Message from Fr. Joe:
“The Lord watch between us each, while we are apart”
Genesis 31:49 Mizpah
Covid-19, Events of January 6, 2021 and all that has led to it darken the light and hope of a new year, yet Christ is our light.
Genesis 31:49 has been a biblical mantra for us here at St Joseph’s since the onset of Covid-19 and our great need to physically distance and keep each other safe. God’s blessings and my sincere gratitude to so many who have closely adhered to professional advice and local directives to view and not attend worship and other gatherings. As challenging as it all is we are in this together however separating it may seem or isolated we may feel.
Throughout 2019 here at Saint Joseph’s we were preparing for our “2020 Vision & Conversations” to be the foundation of our strategic planning into the twenty twenties. One month into our strategizing we began being interrupted by decisions pertaining to the flu season. One month later the flu season evolved into Corona Virus Covid-19 health and public safety concerns which we continue to confront. In March our churches would be required shuttered until May due to Covid-19.Six months later we were honestly facing the public health crisis of racism and social reckoning. Three months later we began dealing with Election Day roll out. Six days into 2021 we have been traumatized by the riot and tragedies at our nation’s Capital building. This first week of 2021, nearly one year into the Corona Virus pandemic, we sadly calculate at over 4000 the highest number of one day deaths and in Massachusetts only 1/3 of the vaccine has been distributed these past weeks.
Back in May I sat at my outdoor office, just prior to my iPad theft, and on zoom listened to The Cardinal and Chancellor present the bleakest future of my entire pastoring and administrative years. The Covid restrictions, precautions and directives were taxing and seemingly permanent. Predictions of churches, parishes and schools not reopening or eventually closing or struggling to survive were intermingled with the suggestions for us to be creative in our individual respective parishes.
We are now in Midwinter 2021 with our Advent and Christmas Season just behind us. We have limped along and celebrated nicely our faith. We are most grateful to all in music, liturgical and outreach ministry. We have continued our mission of proclaiming and living out the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. We are grateful to each and all here at St Joseph’s for your patience and perseverance.
Now, this Year of St Joseph (declared Dec 8 by Pope Francis), is the time for us to particularly extend the primary message and primary purpose of the Catholic Christian tradition of social justice and love thy neighbor. Our NIN NID (neighbors in need neighbors in deed) is to be our foundational effort for this Year of St Joseph. Please be sure to connect with a passionate interest and as an active member of the parish and the Body of Christ. If everyone of us commits, we can have great impact in this little section of the world we call home. Charity begins at home, let our home parish respond and resound as it has for 168 years with care, compassion and concern.
Our world is troubled, our nation is in need of healing and we are called to be wounded healers. You are very needed as part of the solution as a Catholic Christian Instrument and solution.
This past week our pastoral realities, though limited and restricted, have been engaged in multiple ministries. Two epiphany masses were celebrated and one live-streamed. Church was sanitized multiple times, Food, clothing, and gift cards were distributed to numerous individuals and a few agencies. Two grieving families were ministered to and rituals of Christian Burial provided. Our Day of giving income, which is sustaining us financially, increased over $7000 to a current total of $52,000. Our finances continue to be concerning but not overwhelming. We continue to implore your support. We assisted with 3 Boston Clergy prayer services for Covid19 concerns, our nation, our city and all our needs. A requested and scheduled church visit by a despairing couple was a light in the darkness. Confessions are scheduled by appointment and one was of a person away from God and church for over 45 years. God’s love and mercy endure forever.
Sunday, January 10, our virtual coffee and donuts will provide an opportunity to pray, say hello, and have interactive time! Please join us through zoom, info here on our website.
This week, volunteers will individually sadly not in a group, de-decorate our Church of Christmas so beautifully celebrated with lights, poinsettias, trees, wreaths greens, candles, tapestries and banners. Some decorations will remain until Feb 2 - the presentation of the Lord. Lights as a reminder that we are not in complete darkness.
Sunday 4:00pm continues unless or until otherwise directed.
Reservations to attend mass in person are necessary online or by calling.
February 17, Ash Wed, remains yet to be seen as to how we may or may not receive ashes and recognize our human condition, brokenness, sin and God’s great love and mercy. As we spend forty days praying, fasting, and giving alms preparing for Easter Virtual spiritual opportunities will most certainly be our Lenten experience 2021. Please check this website regularly for additions, schedule shifts, changes, and updates.
Thank you one and thank you all.
Blessings and Prayers into this year of St Joseph 2021