What hope we have, even in the longest night, for the light will overcome. We will not fear, for we know the sun will rise. Hallelujah is our song!

The journey continues. While there has been a little light in terms of the opening of some ‘non-essential’ businesses, we continue our exile from Mass, with no end in sight. I am frequently reminded of a line from the Psalms, “We have no one to tell us how long it will last.” (Psalm 74:9).

I am grateful for the ways the live-streamed Mass is reaching out and keeping people connected. For safety reasons, we need to include as few volunteers as possible. And that means you’ll see the same faces all the time. And mostly the same church. St. Patrick has no internet, and St. Anthony’s internet has been flaky. These kinds of extra details have consumed a lot of my time. I feel like one of those retired people who says, “I’m so busy now, I don’t know how I had time to work.” You would think with Masses and meetings and the office closed up, I’d have a lot of time. But I’m still just as busy as ever.

First Communion was supposed to be the weekend of April 25-26. Confirmation was supposed to have been May 31st. Both of those events are now on hold. Our plan is to wait until we can have at least 50 in attendance and then begin to pick dates. You’ll get at least four weeks notice. Bishop will be delegating to pastors the faculty to celebrate Confirmation, so it will happen here in your parish. The walking pilgrimage is still on for June 15-19 and registration is due May 15. Any fees are fully refundable if we have to cancel.

The walking pilgrimage has always provided me with a great way of seeing our life. Though the road be long and hard, if you just keep walking in the right direction, you are bound to get there. I know the Spirit is moving us in the right direction. Our parish and school staff have been awesome. I have heard words of encouragement from so many. We are even getting thank-you notes and some donations from non-parishioners who are tuning in each week. I am very blessed to be walking with all of you. While we certainly hope that our leaders and the experts can figure out the right answer, and soon, ultimately our hope lies in Jesus Christ. We know that he walks with us, and that God’s grace is always up for any challenge. The bigger the hills and challenges, the bigger the blessings that are waiting for us on the other side. So keep walking, and let’s keep walking together!

Peace and Easter joy,
Fr. Joel