With the Lenten season and Easter Sunday behind us I am excited to continue giving you some updates on what is going on in the parish, especially regarding our Church redesign plan.
The first exciting news is regarding our 35% share of the Diocesan campaign, Together Let Us Go Forth~Juntos Sigamos Adelante. I am glad to inform you that, so far, the Diocese has given us three disbursements from our share of the campaign for a total amount of $76,000. Earlier during the campaign in 2019, we had identified five areas in our parish and school where the money would be best used as a “restricted donation.” These areas are: the main crucifix in the new Church, the pews in the new Church, the remodeling of the St. Vincent De Paul on-site pantry, tuition assistance for SJB students, and the upgrading of the telephone and security systems at SJB. Each item receives 20% ($15,200 each) of the total funds sent to us. I look forward to giving you an update on this when we receive the next disbursement from the Diocese. Thank you for your continuous support of the campaign.
The second exciting news is that we are currently setting up several committees to assist with different aspects of the Church redesign plan. Eight committees have been identified so far. I am currently reaching out to a number of parishioners to help serve on the committees. I will report to you the names of the committees and members in the coming weeks.
Thank you to the Events Ministry
I thank Lani Gore and the Event Ministers for the Easter Basket raffle initiative. My special thanks to those who donated the items for the four Easter Baskets. It was wonderful to see so many parishioners participate. We drew the winning tickets after the 6am Mass on Easter Sunday, and I am glad to extend my congratulations to the following winners:
We raised $576 from the Chick-Fil-A promotion and $2,247 from the Easter Basket Raffle. The funds raised from these fun, parish events have been designated to support the Gift Shop in our new Church.
The next Raffle will be for Mother’s Day. We have eight baskets ready for the Raffle beginning next week. The Events Committee is also working on another possible “St. Benedict Day” drive-through at one or two local restaurants soon. I am excited and grateful to the Events Committee for these wonderful initiatives.
I thank you for your patience and understanding and especially for observing our parish safety protocols over the past year. As cases of COVID-19 decline, I have been made aware of some concerns raised by our parishioners regarding the needed modifications to the safety protocols. Of particular concern is whether we should continue to wear facemasks, or make it optional. Please know that I truly understand the concerns from both sides of this matter. I also ask for your understanding with me too. We have tried all through the peak of the pandemic to maintain our parish identity as a welcoming parish by appealing for the cooperation of our parishioners in observing the health protocols without enforcing them. I appeal to you that we continue in the same spirit so to avoid enforcing any particular policies at this time. Our guiding principle all along has been looking for how we can support and protect each other through this challenging time.
We ask that all parishioners help us do our best to maintain a safe environment by being mindful of safe physical distance and using good hygiene measures, including thorough hand washing, sanitizing and wearing of face coverings while inside the Church. As a reminder, anyone who is sick, caring for a sick person, or vulnerable continues to be dispensed by Bishop Olmsted from their obligation to attend Mass in person.
All four weekend Masses follow our regular schedule on Saturdays at 5pm, and Sundays at 9am, 11am and 5pm. The Saturday 5pm and Sunday 9am Masses are live-streamed via our parish YouTube Channel HERE. For those who participate in Mass via the live-stream, Holy Communion is offered outside immediately following both Masses.
Please note: Masses on Sunday at 11am and 5pm are not live-streamed and do not have Communion offered following the liturgy. All weekday Masses are live-streamed on the parish YouTube channel at 8:15am with Holy Communion available outside each morning for ½ hour immediately following the conclusion of Mass.
The following are a few reminders and expectations for those who come to Mass:
We have removed the Holy Water font by the church door to avoid contamination.
Confessions are held in the Confessional inside of the Church at the normally scheduled times: Friday from 5-6pm, Saturday from 3:30-4:30pm.
You may greet others by waving hands but shaking of hands during Mass is discouraged, including during the Sign of Peace.
Hand sanitizer is provided by the doors. We ask that you use it as you enter and exit the church, and after using the restrooms.
All ministers are instructed to maintain the highest level of hygiene by washing their hands properly and using hand sanitizer before they serve or touch any vessels.
The Priests and Eucharistic Ministers wear facemasks while distributing Holy Communion.
Out of continued concern and care for all members of our community, wearing face coverings while inside is encouraged.
Holy Communion is offered under the species of bread alone. We receive the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Christ in its totality, under one species. Receiving both species is a fuller “sign,” not a fuller reality.
We encourage everyone to receive Communion on the hand. Anyone wishing to receive Communion on the tongue comes at the end of the Communion line and receives only from the Priest. The Priest will sanitize his hands if he touches the tongue of a recipient.
The Priests and Deacon will greet you at the end of Mass as usual, but please remember that they are not shaking hands.
All precautionary measures are subject to change at any time as we continue to monitor the needs and concerns of our parishioners, and recommendations set forth by the Diocese of Phoenix and our surrounding communities.
Thank you for your prayers and support during this time. Please continue to pray for an end to the pandemic and all those who have suffered a loss of any kind as a result of it.
Have a wonderful weekend and Remain Blessed.
Fr James Aboyi, VC