Pastor’s Letter for the May 3, 2020 bulletin
We begin a new phase of our experience of responding to the coronavirus in our midst. This is a phase of guarded hopefulness, trusting that the extreme measures we have undertaken since mid-March are now bearing fruit not only here in Guernsey County but throughout Ohio and beyond. We must draw upon both the hygienic practices with which we have become familiar as good habits and continue to practice them especially when we are in public and in close contact with people who could be vulnerable. We must not allow any of our carelessness to affect the supplies and care capacity that have been well-maintained especially here in southeastern Ohio and have to face a new wave of infections. Of course, someone could compromise our own best efforts unknowingly. Nevertheless, we ask the Lord to help us to continue to do our best for the sake of each other.
This new phase has a few dimensions to it for us if we consider our “local” area to be not only Guernsey County but also the whole Diocese of Steubenville (13 counties here in southeastern Ohio) plus a couple of our neighboring counties that are part of the Diocese of Columbus (Muskingum and Tuscarawas).
First of all, please consider watching Bishop Monforton’s video message of April 30th, available at the diocesan website: www.diosteub.org. He gives a helpful overview of where we are and where we hope to go over this month of May.
Secondly, he mentions a task force that has been formed for planning the opening up of public liturgies. That task force will have its first meeting on Monday, May 4th, and he has asked for input from parishioners. Please feel free to send me your input ([email protected]).
Among the good suggestions I have received already are regarding a couple of activities that have been bright spots in our parish: Wednesday Eucharistic Adoration and our Bereavement Haven. These have been good suggestions about how we can safely offer them. I plan to provide more information on these and other possibilities throughout the upcoming week, especially after the first of the task force meetings. Please stay tuned to our website (www.christourlightparish.com), our Facebook page (Christ Our Light Parish, Guernsey County, OH) and, Lord willing, a phone call outreach, which is also being developed, especially for many parishioners who are still (wisely?!) “off the grid.”
The best-case scenario involves the return to public liturgies on Pentecost Sunday weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 30th & 31st. It could also, again, include some additional expanded local access to the Sacraments and parish community events even before that weekend. Both of these do depend on some things we cannot control, such as any new outbreaks that would be in spite of our best efforts.
Nevertheless, let us trust that it is the Lord’s plan that the best-case scenario will be better than we can hope. The Feast of St. Corona is soon, Thursday, May 14th. The fascinating coincidence that she had been a patron saint of people facing pandemics even before all this began surely means that something of substantial grace is part of God’s plan for us all around that date!
I will also let you know as soon as we have information about upcoming ordinations for both Deacon Nick Ward’s priesthood ordination and Jeremiah Hahn’s diaconate ordination. I can mention that Jeremiah will be with us again this summer, beginning this week. We are blessed as a parish to participate in the transitions for both Deacon Nick and Jeremiah.
Related to this, I naturally wish I could request meal donations for us as a three-person household over this month of May. However, I realize at the same time that we are not yet at the phase where we can safely do so, unless a restaurant prepares them, perhaps. It must be the Lord’s plan that we all learn to prepare meals for a household of three! We will be making a plan for taking turns in preparing the meals. I have at least learned how to boil water without burning it!
May the Lord keep us protected and healthy and, as always, well prepared for the gift of eternal life!