A Message from Our Chaplain

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Earlier this week, Fr. Rey Pineda shared the message below with our faculty. The message is appropriate for all of us as we navigate the next few weeks and the unknown. Please take a moment to read...

As we all adjust to the new normal, I want to make sure that you receive an email update that is a little more hopeful and inspiring.  

Celebrating masses in two different parishes this weekend reminded me that faith can truly make us resilient in the face of chaos and uncertainty. In all honesty this weekend was as unusual and sobering as it was inspiring. I could sense the tension and we all prayed through the battle between faith and prudence. The thing is, these two virtues are not exclusive.  

Let it be known: I don't advise that anyone disregard the directives of the proper public health and safety officials. I also don't want people to abandon or excuse their faith. 

As one of our colleagues put it: "Lent has found us."

COVID-19 has inadvertently brought us into our own lenten desert. As we come face to face with our frailty we should be able to make an honest spiritual assessment of where we are. What do I fear? What do I delight in? What needs to change? Do I need to temper my joy in being dispensed from Sunday Mass? Do I need to refrain from the temptation to hoard material goods? Am I prepared to face my mortality?

Believe it or not, this could potentially become one of the most fruitful lenten seasons of our life.

As our normal routines are interrupted it is important for us to stand firm against the temptation to become complacent or distracted in our spiritual responsibilities. There is so much we can still do, even with our many distractions. 

My advice: Don't be imprudent. Use the sacramental dispensation given by the bishops as an invitation to deepen your faith by acknowledging that God is not bound and He desires to give us the grace we need during this time even if the way we receive it is not ideal. 

Take the slower pace and more time alone as a gift from God. Use this time to prepare for Easter. Separated from the often hectic tempo of our American culture we have been given a time to slow down and reflect upon what truly matters. Take this time to increase your prayer life, to read the Bible, to simply be alone with God or pray with your family. Make a spiritual communion daily. Here is the prayer for that:

+ My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment 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. Amen. + 

Pray a few novenas. Here are a few relevant ones for now:

St. Luke:

+ Gracious Father, we come before you today asking that you place a hedge of protection over the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers who are caring for those who are ill during this time. We ask through the intercession of St. Luke, that you keep them safe so that they continue to provide the care that patients need to survive. St. Like, patron saint of physicians, pray for us. Amen +

St. Albert:

+ Gracious Father, we thank you for the ability you have given scientists to co-create with you. We ask, through the intercession of ST. albret that you would inspire scientists around the world with the needed solutions to the present crisis. St. Albert, patron saint of natural scientists, pray for us. Amen +   

St. Joseph:

+ Gracious Father, with come before you asking that we would see your churches reopen soon. We ask through the intercession of St. Joseph, that Catholic Churches would return to celebrating public masses, so that all Catholics may again participate freely in the source and summit of their faith. St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, pray for us. Amen +

St. Matthew:

+ Gracious Father, we come before you asking that you would preserve the global economy. We ask through the intercession of St. Matthew, that a global recession would be avoided and individual economies would recover quickly from the present crisis. St. Matthew, patron saint of finances, pray for us. Amen +

Mary Mother of God:

+ Gracious father, we come before you today asking for a rapid end to this pandemic. We ask through the intercession of Mary, that the present crisis would end and that the solution would reflect your majesty. Mary Mother of God, pray for us. Amen. +

GK Chesterton wrote: "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered."

St. Augustine taught us: "To fall in love with God is the greatest romance' to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement."

May we see all the inconveniences before us as an invitation to set out on the greatest adventure we could hope to undertake. Falling evermore in love with God. 

There is no telling what other surprises we will encounter in the foreseeable future but as St. Teresa of Avila very well said:

“Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you, all things are passing, God is unchanging. Patience gains all; nothing is lacking to those who have God: God alone is sufficient.”

 You all remain in my daily mass and prayer. Please keep me in yours.