Dear Saint Clement Parish family, March 17, 2020
Greetings and peace in Christ, the Only Savior of the world. During this national crisis and these challenging times, let us pray to renew our faith in God and our trust in His Divine providence, for He will see us through this time as we cooperate with His grace. Let us pray for courage and calm, for the health of all of God’s people and for a morally responsible cure and vaccine to end the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We pray for those who are ill, for health-care workers and all who are caring for the sick, and for the repose of the souls of those who have died. Let us continue to pray for God’s guidance for our parish, diocese, community, country, government and health-care officials, first-responders and businesses, that we be more faithful, hopeful and loving disciples of Jesus Christ in our words and deeds. We will get through this time together, by God’s grace.
As many of you know, Bishop Donald Hying released a letter on March 16 suspending the public celebration of the Holy Mass through April 3. A copy of the letter is available in the entrance of church and on-line at madisondiocese.org/updates. We have also posted a link on our church and school Facebook pages. Please read the bishop’s letter and see his ongoing video announcements and messages on the madisondiocese.org website. As our school families know, our Principal Josh Jensen, faculty and staff have been working diligently to provide instructions, lessons and helps for our students while all school buildings are closed. Thank you, everyone, for being part of our parish family and for all that you do in witnessing to faith, hope and love. I thank God for being able to serve you as your priest.
Following the direction of Bishop Hying, please know that I will continue to offer Mass privately (for the intentions scheduled for each Mass), praying for our parish family, the Church, our community and the world. I will also continue to hear confessions (Fridays 6:30-7:30pm and Saturdays 4-5pm). The office is open daily. The church will be open day and night for people to come and pray. We will have baptisms, weddings and funerals, as we work with families to adhere to Church and government directives regarding limits to numbers of people. We will practice social distancing, but never spiritual distancing in our love for God and neighbor.
As we strive to keep holy the Lord’s Day, we can participate in the Holy Mass during the live broadcast of the Mass every Sunday (and every day!) at 7am on EWTN (on-line and via cable or Dish). When you watch the Mass live, you receive the graces and blessing of that Mass, as you make a spiritual communion with our Lord. There is also a pre-recorded Mass on Sundays at 6am from the Apostolate for Persons with Disabilities, on WISC-TV Channel 3. On Sundays and every day, we can read Scripture and pray a little more, incorporating such devotions as the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet. You can visit Formed.org, which our parish subscribes to, and engage in a tremendous variety of Catholic programming, including meditation on the Scriptures for Sunday (just follow the site’s prompts to sign in with your email address). For a spiritual communion, uniting ourselves spiritually with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the whole Church, we can pray:
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
As we continue our journey with God through this crisis and the Season of Lent, let us continue to pray for one another, our churches, schools, diocese, community, country, government leaders, businesses, health-care workers and first-responders. May we renew our faith and trust in Our Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart, for He is with us always (Proverbs 3:5; Matthew 28:20). Jesus, we trust in You. Mary, Mother of mercy, pray for us. Saint Joseph, pray for us. Saint Clement and Saint Raphael, pray for us.
May God bless you and your families now and always,
Fr. William Vernon
Pastor, Saint Clement Catholic Parish