My Dear Parishioners,
I pray that you had a Blessed Easter. While it certainly was not the celebration that we were hoping for or wanted, we still rejoice that the Lord is risen. He gives us hope where it seems that there is none. He brings healing to our souls and He brings life out of death. Even though we did not have the traditional experience of Easter this year, we still celebrated. I want to thank all those who helped our community celebrate the Sundays in Lent and also the solemn liturgies of Holy Week and Easter via our videos uploaded to the parish website. This includes those that helped with the filming, editing, recording and uploading of the various celebrations, arranging of the altar and its decorations, as well as all the ministers who assisted at our video and audio broadcasts – lectors, organist, vocalist. The music and singing helped people to feel that they were still a part of their local celebration. I heard from many people how much they appreciated it. I also want to thank you for continuing to support St. Joseph Parish. Your weekly and Easter donations are essential to keep our parish operating.
On April 3, the parish applied for the Payment Protection Program. This is a government program that permits non-profits to apply for a loan from their local bank. Its purpose is to ensure that employees stay employed during this crisis. The loan must be used to pay payroll, utilities, and any rent or mortgage. Then, as long as a non-profit qualifies, this loan can be forgiven by the government up to 100%. If it is not forgiven, it remains a low interest loan. When we first applied, the bank told us that it did not apply to churches. Then over the weekend they informed us that that rule was amended. We also submitted all the paperwork and as of the writing of this column have yet to hear back, although the bank assures us that they have reviewed our paperwork and everything seems in order. This will be a real help to us if it comes through, and especially if it is also forgiven.
As of right now, our parish celebrations are in a holding pattern. We do not know when or how we will celebrate Confirmation or First Holy Communion. Please keep our young people preparing for these sacraments in your prayers. It must be extremely frustrating for them and their families, as I am sure you understand.
We also look forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We should take some time during these post-Easter days to reflect on the Lord’s love and mercy in not only offering Himself for our sake but also sending us His Spirit to be with us. We also ask the Holy Spirit to renew us as well. When we celebrate Easter we are reminded of our need to accept God’s call and also to respond to it. We pray also for all those who have moved away from the Church. We ask God to touch them in a special way that they might be moved to return to Him. This is the season for bringing things back to life, even if it is our faith life.
If you have not yet returned your Rice Bowls, please deposit them in the bins in the back hallway. We will be forwarding those donations to Catholic Relief Services.
I wish to express my gratitude to you, the people of St. Joseph parish. I am most grateful for your prayers and support. I hope that you and your families experience the renewal of grace offered in Jesus’ saving sacrifice.
God Bless You,