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The Latest from 07/10/2020


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Ice Age

 Jul 09, 2020 01:00 pm

This week our team heard the words "Digital Advent and Online Christmas" for the first time. We were being advised by a coach from the Divine Renovation network, who, referring to this article, wanted to make clear that even while we may have left the initial, emergent  phase of responding to this crisis, there is no timeline in sight for going back to the way things have been. The message is this: we are not dealing with a storm, or even a winter... but an "ice age" of change. 

We can't ignore that this pandemic changes so much of how we used to "do church." But the news is not all bad, and of course we know that no ice age, and no virus, can stop the Spirit from moving in our parish, our community. And we know that there has never been a better time to reach out to people who feel disconnected from Jesus and His Church, who long to be healed. 

We have to resist the urge to hibernate... we look for new ways to share our age-old message of the Good News that Jesus lived and died for us: for you and for me, personally. As we hear Fr. Murray say over and over, Jesus died for each of us as if we were the only person in the world. And each of us, in turn, is needed to be part of the work of sharing that truth to every one of God's children, especially those who have never heard that Good News before, or who have been wounded so much that they can't believe it. 

If you miss your ministry of serving Communion, or lectoring, or greeting at Mass, consider joining the team to welcome and serve the people who come to our parking lot Masses. Consider volunteering to call or reach out to parishioners who have not been able to come to the church grounds for Mass. Pray for our parish, her members, her leaders, and all those who have not yet learned about God's love for them. There is still so much work to be done, so many opportunities to be healers, to be welcomers. If you want to help, send us an email at info@mqoa.org and we'll connect you with opportunities to serve in whatever way you can. 

Thanks for everything you're already doing, Salem! Thanks for staying in touch with us and with each other! Thank you for your prayers and smiles! Thank you for supporting your parish financially, which makes everything we do, possible. We love you! 

-Margo

 

 
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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Jul 08, 2020 10:21 am

A MESSAGE FROM FR. MURRAY

We are now solidly into summer, and we’re still finding our way through this virus and the ways it is affecting us all. I hope you are finding some time to rest and be refreshed from the labors of the year. This summer, I especially pray for parents and all those who were suddenly cast into part-time work as at-home teachers and caretakers. From the stories I’ve heard, it appears that we will emerge from this time with a better appreciation for the work that teachers and school professionals do. I remember reading a post on a website that featured a response from a teacher to a businessman who had called her a “mere teacher.” As she listed all the things she did, you could feel this “important” executive shrinking in his seat. Jesus the great Teacher, I suspect, was as proud of her that day as on any day she taught her students.

After a lot of prayer and consultation with the Archdiocese, and with the prospect of not having large indoor (or outdoor) gatherings for a long time, I have decided to end bingo at our parish. Although we will miss the financial help from this popular fundraiser, Andrea, our business manager, and our finance council have done a good job of getting ready for the future without it. I am so grateful to Betty Richard, who, as many of you know, was the primary volunteer for organizing the bingo event for many years. I know that many volunteers over the years have sacrificed many hours to bring success to this event. Together with Sheri Conte, they have been doing the work involved in officially closing bingo. I understand there was a “progressive” game being played, and fortunately, the state Lottery Commission in charge of gaming and bingo has allowed us to transfer the “progressive” funds to another nearby bingo, so those who have played into the game still have a chance to win. We do that with the hope that as players transfer, so will their luck. I hope this will happen soon enough for the bingo players, but I am reluctant to say when bingo groups will be able to gather again. Again, I am so grateful to all who were a part of organizing this event for so many years.

I write this as I am just returning from the 8:00 AM Mass at St. James. We had good attendance, and people seemed pleased to be there at an earlier time. We are working toward being able to have Mass indoors, but with reports from around the country and locally of churches opening —and then having to close again—due to COVID-19 exposure to the priests or the staff, we are taking advantage of the weather outdoors. Meanwhile, we are working at cleaning, repairing, and preparing everything in our buildings for the day when we go indoors. The leadership of the Archdiocese is encouraging us to go slowly, and so I will take their instruction and try to do the best we can.

