Pastor's Corner 5-20-20

Pastor's Corner
May 20, 2020

Dear Parishioners,
This coming Sunday the local Church celebrates the Ascension of the Lord. It marks the end of the Risen Lord’s earthly mission. He is returning to his glory at the right hand of the Father. The Holy Spirit will be given to the Church on Pentecost, which we will celebrate a week after the Ascension, as the Sanctifier and the abiding Presence of the Triune God among us.  This source of our being “strong, loving and wise” (2 Tm 6) helps us to avoid what the angelic messengers chided the disciples for, standing around gawking into the sky after the ascension.  We have been anointed and sent to witness to the Kingdom of God among us, within us. Kingdom living is a graced and artful blend of getting out of the Holy Spirit’s way and working as though it depended on us. We have heard these days in the daily Gospel passages things like, “If you love me, follow my commands.”  Remember the summary Jesus gives, citing Old Testament passages, love God with your entire being and your neighbor as yourself!

Despite this lockdown, which has many of us homebound, we can certainly pray, stay connected with loved ones and acquaintances, continue to support the parish and charities financially, work diligently at being the merciful face of God at home. That last one gets tested by silly things all through the day, at least that is my experience!

My brother Tony has applied for a studio apartment at Mayflower Gardens. If he gets final approval upon review of his application, his move-in date will be June 7 or 8.  Our sister Cathy has purchased refundable tickets for him, his seeing-eye dog, and herself for June 10. He is coming with no furniture and things. If anyone has some furniture appropriate for a studio apartment that you would like to gift him, it would be greatly appreciated. I'’ll move it in for him on June 8 and 9.

Sadly, it seems like normalcy will not be ours for some time yet.  The parishes were notified at a Pastoral Region Zoom meeting with parish catechetical leaders, like Ms. Cassandra, that ALL catechesis, religious education, will be done by distance learning the entire 2020-2021 academic year. As an educator, I find it tragic that children and teens will be deprived the privileged relationship between catechist, which means one who echoes the faith, and seekers. It will be most challenging, but St. Junipero Serra Parish will do its utmost best to help our catechists with preparation of their online catechesis. Consumable materials will be prepared for each child for the parents to pick up once a month. We have no concrete timetable or clear methodology in mind yet. The Office of Faith Formation will be sharing that as soon as possible.

Since the university system was ordered to use distance learning for first semester, and RE has been told to go online, I have a sinking feeling about schools. Three and four-year-old children are like popcorn, hopping all over the place. They cannot be expected to join a Zoom meeting or whatever. My intuition warns me to expect the worst for our beloved Mission Bell. I hope I am wrong, but I double hope announcements are made sooner than later.  This uncertainty is a huge source of stress. I shared this today to prepare parents for a message that I really hope Ms. Cheryl and I will NOT have to give soon.

Yours in the Risen Lord,    
Fr. Leo A. Dechant, CSJ