This weekend the nation celebrates Memorial Day – the unofficial start to summer, but more so a day to honor those who gave, as President Abraham Lincoln once said, “the last full measure of devotion” for the sake of our country. It is one of the spiritual works of mercy to pray for the dead – may we pray for those who have died in service to our country over the course of this weekend.
This weekend also sees the last weekend prior to the resumption of public Masses in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and at St. Mary’s. The Archdiocese has issued guidance and is using a three-phase approach to the resumption of parish life, we are beginning the first phase of this, and so guidelines should have reached you in the mail with the quarterly statements, or you will be receiving them in the mail in the next day or so. I would ask that you please read them through carefully and do your best to follow them. Of course all of this is a bit of an experiment, no one has been through something like this, and so we will proceed to the best of our abilities and make any changes (if necessary) along the way. Starting once again will require patience on the part of all of us, as well as a spirit of selflessness in a willingness to make changes to our routines for the sake of the entire parish.
As I wrote in my bulletin column last weekend, we rejoice in the fact that one of our parish sons was ordained to the priesthood last weekend, Fr. Patrick Magnor! Also ordained was Fr. Justin Weber, who has served the past few summers as a seminarian intern at the parish and will be returning to us in a few weeks to serve here as a priest until mid-September. You’ll start to see Fr. Weber at Masses in the middle of June, and while circumstances will not allow us to welcome him back in a way we would like to, we can still be very grateful and joyful that he is with us.
A few other things to note, the first is that the parish offices, given the guidance of the Archdiocese, will continue to be closed for the time being, the parish staff is working primarily from home and checking messages from there, thanks again for your patience with this ongoing reality, parish offices can begin to open again under Phase Two of the Archdiocesan plan, we’ll let you know when we get there. We are currently planning a way for First Communion and Confirmation to be celebrated, we are working within the Archdiocesan Guidelines and parents will have more information in the next week or so. We have also been discussing the placement of Perpetual Adoration once public Masses begin, as we will be using the Atrium for extended seating for Masses. We’ve decided that, beginning at some point this coming week, Perpetual Adoration will be moved to the Parish Library. The decision to move it there, rather than to the Chapel itself, is because of the windows in the Parish Library which will allow people to adore the Blessed Sacrament from outside if there is no room in the Library itself, as we will probably have to go back to a stricter limit on people given the size of the Library. However, in light of this, we’ll be opening the church more often for private prayer that first week of June, with the church being open from 9:00 – 3:00 Mondays – Thursdays, 9:00 – 12:00 on Fridays, and on Saturdays from 9:00 through the evening Mass. As has been mentioned before, please keep your eye on the parish website for up-to-date information. Everything is a bit of a puzzle that needs to be taken apart and put together again as guidance changes, so we are doing our best to keep the website up-to-date as best as we can so you know what the puzzle looks like!
I also want to take a minute to thank the parish gardeners who were out in force over the past couple of weekends preparing and planting the gardens – we have a beautiful campus and it’s wonderful to see so many people pitching in to help keep it so! Finally, it’s nice to be able to say, for the first time in a couple of months, that I look forward to seeing you, even if at a distance, at Mass next Sunday!