Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I pray that you are staying safe and well. As this pandemic continues to spread, more and more of us will find ourselves more affected and more tested on a personal level. As I write this, the news media and our civil authorities are pointing out to us that the coronavirus pandemic in the United States is going to get worse before it gets better. It is more important than ever to remain close to Jesus Christ in these days. The week ahead is a wonderful opportunity for us to do just that.
We are about to enter into the most holy week of the year in the Christian calendar. We begin with the triumphal entry of Jesus into his own city of Jerusalem where he will fulfill the Father’s will for him -to suffer and to die that we might have eternal life. Let us not forget that this week begins on a triumphant note, then follows Christ through the lowest points of human weakness in his suffering and death, only to end with his triumphant victory over death, the cause of our hope and our joy. Let us seek, in a special way, to enter into the Passion of Jesus Christ this week especially in the midst of our own passion during these days of pandemic.
Last Friday, Pope Francis held an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi message and blessing. This is an event that usually takes place twice a year, at Christmas and Easter, and is a message and blessing for the city of Rome (urbi) and the world (orbi). In this time of pandemic, the Holy Father saw the need to address all of the faithful and offer his pontifical blessing, which has a plenary indulgence attached to it. In his message, he reflected on the passage in Mark’s Gospel of the calming of the sea. I would encourage you to read his reflection which can be found here: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2020/documents/papa-francesco_20200327_omelia-epidemia.html. You can also watch the entire event, which showed the starkness of an empty St. Peter’s Basilica and Piazza, on the Vatican’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnzTIGpYxdA. It is very powerful.
A few notes for your attention:
Holy Week – We are planning to live-stream our Holy Week services on our Facebook site. The schedule is as follows:
Palm Sunday (April 5) @ 9:30 AM
Holy Thursday (April 9) @ 7:00 PM
Good Friday (April 10) @ 3:00 PM
Easter Vigil (Saturday, April 11) @ 8:30 PM
Easter Sunday (April 12) @ 9:30 AM
Palms – The Archdiocese has instructed parishes not to distribute palms at all this year. While a reason was not specifically given, this is a prudent move as leaving palms out for people to pick up would encourage too many people to abandon the stay at home advisory, thus failing to help in mitigation tactics to contain the coronavirus.
Offertory – Many thanks to those of you who have been sending in your donations. I know some of you tried to use the online giving last week and had problems. My guess is that since all the parishes in the U.S. are in the same boat, the site got overwhelmed. You might try a day other than Sunday by clicking here: http://stbartholomew-needham.org/donate/ where you can chose which donation you wish to make and it will take you to a secure page.
Bulletin – while there is not a lot going on in the parish we are still publishing a weekly bulletin which can found online here: http://stbartholomew-needham.org/bulletins/
Elders & Those Most at Risk – Once again, please remember to check in on the elders of our community and those who might have underlying conditions that make them most at risk for this coronavirus. If you know of someone who needs something, or you, yourself, are in need, please call the parish office.