As most of you have no doubt heard by now, Bishop Crosby has decreed that we will not be able to celebrate Holy Week, including Palm Sunday and the Sacred Tridiuum, as a parish community. I had tears in my eyes as I read the decree. I understand that the Bishop is doing what needs to be done. However, it’s still hard to accept that we won’t be together for the most important liturgical events of the year. Instead, on Palm Sunday, the Bishop asked pastors to celebrate Mass and bless palms to be distributed at a later date. I’m currently working on providing a temporary Internet connection in the church so that this Mass and other parish celebrations can be live streamed. On Holy Thursday, pastors are to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper privately without a procession of the Blessed Sacrament. On Good Friday, there will be no celebration of the Passion of the Lord. I plan to live stream the reading of the Gospel and the Universal Prayers from the Liturgy, as well as Stations of the Cross later in the evening. The Easter Vigil won’t be celebrated. Which means that those who were to be baptized and those who were to be received into the Catholic Church will have to wait until a later date. On Easter Sunday, pastors are to celebrate Mass privately with the Paschal Candle lit and bless water. This also will be live streamed. Sadly, I won’t be able to sprinkle the newly blessed water on you. At this point, I don’t know when the church will reopen. Pope Francis has suggested that parishes might designate the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross as a day to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection, the date of which this year is Monday, September 14th. Please pray that we don’t have to wait that long.
Sophie and I have been working on the parish Web site to make it easier to access the latest news and information: http://sacredheartrockwood.ca. We will also be using the parish’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sacredheartofjesusrockwood/
Details for live streaming Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, and Easter Sunday are forthcoming. In the meantime, Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Lent will be live streamed at 11:00 am on March 29th. Go to the parish Facebook page for more details.
Thank you to Stephen Roloson, our music director, for stepping up and hosting our parish and Newman Centre online events via Zoom as well as producing social media material. Please contact him if you are having technical issues with the live stream: music @sacredheartrockwood.ca
Sophie Debbané, my administrative assistant, will be working from home for the next two weeks. If you aren’t on the parish e-mail list and would like to receive updates, please e-mail her. If you need support, or want to volunteer to help others, please contact her: office @sacredheartrockwood.ca
Likewise, Sarah Gould, our bookkeeper, will also be working from home for the next two weeks. Which reminds me. Although the church and the office are closed, we still have expenses such as salaries and utility bills to pay. I realize that many of you are facing financial challenges. However, if at all possible, please continue to provide financial support to the parish. You can drop your offering envelopes off at the parish office mailbox, or you can go the parish Web site and use your credit card to make a one-time or recurring donation. Every little bit will help us keep going as we pray for one another and hope that this time of trial will soon pass.
I encourage you to continue to desire to receive the Eucharist. To download a copy of Pope Francis’ Prayer for Spiritual Communion, click here.
Finally, tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the patronal feast of our diocese. To mark the occasion in prayer, Pope Francis has asked all of us to pray the Our Father at noon. On Friday, he has asked us to join him by means of communication media to pray at 1:00 pm. Details can be found at the parish Web site under News: http://sacredheartrockwood.ca/2020/03/23/bishops-office-invitation-to-pray-march-23-2020/.
Fr. Mark Morley