Dear SSJ Community members and friends,

May the Lord give you peace!

In a time of concern about the Coronavirus pandemic, we wish to share with you information from our diocese communicated to parishes late Thursday. Excerpts from that message will be included here, along with particular information pertaining to liturgy and events scheduled at SSJ in order to reassure you, answer questions you may have, and to guide your decisions in the days ahead.

First and foremost the diocese wishes to acknowledge fears and urgency to save lives, caution against panic, and call for faith and for calm attentiveness to prudence, public health and prayer.
As per last week's directives, they join with medical authorities to encourage thorough washing of our hands, "social distancing" and "flattening the curve" by restricting the rate and extent of the spread of the virus. These measures not only protect ourselves, but they protect our neighbors and especially those who are most vulnerable.

As missionary disciples of Jesus we are called to lay down our lives for others. At the same time we ought not take actions that put others at risk unnecessarily.

There are many ways to help during this time as we seek to care for our neighbors: Checking in on elderly neighbors even if by phone or from a distance, offering help with groceries or childcare for dear ones who might struggle with increased burdens and avoiding unnecessary outings that might spread harm. And of course, all of this we do with special intention and prayer for those who are ill, health care professionals and caregivers - and for the common good - through, with and in the protection of our Lord Jesus Christ with the intercession of our Blessed Mother.

PARISH LITURGIES

We have made the decision to continue with all Masses as normally scheduled at SSJ until further notice, mostly because we feel that times like these, more than ever, remind us of the need to recall the Lord's presence among us in the breaking of the bread.

Last week the diocese communicated a directive about limiting physical contact during liturgy, especially at the sign of peace or during the Lord's prayer, and asked that all Ordinary and Extraordinary ministers of communion sanitize their hands immediately before distribution of communion and afterwards. The Precious Blood of Christ was and remains temporarily suspended from being distributed to the assembly at Mass.

This week, the diocese has advised us in the following ways:
  1. Make sure that the church be as clean and sterile as is physically possible;
  2. Remove all holy water fonts from use and that any baptismal font be covered from use until further notice;
  3. Consider the best way to take up a collection in order to limit physical contact.
  4. Until further notice, the Diocesan Bishop hereby dispenses from the obligation to participate in Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (cf. canons 85, 87 §1, 90 §1 and 1247 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law) those faithful who, out of legitimate concern for their health and/or the health of others, wish to avoid crowded areas. Such faithful should avail themselves of a livestreamed service (9:45 a.m. in English from Christ Cathedral: website (https://www.facebook.com/ChristCathedralCA) or 9 a.m. from St. Edward the Confessor http://stedward.com/stedcast/ if possible. Those who choose not to participate (attend) Mass are to keep in mind their duty to continue to assist with financial support of the Church, in accordance with canons 222 §1 and 1261 of the same Code of Canon Law, and should consider giving electronically via their parish website or mailing a check to their parish. (If SSJ decides to livestream Mass we will inform you of how to access it.)
  5. The safest way to receive communion at Mass is the way which limits the amount of physical contact. Therefore, we feel it is best for all to receive communion in the hand, at this time, because it prevents the minister of communion from having to potentially touch another's face or tongue. Placing communion onto someone's hand without touching the hand seems the way of least contact. We ask that those receiving communion avoid touching a minister's hand during reception of communion. Furthermore, the diocese has asked us to inform the faithful that they are under no obligation to receive Holy Communion every time they attend Mass (cf. canon 920).
SCHOOL and OTHER GROUP ACTIVITIES
At this time parish schools and religious education programs will remain open unless you otherwise receive notice from a parish or school leader. That said, some activities have been cancelled. Please check your e-mails frequently to keep informed. Those who are absent from a registered activity due to illness or out of concern for safety will be excused as long as parishes are under these extraordinary restrictions. If you have any questions, please contact your group or school leader.
As regards "non-essential" events, please refer to Governor Newsom's statement dated 11 March 2020 at: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/03/11/california-public-health-experts-mass-gatherings-should-be-postponed-or-canceled-statewide-to-slow-the-spread-of-covid-19/

This weekend's high school Confirmation retreat and the Mozart Requiem Concert have been postponed.  We will communicate alternate dates for both of these events when we receive more information.

FISH FRY

At this time, the parish plans to proceed with the Fish Fry and we thank those who patronize this fundraising event. That said, we are switching to a takeout style method for orders.  The school community and the Men's Club is planning to do their best to fulfill such orders.  Be prepared to place your order and take it home.  There will be an area to wait for your food.

AS WE MOVE FORWARD . . .

While we all patiently and prayerfully await this illness to run its course, let us be mindful of God's presence among us, His great love for us which comes most assuredly through His Son, Jesus Christ, and the ever present guidance of the Holy Spirit to shower us with a special gift of courage in these trying times. May the saints intercede for us, especially our patrons Simon and Jude, in addition to Francis and Clare with their particular way of inviting us to be instruments of peace and healing. Finally, it is good to recall the nurturing presence of our Blessed Mother, featured in this beautiful prayer, shared with us through the diocese, and which was offered by His Holiness, Pope Francis, during the Wednesday audience held on March 11, 2020:
 
O Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus' pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God.
Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial,
but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin

As the Coronavirus situation changes, the parish will keep parishioners and school parents informed via email.  If you know someone who would like to be included in our email updates, please have them go to the parish website, www.ssj.org, and click on "Join Our Email List".

Please let us know how else we might answer any of your questions or be present to your needs at this time, through email at ssj@ssj.org, our website, www.ssj.org, or by phone, (714) 962-3333. We will do our best to answer you in a timely manner.

Peace and every blessing,
Fr. Daniel Barica, Pastor
Fr. Vincent Nguyen, Associate Pastor
Colleen Murray, Pastoral Administrator
Mark Purcell, Pastoral Associate for Music and Liturgical Arts 

Parish Vision 
To transform hearts by being Christ to others,
working for peace, justice and care of creation.

Parish Mission
As Catholic disciples of Jesus Christ, we celebrate Eucharist,
welcome and serve all God's people
in the spirit of our brother, Francis of Assisi.

Parish Values
Eucharist   *  Gospel  *   Hospitality  *  Stewardship