Wednesday, 25 March 2020
Dear Parishioners and Faithful:
Five days ago, I found myself looking up a password to my personal Facebook account that I created, but never used, 9 years ago. I never imagined I would be now using it for times such as these. I won't be using my personal account (so you need not friend request me), but I will start utilizing the parish FB to better communicate with you. [Please be patient. I'm clearly a novice and even with the help of our dedicated staff, it may be a bumpy ride.]
You may have noticed my initial attempt this morning at a live-streamed Mass. Not exactly where it needs to be as yet due to connectivity, but Kelli Reutman, Dir of Communications, is going to straighten me out! Pray for her! Thank you to her, for all she has done and is doing to aid the parish and me digitally in this time. Divine Providence placed her here when she was needed.
Today, the is Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary. In the opening reading from the Prophet Isaiah (Full reading):
The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us!”
Today's feast marks the fulfillment of this prophecy, the coming of the Word made Flesh in the womb of Mary, to be our Savior and Lord, to be the Messiah and Emmanuel. The Incarnation of Jesus is fitting for a time as now. Emmanuel, as we remember from Advent & Christmas time, means "God is with us!" Now (& always) is when we need to be reminded of God's presence. That He is not far. That the Son - the Word - became human, became man, became one of us to be near to us, to be with us, to be here now in this time. Upon His arrival, the Word initially found Himself 'confined' to the womb for 9-months. Let us embrace this, our own time of 'confinement', by drawing nearer to Jesus Christ through Mother Mary in prayer, devotion, and faith.
I have been celebrating Mass daily in the church. It is a much different experience than with the gathered People of God, but I am comforted knowing so many of you are spiritually uniting yourselves to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at HF and around the world. Know that as I pray the Mass, I offer it for you and your needs in this time.
Just last night, the Pastors, Priests, and PLCs of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis (ArchIndy) received an update. Perhaps most importantly, as anticipated, all Holy Week Liturgies including Easter Sunday will be celebrated privately without the presence of the Faithful. This brings much sadness to me as I’m sure to you, but we also understand the reasoning. We will see how the live-streaming capabilities of HF improve, with further to come on that matter.
A few excerpts from the most recent ArchIndy directives:
- The Holy Father has encouraged all Christians to pause at 12:00 noon, March 25th, Eastern Time, to pray the Our Father in response to the Coronavirus.
- Given the need to encourage people to remain in their homes, particularly the most vulnerable, no public gathering of the faithful should take place at this time. This includes gatherings that take place outside or in parking lots, even if people remain in their cars. This would include celebration of Mass by loudspeaker or FM transmitter, distribution of Holy Communion in the parking lot or in cars, drive up confessions, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction, or even gatherings for prayer and the rosary.
- All churches and gathering spaces are closed and should not be left open for private prayer or gatherings.
- Reception of Holy Communion should only be offered in the context of Viaticum for those in danger of death [i.e., in the context of Last Rites].
- Ministries and societies concerned with service to the poor, such as St. Vincent de Paul [and In Heaven’s Eyes] and food pantries are to remain active wherever possible. Care should be taken to adopt protocol and procedures to protect both clients and those involved in these vital ministries.
Know of my continued prayers for each and every one of you.
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries