Out of deep pastoral concern for the most vulnerable among us, Bishop Gregory Parkes announced on March 18, 2020 that the public celebration of Masses in the Diocese of St. Petersburg are suspended, effective immediately, until it can be determined that it is safe to return to normal schedules and public worship. Bishop Parkes has dispensed the faithful from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for as long as the suspension of public celebrations of the Mass is in effect.
In a statement released March 18, 2020 as a letter and a video, Bishop Parkes also asked churches to remain open for private prayer and devotion and to make every effort to keep the faith life of our parishes alive by creative means which are adapted to the current circumstances.
"We will provide other opportunities to remain in spiritual solidarity during this period. Remember that Christ abides with us and we can always be united in spirit and in prayer," Said Bishop Gregory Parkes.
Bishop Parkes also offered the faithful a list of suggestions to help them to worship God and practice their faith while Masses are suspended.
Spend time with the Scriptures both as individuals and as a family. Catholics can find the Sunday and Daily Mass Readings online at USCCB.org in both written and audio form.
Use your normal worship time to practice a more contemplative way of praying through Lectio Divina which is simply meditating on or contemplating the texts of Holy Scripture, allowing them to lead you to deeper prayerful communion.
Expand your repertoire of prayer to include prayers of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication. Often time in our prayer life we get in a rut. By developing other ways of praying can help awaken our spiritual life.
Parish groups can make use of social media to gather virtually for prayer, the rosary or the Liturgy of the Hours.
Individuals and groups can worship God by performing the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy and other acts of charity. Parishes can coordinate opportunities to do this safely so that those isolated by the threat of the coronavirus can feel the loving fellowship of the Christian Community.
Rather than hoarding essential items, families and neighborhoods organize ways of looking out for others and sharing what is needed.
One can pitch in to make the work of keeping the home or workplace sanitized and safe for all. Consider what safe and practical things your parish can do to help a local homeless shelter or nursing facility. For example, arranging to drop off essential supplies for the homeless shelter or organizing phone calls or greeting cards to residents in nursing facilities that are on lock-down and may feel isolated.
Encourage those in your household and social circle to observe public health guidance and promote a spirit of hope and calm rather than withdrawing into individualism or desolation.
Celebrate the gift of God's Grace-Let your Faith be Visible in Words and Deeds
Sign up. Get emails. Pray more.
Feel the power of praying together with thousands of people!
My Dear Friends in Christ,
The raising of Lazarus, today's Gospel, contains the shortest verse in the New Testament: "Jesus wept." If the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead isn't enough to give us unlimited confidence in Christ, this verse should be more than enough. Jesus is God, all-knowing and all-powerful. And yet, in the face of His friend's death, and in the face of the grief of His other friends, Martha and Mary, He is moved to tears.
Jesus Christ is not a distant God. Jesus wept, and he weeps. He weeps with us when we weep. He stays with us in the Eucharist when everyone else abandons us. Jesus wept with Martha and Mary before He raised Lazarus from the dead, because He wanted to assure us that He will always be with us in our sufferings, too. When we are temped to be angry at God or to feel abandoned by Him, we need only think of the shortest verse in the New Testament: "Jesus wept."
All the saints learn this lesson. St. Lydwina, who was paralyzed at age sixteen as a result of an ice-skating accident, learned it exceptionally well. For the next thirty-eight years she was an invalid, confined to a bed of rough boards, covered with ulcers, and in constant pain. But she refused to complain, because she knew that Jesus was with her, weeping with her. She used to say, "God's eye is on me; He sees and knows all. That is sufficient." When God permits us to suffer, He is lovingly giving us a chance to share in His saving cross. As St. Therese of Lisieux wrote: "The greatest honor God can do a soul is not to give it much, but to ask much of it."
The best way to express this confidence is by following Church teaching. Christ has promised to shepherd His flock faithfully through the ministry of the pope and the bishops in communion with Him. He has kept that promise for two thousand years. Through all that time, as empires and kingdoms rose and fell, as fashions, cultures and entire civilizations came and went, Christ's Church has continued to teach the same doctrine that Christ had taught, faithfully applying it to history's changing circumstances. It has done so in spite of the personal imperfections of some popes and bishops. An so, when it comes to issues of faith and morality, that's the voice we listen to.
In some parts of the world today, however, it has become fashionable for Catholics to pick and choose among doctrines, as if the Catechism were a buffet. This is the origin of groups that call themselves Catholic but then contradict basic Catholic teachings, like the immorality of abortion and homosexual marriage. But when we pick and choose among doctrines, what are we really doing? We are telling God that we don't trust Him. We are telling Him that we trust some psychologists, doctors, or philosophers more than we trust Jesus Christ, who alone died and rose to save us from our sins.
Jesus doesn't ask us to be unreasonable. There are excellent reasons behind all of the Church's teachings, and we should study them. But even experts disagree on many issues. Human reason alone is not enough to guide us to heaven, just as human effort alone was not enough to save Lazarus. Like Mary and Martha, there comes a time when we have to trust Jesus, putting our lives, decisions, problems, and hopes in His capable hands. That time is now.
I would like to share with you some words from Fr. George Rutler to help keep things in perspective:
In any generation, crises provoke a reaction to the fact of human mortality. In their anxiety, those unwilling to acknowledge, that tend to decry catastrophes as if they were intrusions into the obvious circumstance that life is a fragile gift. So they become paranoid about disease, demographics, climate change and other metaphors for the simple reality of impermanence.
Death is nothing new. Until now, everyone has done it. Our Lord would speak of it with a strange mixture of gravity and nonchalance. It is prelude to a permanent realm of which every anatomical breath is an intimation by virtue of its impermanence. Anxiety ignores the promise that accompanies the warning: "As in Adam, all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Saint Charles Borromeo led a procession in prayer to mitigate the plague in Milan in 1576, caring for upwards of seventy thousand dying and starving people. Death meant nothing to him, save an opening to Paradise. For all his mystical intuitions, he also enjoyed playing billiards, and when asked what he would do if he had only fifteen minutes more to live, he responded, "Keep playing billiards."
One of the Church's youngest saints, Dominic Savio, told Saint John Bosco that if the Holy Angel blew his trumpet for the end of all things while he was on the playground, he would just keep on playing. That is how we should want to play each day of our lives, in a friendship with God that will not find Heaven unfamiliar. In 1857, fourteen-year-old Dominic's last earthly words were: "Oh, what wonderful things I see!"
A saint is one who can stand at the eternal gates and say, "Hello. I am home."
Looking for the perfect place to host a special event?
Call our office for more information
A touch of the Irish stood out at our annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner. Lots of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots were had by all...with cake & ice cream for dessert.
Doors open at 8:30 AM
Early Bird starts at 10:30 AM
St. Anthony the Abbot's Altar Server of the Year
Fellowship with friends
The cooks with Fr. Pecchie
Blackjack with friends
The games were a hit
Congratulations to Father Paul Pecchie as he
celebrates with a Latin Mass on the 24th Anniversary
of his Ordination into the Priesthood