This is a difficult time. Being cut off from family and friends and also being separated from our Eucharistic community here at Blessed Sacrament puts an added emotional and spiritual burden upon all of us. I remain in solidarity with you and pray for all of you frequently throughout my own daily prayer and liturgy. To help you remain in contact with the parish, I am sending out this regular email message to you.
Given that we will not be able to receive palms in the normal way at Palm Sunday Masses, you may receive blessed palms on Sunday, and if there are palms remaining they will be placed in the church entry way during the week until exhausted.
For safety concerns, we will have this procedure:
- Palms may be received on Sunday between 10:30 am and 3:00 pm by the north side entrance to the Church.
- The blessed palms will be placed and spaced individually apart on a table immediately outside the door.
- Please approach the table/area and take only the FIRST palm you touch.
- Keep social distancing at all times (at least 2 meters apart) approaching and leaving from the area.
While the church will be open, no more than 10 individuals may enter and every individual would need to follow the health procedures posted at the door.
Concerns have been raised that palms (or any object) could carry the virus if touched by someone who has the virus (while studies are not yet precise, it’s understood that the virus wouldn’t remain alive on an object for more than 3 days). In any case, the palms have been in storage for two weeks and in preparing them and placing them on the tables for distribution, volunteers will only use disposable gloves when handling palms as little as possible.
But please know that there is no obligation to pick up or bring home a palm. A long tradition in the Church has been to use branches that are native to the region on this day. For example, in Rome, olive branches are most often used in churches on this day. So, if you are watching the streaming Mass on Sunday at 9 am with the Archbishop, maybe go out in your yard, get branches and join in this celebration of the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. This is especially important for any young children who might be watching.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
The sacrament of Reconciliation is generally available between 12 noon and 1:00 PM for individual penitents each day (except Sunday) in a special reconciliation room at Blessed Sacrament Church. This allows the penitent to have at least 2 meters distant from the priest. Father sanitizes the room with spray and wipes before and after each penitent. You are able to kneel or sit behind a screen for added protection.
If you are not able to avail yourself of the sacrament at this time (e.g. it is recommended that the elderly and the vulnerable stay at home), Pope Francis addressed this issue in his homily on March 20, 2020:
“But many people today would tell me, ‘Father, where can I find a priest, a confessor, because I can’t leave the house? And I want to make peace with the Lord, I want him to embrace me, I want the Father’s embrace.’” The Holy Father said his response would be, “Do what the Catechism (of the Catholic Church) says. It is very clear: If you cannot find a priest to confess to, speak directly with God, your father, and tell him the truth. Say, ‘Lord, I did this, this, this. Forgive me,’ and ask for pardon with all your heart.” Make an act of contrition, the Holy Father said, and promise God, “‘I will go to confession afterward, but forgive me now.’ And immediately you will return to a state of grace with God.”
Church open for Visits
At the present time, our Church of the Blessed Sacrament is open each day from 10:30 AM until 3:00 PM for private prayer. Health precautions are posted at the inside entrance of the church and of course there is a limit on the number of persons allowed inside (no more than 10). This could change.
The Archdiocese is organizing a comprehensive “Good Samaritan” care program to coordinate outreach efforts to those who may lack the necessary social supports to effectively meet their spiritual and material needs at this time. If you are interested in volunteering for this important initiative, please contact email@example.com.
This may be a difficult time for you financially as it is for our parish. If you are able, we invite you to continue your support of Blessed Sacrament by sending in your donation envelope, or dropping it off at the Church (on Palm Sunday or any day) or by visiting our website where there is a link to other ways of giving your support to your parish including by electronic transfers or credit cards.
Prayer in time of Pandemic
Thi is the opening prayer from the special Mass approved recently by the Vatican for celebration in time of pandemic. Please join in praying this prayer at home during these difficult times.
Almighty and eternal God, our refuge in every danger
to whom we turn in our distress
in faith we pray look with compassion on the afflicted,
grant eternal rest to the dead,
comfort to mourners,
healing to the sick,
peace to the dying,
strength to healthcare workers,
wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love,
so that together we may give glory to your holy name.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God,
for ever and ever.
Regular Updates on the Website
We will post regular, often a number of times each day, information important to you as a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament.
blessedsacramentregina.ca. This message is being sent out by email but I realize that our list is limited and that not everyone has email. So, we also hope to sent out by (snail) mail, some regular updates to parishioners.
You remain in my prayer as I hope that I remain in yours.
If you wish to make changes to this list, please reply to this email message with your corrections or additions. Send those to email: firstname.lastname@example.org