Letter from Father Aaron Ferris

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

May the peace of God beyond all understanding be with you!

I had this letter written and polished, but then things changed again. I am sure by this point you have heard of the governors “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. While this did not explicitly include churches, Bishop Walkowiak is following the lead of the governor to help slow the spread of the virus. The bishop has canceled all public liturgies, devotions, and gatherings through Monday, April 13th. What does this mean?

  • The public celebrations of Holy Week and Easter have been suspended. We are still figuring out what we will be doing.
  • Individual confessions will continue to be heard at the regularly scheduled times.
  • The churches will be open for prayer, and we will be deciding those schedules soon. As always, the adoration chapel at St. Mary is open 24/7.
  • Office hours will be changing to reflect our ongoing need to conserve resources.

My mind and heart are torn in many ways with all of this. On the one hand we need to protect those who are vulnerable. There are many in our midst with health complications that make them very susceptible to infection, which can be quite serious. We need to care for them. That being said, we also need the Lord. I am distressed that when we need Jesus in the Eucharist the most He is being hidden away. It has been spiritually and emotionally challenging to say the least.

There are many things that I am grateful for. I am very grateful for all those who have been checking on their neighbors. I have been hearing many stories of this. Thank you for your generous hearts.

I am incredibly grateful for the staff at St. Mary and St. Anthony. They have been rolling with the punches like champs, and their willingness to step up in this time of trial is greatly appreciated.

I am also very grateful for those who have continued their weekly tithes and who have begun sending in their CSA pledges. This is not a knock on those who have not been able to do so. This is a very trying time financially for many, and the first thing you need to ensure is that you keep the roof over your head and food in your bellies. Thank you to all those who are able to continue giving. Your generous spirit helps us help everyone.

This situation keeps changing. We will return to normal, or at least a new version of normal, at some point. When that will be is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, we will continue to keep you updated as best we can. I will be following this letter up with additional resources to help you make the best of this challenging time.

As always, you remain in my prayers. On the day of my ordination I made a promise to pray on behalf of my people. Officially I do this when I pray the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day. Personally, though, you are continually included in all my prayers and devotions.

While I do ask for your prayers, I also ask you to pray for all the priests and bishops. This is a very strange time to be a priest. Our lives are about our people, but when we can’t engage our people it challenges us to grow in new ways as priests. Pray that we faithfully step up to the challenge.

May the Lord bless you and keep you; may His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may He look upon you with kindness and give you His peace!

–Fr. Ferris

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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