Dear Parish Family, friends and visitors of St James,
It feels that we have been invited into the desert this Lent as we journey with each other through this pandemic. As your pastors, Fr Silvio, Dcn Royden and I have continued to remember you all, particularly at Sunday Mass which we celebrate privately, remembering your needs and intentions. We will continue to respond to urgent calls in critical circumstances.
These are unprecedented and uncertain times, but not a time for irrational panic or paralysing fear, just a time to take sensible precautions to isolate ourselves from others following the recommendations of the health professionals advising the government and the church, of which you and I constitute the vast majority of the people of God.
Pope Francis in his recent meditation on the 27th of March shared “Thick darkness has gathered over our cities and streets; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by. We feel it in the air, we notice it in people’s gestures, their glances give them away.”
The Pope continued “We find ourselves afraid and lost, however the pandemic storm has made most people realise that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disorientated, and it has shown how each person has a contribution to make, at least in comforting each other.”
Pope Francis reminded us that the Holy Spirit can use the pandemic to redeem, value and demonstrate how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people – often forgotten people – who do not appear in newspapers and magazine headlines but are serving others and making life possible during the pandemic.
The Pope listed “Doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, care givers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves.” I see this demonstrated in our own Parish community through our Parish Staff, St James St Vincent de Paul Conference, young people and other Parishioners inquiring how they can be of assistance, the RCIA Team, those who prepared the recorded liturgies and environment, the community’s care and concern for Fr Silvio and I, the many people praying and interceding for the good of all, and the many volunteers that are assisting to reach out to those in need following the new directives of Stage 3 the best way they can.
For grandparents, I appreciate it is a difficult time for you all, because the recommendations are to keep isolated from your lovely grandchildren, for your sakes and for theirs as well. I do have friends who have said they find this painfully difficult, but at the same time they’ve never received so much attention and communication from their own children and grandchildren. Social media certainly has its benefits if put to proper use.
Let’s continue to keep each other in our prayers and thoughts and try to be positive despite the undeniable anxiety we feel.
Warmest wishes to you all, and your families and friends. We can still keep in touch at a distance.
God bless you, go gently and safely,
Fr Jude Pirotta mssp
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