I hope that you are able to read this message online, since the bulletins you normally receive at church at the end of Mass are not being distributed as usual. However, my weekly letter to you is found on my blog (fr-ed-namiotka.com), linked to our parish web page (holyangelsnj.org), through my Facebook account and through Twitter.
Be assured that I pray for you and offer Mass daily for you. Whether it be in the church or in our private chapel in the rectory, Mass continues to be offered. All requested intentions are being fulfilled. If this quarantine is prolonged, we will attempt to live stream the Mass and other spiritual exercises, as many other parishes are doing. We are trying to figure out how best to accomplish this. I realize it is not the same as when you are physically present. However, difficult times call for alternate measures.
The primary way we can stay in touch right now is through the internet. The staff is not coming to the office but working from home. All of the priests are well. While we are certainly disheartened that we were told not to offer public Masses and other spiritual exercises gathering a crowd, we still try to open the church periodically for private prayer, hear confessions (from a proper distance) and anoint the sick (taking proper precautions). We struggle with leaving the church open without supervision, so we are usually in the church whenever the doors are open. I think that more security cameras for the Church and other buildings are in our immediate future.
Let me give some spiritual guidance since this is still Lent. These crazy times do not exempt us from intensified prayer. We should not be “killing” or “passing time” but rather using the time we are given to grow in holiness. Pray the Rosary daily. Read the Bible and meditate on a passage (especially the daily Mass readings). Watch and participate in the Mass on TV (EWTN is available daily) or through various live streams and make a Spiritual Communion often. If the opportunity becomes available, get to confession. However, make an act of perfect contrition every day—multiple times per day is encouraged. Participate in other spiritual exercises such as the Stations of the Cross, novena prayers, praying the Divine Office, etc. at home.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of staying in the state of grace. Simply put, we should not be conscious of any grave sin that has not been confessed in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation (confession). If we find ourselves in such a situation, make that perfect act of contrition (renouncing all sin and professing a complete and total love for Almighty God) with the intention of getting to confession as soon as possible. Conversion—a turning away from sin and a turning toward God—is what is required of all of us as Christians and disciples of our Lord.
It does not look like we will have any public Masses into the foreseeable future. This unfortunately includes Holy Week and Easter. I am really, really distraught by this. It is such an unprecedented time for the Church and for the world in these modern times.
Pray to our Lord and to our Lady. At Fatima, she said that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph. I trust in this promise. I always have. I consecrated Holy Angels parish (as I had done at my previous parishes) to her care. Remember that and be consoled by that!
Please pray for your priests, bishops and the Holy Father. Pray that God’s Will be accomplished in all things.
I love you all!
Fr. Ed Namiotka