+ Easter Message +
April 12, 2020
Our current situation can remind us of past historical and faith events. Easter is the Christian Passover (Paschal Feast) which was the climax of God’s plan to save us. The first Easter found the disciples confined to their homes fearful that they too would be arrested and put to death. It was in the midst of hopelessness, fear and pain that Jesus appeared to them.
I was recently given a card by a parishioner. It contained a quote from C. S. Lewis (noted Christian author). He wrote this in 1942, during the dark days of the bombing blitz that forced the people to shelter in basements and subways and to send their children away to the countryside for their safety.
“Satan: I will cause anxiety, fear and panic. I will shut down businesses, schools, places of worship and sports events. I will cause economic turmoil.”
“Jesus: I will bring together neighbors, restore the family unit, I will bring dinner back to the kitchen table. I will help people slow down their lives and appreciate what really matters. I will teach my people to rely on me and not the world. I will teach my children to trust me and not their money and material resources.”
The name Jesus means God saves. He is the Good Shepherd who leads those who follow him safely through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23). The people survived World War II though there were terrible loses. They celebrated the joy of victory and renewal of life. Our struggle will pass also and we will rise to a new life. The question I have been reflecting on is what lessens have I learned? How do I hope my life and the life of my country and world will be different? I have come up with three points that I would like to present for your consideration.
- A greater sense of Solidarity (the Christian concept of community). May I remember that I am not in this life alone. I need others and they need me. We each need to be more vigilant to care for and respect all people. We are responsible for the good of one another and to strive to address the inequalities that have become evident in this crisis.
- To be aware of the vital importance of personal contact. We have bodies so we can touch and be touched to express respect, support and love. True communication is not only a matter of words, but of facial expressions, body language, and even the way a person expresses themselves by their appearance. Technology has been a great help but is not an adequate substitute for our deep need for personal contact. Make sure to make time to spend with others. Each day, each personal experience can become a precious memory.
- The importance of gratitude to keep my life in balance. Remembering, giving thanks and praying daily maintains the bonds of love, provides hope, and touches the heart with the warmth of joy.
Jerry Welte writes about how God answers prayer. “Perhaps God has already provided many of the gifts we seek, but we block their arrival though our inaction or interference. Our loving God wants to heal, feed and save us but we must be proactive in heeding our own petitions.” As we journey through and finally emerge from this time of darkness, may the light of God’s wisdom (Jesus) bring us greater clarity of what is needed for a better life now and to be prepared to be reborn to eternal life.
In the words of St. Paul, “I give thanks to God every time I think of you” (Phil. 1:3). May the everlasting hope, joy and peace of Christ be with you.
+ Peace +
Celebrating Lent and Holy Week; April 2, 2020
As we come to the end of Lent, these words from Edward Hays “The Lenten Pharmacy” remind us that the purpose of Lent is to prepare us to share the joy of Easter and to live a better life.
“Our Lenten practices are intended to allow what is inside (you) to radiate out as Jesus did…The glorious image of God resides in you. Perhaps like dull, old silver, the image has lost its luster – tarnished by neglect, sins and human frailties. Prayer polishes the soul ”and “causes your soul to surface splendidly on your face as a radiant smile. Your transformation into the glorious Christ need not be delayed…. Simply begin today to speak and act as he did”
May the light of Jesus loving concern shine from each of us in our prayers and acts of kindness. This Friday is First Friday a traditional day of prayer for the sick. I would like to invite each of us to take time to pray for the sick, their families and those caring for their medical and emotional needs.
I saw a statement that went somewhat like this: Our grandparents made extreme sacrifices, even gave their lives, to save our country and the world in WWII. We are asked to stay home. We can do this.
Make this week Holy with prayer, Bible reading and acts of kindness
(Liturgies can be viewed on line at dioceseofcleveland.org or the site of your choice)
Saturday, Apr. 4 palms will be available by 4:00 on a table outside the front church doors
(Remember social distancing and to use hand sanitizer when entering or exiting the church)
Palm Sunday (read Matthew 21:1-11) the church will be open by 8:00 for personal prayer. Palms may be picked up either outside the front doors or inside by the choir. White Easter season books and additional pandemic prayer cards will also be available.
