Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Mary's,
This past week held a critical and important event in our country’s history and life. We have inaugurated a new president and vice-president in the worst of times in our civil society. The events in Washington D. C. of the last two weeks tell us in the most painful, violent, and dramatic terms and actions that our nation is facing serious and grave difficulties. Cardinal Seán’s recommendation is ever so correct: that the Prayer of Saint Francis should be our prayer and motivation at this time. We must be instruments of justice and peace. All of us must pray for our country and its elected and appointed leaders to help us to face in justice what is wrong, admit responsibility, and then be reconciled for the good of us all.
It is supposed to be “we, the people”—not some of us, but all of us. We need to return to seeking the common good for all of us. Yelling at each other, threatening violence, or spewing hate will not help the country or us. Pray that we all, from the president to you and me, will be constructive and contributing residents of this country.
I want to remind you that although we are in a Red Zone in our Parish, its holy work continues. Our weekend Masses are celebrated with faith and devotion. Although there has been a drop in attendance since we became a Red Zone, we continue to offer 4 Masses (Saturday: 4 PM, Sunday: 7:30 & 10:30 AM and Noon) that are also meeting the high standards of safety for everyone. Cardinal Seán continues the Dispensation from Mass and it will be in effect until the end of the Pandemic. We are blessed that 3 of the 4 Masses are Live-Streamed (best accessed through our website). This Live-Stream is used for all of our funeral Masses and is so greatly appreciated by those who cannot be present. The families who attend are greatly comforted by knowing that many relatives and friends are attending via Live-Stream.
Your faithful and generous support helped us purchase all the costly “widgets”, install all of hardware (lots of hours spent hard-wiring the church!) and necessary software, and now also to maintain and use the systems. Technology is great, but it is complicated and expensive. We also had to spend approximately one thousand dollars to have the annual copyright permission to use music on the Live-Streaming. When you think you are finished with the bills, there is always one more! We also have had a long run of funerals and internments. I feel so bad for families who are not able to gather as they would wish to remember their loved one in church ritual. We are providing the best we can for them, but we know it is less than what we offered in pastoral care when the times were normal. Let us pray for those who mourn that they shall be comforted.
If you read our website (stmarysfranklin.org), you will see that the Women’s and Men’s Spiritualty Programs will soon be meeting via ZOOM. Please read the website for details. Deacon Stephen May, our Pastoral Associate, will also be offering a very fine Lenten Spirituality Program on Tuesday nights during Lent. The website will tell you all you need to know. Check it out.
Soon Ash Wednesday and Lent will be here. Masses with Distribution of Ashes will be at 7 AM and 7 PM in the main church. Registration is required… see the website. Ashes will be distributed at the St. Rocco Plaza outside from Noon until 12:45 PM. This is a walk-up situation with no registration required because no one will be allowed to linger after receiving ashes.
During Lent there will be morning Mass Monday through Friday at 7 AM in the chapel. To attend, you must sign in when you arrive and when you are ready to leave, you must “mist” your place with the organic and non-allergenic cleansing spray that is provided at the doors. We are counting on those who attend Mass to keep our church safe with two minutes of help.
In the early 1950s most people were getting home phones. Some for various reasons did not get a phone. Some of them then were mad because they did not know what was going on. They depended upon people who had phones to tell them. We have some folks for various reasons, perhaps age or health, who do not have or use the internet. Please consider telling them what is going on at Saint Mary’s. They are depending upon you to spread the good news.
Our Saint Vincent de Paul Society continues its dedicated service to the fragile and needy due to your constant support of them. They also work in coordination with the Franklin Food Pantry who will be launching a program called “Project Envoy.” Various restaurants in Franklin will set aside specific evenings to donate part of their earnings from take-out orders to the Food Pantry. The program's motto is: “Eat Out, Take Out, Help Out”. More details of who, how, what, and when will be on our website when this is ready to launch.
I am most grateful to you for your faithful and constant financial support of Saint Mary’s. Your online giving, mail in and drop by the Rectory contributions allow us to continue our Mission and holy work. Thank you. I am honored that you care to help our parish so faithfully.
It is ever so imperative that we pray each day for our country. We know that our prayers said to the Blessed Mother Mary, our Patroness, to intercede for all of us will be answered. Saint Rocco, our special Patron, intercedes for those who are sick or ailing. As Catholics, we know that our life is lived in and with faith.