Message from Monsignor Ryan

Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Despite the restrictions placed upon us by social distancing, parish life goes on albeit in some novel ways. The live-streaming of Mass and Devotions has proven to be a great help to many people. The recitation of the rosary at the Grotto on the lawn on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, for example, gained over one thousand views. Sunday Mass continues to attract between six and seven hundred views. And considering that an entire family may be included in one view, it is an impressive testimony to the importance of the Mass in our parishioners’ lives. So many comments have been highly positive. Thank you.

We continue to offer a brief curbside prayer service and blessing to families taking a loved one for burial. The hearse stops outside the church and family members gather at safe distances while prayers are said. They tell me that it is a great consolation at a time when mourning is sharpened by the restrictions placed on traditional funeral rites.

Last week I visited Grades 4 through 8 of St. Gregory the Great Catholic Academy in their virtual classrooms. Ms. Alaimo and the faculty, especially Suzanne Barberesi, have been tremendously supportive and helpful. Sr. Pat tells me that the Diocesan School of Evangelization is working toward creating a platform for reaching the students in the Faith Formation Program on-line. Sr. Pat has attended several Zoom meetings with the Faith Formation Directors of the diocese and Dr. Ted Musco. Several Catholic resources such as Dynamic Catholic have developed programs of instruction for First Holy Communion and Confirmation that they are making available to families free of charge. Sr. Pat is informing families in the Faith Formation Program how to take advantage of them. She has also had Zoom meetings with the Facilitators of the Arise and Why Catholic? programs about keeping the Prayer Circle active.

I have met with your new pastor, Fr. John O’Connor, so that the transition of leadership will be as smooth as possible. We are planning a Zoom meeting of the Parish Pastoral Planning Council together with Fr. O’Connor for early June. High on the agenda will be the reopening of churches. On May 19th we will be attending a webinar on that topic. It is clear that, initially the number of people coming into church must be limited so that social distancing is not violated. That is going to be a challenge for planning skills. I will continue to keep you posted as conditions move forward and we have more information.

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