(alms this month to feed the hungry are pasta, you can drop some off when church is open)
Monday through Thursday the church side door by the rectory will be open from 10-2
Consider coming to church sometime as a personal or family pilgrimage to pray. (If it is a nice day there are nine acres your children can run on and ride on the back parking lot or a picnic in the pavilion – maintaining social distancing)
Holy Thursday – Read Matthew 26:26-30 and enjoy a special meal. Jesus washed the feet of his apostles as a sign of humble service. Do an unexpected act of kindness for someone.
Good Friday – church will be open from 10-6:00 consider
- Visiting church to pray and give thanks
- Pray Stations on your own or as a family (booklets will be available or use your own words)
- Pray the rosary
- Reading and reflecting on the Lord’s Passion from one of the Gospels
Easter – Rejoice and Be Glad the risen Lord is with you always! Celebrate, pray and give thanks, contact family and friends especially those who are alone.
In the words of Pope Francis as we confront the current crisis and prepare to celebrate Easter:
“The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to those hours when everything seems to be floundering. The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith. We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and living by our side….Do not be afraid (Mt. 28:5). And we, together with Peter, cast all our anxieties onto him, for he cares about us (1Peter 5:7)
I received an e-mail today and it said the Spanish word for Lent is cuarentena which is equivalent to quarantine. During Lent we seek to quarantine ourselves from sin and selfishness so as to emerge healthier. More truly instruments of God’s peace and channels of his love.
May you all experience peace, hope and joy in this most holy season. You are in my prayers and heart as we await the day we can rise from our homes and live a fuller life.
+ Peace & Love +
March 26, 2020 From Father Bob-Reflection and Papal Blessing
Thus said the Lord God, the Holy one of Israel:
By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies.Yet the Lord is waiting to show you favor, and He rises to pity you; for the Lord is a God of justice
Below is the blessing that concluded today’s Mass which I offered for you:
O God, protector of all who hope in you, bless your people, keep them safe, defend them, prepare them, that free form sin and safe from the enemy they may persevere always in your love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
PAPAL BLESSING TO THE WORLD
Friday, March 27 at 1pm, Pope Francis will conduct a prayer service at St. Peter’s. For all those taking part on any form of media, he will give the traditional Papal Blessing and a Plenary indulgence.
March 24, 2020
Tomorrow, March 25th, is the Feast of the Annunciation.
Pope Francis has invited all people to pray the Our Father together at noon local time as we confront this pandemic, so the Lord might hear all Christians united in prayer.
As we are all united in the pandemic, may we all be united in prayer, Pope Francis urges.
Laetare (rejoice) Sunday 3-22-20
- God’s love
- Family & Friends
- The beauty of Spring
- Treasured memories
- Hope for the future
- Read Romans 12:12 and Philippines 4:4-7
The current crisis may be compared to a retreat. It makes us aware of the many things we take for granted but that we should be truly thankful for.
God bless you with
Health & Happiness
March 19, 2020
First of all know that you are in my heart, my daily prayers and the private Mass I offer each day. It is important we all do what we can to keep ourselves, our families and our neighbors safe.
Today (3/19) is the feast of St. Joseph. He and the Holy Family experienced many trials and joys as we all do. God brought them safely through and will do the same for us. We need to maintain our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. I want to share some information with you and remind you that more can be found on our parish website and Facebook page.
Caring for the sick is an important ministry of the Church. Home visits are not recommended unless there is a pastoral necessity. This is especially true if someone is dying. Clergy are allowed to visit to administer Last Rites. If someone is having problems, please let me know so I can call them.
If someone needs food picked up and delivered we have volunteers who will leave it on the doorstep. With many people being laid off, our St. Vincent de Paul Society and local food banks are facing increasing requests for help. If you are able it would be a great kindness to contribute to those organizations.
If you or someone you know has been laid off benefits can be applied for at benefits.ohio.gov.
Spiritual health is a source of hope and support especially in time of crisis. I encourage you to view Mass and make a spiritual communion by inviting Jesus into your heart and life. Information can be found on our website princeofpeaceparish.org and at dioceseofcleveland.org. Also set up a prayer location in your home for the family and each individual to pray for those you are concerned about and your own peace and safety.
Finally, I would like to share with you a prayer entitled “My name is I Am”
I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly my Lord was speaking. “My name is I Am”. He paused, I waited, He continued. “When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not, I Was. When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. My name is not, I Will Be” When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here My name is, I AM.”
Jesus told us He is with us always and St. Paul reminds us that nothing can separate us from Christ’s love.
Let us pray, trust, hope and love one another looking forward to the day we will see each other and enjoy being together again