Article from Parish Bulletin – The Arrow on April 5, 2020
This week begins what usually is my favorite week of the entire liturgical year, Holy Week! These services are central to our faith, but sadly we can not gather to celebrate them as a community of faith. On Palm Sunday, we traditionally hold and wave palms branches recalling Jesus entering Jerusalem, leading to the cross and resurrection. On Holy Thursday, we share in the dramatic washing of feet recalling Jesus’ invitation to service, and remembering that last meal Jesus had with his disciples, as the institution of our Eucharist. On Good Friday, we recall the sacrifice Jesus made for our sake on the wood of the cross. We come forward to venerate, with a touch or a kiss, the cross of our salvation. This year, pastors like me are looking for high-tech instead of high-touch options for worship online! It feels so odd to me, and is so disappointing. However, taking care of each other and being healthy during this pandemic is of utmost importance.
That being said… I have a simple, but important, message to share with you today. Social distancing is an important strategy for us in order to combat the Coronavirus. But here is my message: be sure of one thing, GOD DOES NOT PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING. It’s not God’s nature to be distant. Remember what we celebrated back at Christmas… Emmanuel – God is with us!
This Holy Week, in the safe comfortable space of your “shelter in place,” remember to reflect on these very important stories of our faith. Individually, or as a family if home with your children, open the Bible, find the stories and read them. Then, think about or talk about what these stories of faith mean to you. Light a candle and remember how the presence of Christ, the light of Christ is with us, surrounding us.
Also, please check our parish homepage for suggestions and services that will be offered online. There are also many places like Mercy Home or Holy Name Cathedral that will offer televised Masses. Our hope is, in small and simple ways, to stay connected with you as the community of faith here at Saint Giles.
Above all, remember – find your own creative way to pause and celebrate God with us, not distant from us. Saint Paul once wrote these beautiful, encouraging words, so appropriate for us to recall at this time… “who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? NO! In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)
With you a Christian. For you a priest.
Father Carl Morello – Pastor of St. Giles Parish