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Letter from the pastor: Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time: 19 Oct.—25 Oct.

Part One: Scripture

In these weeks of Ordinary Time, we hear a semi-continuous reading of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. The ancient Greek city estimated to have been the third largest in the Roman Empire was situated in western Asia Minor (Turkey). Caesar Augustus in 29 BCE named it the provincial capital of Asia. Entering this Roman-controlled city, the ancient visitor would have been impressed by the magnificent Temple of Artemis (Diana), described as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It had a foot print greater the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. Just as one can hardly think of Rome without images of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica, it would be inconceivable for first-century travelers to imagine Ephesus without the great temple to Artemis, the many breasted fertility goddess.

Paul may have set up shop in the marketplace for his tentmaking trade to support himself while he was announcing the Gospel in Ephesus. By preaching that “gods made by hands are not gods at all, Paul persuaded many. In the Letter to the Ephesians emphasized the surpassing greatness of God’s power, demonstrated in the elevation of Christ “above every principality, authority, power, and dominion. Paul’s new converts turned away from their practice of magic.

There was pushback, however, from established economic interest. Demetrius and other silversmiths were cashing in by producing and selling miniature silver shrines of Artemis. Paul’s preaching unnerved silversmiths, who stirred up the raucous crowd gathered at the theater. Eventually the town clerk intervened to quell the riot (Acts 19:23-27).

As you listen to the Letter to the Ephesians, keep your imagined tour of the ancient city of Ephesus in mind. Let this fascinating archaeological site and urban center enrich your reading of Paul’s letter.*

*John Gillman, Ph.D. writes in areas of both biblical studies and pastoral care.

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 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.

Please subscribe to the parish YouTube channel.

Please pre-register online or by phone if you intend to attend Sunday Mass in person. Registration enables us to maintain “social distancing.” The occupancy of the church is currently set at 150.

In Phase 3 it is no longer necessary to open the church for personal and private prayer from noon until 3:00 p.m.

St. Lucy 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.

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