My Dearest Parishioners,
It is not a secret that our Churches have been closed in an attempt to protect us from the pandemic affecting our world. It is also not a secret that our lives have changed drastically within days and we no longer enjoy the things we used to do. It almost seems as if time has stopped.
While we are not yet able to fully understand why this is happening, something we may be able to recognize is that this change of pace has allowed us to reevaluate our everyday lives. Perhaps this “standstill” has allowed us to notice that we were going too fast, trying to get ahead of everything, desiring God’s love, but never fully pondering on this love. This change has reminded us of the importance of stopping to recognize God’s presence. He is with us and wants to be with us in our homes, right now, every day.
Perhaps we are finding it hard to trust in God right now, or perhaps even finding it difficult to pray. We are longing to receive the sacraments, and as much as it can be frustrating not to be able to, let us not forget that we have been indelibly marked with the sacrament of baptism, by which we come to be part of the Church. We are a living piece of this Church and although we may not be able to visit a physical church, it can transcend into our homes through each one of us. Pope John Paul II referred to it as the domestic church, the place where we first encounter love “in such a way that in its own way is a living image and historical representation of the mystery of the Church” (Familiaris Consortio, #49).
Rest assured that God is working within our family right now, whether we recognize it or not. God is present during our daily activities such as morning breakfast, while home-schooling or even video-conferencing with a friend or co-worker. He is especially present when we open ourselves to His grace, through participating in the Mass from home or praying the rosary for all those affected by COVID-19. Despite the tragedy that we are living, if we open our hearts to Him during this time, He will enter. As we read in Matthew’s Gospel “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
Even though we cannot attend Mass as a parish family during this most holy season, we can celebrate it spiritually. Please check the schedule of Masses, Holy Hour of Adoration, the Rosary, Stations of the Cross and Chaplet of Divine Mercy that are available to you via live streaming. You can join me there either on our website https://www.holyspiritchurchjax.org or Facebook: @HolySpiritJax. There is much more information on our website where you can also see the current bulletin.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all who continue to send in their envelopes and those who use our online giving. Please continue to support your parish in these trying times. If you haven’t signed up for online giving, you may do so at this website: https://giving.parishsoft.com/app/giving/holy1166175
I want to assure you that you are in my prayers and all your intentions are included at the Masses which I celebrate daily.
Fr. Amar Nagothu, MSFS
Let us continue to pray and ask God to embrace us and protect us.