We find ourselves, once again, in the “dog days” of summer, on the cusp of the school year and all that comes with it. Here’s hoping that these past two months have been a source of renewal and joy for your families. I sincerely wish that I could have been with you at Mass the past two weekends, but the mandatory quarantine for those who traveled to other states made it impossible. I’ll do my best to catch up with you in the days to come.
In the meantime, I think it important to update you on matters that have an impact on our parish life. The hope, indeed the expectation, was that we would return to normal, if not by Easter, then certainly by the end of June. Alas, this was not to be. We had to adopt contingency plans, specifically for the children and young people receiving their First Confession and Communion, and those celebrating Confirmation. They and their parents demonstrated great flexibility by celebrating these Sacraments without the usual liturgical pageantry.
Looking forward, there has been no change in the regulations regarding public gatherings. At the moment, parishioners attending the weekend Masses are easily accommodated. Nevertheless, I will make one slight change to the Mass schedule. Beginning Labor Day weekend, we will celebrate the Sunday 7:30 and 9:00 AM Masses at St. Mary’s Church on Bryant Avenue. All other Masses (Saturday 5 PM [English] and 7 PM [Spanish] and Sunday 11 AM) will continue to gather at the Church Hall on Round Hill Road. (*Depending upon numbers and the lifting of restrictions, we may reinstate the 12:15 PM Mass in the future.)
Our religious education program will return this fall, but we will be implementing a combination of online resources and in-person sessions with our students. Mrs. Nora Toal will give the particulars in the days ahead. Likewise, I want to have some version of adult religious education as well, but the format we have used—evening, in-person meetings at the hall) seems inadvisable for a number of reasons. I am presently exploring some options that may be safer for those in vulnerable populations. (For the record, I’m part of that group myself!)
I am sad to report that, until such time as we return to a greater normalcy, it is only prudent that we suspend the music program (i.e. the Choir) at this time. Believe me, no one wants it to come back more than I: and it will. In the meantime, allow me to express our collective gratitude to Dr. Mary McCleary, who has supervised the program this past year, for her efforts and accomplishments.
Through the pandemic, the goodness and generosity of the parishioners at St. Mary’s continue to amaze. This is not flattery, with the intention of asking even more of you. Still, it isn’t lost on me that, despite the setbacks our parish, our nation, and our world have suffered, your fidelity to the Lord, and to his Body the Church, remains constant. I am deeply grateful.