A Message from Father William

Our parish’s Sunday bulletin, parish website, and our church and school pages (on Facebook), are wonderful resources, filled with listings of events and schedules, quotes from the saints, references to Sacred Scripture and Church Teaching, spiritual advice,and links to many inspiring Catholic sites, such as Formed.org and Catholic.com. While people may want to read the bulletin and visit our website, social media pages, and other Catholic sites, many folks probably find that they’re so overly busy they neglect such spiritual helps. “Busy-ness” is a cultural disease that affects every one of us, and can adversely affect our spiritual life, our relationship with Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Indeed, for some people, just committing to an hour each week for Mass can be a challenge. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the author of our life, the source of all true love, who loves us infinitely well and is the best friend we will ever have, speaks to us this Sunday, particularly in Matthew 11:25-30. We might hear His words echoed in the following: Come to Me, spend at least an hour with Me… come to Me in wonder, awe and reverence in the Holy Mass, where you hear Me speak to you in the Holy Scriptures and you receive Me in My substantial Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in Holy Communion… and experience My joy, peace and love.

In light of Jesus Christ’s invitation to follow and love Him, let us recall how full churches can be at Christmas, Easter, Confirmation and First Holy Communion. And, over the years, with a degree of sadness, that we might see fewer than half those children and young people at Mass. In our secularized society today, this “absentee phenomenon” in churches is not uncommon. It’s not due to the COVID-19 pandemic (there’s no scientific evidence anywhere in the world that healthy children are at any serious risk from the virus) or because of the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass during the pandemic (as those with compromised immune systems and the elderly might still need to stay at home and attend Mass via computer or television and make a spiritual Communion). Indeed, such amazing events as First Holy Communion and Confirmation are not “graduation,” but sacramental deeper walks with our Lord in His Body, the Church. We miss family and friends, don’t we? If they’re able, we would love to see them all at Mass every week – for the love of God and because we love them. As Summer begins, what can we do about it? We can always pray for them, as we do for one another, at Mass. We can invite them back, personally – give them a call or a hand-written card and ask how they’re doing and tell them that we miss them at Mass. Some folks are not at Mass because they’re sick, or have compromised immune systems, or their parents are not attending. Some are working weekends. Most, however, are simply allowing the bad habit of missing Mass to develop. The fact is that Jesus Christ wants us at Mass (3rd Commandment) because He loves us and wants us to receive His blessings and graces given in and through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

As a Roman Catholic priest, I’m to have the heart of the Good Shepherd at all times. I think of all the blessings people are missing by not keeping holy the Lord’s Day. Even though I fail to have His heart at times, I pray with the heart of the Shepherd Jesus Christ in the Gospel today (Matthew 11:25-30): “Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy, and My burden light.”

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William Vernon