Dear Brothers and Sisters of St. Andrew the Apostle,
Things are getting closer to normal here at St. Andrew the Apostle. Our school opened on Tuesday, and it's always a joy to have the students back on campus. It's also wonderful to have those who are distance learning to be with their teachers and classmates virtually. This Monday, September 14, we will begin teaching RCIA classes, and religious education classes will start on September 28. As happens each September, these activities bring renewed life to the parish, especially in a year when we have been isolated from each other for far too long. Even while we remain sanitized, masked, and socially distanced, it is good to see each other in person.
On Saturday, the young men and women of our parish will be Confirmed, something that they have been anticipating since the coronavirus postponed their April Confirmation. Bishop Burbidge has granted me permission to Confirm our candidates this year, and I am honored to seal our youth in the Holy Spirit in this extraordinary circumstance. Let us pray that our new Confirmandi will be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to boldly set the world on fire with their love of Jesus Christ and his Church. They are a gift to their families, their schools, and our parish. Let us rejoice together for this great gift.
Preparations are taking place for the Organ Dedication Mass on Sunday, September 27, at a special 5:00 PM Mass. Fr. James Barkett, Pastor of St. Mary of Sorrows and the Dean of our region of parishes, will be Bishop Burbidge's representative at the dedication. Also joining us will be Fr. John Kelly and Fr. Joseph Bergida, who are remembered so fondly for their time at St. Andrew's. Please join us for this joyous occasion, but if you are unable, it will also be live-streamed on our parish YouTube channel.
We have two receptions upcoming for those who want to learn more about the organ and at which we will thank those whose generosity has taken us to where we currently are: within $92,000 of our final goal. The first of these receptions is Sunday, September 20, at 4:00 PM. If you are interested in attending, please contact Mike Hadro (email@example.com) or Mike Murphy (MMurphy@cypressintl.com) by Monday, September 14, for more information and to reserve your space. The second reception will be Saturday, October 3, beginning at 7:00 PM. Again, contact Mike Hadro and Mike Murphy for more information and to reserve a space.
On a completely separate note, we want to identify and reach out to any homebound parishioners during this time. While home visits are currently not permitted because of the threat of spreading the coronavirus to the most vulnerable, we still want to keep in touch with those parishioners who are unable to come to Mass under ordinary conditions. If you are a homebound member of St. Andrew's, or if you know of any homebound Catholics living within our parish boundaries, please call our parish office so that we can contact them.
Finally, today is the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Those of us who were alive remember where we were when the news told of planes crashing into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. That day we heard of acts of bravery from first responders who laid down their lives for others. We reached out to those we knew to check on them and console them. We prayed for the dead, for the injured, for our country. For months after 9/11, patriotism united our nation, and we filled our churches as we gathered together to ask for God's help and protection.
Today, we pray for the faithful repose of those who lost their lives that tragic day in New York City, Arlington, and Somerset Township in Pennsylvania. We pray for the victims who still struggle with the physical and psychological wounds from that day's violence. We pray for our nation, that we may seek to do His divine will as a people united by Him and under His protection. We pray for ourselves, that we may strive to overcome hatred and division and be instruments of charity and peace in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in the world.
May God bless our nation and keep us safe.