When I first became pastor of the Richmond Catholic Community in 1995, I committed myself to writing a weekly bulletin letter to parishioners as a way of staying in touch with the people of the parish. In the twenty-five years since then, I have kept that commitment at the parishes where I have been privileged to serve. Admittedly, there are times when the pace of parish life has made meeting that weekly deadline burdensome, but, in these days in which we are practicing social distancing, I find myself looking forward to reaching out through this weekly letter. All the same, it is a gentle reminder from Cheryl Beckerich each week that turns my good intentions into reality. We owe Cheryl a debt of gratitude for this and so many other things!
This past week marked the first anniversary of the ordination to the Diaconate of Deacon Michael Prakasam. Deacon Michael has been assigned to Christ the King as his home parish while studying at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. He has been a beautiful gift to our parish as he has spent summers and holidays with us. He has been a special gift to me during this time of social isolation. When Saint Meinrad closed, as a result of the pandemic in mid-March, Deacon Michael came home to Christ the King. I cannot imagine what my experience of this time would be like without Deacon Michael here at the parish. He is a joyful, engaging and faith-filled presence among us. He is also a fine cook, and I have enjoyed some very delicious curries! Please join me in congratulating Deacon Michael on the anniversary of his ordination and in praying for him as he prepares for his ordination to the priesthood at the end of July. While there is uncertainty as to when international travel will resume and when Deacon Michael will be able to return to India to prepare for his ordination, he lives this uncertainty with a great sense of peace and faith which I greatly admire. May God bless Deacon Michael!
The pandemic has affected our lives in many different ways. For some of us the coronavirus has been an inconvenience. For others, the impact has been much greater. Among these are those who have lost loved ones in these past weeks. Many have not been able to be with family members at the moment of death. The comforting rituals of funeral callings and vigils and funeral Masses and celebrations of life and peace meals have been replaced by simple and brief graveside services limited to only a few members of the family. The impact of the virus on the grieving process has been great. Please remember in your prayers in a special way our parish families who have suffered the loss of loved ones in these very unusual times. In these last days we have marked the deaths of Nancy Friedman, Jane Happel, Marianne Noone and Victoria Todd. As we remember them in prayer, let us reach out with messages of condolences to their families. May our parishioners who have died rest in eternal peace and may their families know the gift of God's loving consolation and the support of our parish community.
Time marches on and we prepare once again to turn the page of the calendar. The month of May, in which we celebrate Mothers' Day, is also dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus and the mother of Christians. The Bishops of the United States and Canada will consecrate our countries to Mary's maternal patronage this May at the same time that Pope Francis asks Catholics throughout the world to pray the rosary, asking Mary's intercession to end the coronavirus pandemic. Fr. Bonke, Deacon Michael and I would like to invite the families of Christ the King to join us in a 'virtual' rosary on Sunday May 17th, at 1:00 p.m. from the Mary, Queen of Peace Garden here at Christ the King and from the homes of our parishioners. Together, let us honor Mary, Mother of the Church, and seek her maternal intercession. Please mark your calendars for this parish event.
See you at Mass - virtually! Fr. Todd