Hello! I’m Phil Murray. I serve on the Parish Pastoral Council and have been a St. Charles Borromeo parishioner since 1984. Yes, I know that is longer than more than a few of you reading this have been alive. And I can say that what we are all now going through is the strangest time in my life, both as a person and a Roman Catholic Christian.
This Sunday at our Online Community Mass at 11:15 AM, we will be particularly remembering all those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and especially those who have suffered and died. Many have been also impacted by the suffering of relatives or friends. The pain has not been distributed uniformly, but as it is now estimated that 25% of City residents would test positive for the virus, we can be sure that our St. Charles Borromeo family has been affected. (I will especially be praying for a long-time employee—forty years plus—of my co-op who is recovering, and for his twin sister who died.) Others of us may be feeling increasingly down as the enforced separation and the disruption of daily routines continue. And, there is the economic hardship being experienced by so, so many people and families.
To one degree or another, all are affected by the pandemic. Below in this week’s email are reflections on St. Matthew’s Gospel written by parish children preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Like all of us, their plans have been put on hold, including celebrating with family and friends, as well as their parish family, as they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Bill, in his commentary on Sunday’s reading from the First Letter of Saint Peter, reminds us that if we believe that God is always with us, even in suffering, we can use whatever the circumstance to grow closer to God.
The scriptures always offer consolation and hope, perhaps most especially now. This Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm is taken from Psalm 23 and it also reminds that God is with us, no matter how dire the situation:
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil
For you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
We are all walking through a dark valley right now and while it is not easy for any of us, it is harder, even much harder, for some. We all need the support of the Lord and of each other. That is why St. Charles Borromeo Parish under Father Bill’s pastoral care is trying to reach out and support our entire family. Participation in the streamed spiritual activities helps to remind us of God’s continued caring presence in our lives, as Psalm 23 proclaims, and to know that as a parish family we are together, even though we cannot now gather in person. The Responsorial Psalm ends with words of assurance:
I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.
I was asked to select a picture of myself to accompany this note. I chose one that includes some of the people I am blessed to have in my life, as we joined in our family’s annual Thanksgiving Day dinner a couple of years ago. I pray for the time when we can all again gather with our families and friends, and as a parish family for Mass and for our children’s postponed Confirmation. May those days come soon.
God bless us all. Hang in there.