Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is Risen! We continue in the Easter season, which is marked with joy and hopefully, hope. Hope is what we have to carry us to the reopening of our lives that we are all looking forward to. We are so hopeful that we have dropped “Tacoma Catholic Update” which we have been using during the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order and we are going back to the “The Cornerstone” as our normal means of e-communication. Still, we want to make sure we don’t “cancel out” all the days of staying home that we have been enduring thus far. We want to make them count as we continue to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. Let’s do all we can persevere in the days ahead; that they may count well so as to bring us all to a healthy outcome.
Have you noticed that in many of the post-resurrection accounts, people to not immediately recognize that it is the Lord Jesus they are encountering? This Sunday’s gospel is the most notable example, involving Jesus’ encounter with two of his disciples as they were leaving Jerusalem and heading to Emmaus. They spend considerable time with Jesus on the way, yet do not recognize him until they are in the house at Emmaus, and Jesus is made known to them in the breaking of the bread. How could they not know it was Jesus?
In our lives, we often fail to recognize the presence of the Lord Jesus. We often fail to see the hand of God in many things. We certainly fail to see Christ in the many people we encounter each day. I have said many times that receptivity is an often overlooked aspect of the spiritual life. How do we really open our minds and hearts to “receive” that which the Lord is desiring to give to us? Sometimes we are oblivious or indifferent. Sometimes, we intentionally disregard the presence of God in our life. Sometimes the enemy and his demons intentionally try to confuse us and distract us from receiving from the Lord.
We are living in times of confusion, uncertainty, and fear. These things in themselves can act as blocks to receiving from the Lord in prayer and reflection. Here again, a simple prayer can aid us in clearing our mind and heart to ready ourselves for prayer: “Lord Jesus, help me to receive all that you desire to give me in prayer and through others each day. Amen.” You may also wish to renounce the things that are blocking your receptivity. Here’s another prayer: “In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce [confusion, doubt, fear, anxiety, etc.] and ask that room be made in my heart so that you Lord, may fill it with your grace. Amen.”
These are very simple prayers but they are powerful prayers. They ready our minds and hearts to receive from the Lord Jesus during these challenging days. They help us to see Jesus more clearly in the people and events of each day.
Parish/School Finances & Happenings
Like many of you, it’s been a challenge to sort out all the financial ramifications of this time. Distance learning is in full effect in the school and seems to be going well. Our parishes are continuing to respond to needs as they arise. With our parish and school revenues trending downward, we are doing all we can to cut costs while at the same time keeping our employees and teachers in their jobs. We are blessed to have very talented people serving on our new finance council. They will be coming up with strategies on how we can confidently go forward.
I would also ask for your prayers this weekend on something very important. Our parishes and school applied for the Payroll Protection Plan to help us in keeping our operations up and running. We missed out on the first run at federal assistance. Now that Congress and the President have approved phase two of this PPP, our application is in the queue for an award on Sunday or Monday. Please pray for the success of our application!
Online giving has increased at all three parishes. But we can even do better. Since we are outside of Lent, I can’t give you a Lenten penance. But I can ask for you to do an act of Easter charity! Please sign up for Online Giving as a way to ensure that our parishes have a consistent flow of your stewardship giving to maintain operations. We are at about 50-60% of our normal giving at this point. So, your stewardship donations are very important at this time. Although many people have to cut corners to make ends meet right now, perhaps others not affected as much could increase your financial donations. Many people are tithing 10% or more of their federal stimulus checks to the parish or outreach ministry for the good of the wider community. Being more intentional about what God has blessed us with is what good stewardship is about. Nothing is automatic these days. Please prayerfully reflect upon what and how you can give back to God for the blessings of our life and health.
As we move onward in this Easter season, please continue to pray for all people affected by the pandemic. I was at Tacoma General today and saw so many medical personnel working very hard under stressful circumstances. That is duplicated around the world. We need to lift up to God in prayer all of them and all first responders, family caregivers, and all who are helping people through this crisis. We can do much to commend all these people to God’s loving care.
Fr. David Mulholland