Message from Msgr. Callahan – March 21, 2020
Let me first say that all of you are in my prayers and I know both Frs. Schneier and Nord are also praying for you. This Sunday at 8:00 a.m., I will be having Mass with our Dominican Sisters in their convent chapel and I will offer my Mass for each and every one of you.
This afternoon we received notification from Archbishop Carlson that all public liturgies for Holy Week including Easter Sunday are suspended. These liturgies will be celebrated in private here at St. Joseph Parish with no more than 10 people in attendance. But they will be live streamed into your homes.
My hope is that by having our Masses live streamed into your homes, you are still able to remain connected to St. Joseph Parish and are able to grow spiritually. Although you cannot receive Holy Communion at this time, you are able to receive “spiritual communion.” St. Thomas Aquinas described spiritual communion as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the most holy sacrament and lovingly embrace Him” at a time or in circumstances when we cannot receive Him in sacramental Communion. We priests miss seeing you at Mass and greeting you afterwards. Even though we cannot be physically present to each other, we are together in spirit. As you know, that St. Joseph spirit runs deep in our parish.
Let me remind you that there are occasions in which you can still be physically present here at St. Joseph. Now this can change depending on what directives we receive from St. Charles County or the State of Missouri. Our church is available to you 24 hours 7 days a week. Our church doors open at 6:30 a.m. and are locked at 2:00 p.m. But everyone can enter the side door of the church that takes you to the Eucharistic Chapel at any time. The access number to enter the church is 1355.
When you enter the church, you can either pray in the Eucharistic Chapel (no more than 3 adorers) or the main church. Prayer is essential at this time and let’s make sure that we keep God first in our lives at this crucial time.
If you wish to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, you can do so on Tuesdays from 4-5 and Saturdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m. The confessional screens have been reinforced with extra fiber material and a plastic covering has been placed on the priest’s side of the screen. You are asked to receive the Sacrament of Penance behind the screen or anonymously.
If any parishioner needs to be anointed, please call the Parish Center and dial the emergency number to the rectory. The priests have been informed to follow proper protocols from the CDC regarding personal protective equipment and other guidelines. This may restrict priests to minister this sacrament only to people in nursing homes and hospitals.
All funerals and weddings for the foreseeable future will be restricted to ten people in attendance as of today.
If any parishioner is in need of financial assistance or food or other essentials, please contact our St. Vincent de Paul Society. They will be happy to help you.
This next topic is always a difficult topic, but we need your help financially. Our collections have significantly dropped over the past week. Without the Sunday Masses, I fear it will even get worse. We have approximately 200 employees in our parish and they depend on their paychecks. I have instituted some financial cutbacks starting Monday. Our parish office staff and maintenance staff will be working half-time. Our part time school aids and after school care personnel will not be receiving a salary since the children are not in school. Since our teachers and administrators are under contract with the Archdiocese, they will continue to receive their full salaries. Needless to say, we also have numerous bills, such as heating, electricity, water, etc. We have lowered the heating of all unoccupied buildings on the parish campus. I encourage everyone to sign up on Faith Direct (on-line giving), or mail or drop off your contributions to the parish. (Thank the Athletic Committee for $10,000 gift to the parish.)
As a people of God, we are a people of hope. While it can be disheartening to see more and more Americans fall victim to the coronavirus, we must rally together. Follow the directives from our government when it comes to basic hygiene.
Finally, let’s all pray to our parish patron, St. Joseph, that he will not only protect our parish but the whole world during the coronavirus pandemic.
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