April 17, 2020
Preparing for Divine Mercy Sunday

Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.'
(from the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday)
Touching Jesus' Wounds

The wisdom of Pope Francis' words on Divine Mercy Sunday 2019 strike a deeper chord in these days of pandemic. Why? Because they highlight what we cannot so easily now do - touch people.

Pope Francis wrote: "Touch Jesus’ wounds, which are the many problems, difficulties, persecutions, illnesses of so many suffering people. Are you not at peace? Go. Go to visit someone who is the symbol of Jesus’ wounds. Touch Jesus’ wounds. Mercy flows from those wounds. ... Let us draw near to Jesus and touch his wounds in our suffering brothers and sisters."

It is not easy, nor even possible, to visit many who suffer today. They are quarantined or hospitalized, or they are sick without anyone even knowing. We who would visit are in our own worlds - keeping safe distance. And we hear that social distancing may be part of a new way of life 'on the other side' of this pandemic.

What Can We Do?

We work within our own spheres of caring and influence to touch Jesus' wounds. We can do these things, and more -

  • pray, putting others at the top of our intentions list. This Sunday we pray a special prayer - the Divine Mercy Chaplet

  • care for our families with greater intentionality, being mindful of the crosses others bear and showing greater love and understanding

  • break away from work emails to send a personal message

  • join other volunteers in checking in by phone with parishioners (email our Rector), or simply check in with our own family and friends

  • join in the Laudato Si' online series via Zoom to study and understand the call to care for our wounded planet (Sunday we begin Chapter 1, "What is Happening to our Common Home?")

  • decide that, in the midst of working and dealing with daily obligations in these upended days, we will make some effort at outreach each day

Prayers for the Sick

Please pray for parishioner Ed Dalere, a long-time usher/hospitality minister who is hospitalized at Washington Hospital Center.
If you would like the parish to pray for a parishioner who is ill, please email your request to Msgr. Jameson . Please be sure that you have permission from the person or from a family member before you send us their name.

Divine Mercy Sunday

The Second Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday, established by Pope John Paul II on the day he canonized Sister Faustina Kowalska (April 30, 2000). The special devotion to the divine mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina.

While we can't gather this year to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, we can pray it at home. Visit the Marians of the Immaculate Conception webpage, The Divine Mercy . It offers a guide to praying the chaplet, audio and video chaplets, and information on the history of this devotion, which the Marians played a key role in spreading. See The Marian and the Divine Mercy Message .

(music planned for our Schola Cantorum before the closures)

Message from the Rector
My dear parishoiners and friends,

Recently I read an Easter letter written by the Bishops of New Zealand to their people. I was really impressed by it. As they said, "Our Easter, lived and celebrated in lockdown, has been one like we have never experienced before."

This letter really struck me in its emphasis on Easter in this extraordinary time. I now simply want to share it with you, below. Stay safe. Happy Easter. God bless.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

It was in the evening of the first Easter day, while the disciples were locked down in fear, that suddenly the risen Christ stood before them in the closed room and said, "Peace be with you," and showed them his hands and his side.

His greeting of peace is what we share with you on this Easter day, knowing that Jesus has triumphed over the lockdown of the tomb and as the risen Christ stands among us, in lockdown, offering us his peace.

Our Easter, lived in celebrated in lockdown, has been one like we have never experienced before. We have felt the pain of not being able to celebrate together the Easter liturgies in our local churches. Some of you were looking forward to being baptized or received into the church at Easter and this is yet to happen.

The future, for many, appears uncertain or even dire. In the meantime we are continuing to have the tomb experience of being locked down at home and we know, for many families, that this situation is becoming difficult and stressful.

Despite these trials, many of you have connected with the events of the Easter days in new ways and gained new insights. We have been delighted to see how many families and communities have been so innovative in praying at home and connecting to others through the phone or social media. Your living and sharing your faith in this time has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to many other people.

