Upcoming Holy Hours & a PSA
I wrote a couple weeks ago that we would be having a rotating Sunday afternoon Holy Hour at St. Lawrence and St. John. This Sunday (November 8th) is the first one! We will begin with exposition at 4:30pm and conclude at 5:30pm. At around 5:10pm we will have Evening Prayer and Benediction. Here are six reasons why you should come:
1. Sunday is the Lord’s Day. Here is another opportunity to center your Sunday on Jesus’ Resurrection. The Lord’s Day can be even more than Mass. Spend an extra hour with Him.
2. You get to experience Benediction. We are blessed by having our Adoration Chapels, but this means that we rarely have Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Benediction is a special Eucharistic blessing which normally concludes a period of Adoration. There are certain prayers and hymns associated with Benediction. It is powerful to experience it.
3. The Liturgy of the Hours will be prayed publicly. This is the official prayer of the Church and largely consists of praying the psalms. The psalms are the biblical prayer book and strongly encouraged for us to pray. Paragraphs 1174-1178 of the Catechism introduce the Liturgy of the Hours and recommend it to all the faithful. It is part of my pastoral duty to encourage this prayer, as the Catechism says, “Pastors of souls should see to it that the principal hours, especially Evening prayer, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and on the more solemn feasts.” It continues, “The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the Liturgy of the hours, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually.” (CCC 1175)
4. Alex, our seminarian, will be preaching at most of the Holy Hours. Better yet, you can evaluate him. One of the aspects of his internship is that he has to preach and be evaluated. Since he hasn’t received the Sacrament of Holy Orders, he can’t preach during Mass. We are going to use Evening Prayer as an opportunity for him to preach.
5. As mentioned a couple weeks ago, it has been painful for our parishioners of St. John and St. Lawrence to not have Sunday Mass at their parish. Gathering for a Holy Hour and Evening Prayer doesn’t replace Mass. It is a way for the parish community to gather on Sunday at the parish.
6. We received a bunch of free books for the Liturgy of the Hours. While I was on retreat, the founder of the St. Thomas More House of Prayer in Pennsylvania gave us 48 copies of the Sunday Evening Prayer book. They retail at $25 each. This is an incredible gift and we should put them to good use.
For these reasons I warmly invite and encourage you to attend our Sunday Holy Hours. You don’t have to stay for the entire hour or you can show up for Evening Prayer and Benediction.
Finally I have a public service announcement. As we announced last week, the Bishops of Ohio, in consultation with the governor, have no desire to suspend public Mass, even as the COVID cases rise. We are extremely grateful for this decision.
However we have been reminded again to wear masks, practice good hygiene, and socially distance. Personally I would like to encourage everyone to wear a mask. Over the last two weeks, I have received numerous messages and phone calls from parishioners about the lack of mask wearing in our parishes. Some haven’t come to Mass because of this. Others have left before Mass began because the people sitting near them weren’t wearing masks. Another parishioner who is at risk, said that her Christmas wish is for everyone to wear a mask so that she can feel comfortable coming back to Church.
I realize that the effectiveness of masks is debated by doctors and scientists. However for the peace of mind of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are asking everyone to wear a mask. I will do my best to lead by example. Thank you for understanding.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson