Bishop Reed's Message
My Brothers and Sisters of the Walpole Catholic Collaborative,
The early Church was, by definition and of necessity, a truly “domestic' Church,” though certainly not in the sense of being docile and lame; far from it. No, it was domestic in terms of being based in the homes and the hearts of the Christians of the first three centuries or so, Anno Domini. They prayed at home, they stayed at home and clearly wrestled with their own fears amid persecution and, yes, even disease. In the midst of all this they learned how to be family together and grew in Faith together. They learned how to suffer and sacrifice. They trusted in the Lord who they loved and knew as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, that is, as the Risen Lord! We do, too.
This week has been challenging far us all, to say the least. The situation with the COVID-19 virus seems to literally change on an hourly basis. It has been hard to keep up with and we do not know how long it will last. So, at least for a time, we are perhaps being called to remember and to even imitate the Faith and experience of our early Christian ancestors. While we painfully embrace a temporary fast from the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in our two churches, we can embrace the opportunity as well to beautifully maintain or, maybe for the first time in our lives, create a domestic Church.
Our homes can be and ought to be places where faith flourishes through family prayer, through the reading of the Scriptures, through a home-bound commemoration of the Stations of the Cross, a recitation of the Holy Rosary or, above all, making a Spiritual Communion (included below) among many other possibilities. We can grow in the faith as we yearn for the Eucharist and begin, again, to hunger for it and to crave it with al/ our heart. This will make the day on which we once again celebrate Mass and receive the Eucharist all the sweeter! Ultimately and quite literally, the 'home' work we do now, as difficult as it, has the potential for enhancing the living out of our Catholic faith.
We will bring everything we learn and experience in this time of trial to the altar of God. We will bring an even deeper appreciation for the Eucharist to the table of the Lord when the time comes. Be patient and kind to one another. Above all, keep those suffering from the virus and those who care for them in your good prayer.
Remember, you can watch Mass each Sunday and weekday from The CatholicTV Network at WatchtheMass.com
Please pray for these wonderful parishes of ours, too. Continue to support us, if you can since we have little or no income at this time. Lift up a prayer or two for me and my brother priests and deacons. Know that you remain in mine, especially when I celebrate Mass in private as I will receive Jesus for you.
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION PRAYER
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament.
I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.