Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 8, 2020
From the Desk of Father Tharp
Why does Fr. Tharp want us to subscribe to the Pastoral Region Youtube Page
When visiting our Youtube page for Sunday Mass, please remember to click on the grey box at the top of our page entitled “subscribe.” It is free, and by doing this you become an official subscriber to our Youtube webpage. Please become a “subscriber.” It is free. If we can get at least one thousand subscribers, we will be able to post personal device recordings like daily Mass and prayer services which we cannot post until we have more than one thousand subscribers. This would be very beneficial to us. Subscribing to our site for free does not mean you are subscribing to Youtube as a service. You are simply identifying yourself as a subscriber to our Pastoral Region webpage.
Much of what follows, I am repeating from last week’s bulletin in case some missed it.
Why are Catholic Churches obeying Health Department Orders
I have been asked by some, “Why don’t we go ahead and gather for Mass regardless of the Governor’s or Health Department’s rules?” As Catholics, the “copout” answer is that this is a decision made for us by the Bishops of Ohio or the bishop of each diocese. The bishops base this decision on firm moral principles such as the Golden Rule. Avoiding a situation where medical experts tell us one infected person can unwittingly infect and possible bring death to another or many others is practical Christian morality 101 and a supreme act of fraternal charity. In other words, the bishops are trying their best to cooperate with civil authority experts, do what is morally right, and protect the public good.
On a financial level; almost every insurance company (or in the case of the Archdiocese, every reinsurance company) issues a list of “exclusions” to add specificity to what is covered and not covered in every policy. Reinsurers writing excess coverage “follow form,” so the exclusions become part of every layer of coverage. If the insured is engaging in activity specifically prohibited under civil, criminal, or municipal law (such as violating a Governor’s or Health Department’s order) coverage almost certainly will be forfeited. I don’t think you will find any Catholic Bishop or Catholic Priest Pastor who will feel comfortable “going bare” (i.e. without insurance coverage) at a time like this in today’s litigious society. Even one major claim could spell the end of the presence of the Catholic Church in that civil jurisdiction.
Sunday Mass live streamed and recording available on Website
At the time of the printing of this bulletin (Monday, May 4), the suspension of all Sunday Masses continues to be in effect in Ohio. I am being told that we will not celebrate Sunday Mass together in our church until Pentecost. (May 31) Please consider worshipping with me by either tuning in for Mass at 5:00 p.m., live-streamed (in real time) from Sacred Heart (we cannot live-stream as yet from St. Ann until we can get WIFI in the building) or tuning in after the live streaming for the recording of the Mass which was live streamed earlier. At St. Ann, we will pre-record and post on our Pastoral Region Youtube site, the Sunday Morning Mass for viewing anytime on Sunday Morning after 8:00 a.m. or anytime thereafter. For the duration of the quarantine, we will live-stream the Sunday Mass at 5:00 p.m. every Saturday from at least one of our two parish locations. The Mass is automatically recorded for viewing at any time after the live-streaming is complete.
Remember that you can access our Pastoral Region Youtube page by clicking on same from either parish website. Since both our parish websites are hosted by our Bulletin Company, and since many parishes are live-streaming at the same time, the websites have sometimes crashed from sheer volume. The best way to assure that your connection will not crash is to go directly to the Pastoral Region of Sacred Heart and St. Ann Youtube page. You can access this site by highlighting and (control + clicking) the following address: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVLLqbEY5hKWinwz069MVcg Make our site one of your “bookmarks” on your computer, pad, or phone. There you can immediately access any past Masses or anything currently being live streamed.
For the time being, I will continue to have individual confessions at the published times at Sacred Heart, unless or until the authorities prohibit them. Saturday afternoon confessions at St. Ann will be only 15 minutes, from 3:30 p.m. until only 3:45 p.m. If and when public Masses resume, I will hear confessions before Sunday Masses on the Sundays I have Masses at St. Ann. We will have to follow the abbreviated schedule for Saturday confessions at St. Ann until we can find a priest willing to take them every week.
RCIA Candidates and Catechumens
The Archdiocese has decided that baptisms, confirmations, and first communions for the RCIA will take place on Pentecost Eve or perhaps Pentecost Sunday itself. I will provide more information when I have more certainty that we are allowed to congregate on Pentecost.
The First Communion at both St. Ann and Sacred Heart are postponed until we are certain as to when we are permitted to resume public Masses, and under what ongoing restrictions we may have to operate. Similarly, because of the uncertainty as to the plan the authorities will implement, those who conduct our annual Pastoral Region Vacation Bible School (VBS) have decided to cancel. As for other things previously scheduled in May, June and July, (like graduations, weddings, baptisms, etc.) I simply do not know at this time. As soon as I know what the Governor prescribes, and I have the official directives from the Catholic Bishops, I will inform you by email blast immediately, and then explain more fully in the next parish bulletin.
Reflection on Scripture for the Fifth Sunday of Easter
Today’s gospel is my favorite funeral gospel. Now let me ask you, “How weird do you have to be to have a “favorite” funeral gospel? Why would anyone favor a particular gospel selection in such a time of grief? The answer is because it clearly articulates the promise Jesus made to us at our baptism. On the day of my baptism, Jesus told me that he knew my name, and that he had pre-paid for my reserved suite in Heaven. Am I assured of this by my baptismal certificate? Not really! It is just a piece of paper with a parish seal. Then how can I be sure my reservations have been paid for and a receipt has been issued? The answer is because my best friend told me so. Jesus assures me every time I receive the Holy Eucharist. The receipt and guarantee is sealed in his blood! All I have to do is show up.
But how will I know for sure I am on the right “travel plan?” After all, your travel agent will always give you a complete travel itinerary; with tickets and reservations included. It’s expected! Well Jesus does us one better! Jesus promises us our own personal tour guide through life, the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. We will never face any obstacle alone. We will never be lost on the journey. And as long as we let the way of Jesus be our way, as long as we remain rooted in him through sacrament and charity, he will remember our name when we arrive.
Years ago at the Archdiocesan office building at 100 East Eight, my secretary had a quotation on the wall of her cubical which read, “I work here. The pay isn’t great, but the retirement benefits are ‘Out of this World’.”
Next Week: Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
1 Pt. 3:15-18
Theme: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”