June 14, 2020 – Welcome Back
For many years I have led pilgrimages to different Holy sites throughout the world, the holiest of them being the Holy Land itself (I mean Israel not Ireland as many of you might think!) and they have been memorable spiritual experiences for all who traveled. Each time I return I am humbled by how these places and experiences have been able to draw us closer to God.
In ancient Celtic spirituality, we believe that our ancestors and those who have gone before us in our faith are never far away. It is meant to be a comforting reality; that they surround us like a warm wind on a cold, winter’s night. They are thought to always be there to protect us from harm; always there to ease our anxiety; always there to encourage us in life’s struggles. We also believe that the earth holds all the elements of the divine and everything shows the glory of God.
There are certain spaces that are more significant than others. In Ireland, we call these places “thin places.” We believe that the divine comes so close to us that we can feel the breath of God right among us. Over the last few years we have experienced many thin places while on pilgrimage and these places we tried to celebrate Mass to mark the occasion with something familiar and deepen the experience for us. Those “pilgrim Masses” were some of the most meaningful Masses I have ever celebrated in my life.
What is rather ironic is that these Masses have also been the simplest with no music, no fancy preparation, just the Mass sometimes with all participants standing as we celebrate the sacredness of the moment. I realize what made them special was the pilgrims who gathered and their faith in Jesus and the community gathered.
Over the last several months with the Shelter in Place, parishioners have sacrificed their attendance for Mass every Sunday. When we switched to live-streaming our Masses, people felt great comfort as we could still gather together albeit remotely and share spiritual communion.
It is with great pleasure I announce that we will begin daily Masses at the parish on Monday, June 15. There are strict conditions to us being allowed celebrate Mass. We are limited to only 25 people and we must be outdoor. We are calling these Pilgrim Masses as we will be gathering in a similar fashion as we do when we are on pilgrimage. The Masses will take place in the middle-grade school courtyard and they will be simple with no music. Again, the faith of the people who gather is what will make these Masses special.
We understand that most people will still not be able to attend in person and thus we will continue the livestream Mass at 8:30am weekdays and 9:30am on Sundays on Facebook and YouTube. The Pilgrim weekday Mass will be at 9:15am and the Sunday pilgrim Masses will be 8:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am and 12:30pm. Please note you will need to sign up to attend and there are specific conditions that will be in place for all Pilgrim Masses. Please select this link to learn about these conditions and how to RSVP.
We eagerly look forward to fully gathering again for a full church for Sunday. But until then we will pilgrim together as best we can. It will be very good to see you again if only a few at a time!