Coronavirus Updates

Pastor's Letter - 05/03/2020

Dear friends,

As I write this letter, we are preparing to begin individual confessions again this weekend—by appointment, and with some safety precautions being taken—to welcome you back to mercy of Christ, the Good Shepherd, the one who knows how to rescue his straying sheep and carry them home on his shoulders.

At the same time, we have received news that the Catholic bishops of Ohio have decided on May 30/31, the Solemnity of Pentecost, as the target date to resume the celebration of public Masses, though with added safety precautions. See the letter from Bishop Brennan in this bulletin. While this will mean a few additional weeks of waiting after the originally hoped-for reopening on the weekend of May 10, you will have the opportunity to go to confession, and from Bishop Brennan's letter, it looks possible that at least some churches may be open in the coming weeks for visits to pray in the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

The readings this Sunday present the Divine Shepherd, who has come that we might have life, and life abundant. To bring us to this abundance, he leads us through shadowy valleys of fear, giving us the courage to follow one who has already passed victorious through the darkest valley of all.

This Sunday, even though we cannot yet celebrate Mass publicly, is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and so today would be an excellent day to pray for our young people who are discerning their calling from God, that they would listen with courage, and boldly follow the Shepherd who alone can bring abundant life to them and through them.

St. Patrick, our patron, was a shepherd even as a young man during his time of slavery, and later was called by the Church to be a spiritual shepherd, a bishop, and a missionary evangelist to Ireland. Let us ask St. Patrick also to pray for us and for the young people of our parish, especially that those who are being called to the diocesan priesthood or to the consecrated life of a religious sister, nun, brother, or priest, will have the courage to find and give this abundant life to others, as have so many young people at our parish, even in recent years.

Please also pray for our seminarians and religious sisters still in formation. Deacon Seth Keller, a son of our parish, will be ordained to the priesthood on June 13 for our Diocese of Columbus. We look forward to the day when he can celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Patrick. Please pray for Deacon Seth as he prepares for his ordination to the priesthood, that he will be a shepherd after the heart of Christ.

I would also encourage you to read the wonderful letter of Pope Francis, included in this bulletin, for the 2020 World Day of Vocations. I find the image of Christ, walking on the water during a storm to the aid of his fearful disciples being tossed about in their boat, to be a powerful image for meditation especially during the upheavals of this time of pandemic. Christ never abandons us. Let us welcome him into our storm-tossed boat, and ask of him the peace, mercy, and abundant life he promises.

Fr. Stephen, O.P.

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