Sunday July 25th, 2021
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Dear Pastorate Family,
I’m so often grateful for the words of wisdom I find in the writings of St. Paul. The second reading from his Letter to the Ephesians speaks to our situation today; he urges Christians in Ephesus to “live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace….” The world has always been deeply divided. Humans have frequently struggled to live in communion with each other. And it seems like the division is intensifying. And in the world such as it is now, St. Paul’s words take on even more importance. But how do we do this? I think the adjectives give us the way forward – humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace.
Each of those adjectives, which should describe Christians, are actually virtues which should characterize Christian life. What are each of these virtues? Humility – not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less – being grounded and having regard for the thoughts and feelings of others. Gentleness – the characteristic of being soft, approachable, not given to outbursts of anger, willing to deal kindly with others. Patience – the quality of not having a demanding attitude, and recognizing that life is imperfect and people make mistakes and giving people the space they need to be works in progress. Love – the quality of willing the good of others for their own sake, and seeing each person as God sees them, as unique and unrepeatable. And peace – the quality of having serenity of soul, and wanting others to have the same serenity. Imagine how life and the world would be different if each of us – and those arounds us – put these five little virtues into practice! Putting these virtues into practice helps overcomes the divisions between people and draws formerly disparate groups together into unity, after the example of God’s own inner unity. May St. Paul’s words inspire the way we live this week and every week!
Getting Back to Normal at Mass
There are a few ways in which we’re going to get “back to normal” while at Mass. This return to pre-COVID practices will be effective the first weekend in August (i.e., next week). If things change locally, we’ll continue to evaluate and adapt. Here are a few of the things that will again go back to the way they were:
- MASKS – wearing a mask remains optional. The Dubuque County signs about wearing masks will be taken down, but we’ll still have baskets with masks in each church in the apparently rare case someone still wants to use a mask.
- PEWS – the remaining tape in the front of church which separates pews will be taken down and every pew in every church will be open. Those who still want more space between themselves and others are still welcome to sit up front, where there should still be more room.
- HYMNALS – the remaining hymnals that haven’t been claimed will be returned to the pews. If you have a personal copy of a hymnal that you picked up earlier, you’re welcome to continue to use your personal hymnal. Since we don’t have any back-to-back Masses in one location, and since we’re less worried about surface contact for viral transmission, we have relatively little to worry about regarding the hymnals being back in pews.
- HOLY COMMUNION – we will return to having a second Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, who will stand directly beside Fr. Diehm. Each side of church will come forward and receive at the same time, with people standing directly next to each other in the center aisle of church. If there is no second distributor, Fr. Diehm will stand in the center of the aisle and distribute Holy Communion to both sides simultaneously, rotating between right and left. HOWEVER, we will still NOT distribute the Precious Blood from the chalice at this time.
- ALTAR SERVERS – we welcome young people to serve again at Mass. Altar Servers shouldn’t worry about not remembering what to do. Fr. Diehm will help anyone who wants to serve remember what to do.