I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.
Today I have three things I would like to mention. First, next Wednesday February 17, is Ash Wednesday. We will have three Masses at 7:00am, Noon, and 5:30pm. The Noon and 5:30pm Masses will be livestreamed and ashes will be offered at each of these Masses.
Due to 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 also be offered to those who want to come to The Basilica.
The process will be the same as we have in the past. 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 second thing I want to mention is that after the 9:30am Mass on the First Sunday of Lent, February 21st, we will once again distribute communion to those who want to come to The Basilica after livestreaming Mass at 9:30am. As 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.
The third thing I want to mention is that, as is clearly evident, Lent will be very different this year. If you are not able, or don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for any of our liturgies, we invite you join via our livestream. Also on our website you will be able to find suggestions for celebrating Lent and Holy Week at home this year.
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.
Loving God, Your desire is for our wholeness and well being.
We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time.
We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.
We ache for ourselves and our neighbors, standing before an uncertain future.
We pray: may love, not fear, go viral.
Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.
Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity.
Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence,
You, the God who does not abandon.
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