Pastors keyboard: By now I think we are all tired of even hearing the word “Coronavirus”. Yet it’s pretty much the topic of conversation of every news story, every conversation, and it often invaded our minds, even when we have other important topics we need to concentrate on. Recently, I have had several parishioner’s and college student a ask me if this is a sign that we are in the End Times? The answer is yes! Ever since Jesus Resurrected, we have lived in the End Times. It’s just that we often forget, don’t want to think about it, and that leaves many in our world unprepared for times like these.
An Exorcist friend of mine recently said that today the evil one and his minions are using these circumstances to their full advantage. He said there is a lot if activity by demons of fear, gluttony, and destruction. He said that we all need to be aware of how they try to tempt us. We can see this in our world today. Sadly, fear has led several people to become paranoid to the point of trusting no one, not even God. Gluttony has led people to by far more food and toilet paper then they could ever use, even knowing they are making it harder for others to have the bare necessities. And destruction is the sickness. The hatred, anger and frustration that can come from getting sick, fear of sickness, and anxiety. We need to be aware of these temptations and turn constantly to the Good Lord who has everything in hand.
Many have asked what I’m doing now that I am no longer celebrating public Masses… Saint John Paul II Seminary had to close, so they sent us four seminarians to live and work in our parish until the crisis is over. The seminary wants them to spend time in prayer and to help around the parishes. I want to thank all those, who upon hearing the news, came by with homemade food and groceries for us. We are blessed. Three of these young men, who are studying for the priesthood, found their vocations here in the county while students at St. Mary’s Ryken High School. And these three seminarians, Christopher Feist, Joseph Brown, and Marcus Lloyd, have all served a Summer or two in our parish before.
The fourth Seminarian is Nicholas Morrison. He is assigned to us for the entire Summer and is currently studying at our flagship seminary in Rome, Italy. He will be ordained a Transitional Deacon this Summer at the same mass with his older brother who will be ordained a Priest this year. They also have a younger brother, Danny, who is a seminarian at Saint John Paul II Seminary. I’ve known them since they were young children and I served as the spiritual director to their family for many years. It’s a blessing for us, and pray God, we will be a blessing to them.
I don’t know what is to come in these strange Spring days leading into Summer. I doubt we will have public Holy Week Services, so I encourage you to watch the Mass on EWTN or on the internet daily, if possible.
May these last weeks of Lent be an opportunity for us all to entrust everything (our health, wealth, families, friends, jobs, futures, nations, and world) into the Hands of Almighty God, who is still in charge and can bring so much good, even when there is so much bad going on. Let us ask for a further outpouring of trust and hope every day!
Know that I’m still meeting with people every day for confessions, spiritual direction, counseling…. But that is if the outside weather permits these meeting, and we will be six feet apart. The Lord will see us through, “Be Not Afraid”!
Your brother and father in Christ,
Fr. Scott Woods