Reflections from our parishioners…

Greetings, y’all.

In these very surreal times that we have now, yesterday at 4:00 it was extremely uplifting to sit in the St. Francis butterfly garden just up the hill from the Stations… and pray the Luminous Mysteries with Erin and Harrison. The Holy Spirit was definitely with us; and Harrison didn’t fidget or complain at all. We all took turns reciting the prayer from the Pope Francis card, after each mystery.

It feels soooo strange to not go to Mass, to not see any of you or fellow parishioners, to not feel the Holy Water, to not look upon Jesus during Adoration… surreal. I feel especially sorry for the RCIA catechumen and candidates. I know they’ve been looking forward to the Easter Vigil, and all the glory that comes with it. There are times we will never forget… but it’s awesome to know he is with everyone of us, all the time!

Peace be with you all! Know that we LOVE YOU!!!

HARRISON’S DAD (March 20)

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I am devastated.  But as I wept over losing daily Mass, Jesus showed me that it was a share in His pain over those who do not see the value of Mass, who do not regularly attend even Sunday Mass.  My longing for Him, aching to be with Him and to receive Him, was a share in His longing for people to come visit Him, His pain when He sits waiting in empty churches, waiting in Tabernacles, waiting in Adoration chapels… waiting and longing for souls… waiting and longing for people to come to Him, to acknowledge Him, to know their need for Him…

It does not take away the ache or the emptiness, but it helps me to consent to it, to desire to feel that longing for Him and to not grow numb.  It helps me to remain with Him even while remaining (sacramentally) without Him.

(ANNE, March 20)

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I am a Christian, and thats why I’m staying home

I’m usually not one to post things like this, but I feel the need to put this out there. I know everyone is talking about Coronavirus, and many people are talking about the Church encouraging us to refrain from our weekly obligations or even cancelling services. I just wanted to share my perspective, and why I think it is important to not go to Church/ why I respect and agree with the decisions to temporarily close Churches at this time. I know many of us, including myself have a, “Nothing kept the early Christians from their weekly obligations, and nothing will keep me from them either” kind of attitude. But here is why, to me, that attitude doesn’t make sense in our current times. There isn’t some force or group opposing us. The government isn’t trying to push us away from our faith. If anything, I think we are being encouraged to pray more in regard to this whole thing. We are not proving our faith by going to Church. I do, however, feel that we may be in danger of standing against what we believe in by our attendance. There are many people who got the Coronavirus who didn’t show symptoms for 2 weeks! Meaning that I could feel perfectly healthy and still be spreading it to everyone around me. What if we will be those people in the future? How horrible would we feel to find out that the sweet old lady we sat next to at Church is now hospitalized and on deaths door because, “Nothing could keep me from my faith.” As a young person, I may not be risking my life to attend, but I am potentially risking others’ lives. Moreover, if I do not stay home, and I continue to spread this in my community, there would likely be exponentially more people who are hospitalized. The hospitals have a LIMITED number of resources and beds. Our healthcare system was not built for a pandemic to hit. If we spread Coronavirus too quickly, then the hospitals are in danger of being overrun just like in Italy, and that will only lead to more deaths. Our choices to stay home at all costs are saving lives! Please, I beg of you, as a faithful child of God, stand up and fight to protect the lives of our elderly and immuno-compromised. Stay at home as much as possible. God knows why you are doing it, and (with the dispensations) I believe it truly is a more holy act to pray at home for a spiritual communion than to attend. I beg of you to reconsider going out for the sake of all of our loved ones for whom this disease presents a greater risk. Also, please keep in mind that you don’t know whom other young people will come into contact with. And by spreading it to a young person, you may accidentally spread it to someone at high risk. So please remember to stay away from EVERYONE, even the people whom you believe may be “safe.” 

(ANNIE, March 17)

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I was amazed at how emotional I became because I couldn’t attend Mass and receive Communion on Sunday.  Then again when I couldn’t keep my appointment with God at my Tuesday Holy Hour.  On top of that Mary, my friend from Church, and I decided that it would be best for me if we didn’t meet Tuesday mornings till this is all over.  

I have a deep-seated need to spend time in prayer and in the Presence of God. I need to hear Mass and be together with people doing the same.  St. Francis has become a home of great love for me and a big  part of this is because of you.  This quarantine has stopped all contact with all of this.

God, my Papa and I spend time each morning together in prayer, journaling and just listening and responding.  So I am not alone, but the community I have with others is stopped.  

So as I was watching our Fathers’ post, I realized that they too must be going through the same emotions and needs.  I ache for them and their needs.  They are such good shepherds that they must also miss the contact.  (As I type this I realize I wouldn’t make a good hermit!). 

