Dear People of St. Catherine’s Church,
Once upon a time, Christian people were excited about the upcoming Holy Week. Lent was nearly gone and soon they would be gathered to bless the palms, process with hosannas, hear the Passion story, remember the last supper and Jesus sign of love, the washing of feet, stand before the cross in the mystery of suffering and love, and light the new fire, hear the great readings, feel the water of baptism and shout Alleluia, Christ is risen.
But something happened to derail their excited plans. The dreadful virus arose and spread to all corners of the earth, infecting people, killing some, and upending all normal social intercourse and plans. Schools were closed, the markets collapsed, businesses shut down, millions of people lost their jobs, people were forced to stay away from each other and – most unbelievably of all – the people’s churches were
required to close. Just when Christians most wanted to assemble together to remember and celebrate God’s goodness and love for the world, they were sequestered in their homes, reduced to phone calls, emails and videos.
We are those people, dear people of St. Catherine’s! This is not the newsletter I wanted to write you in April, 2020. But, as we have been reminded, we are not masters of the universe. And what we want is not always possible. So, this will be a Holy Week and Easter unlike any in my 50 years of ordained ministry. But it is still the time when the Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox calls forth Alleluia, Christ is Risen. And the great Story has not disappeared, nor has the promise of God that through suffering there is salvation. The tomb was cast open many centuries ago, and even this dreadful closure of the world, cannot close the tomb back up.
This is our different year. I will not see most of you during this upcoming Holy Week. We have to keep our “social distance” from each other. What a dreadful phrase. Let’s think of it as “loving temporary separation for the health of the world.” I will miss you so much. Will miss standing with you by our outdoor altar, blessing the palms and processing into the church. I will miss the quiet grandeur and sorrow of Maundy Thursday. I will miss the stark silence and sovereign mystery of Good Friday. I will really miss our milling around in the dark, lighting the new fire, carrying the Paschal Candle into the church, feeling the darkness filled with the light of candles. I will miss chanting for you the great Easter chant, Exsultet, hearing the ringing cadences of the creation story, the flood, the perilous dash to freedom through the sea and the promise of dry bones becoming flesh. I will miss seeing your faces around the baptismal font as we bring two small boys into their life in Christ. I will miss the lights shining, the Easter proclamation and the bread and wine of Easter Eucharist. I will certainly miss the mimosas on Easter morning!
We all will miss our fellowship, and the loving embrace of our parish community. But such separation is necessary. Our bishop has asked us and we owe each other our best care. But….I will actually be in church during Holy Week, with a handful of people, celebrating the great liturgies and streaming them on Facebook. It’s the best we can do. And it will brighten this week. I hope you can join me. I will feel your presence. We will still proclaim the astounding good news of Jesus’s death and resurrection. And after a period – short by God’s reckoning – we will see each other again, stand together in church and sing, be filled with peace and joy, and feast on the goodness of the Lord. A blessed Holy Week and Easter to you all,
Yours in Christ,
Allen W. Farabee, Interim Rector
Sunday 8:00 AM
Sunday 9:00 AM
HOLY EUCHARIST WITH MUSIC
Sunday 10:00 AM
Sunday 10:00 AM
CONTEMPLATIVE EVENING PRAYER
Second Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM