July 19, 2020 – 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I.  When Is It Time To Return To Mass In Person? It is wonderful to experience more people returning to Mass each week. Some feel safer participating in a daily Mass at 12:05pm Monday through Friday. We offer a 9:00am Saturday morning as well as the 5:00pm on Saturday, and 8:00am and 11:00am on Sunday. The 12:05 daily Mass and 5:00pm Saturday Mass continue to be live-streamed. Lately, several parishioners have asked, “When should I return to Mass?“ While that is a personal question, I think the practical guide would be: if you find yourself out and about, going other places, doing other things, then it may be time to return to Eucharist/Mass, the “source and summit” of our spiritual lives. We have put into place guidelines to make our church safer for you including cleaning the church after each liturgy. We ask families to honor physical distancing, to wear a facial covering over the nose and mouth, and to receive Holy Communion on the hand. Your cooperation has been outstanding and appreciated! A special thanks to those of you who are giving your time in service for liturgical ministries for our parish community. Your willingness to serve is deeply appreciated! As folks continue to return, please pray about “stepping up to the plate;” we are especially in need of sacristans and altar servers.

II.  Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene:Three years ago, Pope Francis elevated the annual liturgical Commemoration of St. Mary Magdalene on July 22 to a Feast Day, the same ranking as the individual Apostles. The decree reads:  “The Church, both in the East and in the West, has always regarded Saint Mary Magdalene the first witness of the Lord’s resurrection and the first evangelist, and with the greatest reverence has always honored her, although in diverse ways. . .” Although women did not study with rabbis in Jesus’ day, Mary Magdalene was a disciple of the rabbi, Jesus. Therefore, the seed of God’s Word was firmly planted within her–so firmly that she stood at the foot of the cross with Jesus‘ mother and the beloved disciple, while the other disciples ran in fear.  In a letter released the same day as the decree, Archbishop Roche wrote: “This decision, in the current ecclesial context, seeks to reflect more deeply upon the dignity of women, on the new evangelization and on the greatness of the mystery of God’s Mercy.”  Please join us for 12:05pm Mass (whether in person or live-streamed) on Wed., July 22, to celebrate this great Apostle to the Apostles. 

III. Laudate App is everything a Catholic would hope for in an app, and more. It has Scripture readings and Saints of the day, the Bible,  Our Catechism, Documents of Vatican II, Mysteries of the Rosary and how to pray it, Stations of the Cross, a very thorough Examination of Conscience, and much more! Laudate is Latin for “let us praise” [God]. Feed yourself spiritually. 

IV.  God’s Design for Marital Love: This week, July 19-25  the Catholic Bishops (USCCB) ask us to celebrate Natural Family Planning (NFP). This is “The Truth and Beauty of God’s Plan for Married Love—it’s about love. It’s about life. It’s about freedom. It’s about gift.”  God designed marriage as an “intimate partnership of life and love” (see Gaudium et spes, no. 48). Marriage is oriented to the good of the spouses and to the creation and nurture of new human life (see Gaudium et spes, no. 48). Making decisions therefore, about when and how many children to have in marriage is a sacred responsibility that God has entrusted to husband and wife. This is the foundation of what the Church calls, “Responsible Parenthood”—the call to discern God’s will for your marriage while respecting His design for life and love. NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife. (Standards for Diocesan Natural Family Planning Ministry, p. 23) http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/awareness-week/upload/2020.

V.  Have You Ever Thrown Yourself A Pity Party? It’s cheap. All you need is a dark corner and yourself. “Self-pity is a slimy bottomless pit. You fall in, you tend to go deeper and deeper into the mire. As you slide down the slippery walls, you are well on your way to depression, and the darkness is profound. Your only hope is to look up and see the Light of My Presence shining down on you. Though the Light looks dim from your perspective, deep in the pit, those rays of hope can reach you at any depth. When you focus on Me in trust, you rise ever so slowly out of the abyss of despair. Finally, you can reach up and grasp My hand. I will pull you out into the Light again. I would gently cleanse you, washing off the clinging mire. I will cover you with My righteousness and walk with you down the path of life. (Psalm 40:2-3). Psalm 42:5–“Why are you in despair, oh my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His Presence” (from “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young).