So far, we have had one funeral Mass indoors, and we will have two memorial Masses this week. The number of people we will permit at these Masses will not be more than 40. For weddings, we have welcomed several very small groups (10-15), and this has worked well. We will do the same with baptisms. Eventually, we will find a way to safely invite all back. Please continue to pray for the parish, that through the intercession of Mary and St. James we will be safe.

Peace, Fr. Murray


UN MENSAJE DEL PADRE MURRAY

Ahora estamos sólidamente en nuestros meses de verano y todavía buscamos nuestro camino a través de este virus y todo lo que nos está haciendo a nosotros y a quienes nos rodean. Espero que muchos puedan encontrar tiempo para descansar y refrescarse de las labores del año. Este verano, rezo especialmente por los padres y todos aquellos que de repente se dedicaron a trabajar a tiempo parcial como maestros y cuidadores en el hogar. Según las historias que escuché, parece que tenemos que apreciar más el trabajo que hacen las personas en estas nobles profesiones. Recuerdo haber leído una publicación en un sitio web que presentaba una respuesta a un hombre de negocios de un "simple maestro". Mientras ella enumeraba todas las cosas que hacía, podía sentir a este importante ejecutivo encogiéndose en su asiento. Yo sospecho que Jesús, el gran maestro, estaba tan orgulloso de ella ese día como cualquier otro día que ella le enseñaba a sus otros estudiantes.

Después de muchas oraciones y consultas con la Arquidiócesis, y con la perspectiva de no tener grandes reuniones en el interior (o al aire libre) durante mucho tiempo, he decidido terminar el Bingo en nuestra parroquia. Aunque echaremos de menos los ingresos, Andrea y el consejo de finanzas han hecho un buen trabajo preparándose para el futuro sin ellos.

Estoy muy agradecido con Betty Richards, a quien muchos conocen como la voluntaria principal de esta organización y esfuerzo durante muchos años. También sé que muchos voluntarios a lo largo de los años han sacrificado muchas horas para tener éxito en este evento. En este momento no tiene sentido pensar en un futuro con Bingo. Hasta que haya una vacuna generalizada y aplicada, no tiene sentido tener grupos de personas muchos de los cuales están en la edad de población más vulnerable, tanto voluntarios como jugadores para reunirse en el salón de la iglesia. He sido informado de que se ha estado jugando un "progresivo" y esto plantea algunos problemas sobre cómo terminarlo. Afortunadamente, la Comisión de Lotería, a cargo de los juegos y el Bingo en el estado, nos permite transferir el "progresivo" a otro Bingo cercano y así lo haremos con la esperanza de que a medida que los jugadores se transfieran, también lo hará su suerte. Espero que esto suceda pronto para los jugadores de bingo, pero como no tengo una fecha cierta, no me atrevo a decir cuándo podría suceder. Nuevamente, estoy muy agradecido con todos los que formaron parte de esta organización durante tantos años.

Mientras escribo esta última sección, acabo de regresar de misa en San Santiago (St. James) a las 8:00 a.m. Había una buena multitud y la gente parecía contenta de estar allí antes del horario usual. Estamos trabajando para hacer las misas adentro, pero con los informes de todo el país en las misas y las iglesias locales que abrieron y luego cerraron debido a la exposición de Covid a los sacerdotes o al personal, estamos aprovechando el clima al aire libre. En el interior, estamos trabajando para limpiar, reparar y preparar todo para los días en que estaremos adentro. Los líderes de la Arquidiócesis nos están alentando a ir despacio, así que seguiré sus instrucciones e intentaré hacer lo mejor que podamos. Hasta ahora hemos tenido una misa de funeral en el interior y esta semana tendremos dos misas conmemorativas. El número de personas que permitiremos en estas circunstancias no será más de 40. Para las bodas, hemos dado la bienvenida a varios grupos muy pequeños (1015) y esto ha funcionado bien. Haremos lo mismo con los bautismos y, eventualmente, encontraremos una manera de invitar a todos de manera segura.

Por favor continúen orando por la parroquia, para que por la intercesión de la Virgen María y San Santiago estemos a salvo.

Paz, Padre Murray

 
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158 Federal Street, Salem, MA. 01970

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