A special message – Fr. Sibby
“Blessings and Joy; and May the peace and love of Jesus Christ be with you always”
My dear Parish Family, crisis and pandemic are words we hear and read about daily in relationship to the coronavirus epidemic that has affected our church, school, parish community, diocese and the world. It has caused great stress and anxiety to many and affected countless lives and families in regards to their health as well as employment, education, church practice and so much more. We all have to band together, listen to our leadership in government and the medical fields and do all possible to stop the spread and growth of this virus.
This week has not been easy at St. Amelia. Our School is teaching via technology and the internet, masses and prayer experiences are being “livestreamed” as our only means of sharing our faith; we opened our school as a location to run a government free luncheon program Monday thru Friday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm to feed the poor and needy children of our community. Our St. Vincent de Paul ministry is also working to support those in need. As we hear all of this, we realize there are many needs which demand a response from everyone to do their part so we can continue to minister and care for one another in our community
So, what am I asking you to do? Continue to keep the faith and look out for one another. I know all of this is frustrating especially not being able to come to Church and participate in the celebration of the Eucharist and receive Holy Communion. I invite everyone to follow the regular St. Amelia Mass schedule Monday through Sunday and watch the celebration of the Eucharist via “Live Stream.” (www.stamelia.com) At these celebrations, Father Peter and I will offer for you watching a “spiritual communion” so that Christ may come spiritually into your hearts.
I understand what you are experiencing at this time. I feel your pain as you wonder about employment and being able to provide for your family’s needs. I understand your concern about your children’s education with schools temporarily closed. I hear your agony due to your inability to share in the Liturgy and receive the Eucharist due to the cessation of public mass for your safety. This time in our history has become our Lent – our Good Friday – as we carry the cross with each other and rise to healing and a new beginning.
These instances, these struggles, Father Peter and I experience with you as well, and want to let you know that now more than ever we need your continued generosity as we work to keep our parish functioning in the midst of this. Sadly, we are dealing with dire budget concerns right now due to the loss of fundraising and bingo as well as a lack of offertory income that allows us to pay our bills and staff members. I want to share with you what these weekly losses in real numbers look like as they influence our budget: offertory collection – $18,000, bingo receipts – $5,000. This interrupts our entire St. Amelia Family from being able to provided needed ministry, education for our children on all levels, payroll for our parish staff and an ability to care for our facilities.
St. Amelia Parishioners have always risen to the occasion and responded generously. This crisis in our church is time for ALL of us to step up and do our part. I am asking everyone to please mail in their weekly or monthly offertory contributions so that the ministry of St. Amelia may continue. If it is more convenient at this time to begin using “EFT Giving”, we have enclosed the forms for you to begin giving in this manner. All I can ask as pastor is for everyone to do what they can and give so as to make the ongoing essential ministries of St. Amelia possible. This will not be easy but united together we can come away strengthened and renewed as a church, school and people of God.
We thank those parishioners who have already responded by mailing their offertory giving to us despite their inability to be here physically. It is so heartwarming when we receive mail from you, as it keeps us going and is the support that we need even as we work to cut costs wherever possible during this difficult time. We recognize that many of you are dealing with reduction or loss of income during these difficult times, and our thoughts are with you. We simply encourage everyone to do what you can
We have also received e mails from some of you commenting on how much it means to be able to watch mass and other prayer times that our being livestreamed. Please know that Father Peter and I as well as our ministerial staff can still be contacted through phone calls or email to hear from you and know of ways in which we can continue to support you.
I want you to be assured of my prayers for you as together we lean into our faith, and conqueror this crisis through prayer, service and love for our brothers and sisters. May God Bless you all.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Rev. Sebastian C. Pierro