Peace and all Good! How appropriate it is for us to return to the celebration of the Eucharist with a congregation on this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ! Because of these terrible months of Covid‐19, we have been following the stay at home policies of our nation and listened to the guidance of medical professionals to help keep us safe. And now we have come to the point where we can begin to celebrate “in person Masses.” Unfortunately, with the virus still affecting us, we can only permit 100 people to safely attend each Mass. In order to accommodate more people, we have added extra Masses. See today’s bulletin for the full schedule. We will also continue our live streaming of Masses on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. and Noon. We are offering these public Masses on a first-come, first-serve basis. After this weekend, our staff will meet again to talk about how the weekend went and if we need to change some things. In the meantime, welcome back! It’s been a long and difficult time for all of us but I know that it has been for our own good! Pray for an end to this pandemic.
I am happy to report that in July our children will be able to make their First Holy Communion! With over 150 children, Fr. Oscar and I will be celebrating a number of Masses in order to accommodate the children and their immediate families at each Mass. For those unable to attend, these liturgies will be live-streamed for those at home. Bishop McElroy has also delegated the priests to administer the Sacraments of Initiation outside the Easter Vigil! Our catechumens will now be able to be welcomed into the Church through Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. I know that they too have been anxiously awaiting this joyful time! As we slowly enter into our parish life, let us give thanks to God for bringing us to this time and for being with us all during the struggle and who continues to be with us during this pandemic.
As of July 1st, Fr. Oscar will be your new pastor. He will bring much experience and energy to this role. You will be blessed to have him and two new associate pastors to minister in this large parish! Due to my age, I have had to step down as pastor but I will not exactly be retiring. Beginning August 1st, I will be assigned as Guardian and Assistant Director of Formation at our newly established St. Vincent Friary in the Mission Hills District of San Diego. It will be energizing to live with our Friar students studying at the Franciscan School of Theology now on the campus of the University of San Diego. I will also be helping out in various parishes in the diocese. And so, I won’t be too far away! I wished that I could have been with you longer, but these last four and a half years have been grace-filled for me. I have seen growth in faith that is very inspiring. Your faith-filled worship, care for creation, and outreach to the poor are the special hallmarks of this parish community! I pray that you continue to grow ever closer to Christ and become more and more Christ for others!
Love, Fr. Vince