Flocking Together...Virtually

04-26-2020Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As of writing this Tuesday morning (4/21), we are all still hunkered down except for an occasional trip to refresh essentials. In my daily Masses, I continue to pray for each and every one of you, your families, and your intentions, offering them up in the greatest prayer we have to offer – the Holy Mass. The liturgy of the Mass, of course, constantly reminds me that your physical presence is notably missing. It is true that countless Angels and Saints are there, but it would still be nice to hear your voice. The Angels just don’t respond loud enough for me to hear!

“We are His people, the flock He shepherds (Psalm 100:3). Here’s an etymology that you may find interesting: The word “congregation” comes from two Latin words, cum = “with”, and grex/gregis = “flock” (as in sheep). The verb form of grex – “flock” means “to gather the flock together.” This is why it all feels so strange not to gather in person. So, we have to work a bit harder these days to achieve that feeling of being part of the flock, which you still are! When you are taking some time in some way to keep Sunday a holy day, perhaps close your eyes for a prayer and try to imagine other members of the flock, who are truely with you. You are not alone. The Mystical Body of Christ binds believers through Baptism even when we are apart, just as your brother or sister by blood is still your sibling even if he or she lives 3,000 miles away. Christ is the Head…we form His one Body (see Ephesians 1:22-23).

Please know that the Bishop and his advisors are anxious to bring us back together as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. Stay tuned, and stay faithful.

In the meantime, we are working hard to make your online experience of the Mass and other devotions as meaningful as possible. Music and readings for Masses can be downloaded as a PDF from the parish’s homepage at stmarys-aiken.org. The livestream Masses can be found on our Facebook page at facebook.com/stmarysaiken. You do not need to join Facebook to see the video! (I myself do not have a personal account.) When you go the page and begin scrolling, it will “encourage” you to join. But look carefully at the bottom for the smaller words “Not Now.” Click, and it should give you unfettered access.

Finally, perhaps there’s something that you’ve been putting off for a while. Maybe it’s a spiritual book, a devotion in prayer, a novena, an intellectual work. You have pushed it aside because there was no time. Now, we have more time than some of us really ever wanted or would have asked for. Schedules have slowed down. Use it as sacred time to just “be” with God and dive ever deeper into His boundless love. “Deep waters cannot quench love, nor rivers sweep it away” (Song of Songs 8:7).

Praying for each other,

Father Wilson