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Prayer at the Time of a Pandemic

Dear Friends on the Journey,

Prayer at the Time of a Pandemic

Lord Jesus, who promised to remain with us always,
When information overwhelms us
and fear overtakes us,
speak to us again those comforting words,
“Peace be with you.”
Though we cannot be physically close to others
give us the ability and courage
to love as well as we can,
since “perfect love casts out all fear.”
Direct your caring gaze on doctors and nurses,
researchers and safety personnel;
Come to strengthen the sick, the vulnerable,
and comfort those who are grief stricken.
And when the pandemic has passed,
and this frightening crisis is resolved,
teach us to know You more certainly
as our dearest Friend and our only Hope.
You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever. Amen.

Furthermore, as I have said in a number of homilies here at the Paulist Center Community, if we understand that a Christian is defined by being a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, then it is Mary who is the best example of a Christian. Accordingly, this week, our American bishops are joining in a prayer of dedication of our nation to Mary. This act of consecration is meant to be a reminder to us of our Blessed Mother’s witness to the Gospel and to ask for her effective intercession on behalf of those in need, especially during this pandemic.

Lots of prayers going around on Zoom (and beyond): just this week I participated in our Rosary Group on Thursday, our LGBTQ group on Wednesday night, our Family Group on Sunday morning before Mass, and I heard wonderful things from Susan about our Religious Education Program on Sunday morning. So many ways to pray, so very catholic. We celebrate them here!

Finally, I can’t contain myself on this one: with the incredible work (dozens and dozens of telephone calls) of Team Paulist Center to walk this year’s Virtual Walk for Hunger (originally slated for 3 May), we have far surpassed our goal. This is especially beneficial as our expenses for the Wednesday Night Supper Club have spiked because of need and swift action to make meals portable, delicious, and safe for both our volunteers and guests. You made that happen!
More on this in the weeks to come, but all we want to say here is “thank you”!

1) Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 3, Live Streamed Liturgy/Mass from the Chapel, at 12N:
Here’s the link:


Many of us are aware that it will be many weeks, maybe months, before we are able to physically celebrate Eucharist in our Paulist Center Holy Spirit Chapel.
As we consider what it might mean to celebrate Eucharist virtually, it is important to reflect more deeply on what being present to one another in virtual spaces actually means. Just as it’s possible to be in close physical proximity with others while simultaneously being absent mentally or spiritually, it’s also possible to be virtually present to one another in profound, meaningful and real ways even when we’re physically distant. The following suggestions are ways to help us celebrate in this new paradigm.

1. Read the scripture for the upcoming celebrations beforehand. You can easily access all readings from the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website.

2. Create a setting for the celebration. If possible, use your dining table as the place from which you participate. Light a candle. Have a cross, crucifix, or religious icon on hand. If you are fortunate to be with others, have a loaf of bread that can be broken at the time of communion.

3. Observe familiar postures. Standing and sitting at appropriate times throughout the celebration can enhance our prayer.

4. Remove distractions. Try to avoid using cell phones (unless of course that is your source of participating).

5. Dress up. Sleepwear might not be the most appropriate attire.

What we want to avoid is just “watching” Mass. What we want to avoid is being critical of everything that is done. A former Paulist staff member once asked, “Did you come to worship, or did you come to evaluate?” Come, indeed, eager and in a disposition, to worship. What we want to do is pray with one another and with our God.

2) Paulist Center Families Prayer Service at 10am on Sunday:
Meeting ID: 451 661 081
One tap mobile

Ways of Giving:

This week, we resume our “Community Gift,” our Paulist Center tradition of giving away 5% of our weekend offerings (averaged out over the whole year). This week, appropriately, we lift up the Walk for Hunger. (Please consult the Constant Contact Newsletter that came on Wednesday for others).

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:
Giving by text: Our give by text number for general donations is 844-899-7511; this will be designated as our “Weekend Offering.”

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

I will be sending out something every Thursday or Friday as the “shut down” continues.

Keeping the Faith During the Time of Coronavirus