Our Soul Waits for the Lord

03-08-2020Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” – St. Matthew 25:13

It is with great sadness that I write to you about the death of Father Marcin Zahuta, pastor of St. Thomas More parish at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He died suddenly last Sunday of complications from a stroke at the young age of 42. Father Marcin had been parochial vicar here at St. Mary’s, and I know many of you remember him well. As I write this column (Tuesday), funeral arrangements had not yet been completed, but I’m sure that by the time you read this, arrangements will have been made. We will get the word out as best we can for those who may wish to attend his funeral Mass. Please pray for the repose of his soul, for his family, for his parish, and for all who mourn his passing. Eternal rest grant unto Fr. Marcin, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

The parish mission and Forty Hours devotion was such a wonderful way to begin Lent! Many of you have continued to let me know how much you were enriched by those holy three days of opportunity to come to hear God’s voice and to put His will for you into action. We were truly blessed to have Elizabeth Ficocelli lead us in our mission. As always, a parish mission is just a beginning. Now, the ball is in your court. Our parish offers wonderful resources to help ever-deepen and inform our lives of faith. Take advantage of them. If you can’t think of any, I have three wonderful little words for you: read the bulletin!

As cases of both the regular flu and the new coronavirus continue to grow, the Bishop’s office has asked us to do a couple of things this year that affect our liturgy. Both of these are actually optional anyway, so know that you are not missing anything. First, we will refrain from giving the communal Sign of Peace, which is the handshake or kiss that we customarily do when it’s almost time for Holy Communion. After the priest says, “The peace of the Lord be with you always,” and we respond, “And with your spirit,” we will immediately begin singing the Lamb of God.

Also, we will suspend the chalices for now, which means we will receive Our Lord with the Consecrated Host alone. We’ve done this for literally hundreds of years, so we are not “missing” anything. Remember that the Church teaches that we receive the fulness of Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity from even the smallest part of the Host.

In the same way, although I will certainly be greeting you at the door after Mass when possible, we will refrain from handshakes. The “elbow bump” seems to be a great replacement. Let us pray fervently and daily for the health and safety of everyone around the world.

And let us always pray for each other!

Father Wilson