Beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Urgently the question arises of how to remain in communion with God and His Church, with Holy Week, that most sacred time of the year, beginning this evening. Perhaps because of all the restrictions on physically receiving the Sacraments, a unique blessing is the burst of information about how to virtually practice your faith within the limitations. I have tried to consolidate some of it, although this is still lengthy.
This morning the Pastoral Council met by teleconference, following a Fabrique meeting Thursday evening, recommending this email to guide you to opportunities. Your feedback by email would be most welcome.
1. All of you should be receiving a call during Holy Week from a designated parishioner on my behalf to touch base and check-in with you, and provide whatever we can as a parish.
2. Although Patricia is working from home, you can still contact the parish office by email or phone for anything. Messages are checked daily and calls returned.
3. I continue to offer the daily and Sunday masses for booked intentions privately. The pro populo mass for you will be concelebrated by me tomorrow, Palm Sunday. Blessing of palms has been ordered postponed.
4. Holy Week: please see the just released guidelines from the Archdiocese below. Each of you is “invited to place an image or statue of Jesus visibly in a window of their home to mark the start of Holy Week.” I will be carrying out all THE EASTER TRIDUUM recommendations from those guidelines, as found on our parish website: https://www.stthomasmoremtl.ca/
5. Holy Thursday evening I may carry out the blessing of the neighbourhood by walking a couple of blocks with the Sacrament if I get positive feedback from you in advance and recommendations of which nearby blocks (weather permitting).
6. I am sending separately a copy of the Grapevine, an e-newsletter from the English service side of the Archdiocese. You are encouraged to subscribe to the Grapevine, and the Archdiocese’s own English newsletter, containing helpful info at this time, both at:
See also: https://www.facebook.com/pg/englishpastoralservices/posts/?ref=page_internal
7. Livestream Holy Week Masses beginning tomorrow, in addition to those in links above:
a. https://www.becket.ca (West Island parish)
b. https://stig.ca/live-stream (NDG parish)
c. Add Salt & Light tv for free to your cable subscription, or see the links part way down this page:
8. FAMILY PRAYER In every Home has just been published by our own Archbishop Lépine. It’s a free PDF full of age appropriate suggestions for couples, children and families:
9. And from St. Thomas à Becket Parish Friday email: In case you missed last week’s beautiful and moving prayer service by Pope Francis:
Spiritual life resources:
1) Pray the Rosary “in the Holy Land”.
2) 10 Spiritual Counsels in a Time of Coronavirus:
3) The Word Among Us, a popular devotional magazine, is providing free access to the website during the current crisis:
Let me close with a thought from the opening of the Archbishop’s booklet:
The family is the basic unit of society and the cradle of life and faith; it is, in fact, the domestic church. Through personal and family prayer, the family is called to participate in God’s plan of love, his plan for Creation and Salvation.
We are living through a pandemic crisis affecting all of humanity, which, by extension, affects all families as well. With physical distancing and home confinement measures being implemented, there is an opportunity to rediscover prayer, providing a benefit to each person and each family as well.
This is why I am publishing a prayer booklet, to make it easier to pray, to read the Bible, to recite the rosary, whether alone, as a couple, as a family, with children and young people.
I wish you a fruitful, strengthening and healthy Holy Week as we together journey with our Lord Jesus the Christ into Jerusalem, to Last Supper table then to the Garden of Gethsemane, up the Via Dolorosa to the Cross and, finally, to the Empty Tomb.
Together In the Crucified and Risen Christ,
Pastor, St. Thomas More (Verdun)