My Dear Parishioners,
This past Wednesday I was able to gather with Archbishop Perez and our other Philadelphia classmates to celebrate our 31st anniversary of priesthood ordination. Never in all my time at the seminary, or as an archdiocesan priest did I ever imagine that I would be gathering with one of my own classmates as our archbishop. Sadly, we were able to gather and stay within the “group of no more than 10” guidelines because our numbers are down. We were ordained with 12 men for Philadelphia and 2 have since passed away. I wish I had some special insight to give you as to when we are going to open up again and allow public Mass to be celebrated, but I did not learn anything that you don’t already know.
I thought that I would explain how we have been handling the announced Masses at St. Joseph. As pastor, I have the obligation to see that all the Mass intentions are fulfilled. In addition I have the further obligation of offering Mass for the intention of St. Joseph Parish on every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. You may have noticed that we are still publishing the announced Masses with their intentions for Sundays and the weekdays as requested, even though public Mass is not permitted. The reason for this is for those who requested the Mass to see that we have the intention and will try to accommodate it in a reasonable way. Weekday Masses are being celebrated by me on the day scheduled, unless there is some other pressing concern, e.g. a funeral. On Saturday I will celebrate the vigil Mass with its intention and on Sunday I will celebrate a Mass for the people or for one of the other Sunday intentions. Those intentions which are not celebrated are being placed in our Mass Book for celebration as soon as possible. They will then be RE –announced in the bulletin when they are due to be celebrated. A record is being kept at the rectory if you want to check when a particular Mass was rescheduled for. Sadly, we may soon run out of Mass intentions to be said because this virus has certainly cut back on Mass requests.
As we enter the season of graduation I found this prayer for graduates during this very unique time in history:
We pray for our graduates today and lift them before you. We thank you so much for these we love and for the work you are continuing to do in their lives. They are a gift to us and to many others. And during this season of new beginnings, we ask that you would make their way clear. We ask that you would keep their footsteps firm and remind them that you are with them, always. May they sense the freshness of your Spirit over their lives in amazing ways, may they be strengthened, instilled with hope, for the new roads you have in store.
And today, again, we release our children straight into your tender care. Because we know that’s the best place they could ever be. We thank you in advance for all you have in store, for this day, for this year, for their lives.
We pray for protection, for your covering, that you would surround their lives as with a shield. Protect their coming and going. We ask that you would help them to live aware in a dark world and keep harm or evil intent far away. We ask that you would hide them in the safety of your powerful presence.
Our world is currently anxious, fearful and uncertain. We pray our graduates are filled with your courage and strength, that they may be a light to their friends and neighbors in this uncertain time.
We ask for your wisdom and clear direction over their lives, that you would give them understanding beyond their years. We pray that you would direct their steps, that your plans for them would prosper; that every place you have determined for them to walk would be paved clear. We ask for you to open doors that need to be opened and close every one that should be shut tight. Allow every gift and treasure you have placed inside their lives to grow, develop, and flourish, to bring you glory.
We ask that you would remind them every day how very much you love them, that they would find security and confidence fully in you, knowing that you are trustworthy and true.
We ask that you would teach them your ways and fill them with an unquenchable desire to learn your Word. Give them a compassionate spirit, and the wisdom to look beyond outward appearances to the heart within. We pray that you would surround them with friends and leaders who would challenge them to press closer to you.
We ask for your peace to cover them. We ask for laughter and joy to fill their days. We pray that you would give them boldness and courage to face challenges set before them, with the confidence and peace that can only come from your spirit.
We ask that you would raise up greatness in their lives, greatness in this generation, willing to stand strong and true, passionate for you, believing that you have designed them for purpose and good works, which you have planned and prepared in advance for them to do.
Be a lamp for their feet, and a light to their path. Shine over them. Fill them with your spirit. Bless them with your favor and peace.
We ask through Jesus Christ, Our Lord,
God Bless You!