Letter from the Pastor
Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Part One: Scripture
This week our faith community solemnizes the birth of John the Baptist. John was born after the chaotic end of the Hasmonean dynasty that had become corrupt, imitating the ruthless style of Seleucids, buying and selling the high priesthood. Israel dissolved into civil war. To make matters worse, the Romans were invited in to arbitrate the civil war.
Amid this turmoil several reform movements appeared like the Essene community. They lived a life of strict asceticism in the desert near the Dead See. Another group were the Pharisees, a lay reform movement intent on enabling ordinary Jews to live faithfully according to the law in the circumstances of daily life.
Perhaps the most striking reformer was the adult John, who made an impression on the Jewish historian Josephus, as well as Herod Antipas, who eventually beheaded him.
John had a keen sense of symbolism. He began his mission on the edge of the desert from which Israel had first emerged to enter the Promised Land. As Father Donald Senior writes: “Those who heard John’s call to repentance underwent a symbolic immersion in the Jordan, the very boundary Israel crossed on its way to its God-given land.”
This attention to John in the New Testament is not simply out of historical interest. He is the “voice crying out in the desert” who anticipates the advent of Jesus himself, the hoped-for Messiah. Luke’s Gospel entwines the lives of John and his cousin Jesus. Each springs to life unexpectedly. Again Father Senior: “Zechariah and Elizabeth—like Abraham and Sarah before them—are too old to give birth. Mary is too young and still a virgin. In the wombs of their mothers, the two infants would meet in the exquisite scene of the Visitation, with John leaping for joy at the presence of Jesus.”
At the birth of John, Zechariah realizes that this child was unique in all of history, leading to the amazed reaction of people, “‘What, then, will this child be?’ For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”
John, the “greatest of the prophets,” would testify, that the attention should fall on Jesus: “…one who is more powerful than I is coming. I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals” (Luke 3:16).
Father Senior concludes: “The figure of John celebrated in this feast of his nativity not only anticipates the advent of Christ but is a model of discipleship: reverencing Jesus, proclaiming Jesus, and giving full witness to him.”*
*Adapted from the writing of Father Donald Senior, C.P.
President Emeritus, Professor of New Testament at CTU in Chicago.
Part Two: Re-Opening Churches
Cardinal Tobin dispenses the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days. Those who are at risk because of an underlying health issues or who are 60 years old or older are strongly encouraged to avoid attending a public celebrations of Mass because it carries the risk of contagion. We will continue to live-stream the Sunday Mass in Spanish at 9:00 a.m. and in English at 11:00 a.m. The parish has a YouTube channel: Saint Lucy. Please subscribe. It is free to subscribe. Subscribers can view the live-stream Mass on their smart phones.
On Saturday evening, 20 June 2020, we entered Phase 3 of the reopening of St. Lucy. This means that St. Lucy will now celebrate publicly Sunday Mass with the practices of social distancing, use of masks and limited number of people present. Those who are at risk because of an underlying health issue or who are 60 years old or older are strongly encouraged to avoid attending a public celebrations of Mass, which carries the risk of contagion. Moreover, we will continue to live-stream the Sunday Mass at 9:00 a.m. and in English at 11:00 a.m. All other sacraments will resume according to directives.
The door on Amity Place and the side door opening to the garages and Rectory parking lot are designated as the ENTRANCE doors to church. The EXIT door will be the door of the St. Gerard Shrine leading to the plaza through the Ruggiero garden. Leaving the church, participants will have to practice social distancing and to wear facial masks.
In phase 3, please pre-register online or by phone on Thursday and Friday between the hours of 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. if you intend to attend the Mass in person. Registration enables us to maintain “social distancing.” The capacity of the church is currently set at 100. This number may be raised later.
St. Lucy also celebrates publically weekday Masses, funerals, weddings, and baptisms. Before each Mass, the church will be opened 15 minutes for personal and private prayer. The church will be locked after Mass.
During Phase 1 and Phase 2 the church was open for personal and private prayer from noon until 3:00 p.m. This is no longer necessary in Phase 3.