When it was announced that “all public Masses and communal celebration of the sacraments or other liturgies are indefinitely suspended in the Diocese of Lincoln”, we considered some different creative possibilities to comply with the directives but still offer the Sacraments (like a “Drive-in” Mass). However, after some tough conversations, it looks like I’m limited to private Masses (with just seminarian Louden Redinger, who is staying at the parish because his seminary in Philadelphia was closed due to COVID-19).
It becomes difficult to convey messages to parishioners when there is no opportunity to make announcements after Mass, and many may not have the opportunity to stop by church to pick up a bulletin. I wanted to put a message out to all parishioners explaining that there are still opportunities to practice our faith and to grow in our relationship with the Lord, and maybe even more so during this time of physical and spiritual hardship. I would encourage you to see the parish website, the parish Facebook account, or the weekly bulletin regularly to keep informed of parish offerings and needs.
Probably the biggest reason for this message is to see if you or someone you know needs assistance (like with picking up groceries or other necessities, doing laundry, repairs, etc.), or if you would be willing to help someone with these needs. If you are in either category, please contact the parish offices and will try to coordinate those who need help with those who are able to help. We are working with other denominations in our community to help coordinate this.
Some important things to note:
- We plan to keep the church OPEN from around 6:30 a.m. until at least 9:00 p.m. – Please take time to pray before Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and make a “spiritual communion”.
- Father Hazuka still can offer Confessions – He’s been offering them in Theisen Hall (to allow for “social distancing”). While we under restrictions for the Coronavirus, he plans to offer Confessions at these times.
- 7:05 a.m. until finished every morning
- 7:00 p.m. until finished, Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays – However, these times and days may change
- 3:00-4:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon
- A time can be set up individually too. Give a call to the parish offices.
- If you need the Anointing of the Sick, please contact the offices so that Father Hazuka can offer it right away.
- We’ve been trying to use the parish Facebook account to get out important information: https://www.facebook.com/STMHastings/
- Father Hazuka also been trying to post update blogs on the parish website: http://www.stmichaelshastings.com/
- We are working on streaming the Sunday Mass each week (since even these have been made private for the priest) – please check the parish Facebook page or website for more details.
- Here are some other options for Mass throughout the week:
- We will continue to publish the parish bulletin. You can pick these up in the church each week or view it online by going to our parish website.
- A great resource that has been made available to us for free is Magnificat (and MagnifiKid!).
- CSS Lenten Food Drive is still being sponsored. If possible, please pick up an available sack at the doors of the church (or use your own) and bring it back to the parish. There will be an extra need for food this year! I’m sure they would take a monetary donation too (to help with utility assistance for those out of a job, etc.): https://www.cssisus.org/what_you_can_do/donate.html.
- Next week we will be sending out the pledge cards for the yearly Charity and Stewardship Appeal. Your help will be extra important this year, not only for important diocesan ministries, but also for our own parish and schools, which probably will suffer because of the inability to have Mass.
- If you are able, during this time of crisis, please continue to give to the parish. You can either send in your contribution envelope or you can slip it underneath the door of the parish offices. You can also give electronically through our PayPal account – see the parish website for a link.
- You are still encouraged to make a frozen meal to provide for someone who may be quarantined in the future. The idea is that when we are alerted of community members who are ill or quarantined, we could dispatch a church member to leave a frozen casserole or soup at the door of the resident along with reheating instructions and card or note with words of encouragement. If you would be interested in participating, please send an email to the parish or call the office this week and let us know that you would have meals available. Then someone would contact you when needed. This is a joint effort by a number of Christian denominations in Hastings.
- We are also working on a possible laundry service for those in need. If you are able to help, let us know.
- Hastings Public Schools is providing free lunch and breakfast for children 18 and younger. More information is here – pass it on: https://hastingspublicschools.org/district/news/free-lunch-and-breakfast.html
- You are welcome to call the parish office for more information: 402-463-1023.
- As we hear about people who have contracted the Coronavirus, please respond with kindness, compassion, and prayer. From what had been shared with Father Hazuka, there has been some “really vile stuff being said out there” regarding those who have contracted the disease. Let’s pray that none of these words have been said by our parishioners.
Sorry for the information overload! However, there is a lot going on even though Masses are suspended.
I want to conclude with some spiritual thoughts I’ve been sharing with others, especially those who are missing Sunday (and daily) Mass. First, I’ve been thinking about the words of the Archbishop of Toronto, who wrote to his people:
So many of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are deprived of the opportunity to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, for many reasons. Due to this health emergency we also will now experience their suffering. Perhaps this sacrifice will help us to cherish more profoundly the great gift of the Holy Eucharist. There is no substitute for personally participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the source and summit of our life in Christ, and we pray for the time when this may be universally available once more.
I’ve also been thinking about yesterday’s first reading in which Azariah said:
For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant.
I am praying that one day we’ll be able to renew “the New and Eternal Covenant” together at Mass again.
Know you are in my prayers and God bless,
Fr. Jeremy Hazuka
Posted on Thu, March 19, 2020
by Fr. Jeremy Hazuka