A Message From Fr. Jim - March 23, 2020
Dear Parishioners of St. Walter,
How are you handling the “new normal”? It is certainly quite a change in our lives, isn’t it? My prayer for all of you and your family is that we continue on this difficult path so that no one may contract this terrible virus. Let us also pray for those in our family who are in nursing homes and all of our elderly. They seem to be the most vulnerable along with those connected to the medical and healthcare professions. Let us remember them in our prayers each and everyday.
I never thought that there would be a day when we could not come to church or to the adoration chapel. I find it so hard to deny you access to either so you may pray before the Lord. Again, I wish to thank so many of you who are coming to grip with this new unfortunate reality. I think we should not get too disheartened, but rather shift our focus to the “domestic church”, that is the family we live with.
With some additional time on our hands, how have we prayed with our spouses and children? Have we taken the opportunity to watch the Mass on EWTN and other social media? Coming together to pray is one of the great ways to reconnect with our Lord and each other as a family. This strengthens our parish family of St. Walter.
So consider praying the rosary. As we are halfway through with Lent, try praying one of the Mysteries of the rosary each week. You can do it one decade a day for five days over the next few weeks. We can start this week with the Joyful Mysteries. They include the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation, and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. Our stained glass windows in church depict all five of them.
We continue the following week with the Luminous Mysteries, then pray the Sorrowful Mysteries during Holy Week, and the Glorious Mysteries during the 1st week of Easter. The spiritual activity can be very powerful if all of us as a parish pray it together over the next few weeks. I think this would be especially beneficial for our school and CCD families.
For those who received the booklet, “Five Minutes with the Word” at the beginning of Lent, this would be an excellent time to continue to reflect on God’s Word each day until Easter. And for our Lenten Scripture Group, continue throughout the rest of Lent with “Lectio Divina”. It works either as a group of individually.
I hope these suggestions help us during this trying time. Once again, I really miss celebrating Mass with all of you. I still can’t believe we will not be together even for Holy Week! If you have received our Easter letters, please disregard the Holy Week schedule. I want you to know that I have very much enjoyed our conversations over the phone during this time. They have been very helpful and encouraging for me as well. I encourage all of you to please call if there is anything you may wish to speak about. You can contact me at the rectory at (773) 779-1515.
Since all of us are unable to receive holy communion and desire it so much, one of the great saints of the church, St. Alphonsus Liguori offers this prayer of spiritual communion:
“My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most blessed sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there, and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.”
May Christ’s reassuring comfort bring peace to all of you,