<<First Name>>

Hello Salem,
This week people are starting to ask "when can we go back?" When can we go back to Mass? When can we go back to normal? When is our "go-back" date? And I have to admit, as much as I want to be at Mass and as much as I miss how things were Before All This... I don't want to go back.
I do want to go to Mass. I want to see my Church Friends, in person, and I want to be able to hug and smile at people. I want to have Alphas, and Betas, and meetings and worship. But I'm getting used to the idea that when we are able to do those things again, they won't look exactly like they did before. As much as I loved and miss the ways we used to do things, It's starting to look like we are being asked to think of finding new ways. I think God is asking us not to go back, but to go forward... to move into the future, as unknown as that future is to us.  
And if we're going to move forward, friends, we are going to need All Hands On Deck.
We're each going to have to make extra effort to maintain our relationships, to connect with our parishioners and to reach out to those in need.
We're each going to have to keep attending Mass intentionally, and whole-heartedly, even if from our own living rooms.
We're going to have to invest in our own faith, maybe by trying Alpha this Spring, or joining (or starting) a Beta Group, or joining in worship on Sunday nights at MQOA Sunday.
We're going to have to keep this parish going, and growing, through our prayers and financial support.   
We can't know what the future holds. But we can be co-workers with God in building the future of our parish. We can be a parish who centers our lives around the Eucharist, shares the Good News, and helps everyone find healing, in new ways that we couldn't envision Before All This. Going back is not an option... our only path is forward.  

Check out our new weekend schedule: 

Fridays 7:00 PMAdoration (streamed live, click here to pray along)
Saturdays 3-5:00 PM Drive- up Confessions/adoration (weather permitting) in the parking lot at IC
    4:00 PM Mass in English (recording) published live on Facebook (click here)
Sundays 9:30 AM Mass in English Watch Party on Facebook (click here
    10:30 AM-12:00 PM Drive-up Adoration/Confessions (weather permitting) in the parking lot at IC
    12:00 Spanish Mass (recording) published live on FB (haz clic aquí)
    6:00 MQOA Sunday on FB  Live and Zoom (click here for the zoom link).
    Meeting ID: 812 9489 0472     Password: 987003

Stay Connected with your parish: 
  • You can always find us at our website for all the information you need, and the following links.
  • “Like” our Facebook page (no Facebook account needed), for up-to-the-minute news and updates from our parish and Archdiocese. 
  • Join our Facebook Group - this does require an account, and you will be asked to follow group rules and answer a couple of simple questions to join. 
  • Volunteer on our Prayer Partner Line at our website, or email us with your offer of particular help.
  • Send your prayer requests to have a ribbon added to our Prayer Ribbon Project, at the corner of St. James church parking lot.
  • Update your membership in our database, so we can reach you more easily.
  • Thank you so much for your financial support, which makes everything we do possible. You can give online , by making a one-time, or setting up regular donations.
  • If you prefer to drop off a donation, our mailbox is secure, so you can drop off or mail your envelopes or donations at 158 Federal Street. 




There is a quote from Thomas Paine that can be applied to our present situation: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Today we might amend that to say “our souls” to be inclusive, but either way, the meaning is clear. Of course, Mr. Paine was speaking of the birth of our country and freedom from tyranny. Right now, we continue to try to be patient in the face of enormous suffering and loss, hoping that all that we have done will help us to begin to put our lives back to some semblance of normalcy.

As I write this, I hope that we are closer to heading toward a new version of normal. We can already see some vestiges of it. We are starting to feel more habituated to wearing face masks and to social distancing. We are making careful uses of public spaces. At MQOA, we have been thinking a lot about how to take care of each other when we do have a chance to return. I am very proud of our staff and the work they have been doing to keep our faith community alive, and the plans and ideas they have for the future. In the meantime, we have been reflecting on what it means to be a sacramental church in a time when we cannot have access to the sacraments as we are accustomed to experiencing. That is our question to try to solve. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus calls us “salt” and “light” (Mt 5:13-16). In these images, we are called to be “other Christs” in the world. I think now is a time for us to see how we can be more personal and communal, as Jesus was from the first time he called out to Peter and the other disciples. We are called to be in community. This is reflected in our efforts to find new ways to continue our parish mission both now while we are separated, and once we are able to gather again. The call to be salt and light is continuous.

It might be challenging to be disciples of Jesus in this way, but we are not alone, nor are we the first to do so. Our modern-day experience is very much like what the first apostles and disciples experienced. Of course, they wanted to have the resurrected Jesus with them physically, just as we long for the sacraments and the community. Like those first disciples, we were promised and have received the Holy Spirit. In fact, we can see how the Holy Spirit is working in our time.

