Greetings! I write to you in this difficult moment to check on you and to ask you not to give up as this too will pass. I am presently stuck in Nigeria. As you all know, I went to the funeral of my grandma who had been instrumental in raising us since my mother died when we were of a young age. All airports and borders were closed two days before my intended departure to the States and every effort to come back, even through neighboring countries, was unsuccessful. I wish to be with you no matter how terrible it is in New York. I am praying hard that the United States Embassy will soon intervene and take us back to the States. The virus is here, too, in Nigeria and everyone including myself is staying home and keeping safe. I hope you are doing the same.
On a different note, welcome to Holy Week. This is the last Sunday before Easter: Palm (or Passion) Sunday, and this week’s readings tell us about the sufferings of Christ. It is a time for us to also think about the present condition in the whole world. The palms that will be blessed on Sunday remind us of suffering, betrayal, denial and, of course, the glorious entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It reminds us of the joy, happiness, sadness, and sorrow that is part of this world. But it finally ends with the triumph of resurrection over death. It tells us to rely more on the one with unlimited power and solutions. That one is Christ. We need that Christ now more than ever in our hearts, families, country, and in the whole world. As the whole world is on standstill because of this coronavirus pandemic, let us know that we cannot do without Christ. IN GOD WE TRUST.
The good news is that we will be livestreaming our Holy Week Liturgies. Please check the schedule in the bulletin and on our Facebook page and parish webpage. This Sunday is Palm Sunday and the start of the Holy Week. We will be blessing palms as usual but these palms will not be distributed until a later date when this pandemic winds down. Please join us as usual for our livestreamed mass at 11:00am. At the same time you can watch it on the
Catholic Faith Network (CFN)
Please tune in to participate in this and all of the Holy Week liturgies remotely. We wish to celebrate together with everyone as a parish family but the current situation makes it impossible for us to gather together. But, please DO NOT come into the church to join any of the Holy Week liturgies. There will be a limited number of servers assigned to assist. They and the priests are the only ones permitted in the church during these liturgies. If you are in the church near the start of a liturgy, you may be asked to leave as a way to keep you and others safe and to keep us in compliance with the directives we have been given.
The Church will be open daily for private prayer as it has been during Holy Week. Please maintain a distance of six feet from others if you come in to pray. And, if there are already ten people in the Church, please wait in your car and come for prayer when someone leaves. Please know that all this is meant to keep us safe.
The Holy Thursday evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper will start livestreaming at 8:00pm. Please look for updates on our parish
. There will NOT be washing of feet at this mass nor the transfer of the Most Blessed Sacrament. As usual, people can come in for private prayer (not during the mass) so long as numbers do not exceed 10 persons. The Church will be locked at 10:00pm.
The Solemn Liturgy of the Passion of the Lord and Adoration of the Cross will be celebrated on Good Friday at 3:00pm and livestreamed on our usual outlets. At the same time, it will be broadcast live from the Cathedral on CFN. The Church will be open before and after the liturgy for those who want to pray privately or venerate the cross. Please note, when venerating, YOU SHOULD NOT KISS OR TOUCH THE CROSS. Please ONLY GENUFLECT OR BOW to the cross. The church will be locked at 8:00pm.
The Easter Vigil Mass will also be livestreamed from our parish at 8:00pm on Holy Saturday. The broadcast on CFN starts at the same time. This is the most solemn night when we celebrate the triumph of the Resurrection over suffering and death. It is a night to remind us that this pandemic will also pass. While the “resurrection” needed in our own lives will be delayed beyond Easter this year, it will come. As Christian believers, we can take heart and have hope in this. In the meantime, we look to Jesus as an example of one who carried His cross until the end. May He also help us to carry ours.
So, as we meditate on the Passion of Christ this Holy Week, let us meditate on our current situation, the suffering we are currently undergoing, the suffering of the coronavirus and the fear it has created in us. As Christ triumphed over His suffering and Passion, so too it shall be for us. We need Christ to help us go through this. With Him, victory is assured. We especially give great thanks to all healthcare workers who are risking themselves on the frontlines to save others. We pray for Christ’s guiding Light to be with them in their difficult work.
Please also remember your parish also at this difficult moment. We have been in a holding pattern of self-quarantine, social distancing, and work or school from home for several weeks now with no sign of changes anytime soon. Even while looking forward to Easter hope, there is still a lingering unease, especially for those of us who have been acutely affected, either in regards to our or a loved one’s health or economically through having lack of work and income. For those in these positions, the hope that this will pass may be hard to accept. But we recall the many times of darkness that have befallen us, personally and in the long history of our Church. Through it all the Church has stood the test of time and has served Her faithful who have supported Her in return.
We are still accepting offerings for Easter mass remembrances (envelopes are at the doors of the church), whose names will be included in our Easter Novena of prayers. We also rely on your generosity at Easter, a time when your sacrificial giving goes far. While it may be even more of a sacrifice for you, please remember us in this time and support your parish through the many giving opportunities, including e-giving and text-to-give that are currently available (further details below and on our
And finally, please know that you are in our prayers. This virus is real and it kills. Try as much you can to be safe, stay home if possible, and keep others safe, too. I look forward to when we can all celebrate together. I miss you all and I can’t wait to shake your hands when this mess is over. Please stay home and stay safe. You are very precious to us and we need you.
At your service and His,
Fr. Lawrence Onyegu