I hope you are finding contact in the phone and email and texting.  All the things we usually tend to find intrusive have become a lifeline.  

I pray for you everyday.  Know that I’m here.  I’m always here, I can’t leave!  LOL

Take care and stay healthy,

(JAN, March 17)

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Have you watched any of the Metanoia videos by Fr. Dave? 

I just watched “JESUS calls and empowers.” Wow! 

There is so much fear right now looming over us. I’m sure most of our parishioners are scared. 

I imagined I was Lazarus. I was lying in the tomb with my hands and feet tied. Jesus starts yelling Amanda, Amanda and I stand up. My ties are covered with the words fear. And he so peacefully walks over and cuts my ties. The word fear falling to the ground. My eyes meet his and I immediately feel peace and comfort. He has released the thing that is holding me back from surrendering these uncertain moments to him. Sure, there are moments during the day where I have to re-envision that moment I had with Jesus to remind myself that fear is not an option right now. He is walking side by side with me, hand in hand, every minute of the day reminding me, he’s got me. 

I wonder how many parishioners are scared and need hope. 

“In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” John 16:33

(AMANDA, March 18) 

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I cannot not come to you Jesus.

For twenty years, every day, St. Francis, St. Bernard’s, St. Vincent, St.Paul’s North Canton, St. Francis Medina, St. Michael Archangel in Canton, St. John’s In Cleveland . . .

Wherever Court was, wherever I was, through all the trials, through all the difficulties, through all the joys and all the pains, through the births and through the deaths . . . Every day with you, The Great Constant, The One Unmovable, The One Unchangeable, The One always there, even and especially when I struggled to connect. So many days when I said “I can’t” and you answered “We can”!

And now I say “I cannot not come to you, Jesus in the Eucharist”.

I am 70, feel fit as 50, blessed with good health. I believe I am among the ones we are trying to protect since my age puts me in the segment not more vulnerable to the virus, but more likely to suffer greater consequence.

If I say I will come just once a week, why not just every day?

I cannot not come to You, Jesus in the Eucharist…

So much love and respect to our Priests for your loving leadership of our beautiful Parish Family.  Here we go…Into the desert. I know He’s with me everyday – maybe now more than ever! Still, there is an emptiness…

(PAUL, March 18)

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It is hard to believe that we can’t go to church. I had been informing people that there would be no Eucharistic Adoration and that the church was closed. It was just hard to say, but I know it is for the good of all. The encouraging part is that many people are keeping their regular adoration time as a prayer time at home.

I watch the Mass on line, but it sure isn’t the same! Little response from the server or no response from the pews. It is hard to hear the echo in the empty church..and … No Communion… As the psalmist has said, “My soul longs for You, Oh Lord.” I am grateful for modern technology or we wouldn’t even have Mass on line.

I like to look at the picture of our sanctuary and go there mentally as I pray. I miss the peace, the calm, the presence of the Lord. I know He is with us wherever we are and pray, but it is not the same and I miss it. This was not a Lenten sacrifice I had planned to make!

This is a time that none of us have ever experienced before. It is a time of prayer and gaining even more perspective on life. It is a time of faith and hope and love. It is a time to increase our spiritual reading and our prayer time. God is with us wherever we are. We can still see His hand in our life each day, perhaps even more so. We must remember too that we have much for which to be grateful.    

(JOANNE, March 19)

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God often asks more of me than I think I can give.  So, when Lent came I was ready for Him- I was giving up acting out on feelings of anger & frustration.  Then, the coronavirus came & restrictions that were beyond my control gave me a penance I had not expected. The limitations that invaded how I practiced my faith gave me a physical & spiritual ache that I had never experienced.

I felt helpless & betrayed – how could the Mass, Adoration & my bible study group be threatened to stop?

After the initial feelings of shock wore off, I looked at what the Church was saying.  I was grateful to find that according to the guidelines of the Church, I did not fall into the vulnerable category of someone who could transmit or be likely to contract the disease, nor did I live w/someone who would be vulnerable.

Out of obedience & common sense I followed CDC /Church advice & continued to participate in Mass & Adoration, praying w/renewed depth for my intentions & those who were unable to attend Mass.  Through God’s grace, once the Church doors closed, I listened to a dear friend’s advice-‘ God shines brightest in the darkness, find His light & then, be that light to other.’

I, intentionally, search for ways to stay connected to God through prayer, online Mass, keeping in touch w/family & friends & looking for ways to help others. 

This is not my penance of choice but God is wiser & more loving than I.  I will be obedient & faithful to what He & His Church asking of me because that’s what Catholics do.

(JANE, March 19)