My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,
After being closed for in-person liturgical celebration for nearly eight months, we finally got permission to reopen our church with limited attendance to 25% capacity for public Holy Qurbana and other liturgical celebration. Let us join together in thanking God and celebrating the Holy Qurbana in our church.
At this time, I wish to bring your attention to the letter of the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Robert Sarah. In a letter addressed to the Presidents of Bishops' Conferences, Cardinal Sarah insists that "virtual" services cannot compare to, and cannot replace, personal participation in the liturgy. The letter, bearing the title, "Let us return to the Eucharist with joy!" was published with the approval of Pope Francis, which he granted on 3 September.
I wish to quote his letter, "as soon as circumstances permit…, it is necessary and urgent to return to the normality of Christian life, which has the church building as its home and the celebration of the liturgy, especially the Eucharist, as 'the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; and at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows' (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10)."
The letter continues, "Aware that God never abandons the humanity He has created, and that even the hardest trials can bear fruits of grace, we have accepted our distance from the Lord's altar as a time of Eucharistic fasting, useful for us to rediscover its vital importance, beauty and immeasurable preciousness." So, "as soon as is possible," writes Cardinal Sarah, "we must return to the Eucharist … with an increased desire to meet the Lord, to be with Him, to receive Him and to bring Him to our brothers and sisters with the witness of a life full of faith, love and hope." He stressed that "no broadcast is comparable to personal participation or can replace it" even as he recognized that the means of communication performed a "valued service to the sick and those who are unable to go to church.
Cardinal Sarah says in conclusion, The Church "will continue to cherish the human person as a whole." While our earthly existence is important, he says, eternal life is far more so. Thus, "the Church unites proclamation and accompaniment towards the eternal salvation of souls with the necessary concern for public health."
As the pastor of this parish, my dear brothers and sisters I lovingly encourage and invite you all to return to in-person Holy Qurbana by following rules about wearing masks and social distancing and other county guidelines.
Let us ask the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary "Mother Mary, you know our needs, and we know that you will provide, so that, as at Cana in Galilee, joy and celebration may return after this time of trial."
With prayer and blessing,
Fr. George Danavelil