My Dear Parishioners and all People of Good Will,
In these uncertain times, we are all struggling with what the future holds, and the normal means by which we deal with those struggles seem to be taken away from us. As your pastor, I have a responsibility to provide you with comfort and spiritual guidance.
Because we cannot gather as a community to share, we have to find other ways of sharing our fears, anxieties, joys, and accomplishments.
I realize the announcements of the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the State of Georgia place a burden on all of us who wish to come together to share the Word of God and the Body of Christ as we usually do as a parish community. For example, it was a difficult decision to keep the church building closed on the weekends, but the chances of large crowds coming on the weekend is much higher than during the week and we are trying to honor the directives of the government and the church to keep people safe.
Fear can be a powerful, debilitating force, especially when those who should provide solutions and understanding, like journalists and government leaders, tend to amplify our fears, rather than helping us deal with them calmly and rationally. Let us, then, help each other by reaching out to friends and neighbors and by reassuring each other that we are here, together in spirit, if not in body.
Thankfully, in this century, we are able to communicate and pray with one another through video and audio technology. Many friends and organizations are setting up times to pray together online or on apps. We are not allowed to live broadcast parish Masses, because if people knew where and when Mass was being recorded, the temptation to go to church and congregate would defeat the purpose of cancelling public Masses. If you have a suggestion of gathering the faithful to a “virtual” prayer or support meeting, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
As we continue with this enforced distance from the sacraments, parishioners are inspiring me to find new and creative ways of gathering the faithful, not physically, but electronically, in addition to the options already available through our website and the archdiocesan website, archatl.com.
I think it was part of God’s plan that this pandemic occurred during Lent, because we can truly commune with Christ “in the desert.” We really are experiencing the retreat of Lent, not only from daily life and routine, but also from the comfort and certainties of life as usual.
Fr. Terry Crone