Coronavirus Updates

Pastor's Letter - 4/5/2020

Dear friends,

In the Passion according to St. Matthew, after Jesus celebrates the Last Supper with his disciples and institutes the Eucharist, he goes with them to the Garden of Gethsemane. He took along with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be filled with sorrow and distress, saying to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me." He went forward a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will."

At that moment, Jesus reveals that he knows and bears our human suffering. He is ready to accept the Father's will, which is that he will redeem us by his blood on the cross. He asks three of his disciples to remain near him and to keep watch with him.

During the pandemic, even though so many people are temporarily separated from the sacraments of the Church, it is so important to keep watch with Jesus in prayer, and even by praying the Liturgy of the Church from afar by watching online or through other media. St. Matthew names some of the women watching his crucifixion from afar, including Mary Magdalene, who had been set free from seven demons, and the mother of James and John, who had asked for the seats at the right and left hand of Jesus, and had agreed to drink the cup that he was to drink. He is no stranger to our suffering. He is no stranger to facing death. He is no stranger to feeling the desolation of being abandoned. And yet Jesus is never completely abandoned: there are always those good-hearted yet imperfect disciples who keep watch with him, and remain with him.

Nearby you will find our full Holy Week schedule of live-streamed (and also recorded for later viewing) liturgies. We will be broadcasting most of the liturgies from St. Patrick church, so that at least from afar you can keep watch with Christ in the place where you have so often come to hear and receive him, and where we all hope you can return as soon as possible. Also nearby you will find a schedule of Holy Week liturgies and devotions from St. Joseph Cathedral that will be broadcast on St. Gabriel Radio AM 820 and also live-streamed on the DIocese's website, including a special Diocese-wide Lenten Retreat from St. Joseph Cathedral by Fr. Michael Kelly, Director of Spiritual Formation at the Pontifical College Josephinum, reflecting on the following topics:

  • Monday, April 6 – Our Response to This Particular Holy Week
  • Tuesday, April 7 -- The Evil that Challenged the Last Supper
  • Wednesday, April 8 -- The Blessed Virgin Mary Guiding Us Through Holy Week

This retreat broadcasts each day at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on St. Gabriel Radio, 820 AM, Columbus. It will also be live-streamed at the Diocesan Facebook page, and the Diocesan YouTube Channel.

Jesus welcomes you, invites you to remain with him, to keep watch with him, as well as you can during this strange Holy Week. In our closeness to his heart, we will find life, and peace. Earlier in St. Matthew's Gospel, Jesus says: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (11:28-29). His yoke, his burden, is not easy or light for him during his Passion, but when we share it with him, when we keep watch with him and remain with him, his heart makes our own burdens lighter, and we can find peace washing over our souls.

So, this Holy Week, bring your burdens to Jesus, rest upon his heart, and allow his great but gentle strength to lift them and make them lighter.

I would like to repeat what I wrote last week about Confession.

One of the most difficult sufferings during the pandemic for many Catholics is the temporary separation from the Eucharist and Confession. Confession is such an important part of our ministry at St. Patrick, and yet, in conversation with the Diocese, at least during the "Stay at home" order in Ohio, it is likely that your only option will be to make a good act of contrition. The Holy See, through the Apostolic Penitentiary, reminds us that in conditions like this, perfect contrition obtains the forgiveness even of serious sins:

"Where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the penitent is at present able to express) and accompanied by votum confessionis, that is, by the firm resolution to have recourse, as soon as possible, to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. CCC, no. 1452)."

Perfect contrition requires

  • the love of God
  • the sincere desire for forgiveness
  • the ardent commitment to receive the sacrament of reconciliation when available

The Diocese would like to make the Sacrament of Confession available again as soon as possible, and would like to plan for the time when this time comes. We Dominican priests will be glad to be part of that "rolling away of the stone" as soon as this is possible. In the meantime, thank you for your patience and understanding, and I hope that your temporary separation from the Eucharist, Confession, your fellow parishioners, and our beautiful St. Patrick church, will make you ever more hungry and thirsty for these great channels of grace when they are opened again.

We have received word from the Diocese that our parish Confirmation Mass, previously scheduled for April 27, will have to be postponed. We will give you an updated date as soon as we have it, though the course of the pandemic and related restrictions will impact this, and are still unfolding.

If you have any questions regarding other events scheduled in the parish, feel free to call our parish office.

We will bless palms on Palm Sunday, and have plenty of them, but will need to wait to distribute them to you.

Thank you to all of you who, despite these very uncertain times financially, are continuing to support our parish offertory collection by mailing in your envelopes or by giving electronically through your bank or through our St. Patrick WeShare page. This is so important to us, especially to continue to pay our parish staff, who are so dedicated to all of you. If you need help yourself in any way, or would like to volunteer to reach out to fellow parishioners, please call our parish office. For more information on how to give online, go to WeShare Online

Your friars are praying for you, and continue to miss you. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement to us!

Fr. Stephen, O.P.

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