It is exciting to sense the new optimism in our local community and our nation as we start to emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic. For over a year we have endured uncertainty, economic turmoil, job losses, and even shortages. But to me, the greater sufferings were those from personal loss through sickness and death, loneliness and depression, not to mention the restrictions imposed on us as a sacramental community.
I can remember last March in 2020 when public Masses were first suspended for the remainder of the Lenten season and all the way through the Easter season. Nothing like this had ever happened before in our lifetimes, and hopefully never will again. So many people were cut off from the sacraments and from proper communal worship of God. We had a pandemic threatening our bodies and starving our souls.
Around Pentecost in 2020, we resumed the public celebration of Masses in our Archdiocese. Parishes had to adapt to a new series of government orders and restrictions. While it was such a blessing to be able to reintroduce elements of our sacramental life, it still felt incomplete. Throughout the world, seniors and those with certain health conditions were urged to stay home. This was a particularly heavy cross for so many to bear. Many felt abandoned by the Church, even though so many efforts were made by parishes to bring their communities into people’s living rooms. We were blessed at St. Edward with the new technology installed in 2019 which enabled us to be on the cutting edge of livestreaming our Masses. We offered drive-up reception of Holy Communion as well as Communal Penance services, both of which were very popular. In spite of these efforts, it’s never the same as living out our sacramental life together in person. Even when together, we all had to stay six feet apart from each other, and we couldn’t shake hands, embrace, or even see each other’s faces! And yet, we remain an Incarnational faith.
Now, finally, we can see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. With the vaccines available and declining case numbers, so many people are able to reunite with friends, family, and fellow parishioners. We have a ways to go, but hope is in sight. It is so wonderful to see the joy and smiles in the faces of our parishioners, especially among our seniors.
With that, I would like to take this opportunity to warmly invite the parish back to in-person Masses. Everyone has been welcome all along, but I especially want to reach out to those who have felt like they have spent the last year on the sidelines. If you are comfortable coming to Mass, we would love to have you join us. We will continue the livestreams, of course, for those who are away for whatever reason. I also look forward to restarting our wonderful in-person ministries as we emerge from this time of sacrifice. It has been too long, and we need to reunite our parish family!