Date: Sunday, June 14, 2020
Today is the feast of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. On Corpus Christi we commemorate the mystery of Jesus, Body and Blood, present in the Blessed Sacrament. We are nourished with the Bread of Angels, the very life of Christ, in Holy Communion. For so many in our parish there has been a longing to come to Mass, to celebrate the Eucharist, to receive Jesus in Holy Communion. Fittingly this weekend it is possible to do so. Our Governor has announced that the Houses of Worship can open at 25% capacity. Bishop Scharfenberger, our Apostolic Administrator, has given churches permission to offer public Masses with the condition that we maintain the safety protocols detailed in the Diocesan Guidelines.
Following Diocesan directives and adapting them to our parish, we have prepared a “Parish Playbook”. There was an informational meeting on Friday for ushers, greeters, lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, and deacons on Friday. We all must learn and adjust to the new cautionary procedures that are necessary and now in place during the pandemic. We can imagine how important this will be as it pertains to welcoming parishioners, wearing masks, and social distancing. Parishioners themselves will receive guidance at Mass for seating, for processing to and receiving Holy Communion, and for leaving at the end of Mass. Ushers will not be taking up of the collection. Parishioners will be invited to place their offertory contributions in the basket by the Tabernacle, or apart from Mass, in the metal drop box next to the Parish Office door or to give online. We encourage online giving. It is safe and relatively easy to do. You have been so faithful supporting our church when we had no public Masses. We are grateful and trust that you will continue to give intentionally.
The coronavirus is not going away. Risks remain. Our reopening must be done in a thoughtful way to ensure as best we can the safety of parishioners and guests who come to Mass and of all who serve as Ministers Hospitality, Word, and Sacrament. We will continue to record and upload Sunday Masses for those unable to attend on our webpage: annunciation.cc, on YouTube Annunciation325 and on Facebook Church of the Annunciation, Elma. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in place. A suggestion from Sally. Since Catholics are not obliged to attend Sunday Mass, they can choose to come to a 9:00 AM weekday Mass especially if they are uncomfortable being with a larger public gathering on the weekend.
Corpus Christi or Body of Christ expresses our faith in the true presence of Jesus in Holy Communion. Body of Christ is who we are as a community. St. Paul writes to the Corinthians (Second Reading): “The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” During this unsettled time we are mindful of so many people: the sick, caregivers, providers, first responders, police, the unemployed, those struggling for racial justice and fairness, those who have been abused sexually, mentally, and physically, and all who bring healing and hope. The Body of Christ is the abiding presence of Jesus in the world; the nourishment that we receive for the task at hand; and the taste of the Kingdom of Heaven.