Figuring things out

It is Memorial Day 2020. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost a loved one who died while actively serving their country. In the morning, before the sun was up, I celebrated a private Mass (lots of those these days!) for all those we honor on this day, for my Naval Academy classmates who have already gone on to God’s bright glory, and in thanksgiving for all our parishioners who have served and are serving their country. God’s blessings be upon all. Continue reading

Finding our way

Today our parish will offer our first public Mass in some 60 days. It is not as simple as opening the doors to the church and celebrating in the usual way. There are limitations on the number of people that can be admitted. We have roped off every other pew (actually we used ribbon) and limited access to only the main aisle. We are required to have ushers at the door equipped with a counter so that once we reach the prescribed number of people, no further entry will be allowed. Continue reading

Vaccines, Antibodies, and Love

At the beginning of this time of pandemic, it was interesting to read stories of people on an extended wilderness sojourn as they returned to their normal life. In the several weeks away, they discovered there was nothing normal about the world they had left. They returned to find covid-19, masks, social distancing, sheltering at home, and a world reporting and tracking pandemic. Continue reading

In hours before dawn

I mentioned to some folks this week that the rhythm of my life seems to have re-adapted itself to life from my days in the submarine service. While underway, life unfolded in an 18-hour day. Six of the hours were spent on watch/duty operating the nuclear reactor or piloting the boat (submarines are always referred to as “boat”). The other 12 hours were allocated to rest, meals and the on-going work. For my part, I seem to remember 4 hours or so of sleep as the norm. That norm seems to have returned as I seem to routinely get about 4-5 hours a night. The parish business manager just smiles and tells me it is not a reversion to submarine duty, its old age. This is my blog, so you can just ignore his input. Continue reading

Images of empty

To be sure, every locale has its own set of “images of empty” – places normally teaming with life, people, and activity. This is one from Clearwater, Florida. On any given day the beach and parking lot are jammed by early morning. Not these days

Photography by Tampa Bay Times photographer Luis Santana

Covenant People

This Easter Vigil, the “homily” is presented in a different way. We chose to have an introduction before each Old Testament Reading that began to thematically weave together the homily message and then conclude during the homily proper. The picture above is our church during the procession of light. A reminder of the richness of the Vigil liturgy. Continue reading

Being a Parish

The weekly bulletin and this column are a good thing. I enjoy writing; I enjoy the process of thinking about what I want to write, starting to write, and then sometimes watching the column take on a new direction of thought. Now and again by inspiration or necessity, I might write a whole month of columns or more at a go. Late in the month of February, I had produced pastor columns for the first weekend in March (First Sunday in Lent) all the way through and including Easter Sunday. Check that off the “to-do list.” Then life changed as the world declared a pandemic, the churches closed, and the world found out it was a lot safer to be at home. Some columns did not need to be redone: Unmasking (March 15) and the two columns on “Habits of the Heart” (March 22 and 29). When I made the decision to stay with them and not rewrite them in the light of these pandemic days, I thought that they were still appropriate to the moment at hand. In looking at the columns again this morning, it was a good decision. Continue reading

Opportunities given us

About five weeks ago, the liturgy planning committee gathered to review the details of Holy Week, the period from Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion thru Easter Sunday. The folks on the liturgy committee are talented and dedicated folks that include every aspect of the celebrations: environment/décor, lectors, altar servers, choir/music, ushers, greeters, communications, faith formation, and the celebrants – priests and our deacon. Holy Week is a wonderful week of diverse, holy and meaningful celebrations which take the community from the high of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, to the lows while hearing the reading of the Passion, to an exultant chorus – He is risen!! – on Easter Sunday. It is a rollercoaster of emotion, music, readings, and grandeur. Continue reading

Coronavirus, flu, wars and terrorism

I hope that we are all taking the pandemic seriously. I remain appalled at the local pastor who held services in his church despite warning about large crowd gatherings. Before he was arrested, the sheriff noted that the church was already equipped to broadcast its services online and had been doing so. Our parish is closed out of love and concern for the parishioners – even as we figure out ways to continue our works of charity. Continue reading