I submitted this column to the bulletin-printing company before knowing what our Governor will say about a decision on his executive order “Stay-at-home, Stay Healthy” expired on Monday, May 4. But, it is clear that what we once thought was a very temporary situation, is actually, going to be longer and have lasting impacts on our “normal way of life”. While we must embrace this reality, we need to help everyone embrace it as well. Out of love for the vulnerable and for the common good of all, we must do our part to slow the spread of the virus, and, we must do so in way that ensures we care for the spiritual needs of all people.
Planning for the future and the eventual return to small and big group gatherings, with the help of the Archdiocesan Coronavirus Taskforce that has been meeting regularly to stay informed about the pandemic and the latest guidance from public health departments, our own Governor, the Vatican and other experts. Based on this information, the Archdiocesan Taskforce has written the recommended guidance for parishes. While this has been extremely helpful, the Archdiocese at this time will further develop four taskforces to ensure that we are thinking through all the nuances that impact our ministries:
Parish Ministry (Pastoral, Sacramental, Evangelical, Catechetical, and Administrative) Catholic Schools, Parish Outreach and Charitable Works and Chancery Operations
The following two areas are most related to our parish functions at this time:
The Parish Ministry Taskforce is comprised of 14 members from across the archdiocese and three auditors from Yakima, Portland and the Thomas Institute in Washington, DC. Focused specifically on sacramental life, evangelization, prayer and spirituality, discipleship, catechesis, administration, and other similar parish ministries, this taskforce will discuss the “new normal” we are in and how we can continue to achieve the mission of the church with new methods and in varied contexts. This team will create the guidance for parish leadership about how and when parishes can safely start to re-open.
Parish Outreach and Charitable Works
The Outreach and Charitable Works taskforce will review the nuances related to many of our parish outreach ministries including: Saint Vincent de Paul ministries, food banks, soup kitchens, shelters, emergency assistance, immigrant and refugee assistance, grief ministry and more...
Their first meeting focused on key questions including, “What are the needs of parishioners right now?” “What will parish ministry look like going forward?” and “What structures or processes need to remain and what needs to change moving forward?”
This team will develop the guidance around these ministries for our parishes now and in the future.
- This Sunday, May 3, is the “World Day of Prayer for Vocations”, the Annual Catholic Appeal Campaign 2020 supports the formation of candidates for priesthood in the Archdiocese.
- Transitional Diaconate Ordinations: Due to the uncertainty of public gathering, there’s no announcement of dates yet.
- Priesthood Ordination: It’s originally scheduled for Saturday, June 13 at St. James Cathedral. We have to wait to see if it’s going to happen!!!
Also, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in order to provide the best pastoral care for the people of God as well as support for their pastoral leaders, and, after consulting with the Presbyteral Council, Archbishop Etienne decided to postpone most new assignments for this year to provide the greatest amount of stability possible for parishes following the coronavirus crisis.
- Anticipating the beginning of the month of May, Prince of Peace Parish will have a simple ritual of “Crowing of Mary” before Mass on May 3rd at the new Marian Garden in front of the Church building. Gabriel Parish also had a similar ritual of “Crowning of Mary” on Friday, May 1 at the Marian Garden.
As we continue into this month of May, where the Church traditionally celebrate our Blessed Mother, Mary, the Marian Groups will continue to invite us to pray together as a community before Mass the “Mysteries of the Rosary – a meditative prayer in the life of Jesus and our Blessed Mother, Mary”. May this “common prayer – the Rosary” extending to our family at home and in our own individual time the “discipline of prayer” throughout this Easter Season.
- Lastly, please remember to pray for our High School and adult prepare for Confirmation … … supposedly schedule for this week of May but still awaiting the decision to be as planned or to reschedule for later time.
Fr. Phuong Hoang