Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Mary's,
On Tuesday of this week, the Governor announced the very good news that we are now able to modify greatly the rules we have been following during the Pandemic on the start date of May 29th.
I am awaiting the Protocols from the Archdiocese, which will direct me in what changes we will be able to make regarding Mass. This applies not only to the social distancing rule and mask issues, but the various ways we participate at Mass.
The major reason that most of us will feel safe at Mass is that most of us are vaccinated. However, I think that it will take a long, long time, probably into the late Fall before most people will be back in church on a regular basis. I can understand why. The transition out of the Pandemic will be complex and confusing and also of a long duration. Patience and kindness will be paramount in the coming months. Over this coming 12 months, we will develop in our daily lives a “new normal” that will be based on the past “normal”, but still be different in ways we can – and cannot – foresee at this time.
I am very happy to learn that schools of all levels are now able to hold almost traditional graduation ceremonies. A graduation ceremony helps mark the completion of an important enterprise and the beginning of a new endeavor. In many ways, graduation ceremonies are often for parents who have loved, worked, hoped, and dreamed for their child for many years.
Just a reminder: This weekend we conclude the NOON Mass on Sundays. The attendance always goes into a summer low at this point in the year. Also our attendance at this Mass has been averaging fewer than 35 people. We will resume this Mass as usual with the Sunday after Labor Day.
We conclude our beautiful First Communion celebrations this weekend. May the grace of God fill the hearts and minds of these young children. It has been poignant and deeply moving to be a part of their special Mass and Ceremony. Let us remember to pray for their parents, that they will actively raise their children in the Ways of our Faith as they promised at Baptism. Lots of things happen in the family’s lives and weekly church can disappear off the priority list. Hopefully this lengthy time of the Pandemic has allowed parents to gain a greater appreciation for weekly Mass and worship. Going to church as a family certainly gives direction and meaning to one’s life. Church helps center a person and a family.
Also a reminder: on Memorial Day Monday (May 31) we will celebrate Mass at the Parish Cemetery (weather permitting) at 9 AM for our deceased veterans and those who are at rest in our cemetery. Everyone is invited. You may wish to bring a folding chair to be able to sit. If it is bad weather, the Mass at 9 AM will be celebrated in the Chapel on the lower church building level. There is no 7 AM Mass on Monday, May 31 (Memorial Day).
With the conclusion of the Religious Education Year a few weeks ago and the end of First Communion celebrations, Karen Ackles is now very busy planning programs for next year that will allow as many choices as possible for parents and their children. The electronic survey, in which all parents were invited to participate, will be guiding many of our decisions. Next Fall, with the full restart of education for young people, parents will be stretched very far and we want to make our programs to be not only faith-nurturing, but also practical and less stressful for parents.
I am most appreciative of your financial support of our Parish of Saint Mary’s. Your faithful personal giving has allowed us to continue the holy work of our Parish. Your online giving (best accessed: stmarysfranklin.org) and your mail-in or drop-by envelopes make a critical difference. Our Saint Vincent de Paul Society, in its work with the needy and frail, appreciates your thoughtful and constant support. I am also appreciative of those parishioners who stepped forward and have pledged/given or are now pledging/giving to Cardinal Seán’s Archdiocesan Annual Appeal. We must reach our assessment or pay out of regular parish finds to make up the difference. Next week I will be able to give you the total pledged so far.
This delightful change in May weather to sun and warmth really is a blessing. Please take time to enjoy the absolutely beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowers as they bloom.
We are a Parish dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God. She intercedes for us with her Son. Saint Rocco, our Patron Saint of Healing, has surrounded so many of us in these days of the Pandemic with his saintly blessing.
Enjoy each wonderful day of May.