Dear Friends on the Journey,
Two Considerations this Week: a recap of last week and a reflection on “reopening.”
A) Last week, I outlined the context for the decision to delay opening the Paulist Center Chapel for public worship until after July 1 (exact date still to be determined). However, I want to make available, again, some of the guidelines that we will be following carefully for when we do resume public worship: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (https://www.mass.gov/lists/safety-standards-for-places-of-worship); the Archdiocese of Boston (https://rcabrisk.org/re-opening-guidance/); and further specifications from the City of Boston. We support the Statewide ‘Safer at Home’ policy which advises against people 65 and older leaving home unless absolutely necessary. The Mayor urges seniors to adhere to the advisory and hold off on going back to places of worship, even if the services restart.
We continue to consult with the Worship Team, the Special Task force for Returning to Worship, the Staff, and more with the Pastoral Council. So many of you have sent in helpful suggestions, and I thank you for them.
One final coda to this reprise of last week’s message: therein were two linked-messages: one about when we would resume public worship and one about livestreaming our Sunday Eucharist. As a community, we wish to be present to one another and to the Eucharistic Table. Realistically, though, for a while to come, we will not have the numbers we had before the beginning of March. Evidence from all over the Archdiocese, indeed from the country, indicates that people are being very careful about returning to public worship: some of them are in a vulnerable group (as Mayor Walsh has carefully warned), or they live with and care for people in a vulnerable group, or they have children who would find it impossible to be still (no running around in the chapel). In a real sense, then, it is most likely that a majority of Paulist Center members will connect, for the time being, by tuning into the livestreamed Mass. Indeed, I have received dozens of emails and FB messages that testify to how helpful and inspiring people find the livestreamed Mass. We want to regularize that for the next couple of years. So we will open when we are ready and when it is safe, AND we will set up equipment and procedures to livestream our Liturgy as part of our Paulist Center rhythm of life.
B) Which brings me to the second, and more important, part of my message with you. After many hours of Zoom meetings with other Churches about their preparation and execution of welcoming back parishioners to their sanctuaries, I was struck by one parish’s insight: In their meetings, they decided very consciously NOT to use the expression “reopening our Church.” Rather they refer to the “reentry into our Church building.” During this very stressful
time of lockdown, they observed, the Church has never been closed…therefore, we are not reopening. Rather we are preparing for a safe and orderly reentry into our Church building. We have been Church all along, it’s just that our building has not been available to us. I like that…because it’s true.
I have seen, taken part in, and reveled in the many ways that our community has been “Church,” never closing, during these weeks. These include, but are not limited to, weekly livestreamed Evening Prayer, then Eucharistic Liturgies; weekly Rosary groups; biweekly LGBTQ prayer services; weekly Family Liturgy of the Word; numerous Zoom meetings about everything
from technical equipment, to helping our immigrant brothers and sisters, and Paulist Center presence at the border in Texas; very full meetings and curricular aids for Family Religious Education; Zoom Marriage Preparation program; our Tuesday Food Pantry, our Wednesday Night Supper Club; our “virtual,” overwhelmingly successful Walk for Hunger, and much more. So the Paulist Center is not “reopening”; we will be reentering our beautiful chapel when we are ready and when it is safe.
Next week: more ideas about how we can be a gathering of Jesus’ followers in a domestic Church. Keep your eyes on the reason for our being: Christ Jesus. Together, we will get through this, with His help and accompaniment. We gather on Sunday, 12N (see below). And it is Pentecost, the birth-day of the Church and the Patron of our Chapel, Holy Spirit Chapel. Want to know about Pentecost in two minutes? Glad you asked: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5tr4pqWIo4&feature=youtu.be
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Thanks to all for your prayers Paulist Father Rich Colgan. Alas, I am sad to report that Rich fell into the arms of our loving God on Monday night. May he rest in peace. For his obituary, go to https://paulist.org/the-conversation/in-memoriam-paulist-fr-rich-colgan/?fbclid=IwAR33sgguBYBA8DREAnlAhov1WoxNSQBgUXblUW5tTPru9HMzPoJzkYiAvZw
If you would like to contribute stories or pictures to the memorial Eucharist for Rich, please contact Patty Simpson who will tell you how you might do so, firstname.lastname@example.org..
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1) Pentecost, May 31, Live Streamed Liturgy/Mass from the Chapel, at 12N:
Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/0_SX-6KcG3I
2) Paulist Center Families Prayer Service, 10 am, Sunday 5/24
Please click here to join us: https://zoom.us/j/97252474747?pwd=YktPNzE3ZVNJVEltS3FENHFRSnI4QT09
Meeting ID: 972 5247 4747, Password: 037026, One tap mobile
+16465588656,,97252474747#,,1#,037026# US (New York)
+13017158592,,97252474747#,,1#,037026# US (Germantown)
3) Connect for a Chat. Patty Simpson email@example.com will be offering an hour a week for any Paulist Center members who might want to connect. Patty has in mind especially those who aren’t connected into any other small groups. You can join the conversation this evening, Thursday, June 4, 7-8pm through this link. Also if anyone wishes to connect with Patty either on phone or video session, just email her or leave a message on her phone (617.948.2428) and she will get back to you ASAP.
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Ways of Giving:
We have resumed our “Community Gift,” our Paulist Center tradition of giving away 5% of our weekend offerings (averaged out over the whole year). This week, we lift up the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. The JVC engages passionate young people in vital service within poor communities, fostering the growth of leaders committed to faith in action. They jokingly refer to their experience as “ruined for life.” The Paulist Center Community benefits from the gifts of many JVC alumni.
We are so very grateful for your support during this time of uncertainly and financial peril. Here are two ways to give:
To make a one-time or recurring donation using your bank account or credit card, click on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/DonatePaulistCenter
Giving by text: Text 844-899-7511 with the amount you would like to donate (whole dollars only). Donations collected this way will be designated as part of the “Weekend Offering.”
An idea: a couple Paulist Center members, receiving the Stimuus Check of $1200 but still being fully employed, gave a half of that check to the Paulist Center Community. What a great idea!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I conclude with the wise words of St. Teresa of Avila:
Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
Those who seek God shall
never go wanting.
Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
God alone fills us.
And let us pray for/with one another.
Michael McGarry, C.S.P.
Director, the Paulist Center
Along with Patty, Chuck, Susan, Peter, Kristin, Dorothy, Alvaro, Barbara, Rob, and Sal. Please feel free to call upon your Pastoral Ministers if you wish.
I will be sending out something every Thursday or Friday as the “shut down” continues.