My Dear Parishioners,
On Thursday we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph, the Husband of Mary. We will also be offering special prayers after the morning Masses on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We call this a Triduum to St. Joseph. The word Triduum simply refers to three special days. Usually it is used when speaking of Easter, for example, the Paschal Triduum refers to Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Our St. Joseph Triduum sets aside some extra time to pray to our patron. St. Joseph is a great model for all people of faith, but especially for men, husbands, and fathers. While we all know that Joseph was married to the Blessed Mother and the foster father of Jesus, he is venerated for multiple reasons. The following are some of the titles attributed to St. Joseph: Light of the patriarchs, Spouse of the Mother of God, Chaste guardian of the Virgin, Foster-father of the Son of God, Watchful defender of Christ, Head of the Holy Family, Joseph most just, Joseph most chaste, Joseph most prudent, Joseph most valiant, Joseph most obedient, Joseph most faithful, Mirror of patience, Lover of poverty, Model of workmen, Glory of domestic life, Guardian of virgins, Pillar of families, Solace of the afflicted, Hope of the sick, Patron of the dying, Terror of demons, and Protector of Holy Church. Now is a good time to pray to St. Joseph, our protector as we face the spread of illness in our world. We turn to St. Joseph and ask him to intercede on our behalf. The triduum envelopes which represent your intentions for St. Joseph will remain on the reredos (back altar) for the entire Triduum.
Last week (after I submitted my column), the Archdiocese issued protocols for all Ministers of Holy Communion and the faithful at Mass. They require washing and/or purifying hands before Mass and after distributing Holy Communion. Of course, if one is not feeling well, they should not give out Holy Communion. The priest always has the option of omitting the traditional sign of peace. If he chooses to do it, it is recommended that instead of a handshake, people bow to one another. They also reserve receiving the Precious Blood at Mass solely to the priest with a reminder that Jesus Christ is truly present, Body and Blood, soul and divinity in each of the Eucharistic species (Sacred Host and Precious Blood). And finally they recommend the frequent changing of the Holy Water in the fonts. Here at St. Joseph, I have removed the water from the fonts for the time being. Please note that Holy Water is still available for you to take home, from the large container in the back of the church. While we implement these measures I would ask you to please be mindful of our regular parish needs. Last week we experienced a serious drop in attendance and the weekly collection. I presume this is due to fears of the coronavirus, COVID19.
We rely on the weekly collection to make our payroll. If you are unable to attend Mass, please consider mailing in your contribution, or making it electronically. You can find more information about online E-Giving on our website, www.saintjosephchurch.us.
In two weeks we will welcome Bishop Joseph Martino, Retired Bishop for the Diocese of Scranton, as he celebrates the sacrament of Confirmation for 35 of our young people. Please keep the young people and their families in your prayers. We pray that they will open their hearts to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and that they will be strengthened in their faith to live out their baptismal commitment as young Catholic Christians. If you want to be specific in your prayers for them then you can pray for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit to come to them. They are: Wisdom which helps us recognize the importance of others and the importance of keeping God central in our lives; Understanding which is the ability to comprehend the meaning of God’s message; Knowledge is the ability to think about and explore God’s revelation, and also to recognize there are mysteries of faith beyond us; Counsel is the ability to see the best way to follow God’s plan when we have choices that relate to him; Fortitude is the courage to do what one knows is right; Piety helps us pray to God in true devotion; and Fear of the Lord is the feeling of amazement before God, who is all-present, and whose friendship we do not want to lose. If you know one of these young people, please encourage them on their journey of faith.
God Bless You,