After this is all over, I will look back in amazement to see how quickly we pivoted to be a parish that continued to live out our mission and call in the midst of the confusion, danger, and sadness that surrounded us. I will never forget that we were invited by the leadership of the Archdiocese to share with other parishes what we were doing and how we were serving the people of Salem, however imperfectly we did it. Most importantly, I will remember that God was with us and opened doors in a way that allowed us to continue the work of proclaiming the Gospel. Mostly, I will remember that people stepped forward to connect with others, that we did not fail to respond to a very difficult situation, and like the apostles and disciples of the early Church, lived in Christ even though we could not experience Jesus the way we wanted to. We were able to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to reach people in new and inspired ways.Please stay safe everyone, and we hope to see you sometime soon. 

Peace, Father Murray

Creo que Thomas Paine dijo lo que se puede aplicar a nuestra situa-ción actual "Estos son tiempos que prueban el alma del hombre". En nuestro tiempo podríamos enmendar eso para decir "nuestro" para que sea inclusivo, pero el significado es claro. Por supuesto, el Sr. Paine estaba hablando del comienzo del país y la libertad de un tipo diferente de tiranía. En este momento, seguimos tratando de ser pacientes frente a un enorme sufrimiento y pérdida, con la espe-ranza de que todo lo que hemos hecho hasta ahora nos ayude, a la humanidad en general, a empezar a retomar nuestras vidas con una apariencia de normalidad.

Mientras escribo esto estamos cerca, esperamos dirigirnos hacia una nueva versión de lo normal y ya podemos ver algunos vestigios de la misma, con máscaras faciales y distanciamiento social y un uso cuidadoso de los espacios públicos. Estoy muy orgulloso de nuestro personal. Hemos estado pensando mucho sobre cómo restau-rarnos como comunidad cuando tengamos la oportunidad de regresar.Mientras tanto, hemos estado reflexionando sobre lo que significa ser una iglesia sacramental en un momento en que no podemos tener acceso a los sacramentos del modo como estamos acostumbrados a experimentarlos. Esa es nuestra interrogante que tratamos de resolver. Entiendo que somos pan, partidos y compartidos a imagen de Cristo.

En el evangelio de Mateo, Jesús nos llama sal y luz (Mt 5: 13-16). En estas imágenes, estamos llamados a ser "otros Cristos" en el mundo y creo que ahora es un momento para que veamos cómo podemos estar más encarnados y mancomunados, de la manera que Jesús enseñó a Pedro y a los otros discípulos desde la primera vez que los llamó. Somos un pueblo llamado a estar en comunidad y esto se refleja en todos nuestros esfuerzos, ya sean virtuales, en todas las nuevas formas en que trabajamos como parroquia para continuar nuestra misión, o si nos estamos preparan-do para los sacramentos cuando finalmente comencemos nuevamente. El llamado a ser sal y luz es contínuo.Puede ser un desafío trabajar en este contexto, pero no estamos solos ni somos los primeros en hacerlo. Podemos ver que nuestra experiencia es muy similar a la que también experimentaron los primeros apóstoles y discípulos. Por supuesto, querían tener al Jesús resucitado con ellos físicamente, así como nosotros anhelamos los sacramentos y la comunidad. Sin embargo, como a esos primeros discípulos, se nos prometió y hemos recibido el Espíritu Santo y, de hecho, podemos ver cómo funcio-na el E.S. en nuestro tiempo.

Después de que todo esto termine, no dejaré de sorprenderme lo rápido que giramos para ser una parroquia que continuó viviendo nuestra misión y llamando en medio de la confusión, el peligro y la tristeza que nos rodeaba. Nunca olvidaré que los líderes de la Arquidiócesis nos invitaron a compartir con otras parroquias lo que estábamos haciendo y cómo estábamos sirviendo a la gente de Salem, por imperfecta que fuera la forma de hacerlo. Lo más importante que recordaré es que Dios estaba con nosotros y abrió las puertas de una manera que nos permitió continuar la obra de proclamar el Evangelio. Sobre todo, recordaré que las personas dieron un paso adelante para conectarse con los demás, que éramos una comunidad que intentaba responder a una situación muy difícil y que, como los apóstoles y discípulos de la iglesia primitiva, aceptá-bamos eso, aunque no podíamos experimentar a Jesús de la manera que queríamos hacerlo, pudimos usar el don del Espíritu Santo para llegar a las personas de maneras nuevas e inspiradas.

Por favor, manténganse a salvo todos y esperamos verlo

Paz, Padre Murray

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Mary, Queen of the Apostles Parish

158 Federal Street, Salem, MA. 01970

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