Tuesday, March 31

Tuesday, March 31

Good afternoon, Good afternoon.

I am sorry for all of you in your lockdown scenarios.  I am sorry for those unable to join at Mass and the Blessed Sacrament that gives us true life.  There is no way to adequately describe the experience you are enduring.  I am so very very sorry.  I enclose a prayer that is taped to the church communion rail, before the statue of the Blessed Mother.  It is about a spiritual communion in the time when the Blessed Sacrament is held apart from the souls He comes to Save.

An Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe That You 
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I derise to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

Let everyone stop right now for a long moment.  It seems some interesting individual has been sending out E-Mails to many innocent parishioners appealing for money under my name.  This is not the first time someone has reached out to shake down the laity.  It has been done three times with my name in the last three months and no less than thirteen times over a period of twelve months in my last assignment.  During the last few years the hackers have been using the names of the pastors from the Archdiocese of Washington and Diocese of Arlington.  Please, please, please… unless you can see the whites around my green eyes please don’t give any money to these people.

On another point, an interesting dilemma has come to the streaming procedures of the church cameras.  The speed rate of the stream has been 1080.  That may be too fast for some folks using country webservers that are slower than the city speeds or their computers may be a little older.  We are going to drop the streaming speed to 720 to see if it makes a difference.   Of course it would help if the foolish pastor remembered to turn on the sound system when he offers the 6:30 Mass.  So sorry.  Not to worry… you didn’t miss much at the homily.  Ha! Ha! Ha!

One of the kind, insightful, and lovely, senior citizens asked if I might hear confessions on the outdoor patio, behind the academic center, for the older parishioners trying to avoid the coronavirus.  Absolutely, this Friday, April 3rd… at 10:30 AM I will be out on the back patio for confessions of the older folks.   I will also hear confessions in the classroom at Noon, and again at 7:00 PM on Friday.  I will do the same schedule next week on Good Friday.  Please come one and all.

As a follow up to supporting the governor’s call for all of us to stay low in the pandemic I am leaving you a very good video to help avoid anxious conclusions on the physical signs of the virus.  I encourage all to watch it.  I will take care of the weather.

Speaking of the virus, I want to comment on the thirty parishioners who have joined the outreach apostolate, The Guardian Angels,  to the senior citizens/health challenged/vulnerable in need of assistance in picking up groceries or delivering them to medical appointments.  Now is the time to identify those in need of assistance. Please let me know at frgould@gmail.com   Fr. Heisler and his magic computer will help in the organization of a digital meeting on line that will be offered in the next week or so.  God bless one and all.

Speaking of Fr. Heisler, He has offered a wonderful morning video that he often plays for those participating in the online Morning and Evening Prayers.  It is well done and quite soothing for the anxious and stressed throughout the parish.  https://vimeo.com/402146637

I thought you might enjoy seeing the Bishops Lenten Appeal Report I received just now.  No, it is not from the hackers but the folks down at the chancery.  I have never thought to release it to the parish for review.  There are several interesting categories:  Size of the parish, financial goal, % of parishioners who participate in the Bishops Lenten Appeal, amount pledged, and amount raised. As always, I ask your indulgence to the very collection that gave us the ability to build the academic center and renovate the church. God bless you and may the angels watch over you.

I thought you might also seeing the note from the bishop to his priests on the governor’s call for all to stay in place.  Not an easy call but the right one.  God bless the bishop.


Dear Brother Priests,

On behalf of Bishop Burbidge, I am providing you with a brief update following Governor Northam’s Executive Order 55, which was issued yesterday afternoon (attached).   Some have already inquired to see if changes will be coming forward from the diocese regarding liturgical practices.  After carefully reviewing the document, the Bishop has determined that no further liturgical directives are needed at this time.  Therefore, the policies and guidelines previously issued by Bishop Burbidge are still in effect.  A few priests have asked about the possibility of hosting “drive-by” communion and confession on Palm Sunday and/or Easter Sunday (or at other times).  The Bishop has consistently denied this request and askes that we maintain the directives we have received. 

It is reasonable to expect an increase number of parishioners seeking to visit our parish churches during Holy Week.  Pastors are reminded to maintain the 10 person limit in the church and to wipe down surfaces (especially door handles/knobs) as much as possible.  To assist with maintaining a 10-person limit, it is recommended to make use of a volunteer porter, who can kindly remind people to obey the limitation.  

Regarding weddings, some have asked about the possibility of having a follow-up Mass and celebration with couples after restrictions have been lifted.  While the couple cannot “renew” their vows after the wedding, it is possible to hold a Mass in recognition of their wedding with a larger gathering later.  Dr. Starke can provide a detailed resource for such celebrations upon request. 

Out of respect for the Executive Order 55 and the “Stay-at-Home” order by Governor Hogan, the Chancery will be testing our ability to have all employees work from home tomorrow and Thursday in the event that further restrictions are made in the near future.  Over the past week, the Chancery has only required essential personnel to work from the office while all others work from home.  Ward Jones will send you (and your business manager) more details regarding recommendations (not mandates) for parish offices and our understanding of the CARES legislation. 

I join with Bishop Burbidge in praying daily for you and your priestly ministry.  May Mary, Mother of Priests, watch over you.

Fraternally in Christ,


I want to thank all of you for your kindness the weekly financial collection.  It means a great deal to all the parish as every dime counts during the pandemic.  I have received your envelopes in the mail, under the door in the sacristy at the back of the church.  I did not expect to have the envelopes passed through the confessional screen.  That was something new.  And I very much appreciate your initiative in joining the parish giving program: saintfrancisparish.org/parish-giving/  God love you… and so do I.  You are the best.

In closing, let us pray for the poor families who are beset with the virus.  How frightening a world they must live in.  Let us pray for those first responders caught in virus, especially one of our local deputy sheriffs.  May the angels watch over them and protect them.  Every night at 10 PM let us offer up a Hail Mary for the youngsters down at the fire department, police station, sheriff’s department, and inside the halls of the hospitals.  They are the heroes of this generation.

Fr. G

 

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