June 2, 2020
“It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep.
The night is far spent; the day draws near.
Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Let us live honorably as in daylight.” (Letter of St. Paul to the Romans, ch. 13)
Our hearts are breaking at the events of these past weeks. From continual struggle with COVID-19 to the awful death of George Floyd, from those still struggling with the devastating effects of a virus to all of us struggling with the anger and seeming hopelessness of entrenched racism and the poison of violence, we find ourselves saying, “What do we do now?”
Having filmed our Masses before the painful events unfolding, we felt it necessary to respond as soon as possible with a strong statement of support, especially for communities of color who have suffered the effects of prejudice for too long. We stand in support of peaceful protest as is our wonderful American tradition. We condemn violence in any form, and the senseless acts of looting and disrespect. What next? Perhaps this is a wakeup call for faith communities and all people of good will. As your priests, we promise as we move forward three elements which will be part of all we are as parishes. Summed up in three words: PRAY, LEARN, ACT.
PRAY. We will pray above all for justice and peace for all. As we gradually move back to public Mass, not only how we pray together, but our frequency and fervor will increase.
LEARN. We will study and learn more about our church’s deep and ongoing process to cherish the dignity of all human persons, reflecting on abysmal sins of the past and committing ourselves to the conversion necessary for the full flourishing of all. Please see the statement of the Catholic Bishops of our State.
ACT. We will set forth a pattern of acting in our parishes that will mirror Jesus Christ. We will see prejudice, disrespect and the inequity present in so many ways for what they are: an offense against Christ. We will encourage respect for law and the structures of the common good that will lead to a just and lasting peace. We will welcome respectful dialogue and dissent.
This is just the start. But we must wake up, begging God’s grace to inspire and lead us in the right direction. We your priests and your lay staff give you our word. We ask your prayers and support, and promise our prayers and love.
Sign up for “JustMatters: Faith and Racial Equity” Small Groups. These times are deeply troubling for all of us. Many of us are feeling confused, lost, despondent, filled with rage and a profound sense of sadness. However, these times can also be filled with hope: hope for the healing of generational wounds, hope for personal and societal transformation fueled by love, and hope for our ability to participate in the building of God's reign on Earth. If you'd like to join together with other parishioners to learn more about Faith and Racial Equity, please consider joining a 10-week small group. These small groups will provide a safe environment, supported by prayer and the educational materials of JustFaith Ministries, where you will be able to challenge yourself to learn more about the experience of racism in our country while growing in love, community, and discerning your particular mode of social action. If you'd like to learn more, or if you are ready to sign up, please email Laura Hancock right away (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are hoping to get these groups up and running as soon as possible... the need to be engaged is now!
Video Mass for Sunday, June 7th. Here is the recorded Mass celebrated by Fr. Tim and Fr. John for this upcoming Sunday (the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity). We provide a worship aid to help you better enter into the prayer of the Mass. We are thankful for the work of our liturgists Brian Eggers and Mary Robertson, and our cantor Amy Sobczak. Thanks also to David Vartanian and his son Blase of DV Productions for their tireless efforts in helping to make these filmed Masses possible.
Parish Financial Support. We continue to be humbled by your financial support of the parish during these tender and tenuous times. Thank you so much, it has been amazing to witness the generosity of so many! Please mail in your envelopes and contributions to our parish office (Old St. Mary Parish, 835 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202), and our parish staff will process these.
Please do not hesitate to contact either Fr. Tim (Cell: 414-762-7986; email@example.com) or Fr. John (Cell: 414-305-3824; firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need anything! Be assured of our love and prayers.
Sincerely, with love,
Fr. Tim and Fr. John