Whenever it snows early in October, for the avid skiers to ski before Thanksgiving is a big deal! You see the smiles everywhere. Every ski day before Thanksgiving is gravy!” It is considered pure bonus, unearned and unexpected, to ski for a month before “it should start snowing.”
Every day in my beautiful parish, and in all catholic churches in the union, worshipping freely with a devout and joyful community, is gravy. I didn’t expect to be a free man this long, and I can’t expect it to last indefinitely. A dear priest shared this experience with me, few days ago: The day after the electoral votes were confirmed, an agent from a city in California called the parish office, of his church, asking him, “Are you aware of the city regulations on worship services?”. He said he was. “Are you aware that only one person at a time is permitted in churches?” The pastor thought about his 500-seat church, and he thought about the retail store he had been in earlier that day with hundreds of people. “Yes, we are aware of that and have signage accordingly,” he replied.
Perhaps our churches will be permitted to remain open, but why should we count on freedom to worship in America when our Christian brethren in Hong Kong have already lost theirs? Christianity, and other religions, have been persecuted by populist movements and reigning governments for millennia. And do we think we will die peacefully in our beds? Perhaps we will, and we must pray for a peaceful social order. But we cannot demand it, and every day we are permitted to worship freely is gravy.
The freedom to praise God in joyful community does not last indefinitely in any human society, but it will be perfectly restored in the life of the world to come. We must treasure every day that God gives us life and breath to praise him, looking forward to a place untainted by even the shadow of change.
Due to the cancelation of the summer and fall festivals, and other events, the finances of the parish are much lower than before and your support is greatly needed and appreciated. Please mail in your offering envelopes to the church or donate online. Online donations, no matter how small, on a weekly basis allow us to have steady revenues to keep our doors open. This will secure the continuation of our mission and of our work in the parish. We offer our gratitude to all the generous people who have mailed in their offerings or donate online to support our parish.
May our loving Lord reward you one hundred fold.