Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,
Each week people are returning to their church “home” here at the Church of Saint Mary’s. People’s hearts are filled with great joy as they cross the threshold of our church to our sacred space. I know some enter with anxiety and some fear, but the feelings which fill most people when they enter are joyous. For many, they have missed their sacred place where they speak with their God and ask him for His grace and help. Church is a home where you bare your heart to our God. We can pray elsewhere, we all know that. But it is truly special to be in a sacred place where you know your God ever dwells and who waits for us to come and speak with Him. Home is where the heart is and certainly God’s heart is here in our sacred church space of Saint Mary’s. We bring our hearts to the Lord and He listens to our words and gives us the grace, strength, hope, courage or peace which we need to live our daily lives. The Celebration of the Eucharist, the Holy Mass provides us with the spiritual food of Holy Communion to go forth to live our life each day. All of us have missed in various and profound ways our Catholic Tradition and distinctive hallmark of Sunday Mass at Saint Mary’s. Live-Stream Masses provide some connection and have meaning, but to be present at Mass is far deeper and profound. Much like events which are “live” and in person, Mass has its greatest power and meaning when we are there in person.
Karen Ackles, our Director of Religious Education is busy working on next year’s Religious Education program. She is designing a program which will support the faith lives of our young people and also help them to grow in their faith. This past Pandemic Year has informed all of us how much parents enjoyed working with their children at home in Religious Education. This is actually the model the Church advocates; they called it “the domestic church”. This is where the family and home are the locus of where faith is learned and lived. In theory the domestic church then joins with all of the parish family each Sunday for the Celebration of Mass. We will be using a modified model of this vision of and approach in Religious Education. Mrs. Ackles will be developing a wonderful supplementary enrichment program for each grade level (Grades 1 to 8 and also C1 & C2) which will gather all the students in small groups at various times during the year. Parents: stay tuned for the email which will be coming out in the next 4 weeks to explain it all in better detail. Part of the underlying principles of the program will be to make the whole process less difficult for parents as this Fall parents will be overwhelmed with the full force return of regular school education and all the allied many activities their children are engaged with after school and on weekends.. Religious Education and Mass are essential for a meaningful and omplete life, but we do not want to everything overwhelming or complicated.
Our Saint Vincent’s continues to assist the fire victims of a few weeks ago and will follow them with particular aid in the coming months as they start to rebuild their lives. Thank you for helping them. Saint Vincent also is helping the many the folks who need assistance. On our webpage (starysfranklin.org) is a list of items etc. which they St. Vincent’s can use in their work with folks. I appreciate the continued financial support which you give to the holy work and mission of Saint Mary’s. Your on-line giving (best accessed: stamrysfranklin.org), your envelopes via the mail or drop in or by your support in the church baskets all help to keep us alive and going. Thank you.
This past weekend 675 people in total attended the three Masses which were celebrated. (Saturday: 4 PM; Sunday: 7:30 and 10:30 AM). Remember all three are Live-streamed (best accessed via our website: stmarysfranklin.org). I suspect this schedule is the correct one for the summer. It appears that there will be an increase each week in attendance and we will not need to add another Mass until after Labor Day. I am tracking the patterns of each Mass attendance so that I can make good and practical decisions for our Mass Schedule. Folks are satisfied and happy with the roll out in Phase One of how Mass is now celebrated. The next change will be in Phase Two which be right after Labor Day weekend.
Well, another delightful week of sun and warmth. Please take the time to enjoy it with family and friends. All of this goes so quickly and lost opportunities and time cannot be made up. Certainly many of the lessons of the Pandemic will help us all in the coming months to understand much better about our lives, our relationships and also who and what truly matters to us.
We pray to Mary, Mother of Jesus, our Parish Patroness for her intercession with our Father in heaven for all of us. We pray also to Saint Rocco our special Patron for all those who are ill in mind, body or soul that he intercede at the heavenly seat of God for them.