Faith Formation for the Coming Year

08-14-2020Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Another week has passed in this quite hot and sunny summer. I much prefer this heat and humidity to the winter’s cold and ice. New England is not really known for a steady temperate weather pattern at any time of year. I think the constant and sudden weather changes help us to be a little more sturdy and reliant as people. Certainly in this time of the Pandemic we need to have substance and strength. Our God will provide us with this as we step into each day to deal with all the difficulties and worries that come to us. Life is not easy or smooth these days. Putting one foot forward at a time and doing our best actually will achieve a lot of good for everyone.

Our Ministerial and Religious Staff have developed our Religious Education, often called Faith Formation, plans for this coming year. We have tried to make the Programs for Young People “user friendly” for parents and students. Grades 1 through 8 will all be done at home and online. Each student will have a text book and also an e-book. Each week there will be an email reminding parents what the 2 or 3 most important items are and what pages to use. Every two weeks for Grades 3 to 8, the class will be taught via Webinar (Zoom) and available later if your child cannot participate when it is being live taught. However, for Grades 1 and 2, the parents will have a Webinar every three weeks, on average, to help them supervise their child. This also will be available at other times. Confirmation 1 and 2 will have one hour Webinar Classes for students on a special Sunday schedule at a required time, with parental involvement to a minimum degree. All these programs are actually more complex and costly to operate than just a traditional 22-hour come to class and use a book method. It will take patience and time for everyone to adjust. We believe this approach will keep children safe and well, but also allow them to grow in faith and in spiritual ways. Clearly this Pandemic has shown all of us how faith in God, religious belief, and actual daily and weekly “living the faith” along with faith formation are really vital and essential for our lives. We must teach and model for our children the ways of faith that will give them a sense of meaning, purpose, right, and good. Our children may get lost in life, if we get lost in life.

Most people are aware that our beautiful Chapel is open every day from approximately 7 AM until 6 PM for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and other devotional prayer. Everyone is welcome. Just remember to “spritz” the pew area where you were afterwards. The spray bottle is by the doors when you leave. It is a highly expensive, non-allergenic biologic that is approved by all the proper governmental agencies to be lightly sprayed to cleanse an area. It is effective in about 10-15 minutes.

Daily Mass has not resumed. Of the “daily mass crowd,” at present only five attend Sunday Mass, which is the most important Mass for a Catholic to attend. Of this group, only two are within the age group where Mass attendance is safely encouraged. If I or Father Jack gets ill, then the entire Church Building and Schedule must close down for a minimum of two weeks. That means that there will be no weekend Masses, no funeral Masses, no weddings, no baptisms, no visits in the Chapel. Unfortunately, the risk of daily Mass for so very, very few does not outweigh the clear, vital, and present needs of the many, many others.

I have other topics about Parish Life to talk about in the coming weeks. What is above is enough for this week. I am appreciative of your support of our Saint Vincent’s and also to our parish via the Sunday basket, online, by mail, or dropped by the Rectory.

Remembering that our Parish is dedicated to Mary, Mother of God, we ask her intercession for all of us. We also invoke Saint Rocco to intercede for those who are ill in mind, body, or soul.

God bless.
Father Brian