In the midst of this lockdown we, as a nation, have realized that we have been seduced by busyness, the pursuit of trivial things and of taking for granted the important things of life. People have enjoyed the slowing time. People have noticed families doing things together. The world is become quieter and we have noticed the beauty of nature. This time has proved to be a reflective time enabling us to refocus or revision ourselves and how we live.

This Easter, with Jesus, we have been offered the opportunity to die to self and rise again to a new beginning. Our hope and prayer is that when we leave the tomb of lockdown, we will work together as a community to build a better church and society. Our hope is that we will all be stronger in our relationships with one another and in our appreciation of the gift of life. Our hope is for a society that is not driven by profiteering but works for the common good as we together rebuild our nation's economy. Our hope is that we will be a society that is more aware of the tangible presence of God who journeys with us on the paths of life. Our hope for the Church is that we will be more ardent in our faith, hope, love and service.

At Easter we journey from death to life. May your rising from this Easter and our time of lockdown be marked by the peace and joy of the risen Christ who walks with us on paths of life.

Yours in Christ,
Bishops of New Zealand

RCIA Members Wait with Easter HOPE!

Mid-way through Lent 2020, St. Matthew's RCIA Elect (those preparing for Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist) and our Candidates (those preparing for full communion and Catholics completing their sacraments of initiations) continued to meet weekly by conference call after parish meetings were cancelled and public Masses suspended.

As Msgr. Jameson wrote before Holy Week, "Our catechumens will not be baptized at the Easter Vigil, nor our candidates received into full communion, but we will celebrate with them soon. When we do, it will indeed be a celebration!"

The Director for Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Washington in an interview with the Catholic Standard commented: “It's hard not to be discouraged, but we have to remember there is great hope in Christ, and that is what we have to cling to.”
The RCIA Rite of Sending was celebrated on February 23, 2020 with Jesuit Father Tim Kesicki (above). On the following Sunday, March 1, RCIA group members travelled to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to celebrate the Rite of Election and Continuing Conversion with Archbishop Gregory.

RCIA group members and sponsors and St. Matthew's Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation, Theresa Prymuszewski, at a dinner at San Antonio Grill following the March 1, 2020 Rite of Election at the Basilica. This post-liturgy dinner has become an RCIA tradition under Theresa's leadership.
Archbishop Gregory shared a special video message with the Elect and Candidates, filmed in our own St. Francis Chapel, and in his Easter column for the Catholic Standard expressed his remembrance of our RCIA group members:

"In a special way, I turn my attention to our Elect and Candidates who have been eagerly anticipating their membership within the Church. The delay in that celebration burdens my heart as well as theirs, I am sure.

I feel the pause, perhaps more intensely, because I entered the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 1959 in Chicago. Although I was still a youngster, I can vividly recall the baptismal water pouring over my head as I became a Catholic and then tasting for the first time, the Blessed Eucharist. I was so excited as I know our Elect and Candidates are for their moment of membership within this family of faith. May the restrictions that we are currently enduring soon give way to a great, joyful and warm welcome to each one of them."

St. Matthew's RCIA group members continue their weekly conference calls and look forward with joyful anticipation and hope in Christ. Please continue to pray for them and their godparents and sponsors. We all look forward to their celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation with us at the Cathedral!
Offertory Giving

While public Masses are suspended, we ask that you please continue to make an offertory gift to support our parish. If you haven’t yet enrolled in FaithDirect, our electronic giving program, you may do so at St. Matthew's Faith Direct page (Church code DC284) (or click on the Faith Direct icon). FaithDirect is the best way to help, as sustained giving is the key to our survival as a parish.

To make an online gift now using PayPal or your credit or debit card, click here or on the icon below. For those who have used the QR code in our music leaflet to make a donation, the PayPal and debit/credit options are the same payment options offered via the QR code.
Thank you for your continued support. Let us remain united in Christ, one in the Spirit. Let us help and pray for one another until we gather again.
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