Pastor's Letter on Parish Life - March 18th 2020

My dear sons and daughters in Christ,

I am writing to give you an update on what is happening here in the parish during this current panic in the world. Lent has become more austere and in a way we have entered the Garden of Gethsemane with Our Beloved Savior.  Traditionally, as of midnight on Holy Thursday until Easter Day we are denied the opportunity to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament because He has historically been taken prisoner by the Roman Government and is beyond our reach.  It is in a way midnight in our diocese and in many parts of the world.  However we are not completely denied the ability to be with Our Lord during this captivity.  The churches are not locked and the priests are still offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and absolving our sins.  Masses in the diocese are private though at present which means that if you come when the Mass is being offered you may assist at it by silent prayer but the Blessed Sacrament is not permitted to be distributed at present.  Thus, the situation at St. Stephen’s is this:

The church will be open for prayer each day from 6:45-9AM.  I will hear confessions from 7:30-7:55 AM each morning (except Sunday).  I will offer my private Mass for the published intentions at 8 AM.  On Sunday, as public Masses are not permitted I will not be able to binate (say two Masses), but will be available for confessions from 7:55-8:55 after which time I will offer my private Mass.  I ask that whether you come to the church for a visit or remain home in quarantine that you spend an hour on Sunday morning praying the Mass and that you make a spiritual Communion to unite yourselves to Christ and ask for the graces that you need.  There will not be public events in the church until the ban is lifted which means that the Holy Hour planned for Wednesday night will not occur and stations of the cross will not be public, though the church will be open Friday evening from 6:30-8 PM.  

You may also pray the stations any day you wish by walking them in the parking lot.  The Altar and Rosary Society will not meet this Saturday though it would be good to pray the Rosary in the church.  The proposed public Rosary in the city square for the sanctity of marriage has been postponed to a later date.  I remain available for your sacramental needs throughout this time as always and ask that you pray for a quick end of the current sickness. May God bless and keep you.

In Corde Jesu, per Mariam,
Your pastor,
Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP