First, Happy Easter to all! We just completed Holy Week and Easter 2021, we averaged nearly 150 people in person at our 5 Easter Masses, and your participation by way of livestream was even more robust. Thank you for joining in our worship as you were prudently able. Progress! In 2020 we had only the livestream option available, our hope for 2022 is back to full church and several Masses in the parish Hall. Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday celebrations were powerful and well done, thanks to all who worked so hard to make this happen. Special Congratulations to our Catechumen and Candidates who was baptized and were received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. Kudos to Peggy Brinkmann and her RCIA crew, to Sue Tumminia and her liturgy committee crew. When you see Brother Dave ask him about paschal candle surgery.
In the coming weeks we will be celebrating sacramental moments for our young people. On April 17 and 24 our 90 First Communicants will be receiving the Lord for the first time; we have 2 Masses each day. Covid will require that we operate as we did last year in the later summer when we had First Communions in pandemic mode. I’m sure we will this year as we did last year, find even with the limitations, that the feel of and the encounter of the Real Presence of Christ powerfully moves and touches our young recipients. They are ready and waiting with anticipation. Our 93 confirmation candidates will receive the sacrament on May 7 and 8 and May 14 and 15, again Covid limitations will apply and I have been given permission to confer the sacrament by Archbishop Rozanski. But as I said above, last year we found that the power of the sacrament was not diminished even though fewer family members could attend. Our confirmandi are ready and willing to embrace the faith in their lives empowered by a new sharing in God’s Spirit. We are proud of both groups, and rightly so.
I am hoping this ongoing life of our parish lifts your hopes about the ongoing life of our parish! There are real signs of our eventual movement beyond the pandemic. That said we are not finished yet, and our reopening so depends on ending the spread of the virus in our community. Number one effective choice for this is vaccination. I beg you to be vaccinated (unless precluded by serious medical issues) when shots are available, and I’m hearing that vaccine for young adults and children will soon also be available. Currently the Archdiocese continues to mandate masks being worn when on the parish grounds and especially in church during the whole of Mass. Distancing and occupancy limits are still in place from St. Louis County. I as you, anticipate that as community spread is eliminated so to will these mandates be amended and eventually eliminated. Let us not squander the progress we have made. I am especially concerned about younger people. I have read recently that although most young people have only slight cases of the virus, 10 per cent of those young people infected, develop conditions that may well last a life time, some issues concerning the brain, the heart and vascular system seem the most concerning. Vaccination, careful interaction and compliance are the things we can do to minimize the spread, and so minimize the consequence of long-term negative health consequences, let us love one another by staying the course.
You have been remarkable in your care and your support of St. Catherine, I am so proud of our good parish, our good people. God Bless and stay healthy. Fr. Jim