My dear parishioners,
This is a difficult and unprecedented time. I never imagined I would see the day when we would have to ask people not to attend Mass. This has weighed heavily upon me these last few days, and I know it weights heavy on your hearts as well.
Despite our not being able to gather for communal prayer, I want to encourage the following during this time:
- Watch Mass on TV or online. Our 8am parish Sunday and weekday Mass is aired on the Lonsdale TV channel 1. If you do not have Lonsdale cable, you can find other Masses online that you can watch, such as Bishop Barron’s daily Mass (see WordOnFire.org). (I am looking into the possibility of streaming our daily Masses online too, but that will take some effort and new equipment.) And although you will be unable to attend Mass in person during this time, I encourage you to unite yourself in prayer with the Mass and to make 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 desire 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.
- Stop into church sometime during the day for private prayer. The church will be opened after Mass (about 8:40am) and remain open until sundown. I invite you to come spend a few minutes with Jesus in the Eucharist.
- Invest in learning and studying our faith through free online videos. We have a subscription to a website called Formed.org which has so many wonderful bible studies, movies, audiobooks, etc. available for you to access for free from any phone, tablet, or computer. See our website for more information and to create a free account.
In short, during this time of social isolation, please don’t be isolated from our Catholic faith! We still have these wonderful opportunities for prayer and spiritual growth.
In Archbishop Hebda’s recent letter to our Archdiocese about these trying times, he wrote: “I invite you to consider the upcoming “fast” from the Eucharist as a way to draw ever closer to our Lord, especially as we experience a more intense longing for Jesus, present in the Eucharist.”
I realize now how easy it has been to take the Mass and the Eucharist for granted all my life. It is only when it is taken away that we begin to notice what a blessing it has been. My hope is that my devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist will grow through this experience, and that it will help me to experience a solidarity with Catholics around the world who are deprived of regular reception of the Eucharist because of not having priests or because the faith is persecuted and cannot be celebrated openly.
Please know of my prayers for you during this time, and please pray for me.
May God bless you,
Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke