September 12, 2020 – Father’s Ramblings

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Praised be Jesus Christ!

It has been about three months since my last letter to you. With the passing of Labor Day, we came to the unofficial end of summer, which I thought was a good time to reach out to everyone again. It has certainly been the strangest summer of my life (so far), and I would guess many of you would say the same.

First and foremost, be assured that you have been in my prayers. There has been a lot to think about; many plans have been made; many of those plans had to be rethought and adjusted. For all that has been on my mind, you have never left my prayers.

Many things have happened over the past few months: the virus, the response to the virus, riots, the 2020 election has kicked into gear, and many other things. In our personal lives much has happened as well: birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, births, deaths, losing jobs and finding jobs, the start of the school year, and, again, many other things. A lot has happened, and I hope the good has outweighed the bad.

A few things have happened around the parishes as well. At St. Anthony we got a Paper Gator in the north parking lot. If you have paper to get rid of, you can always drop it off there. At St. Mary the parking lot was patched, resealed, and restriped. This should keep us going for a few more years. We have also been making plans to resume religious education. It will, of course, be different this year, but it will be happening.

Amidst all this, it has been great to see all who have been able to return to Mass. I know many of you with additional health concerns have not made it out, and I look forward to the day when I get to see you again and worship with you. For many others, the summer has been a time to get away to cottages and vacations. I hope the getaways have been truly relaxing and nourishing for you.

Mass, though, continues, and I hope more of you will be able to join us soon. The bishop has extended the dispensation from the Sunday obligation through October 18th, but that should not be used as an easy excuse to avoid Mass. We are currently capped to 25% capacity at both churches. Because of this limitation, I added an additional Mass each Sunday at St. Mary at noon. Both the 8:30 am Mass at St. Anthony and the 10:30 am Mass at St. Mary regularly reach capacity, but there is still room at the noon Mass. It would be great if we needed to find ways to make more room. If you are ready to come back to Mass, make sure you go to the parish website (either parish website), and sign up. The link to sign up is posted each Wednesday.

If you are not ready for the larger crowds on the weekend, always remember the weekday Masses are at the normal times. The crowds are smaller, so there is a lot more room. It would be a good way to begin to reconnect with Jesus in the Eucharist.

The occupancy of the churches is limited to 25% of capacity so that we can make sure there is room for everyone to spread out. This goes hand in hand with the expectation that people wear masks at church. These are the simple, everyday acts of charity we make on behalf of our neighbors. This is not about politics; this is about looking out for each other.

Speaking of politics, I should probably say something about the upcoming election. When we vote, we must be guided first by our faith, and our faith points out three matters that are most important to our decision making. As has been the case for many years, the pro-life issues, especially curbing and ending abortion, stand at the head of our political thinking. Closely related to this is the defense of traditional marriage, family, and sexuality because these issues strike to the heart of our human experience. Upholding freedom of religion and conscience from governmental interference or oppression is also of utmost importance. While there are many issues at stake, these three should lead the way in our political thinking.

Now that everyone’s favorite topic is out of the way, we can move on to everyone’s second favorite topic: money. Overall, the two parishes continue to do okay. We could always be doing better (who wouldn’t like more money), but all in all we are doing okay. Thank you to everyone who has continued supporting the parishes. We are weathering this storm well thanks to you.

A couple months ago you should have received a reminder about CSA. This is the diocesan annual appeal, and it is important that you complete the donation card. Any amount that is not raised by your donations comes out of the parish budget. Any amount raised over the appeal goal comes back to the parishes. Remember, many hands make light work.

I don’t want to end by talking about money (that is just bad form), so I will end with hope. When we were baptized, we were united with Christ in His death and resurrection. The seed of eternal life was planted in us, and that seed is nourished with each Eucharist we receive so that one day it might sprout forth in the glory of eternal life. We have been given the promise of eternal life, and we know God is faithful to His promises, which means we have no reason to fear. If you find yourself burdened with fear or doubt, turn your attention to Christ and His Resurrection. Whatever may beset us, in Him we have already conquered overwhelmingly.

May God bless you now and always!

–Fr. Ferris

St. Anthony
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church strives to be “A Parish with a Heart.” Using our time, talents and treasures, our parish family is dedicated to the faith formation of our youth and living the gospel in our community.
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