A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC
July 29, 2016
May 24, 2020
NOTES FROM DEACON PAREJA
April 18, 2020
First of all, Thank You to everyone who has reached out to me asking if I (and my family) am healthy and safe. Several of you have connected with me asking if I might be ill because you haven’t seen me participating in the streaming Masses. I’m happy to report that my family and I are all safe and healthy. After a conversation with Fr. Tim, we agreed that it was best if I stayed home and participated in Mass via the Live Stream instead of being another person in the church during the Mass. By the time we count Fr. Tim, the various ministers (lectors, servers, music ministers), A/V personnel and the team from Bitstream Productions that are in church, there are often almost the maximum allowable number of ten people in the building.
We are seeing the benefits of Governor Walz’s Stay At Home order helping to flatten the COVID-19 curve. It only makes sense that I, too, stay home since a deacon is not absolutely necessary at the altar. Speaking of Bitstream Productions, I am very impressed with what I’m seeing related to the streaming of Masses.
Bitstream Productions is doing an excellent job of capturing the spiritual and holy essence of the Mass and bringing it right to our homes. Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about how effective streamed Masses and services would be from any House of Worship. I am quite pleased to say that I have found our streaming to be extremely faith-filled and I feel extremely spiritually fulfilled at the end of each Mass. Kudos to Bitstream Productions, Fr. Tim, our music ministers and all involved in making the best of a challenging situation. Although we remain socially distant from one another, I don’t feel spiritually distant at all. That said, I miss seeing all of you each weekend and I wait in anticipation for the day that we can all return to church to celebrate together even if we can’t shake hands or embrace as we once did – at least for a while. This was the most “interesting” Easter celebration that I’ve ever experienced. I can’t remember the last time that I was not present in church for the celebration of Palm Sunday, the Triduum, and Easter. It saddens me that we couldn’t be together for this most holy period of our church calendar.
But as I reflected on my own Lent and Easter challenges this year because of the current pandemic, I couldn’t help but to reflect that my suffering or our suffering pales in comparison to the sacrifices that Jesus endured for us. He was crucified, died and was buried so that we could live in Him. He rose again for our salvation, so we could have the opportunity to join with Him in the everlasting glory of the kingdom. What He endured for us was far more devastating than what most of us will ever endure. And why did He do it? Because He loves us! Not everyone believes the story of Jesus’ resurrection for our salvation because we didn’t witness it for ourselves.
Thomas didn’t believe that Jesus had been resurrected because he was not in that upper room when Jesus visited the other disciples. He said he wouldn’t believe until he could see the scars on Jesus for himself. When Jesus
appeared in Thomas’ presence, He invited Thomas to touch the scars on His hands and place a hand in His side.
Thomas believed. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have
believed.” (c.f. Jn 20:29) We need to believe in Jesus’ resurrection. We need to believe that the world will overcome this COVID-19 pandemic. We need to believe that the economy will recover. We need to believe that normalcy will return. Most of all, we need to believe in one another. God Bless You and Your Families. And STAY HEALTHY! Deacon Steve