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COVID-19 Updates

 
from fathers desk

Dear Parish Family,

We are underway with our first message series of 2021. Last week we began to read, I Heard God Laugh, by Matthew Kelly. Not many of you were present for Mass last week with the bad weather. I hope you were able to participate remotely, but it is not too late to join us on this journey to nourish our spiritual lives, to feed our souls, and to develop a beautiful friendship with God. We still have some books available in church or at the rectory, or you can download it to your favorite e-reader.

A word about remote worship. Currently, it is possible to participate in all our Masses via three ways: (1) the StreamSpot portal from our website (ww.olphparish.com), (2) from our parish Facebook page, or (3) by my YouTube channel.

In the beginning of the pandemic, I began the YouTube channel for short teaching messages and for pre-recorded Masses. Once we invested in the technology to livestream and got back underway with public Masses, I have not found the extra time required to write, edit and publish more personal videos. For 2021, I will try to do more of that, so I will be reserving the YouTube channel for more personal teaching videos, and shorter communication spots, and maybe a dog video or two. (Gracie is very photogenic!) If you have been participating remotely in our Masses via YouTube, please make plans to stream from the website or facebook. And if you would like a video on a particular topic, please let me know! I am always open to suggestions.

This week, in Part Two of the book, Kelly shares how prayer really began to be real in his life. He noticed a restlessness and God put the right person in his life to help him identify that our deepest yearnings are only quenched by the living God. Kelly began to make himself available to God. I put it that way because prayer is 90% God and 10% us. We just need to show up, to make time for God, to bring our attention to his constant gaze, and to share our hearts. (Time, attention and love, as we discussed last week.)

For me, prayer began to be really real, not just words I had memorized or a grocery list of needs and wants, when I began to sit still before the Most Blessed Sacrament in adoration. In college, I committed to a holy hour and it became my weekly oasis. I would merely bring myself before the Lord and receive his grace and peace. This dialogue and sharing of hearts, cor ad cor loquitur, “Heart speaks to heart,” as Saint Frances de Sales described prayer, became my treasure and led to my vocation.

Sometimes I would read from the Scriptures, sometimes from the writings of the Saints. The closeness and friendship that Jesus desires with his disciples was conveyed above all by the book, He and I, by Gabrielle Bossis. I recommend it most highly. Jesus speaks to Gabrielle in the depth of her being and she takes down his words. But I don’t mean to load you up with books. Let’s stick with our message series book for now.

With Matthew Kelly, my hope for you is that God becomes really real in your life, through undertaking a genuine habit of prayer that grows in a life of prayer. Think of our relationship with God as a friendship we could not imagine being without, like an oasis in the desert, yes, like the water and air of our spiritual lives. When we glance at the Gospel, we notice how much time Jesus spends with his disciples. Hours and hours together, they journeyed along with him. I imagine sometimes hearing him preach the same teaching to more than one group along the way. His words and presence began to really penetrate their beings, become part of them, until they became a living Gospel for the world to see. Won’t you allow God to become really real for you so that the world can recognize him in your life?

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Joel Wilson