My Dear Parishioners,
Lord, have mercy! “The prayers seem not to be answered or God doesn’t seem to be listening!” someone wrote me. Fear of the unknown, fear of contracting a possibly deadly disease or fear of becoming the one infected by showing no signs and then spreading it to others, causes our hearts to tremble and make statements like the one above. However, God does hear and always answer our prayers – but always in HIS time and in HIS way which are, of course, always the best of ways.
Unprecedented times indeed – closed churches, Holy Week services only allowed to be prayed privately, schools closed until ??? and the list goes on of businesses that cannot be open and life cannot run ‘as usual’… times like this can certainly be opportunities for growth – family togetherness, growth in our prayer life and building our relationship with Christ as well as looking at our own priorities in this life and how they will help get to eternal life. Christians have survived similar situations in the past and we will survive this one as well.
For every church and pastor out in this world you will find as many different ways in which we priests deal with this situation. In many ways, we are limited in what we can do either by our Bishop or our local/state government…so, with our individual gifts and talents, we do our best. One thing we as priests can do, is pray, and we are pretty good at that, and even more so in praying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…those prayers and intentions for you and your family and for your intentions are not falling on deaf ears – our Heavenly Father hears them all, and as I said, answers them all according to His most Holy will. This is why we, the Church Universal, are blessed to have places that have the capacity to live-stream in beautiful (and often times with Catechetical explanations) what goes on during these special, beautiful liturgies, especially during Holy Week from the Vatican in Rome. Yes, I know you want to be in the pews here at St. Teresa’s but that isn’t possible this year.
Easter Sunday will be very different…one thing you won’t have to worry about this year is someone sitting in your spot in church! The gathering area of the church will be open from 9am to 1pm for you to come by and pick up a bottle filled with Holy Water (filled from the Vigil service the night before) for each family, only take ONE per family. Please, remember your fellow parishioners and only take ONE for YOUR home.
I encourage you to connect to the bigger church during these times through social media by uniting our prayers with our Universal Church in Savannah with our Bishop or in Rome with our Pope as these Masses and Services can be deeply spiritual for all of us.
As a reminder, the Tabernacle from the chapel is now located in the ‘bell tower’ window where you can drive up, spend a few moments in prayer in front of the church in your car and then return home. Our church cannot be unlocked even for private, individual prayer until further notice… I hate to even type those words! The church office also remains closed, but emails and phone messages may be left and someone will get back to you.
May God continue to be with you, comfort you, keep you safe and protect you and most of all, give you patience during these times! “Jesus, I trust in You!” ~ “Be not afraid!”
Very Rev. Raymond G. Levreault, V.F. Pastor