A Word of Gratitude
I am grateful to everyone who watched the March 22, 2020 Mass from St. Mary of the Lake, the staff members who served in the ministries, and parishioner Daryl Mortek who recorded the Mass and posted the recording to YouTube. The Mass has had more than 1000 views and we received many emails from people who appreciated the ability to worship in their own church, even though they were not physically in the church. It was strange to celebrate Mass, especially to offer the homily, with only five people. I missed seeing people sitting in their regular places, hearing the voices of babies, and visiting in the Gathering Space after Mass. I very much missed all of that and so much more, but I took consolation knowing that all of us were spiritually united in the Eucharist through the work of the Holy Spirit. Our hope is to post every weekend Mass on our parish website by 5:00 PM Saturday. I encourage you and your family to watch/celebrate the Mass at the time you normally attend Mass on the weekend, keeping the rhythm of the weekend. For opportunities to celebrate daily Mass remotely, please visit the archdiocesan website:
Parish Communication and Telephone Check-In
The easiest and least expensive way to communicate with you is through email and the webpage. I encourage everyone to watch for constant contact emails and to periodically check the parish website for the most current parish news. If you are not receiving constant contact emails from us, or you have a question or particular need, please send us an email or give us a call in the parish office and we will try to assist you.
With COVID-19, our seniors appear to be the most at risk, for the disease and for the isolation caused by the social distancing recommendations. I encourage you to reach out to family, friends, and neighbors, especially those in nursing homes and care facilities. Let them know that you are thinking about them and praying for them.
The parish staff has begun a calling campaign as well, targeting parishioners who are 70 years of age and older.
The goal is to make personal contact with the more than 600 households with a person 70 or older by April 3, 2020.
Can I really receive graces while at home watching the Mass on my computer?
In last Monday’s Gospel, a royal official begged Jesus to heal his sick child who was at home. “Jesus said to him, ‘You may go; your son will live.’ The man believed what Jesus said to him and left” (John 4:52). On the way home, the official learned that his son was healed at the moment Jesus promised healing.
A similar miracle is reported in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 8:5-13), when a centurion asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed slave who was suffering horribly. Jesus agreed to go to the man’s house to cure the slave. The centurion said that he was not worthy to have Jesus enter his house and that Jesus could say the word and his slave would be healed. Jesus told the centurion that because of his faith, the slave would live. At that moment, the slave was healed. In both cases, Jesus healed from afar. Jesus did not need to be with the person for the person to receive the Lord’s power, to receive grace, to be healed. What Jesus needed was faith from the person asking, belief that Jesus could do what was being asked of him.
Can Jesus give us the grace of the Mass, the grace of the Eucharist, even though we are not physically present at Mass, even though we do not physically receive the Eucharist? YES. The two miracles noted above confirm that God can work wherever, whenever, and however he wants. But, God wants us to ask and to ask with faith.
Plenary Indulgence available during this Pandemic
Pope Francis has approved a decree offering a plenary indulgence, in response to COVID-19. Documents explaining indulgences and how they are gained can be found on our parish website. One plenary indulgence can be gained each day for ourself or a deceased person. I encourage everyone to seek this extraordinary opportunity for yourself and those who have died but do not yet know the perfection of life with God.
The Holy Father has also authorized bishops to offer General Confession (Form III) during this pandemic. Though individual confession remains the usual and preferred way to celebrate the Sacrament, Pope Francis wants to ensure that the people of God have access to God’s mercy, when the availability of priests to hear individual confessions might be limited. Archbishop Hebda has authorized the priests of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance using Form III, given the extraordinary circumstances. The parish staff and I are discussing ways to offer General Confession, while respecting the recommendations of civil and health care officials. Please check the parish website for updates on celebrating this beautiful sacrament of God’s love and mercy.
I am grateful to those who have returned envelopes or made online payments to support the work of the parish. I recognize that we are in uncertain times, but please continue to be good stewards, knowing that God will never be outdone in generosity.
Peace, Fr. Talbot