online on YouTube in five interviews with Fr. Mallon, each about 15 minutes in length. I encourage you to watch these videos and to think about how they might relate to our life as a parish. The first is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C18V0l28-2U. I encourage you to watch it. I’ll be sending the links of the next four interviews over the coming month.
The third thing on my mind is that today would have been the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation in our parish. We have a number of young people who have been preparing for this sacrament for two years. They were meeting weekly up until the time of the pandemic, and then doing various projects remotely since. Shifting gears, doing school work remotely, and being separated from their friends for so long a time has been difficult for them. We look forward to the day when we will be able to gather together and celebrate with them the gift of the Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. In the meantime, let us remember them in our prayers. Let us remember too our graduates who have had their senior year disrupted. May they find ways to honor and to celebrate with loved ones this milestone in their lives.
A fourth concern of mine at this time is parish finances. As you know, without our weekly liturgies we have not had our regular source of income. So far we have been able to keep up with bills and with payroll. However, things are getting stretched. I want to thank parishioners who have mailed in their contributions or have dropped them off in the mail slot at Our Lady of Presentation rectory. These are two ways of continuing your support during this time. A third way is to make contributions through our new online portal. At GiveCentral.org/olpolm it’s possible to make contributions direct from one’s bank account, or by credit card.
Finally, these weeks have been a time of our parish staff trying to reach out to our parishioners as much as possible electronically. We are gradually expanding our email list and also our phone list. If you happen to know other parishioners who have not received emails or phone calls from us, please let us know their contact information so we may reach out to them. Also, let us know if there are any needs that we might be able to help with. By way of information, our Food Pantry at Mercy continues to operate Mondays and Fridays, 9-11 AM.
Our parish staff meets by Zoom each week. Please know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of each one of us! May the Spirit keep us healthy and safe, and we pray in a special way for those who have lost loved ones during this difficult time.
God’s blessings to you and your loved ones! Fr. Sullivan