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Parish Daily Update 3/24/20

Dear St. Joseph Parish Family,

I just received a new email with directives from our bishop.  Included in those, unfortunately, is the suspension of Masses through April 30, 2020.  This, as you know, will include Palm Sunday, the Sacred Triduum, and Easter Sunday, as well as several weeks after that.  You can read the bishop’s letter and statement here:

Dear Friends in Christ,

I am attaching a statement announcing the suspension of Masses through April 30, 2020. This, of course, includes Holy Week. This was a difficult yet prudent decision to make. It was made in consultation with the priests’ council and other experts in the health care field.
Please read the statement in its entirety. The Chancellor’s Office will be sending out more details from the Vatican along with suggestions for the Sacred Triduum. Also continue to visit our web page for resources for your parishes and missions;
Let us pray that our sacrifices will help greatly in flattening the curve and protecting more from contracting this virus and losing their lives.

May God bless you all and keep you safe.

In Christ,

+Joseph R. Kopacz

Bishop’s Statement on Suspension of Masses through April 30, 2020


Catholic Diocese of Jackson
237 East Amite Street
PO Box 2248
Jackson, MS  39225-2248  

Father Kevin and I will be putting our heads together (but no closer than 6 feet together 😊) over the next few days to see how we can move forward with these new directives, as well as with the directives that are coming out of Rome.  We will continue to communicate with you daily as we work our way through the challenges brought about by this pandemic.

In the meantime, please continue to pray for a swift end to this situation, for healing for those who have contracted the virus, for those who have died and those who mourn them, and for all on the front lines working in healthcare, public health and safety planning, and research for a cure and a vaccine!

Please see the Mass readings and Father Kevin’s homily for tomorrow, the Feast of the Annunciation below.  Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.  St. Joseph, pray for us.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Wednesday March 25, 2020

First Reading:  Is 7:10-14; 8:10

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:  Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said: Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God?  Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us!”

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11

R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Second Reading:  Heb 10:4-10

Brothers and sisters: It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats take away sins.
For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, behold, I come to do your will, O God.’”  First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings, you neither desired nor delighted in.” These are offered according to the law.  Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.”
He takes away the first to establish the second. By this “will,” we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 Gospel:  Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.  And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”  Then the angel departed from her.


Today’s Solemnity of the Annunciation — nine months before Christmas — is the perfect Marian feast for Lent, these 40 days when our hearts and spirits are especially opened to the presence of Gabriel “announcing” to us that Lord is with us, that we have nothing to fear, that we have been called by God to bring his Christ into our own time and place.   We celebrate that God breaks into our world in the simplest and ordinary events.  In these days when we stay home and in small groups due to the virus, we need to be especially mindful that God is with us, much as God was with Mary, alone and in uncertain times.

Every mother will tell you that the birth of her child changes everything.

The birth of a child turns a woman’s world upside down — and the child becomes the center of that new world. The child comes to define the mother’s life. The child’s needs and hungers and wants become those of the mother. The child’s cries and giggles resonate in the mother’s very being. The sleep deprivation, their own slow recovery from child birth and the never ending trail of Pampers are small prices to pay to see their baby smile and hear her giggle, to know the love of their baby’s hug, to catch their child as he takes his first step and clap as he utters his first word.

Every mother will tell you that they never thought they could love another human being as much as this child.

Every mother will tell you that they never thought they could let a child take over their lives — and that they’d be so happy at the prospect.

Every mother will tell you that they will never regret saying yes to becoming a mother.

The Gospel story begins with a mother’s yes: Mary says yes to God, yes to the gift of this child, yes to the vocation of motherhood. In the Annunciation, Mary says yes for all of us.

We too need to echo that yes to God in our own lives, that yes to accept the Child Jesus into our own homes and hearts. We are all asked by God to surrender who and what we are in order to allow Jesus to be born in our compassion, our generosity, our selflessness, our struggle to build lives centered in God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Today we too are asked if we will say yes to God’s call to bring Christ to birth in our work and play, our home and heart.   [Adapted from the writings of Caryll Houselander – Christ in our midst.]

Gracious God, may we possess the faith and trust of Mary to say yes to your calling us to make your presence known in our time and place. Open our hearts to receive the gift of your Son; open our spirits that we may bring the gift of Christ to our waiting world.

Please remember to join with Pope Francis today (Wednesday) at noon by praying the Our Father.  And remember to join on Friday at noon in a time of reflection and prayer for all those who have been affected by the virus, I think that is just about everyone.  To pray for those who have died from the virus and to pray for those suffering, as well as to pray for a cure.  In yesterday’s daily email from St. Joseph, Pam had a link to watch or listen to Pope Francis. 


    O Eucharistic Heart of Jesus,

    I wish to be united with your eternal oblation to the Father,

    with each Eucharistic sacrifice

    being offered at this moment upon this earth.

    Lord, Jesus, come and dwell in my heart,

    nourish me with the Bread of Life, Yourself;

    cleanse, wash and purify me in the bath of Your Precious Blood.

    Our Father, Who art in heaven;

    hallowed be Thy name.

    Thy kingdom come;

    thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    Give us this day the Bread of Life;

    and forgive us our trespasses,

    as we forgive those who have trespassed against us,

    and lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from evil.


    Lord, I am not worthy that thou should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my

    soul shall be healed.”


Having been made worthy in a mystical way to partake of Your immaculate Body and precious Blood, O Christ Our God, I acclaim and bless, worship and glorify You, and proclaim the greatness of your saving acts, now and forever and ever. Amen.