It has been an unusual Lent, a Lent when we have had to abstain from celebrating Lent together. For me, worship, the Holy Mass, the Way of the Cross and, particularly during the Holy Week, Christ’s entry to Jerusalem, His suffering and resurrection have always been of the essence.
Private prayer, reading the Gospel and internal conversion all belong to the Lenten time, but they take place in a larger context, in the community with other faithful, with the whole Mystical Body of Christ. Of course, this is true, also when we are told to pray on our own, even then we are never alone because we are connected to our Saviour and to His Mystical Body, the Church. Still, I miss the community during Mass in the crowded St. Paul church when hundreds of the faithful cheer when the Lord enters Jerusalem, or kneel adoring the Crucified Saviour on Good Friday, or when they rejoice in Alleluia at Easter.
I have received similar reactions from many parishioners; they also miss the Church and our own parish. And this is good, it is good that we miss our parish. Because even though it may be fine to watch Mass with the Pope from St. Peter’s Basilica, it is something else, something special with our own parish, our own church where we come every day to serve God who came not to beserved, but toserve.
I know that you too miss the Church and the parish also due to your response, your telephones, your e-mails, and also all the contributions you have made to the parish bank account after my call about collection. Many contributions, big, medium and small, have been registered. All of them help the parish to keep going. Our employees are working even though the church is not open. Catechesis is conducted via the internet, registrations and paperwork are being done, alter linen and garments have been washed, the church is cleaned so that it is not dusty when we open again, Holy Masses are recorded and uploaded on our website or streamed direct.
I want to thank you all for you financial contributions, and to all of you who pray for us, both priests and employees and for the whole parish. You should also know that we pray also for you and long for the day when we can again get together in our church of St. Paul’s and at Marias Minde.
We have to live with our longing with patience in these Covid-19 days. We have to take care of our brothers and sisters so that we do not expose them to danger, even though Our Saviour teaches us not to fear what the future may bring for us ourselves. We have to persevere and to carry our longing and our Cross, which we unite with Our Saviour Jesus Christ’s Cross.
Parish priests faithfully celebrate the Holy Mass and pray the breviary, the official prayer of the Church. And when we do that we pray first of all for you, parishioners of St. Paul’s, for the faithful in our diocese and our country, and for the Church worldwide. We pray for your spiritual and physical life and health, we pray for God’s blessing and for Our Lady’s protection. We pray for the living and for the dead. We all belong to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, Christ’s Mystical Body. If one when “one member suffers, all the members suffer with it”. Therefore I beg you all to be in prayer for each other and for us all. In faith and in prayer, we are together carrying each other through our burdens, and we experience being borne by the prayers of the others. It is in prayer that we experience God being near us and we are near each other as members of Christ’s Mystical Body.
May God in His Grace let us mature in prayer and grow in faith so that Paschal Triduum be for us all a true Pesach, a Passover from angst and darkness to the light and joy of Easter.
Oremus pro invicem.
Your parish priest Dom Alois 5.04.2020