I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.
Today I have four things I would like to mention. First, I want to thank everyone once again for your financial support of our parish during the past months and particularly at Christmas. Your generosity enabled us to surpass on budget income for December. Thank you so much.
Your ongoing financial support enables us to continue to offer the many programs, ministries and services that are at the heart of our Basilica community. It has been a blessing for our parish. As your pastor, please know of my great gratitude for your ongoing financial support.
The second thing I wanted to mention is that at the Masses on Sunday January 31 we will bless candles for the celebration of Candlemas on February 2. After the 9:30 and 11:30am Masses we invite people to pick-up blessed candles to use in their homes. The process will be very simple, and there is no need to pre-register. You just come to the rectory on 17th Street, where you will receive a prayer card. You will then proceed to the front of our school building to receive your blessed candles.
The third thing I want to mention is that on Ash Wednesday, February 17, we will have three Masses: 7:00am; Noon and 5:30pm. Ashes will be offered at each of these Masses. Now, because of the pandemic, we won’t be making the sign of the cross with ashes on people’s foreheads. Instead we will drop a few ashes on the crown of each person’s head. This is the custom in much of Europe and it was suggested by our Liturgy Office as a way to distribute ashes this year. After the Noon and 5:30pm Masses ashes will be offered to those who want to come to The Basilica after the livestream.
The process will be the same as we have used before. People will drive up 17th Street, stop at the rectory to receive a prayer card, and then drive to the front of the school to receive ashes. Given the logistics of offering ashes to people in their cars, we will use Q-tips to offer these ashes. Certainly none of this is ideal, but we want to do everything we can to ensure people’s safety and security.
The fourth thing I want to mention is that after the 9:30am Mass on the First Sunday of Lent, February 21, we will once again distribute communion to those who want to come to The Basilica after our livestreamed Mass. As on Candlemas and on Ash Wednesday, we ask you to stop at the rectory to receive a prayer card and then drive to the front of the school to receive communion.
Finally, as always, if you have questions or concerns about anything that is happening at the Basilica, please contact me at the parish office or send me an email. My contact information is available on our parish website.
Let me close today in prayer.
We pray for your love and compassion to abound
as we walk through this challenging season.
We ask for wisdom for those who bear the load
of making decisions with widespread consequences.
We pray for those who are suffering with sickness
and all who are caring for them.
We ask for protection for the elderly and vulnerable
to not succumb to the risks of the virus.
We pray for misinformation to be curbed
that fear may take no hold in hearts and minds.
As we exercise the good sense that you in your mercy provide,
may we also approach each day in faith and peace,
trusting in the truth of your goodness towards us.
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