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Parish Daily Update 5/20/20

Dear St. Joseph family,

“The Church is not distant from your troubles, but accompanies you with affection.  The Lord is near you and he takes you by the hand.”     ~Pope Francis, Embrace of Hope

Following is the text of the Bishop’s letter concerning the re-opening of our parishes Pentecost weekend (May 31).  Father Kevin and I are working on details specific to our parish, and I will be sending them in this email later this week.  I would like to encourage you all to read them and familiarize yourselves with them so that you will know what to expect when you come back to Mass.  It will be different than what you are used to!

Dear Friends in Christ,

At this time, I bring good news to the faithful of the Diocese of Jackson that the resumption of the public celebration of Mass will be on the feast of Pentecost, Saturday and Sunday, May 30 – 31. I thank the leadership throughout our diocese over these past two months who have informed every decision along the way through prayer, conversations and patient listening. Through it all the common good of our parish and school communities and the general population throughout our state was the governing principle.

I pray that the physical separation from the Eucharist since March has fostered a hunger to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ, the Word and Bread of Life in every way, and especially for the reception of Holy Communion in our beloved churches. This season of distancing on many levels makes it crystal clear that our seven sacraments are physical, up close, and personal as the Lord intends. His incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection nurture and inspire our faith, and our hunger to say Amen at the altar is an assent to his Real Presence in the Eucharist, and a commitment to live each day in his name because Christ has no body now but ours.

Realistically, we know that we will not be returning to normalcy on Pentecost Sunday. This pandemic will not be going away anytime soon. Based on the capacity of our churches we will be welcoming back smaller congregations under rigorous protocols that will be consistently applied in all our parishes. We are committed to upholding safety and reverence. Just like the airlines that do not deviate one iota on each flight from the stated mandatory safety measures before taking off, we too want to strive for excellence with regard to safety protocols so that we can worship with peace of mind and a heart open to the sacred heart of the Lord. What follows are very specific directives and requirements for the public celebration of Masses in our churches.

Because the dispensation from the Sunday obligation is still in effect many churches will continue to live-stream at least one weekend Mass, and spiritual communion will be encouraged for those who are vulnerable due to age and/or existing health conditions.

Likewise, the dispensation will allow many more people in our parish communities to attend Mass on weekdays lessening the logistical challenges on the weekend.

May our God of encouragement and endurance bless you and your families and may the peace of Christ govern your hearts and minds.

Asking the intercession of our Blessed Mother and all the Saints, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ.

Joseph R. Kopacz

Bishop of Jackson

I can’t wait to see you all again – safely and at a “social distance”!!

God bless,


Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Ascension Thursday

May 21, 2020

First Reading:  Acts 18:108

Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade, stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. Every sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue, attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. When they opposed him and reviled him,
he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your heads! I am clear of responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” So he left there and went to a house
belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God; his house was next to a synagogue.
Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians who heard believed and were baptized.

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Gospel:  Jn 16:16-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.”
So some of his disciples said to one another, “What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” So, they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks? We do not know what he means.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing with one another what I said, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”


“A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.”

John 16:16-20

Lena Felton is an editor for The Washington Post. As she wrestles with living alone in a pandemic and a stressful job made all the more stressful in these difficult times, she finds new meaning and peace in simply walking. She writes:

“Never have I felt so grateful for a walk. There’s solace in knowing that as long as I put one foot in front of the other, I will keep moving through this particular world. It might not be the same world tomorrow or next week, so I take a moment to feel lucky for every walk, every waft of jasmine, I have now.  And I feel grateful for everything else I have, too — health and happiness, my job, loved ones to laugh with.

“Wispy clouds are overtaking the sky, erasing the baby blue.  Cherry blossom petals are falling to the ground — that sweet promise of perennial beauty.  And I notice the buds on my favorite tree are bigger than yesterday.  I give it another week, and then the buds will be leaves, and then everything will be green.  I know this to be true, too: Life renews.”

[From, March 23, 2020, published by The Washington Post.]

Our lives are a series of “little whiles”: a constant waiting for things to change, for things to improve, for things to heal, for things to move on, for things to get back to normal.   In the Gospel and the example of Jesus, we learn the patience needed to move from “a little while” to fulfillment. 

This lifetime of ours – the “little while” we often take for granted – is precious and limited. Life is a gift that God gives us in order that we might discover God and come to know God in the love of others and the goodness of this world in anticipation of the next. Lena Felton has discovered that important lesson in her walking: that all the “little whiles” of her life amount to a wonderful whole in which she comes to realize the goodness of God in a simple walk around her city. In the “little whiles” of our own daily lives we come to realize the wisdom of God in the simple and the ordinary; we begin to live every moment of our lives in gratitude for the gift of this life God “breathes” into our hearts and souls.

So, take a “little while” to walk in the wonders of God.

May we place our trust in you, O God, never forgetting the many ways in which we see your wisdom, compassion and forgiveness in our midst. Help us to treat every moment of our lives as sacred and holy and to see every step we walk as a part of our life-long journey to your dwelling place.

An Act of Spiritual Communion

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,

I ask You to come spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You, trusting that you are already there and I unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You.


Today begins the nine days that made up the first Novena.  40 days after Jesus’ resurrection he ascended into heaven in the presence of his disciples.  He told them to go back to Jerusalem and pray for the ‘Advocate’ the helper.  I would like to offer you the following Novena (nine days of prayer) to begin tomorrow (Friday) asking God to send you the gift of the ‘Advocate’ Holy Spirit.


Pentecost Novena
This most ancient of all novenas begins on the Friday after Ascension Thursday, this year on May 22 (even when the Celebration of the Ascension is moved to the following Sunday)

A novena is made up of nine days of prayers for a special cause.  The Novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the most ancient of all Novenas.  It was the first one ever prayed.  It recalls the period of nine days where Jesus sent his apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This wonderful Novena is addressed to the Holy Spirit and can be a powerful way for us to prepare to receive the light, strength and courage we need.  So, let’s pray this wonderful Novena, beginning on the Friday after Ascension Thursday, this year on the 22nd of May, even when, like this year in the United States, the celebration of Holy Thursday is transferred to the next Sunday.  Come Holy Spirit, Come!

There are many different ways to pray a Pentecost Novena. The ideal way is simply to pray each day asking God to bless you with the gift of His Holy Spirit.  Another form of the Pentecost Novena is to pray the following prayer on each of the nine days: 

Novena in Honor of the Solemnity of Pentecost 

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. 

V. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. 
R. And you shall renew the face of the earth. 

Let us pray. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise and ever to rejoice in His consolation. 
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Let us pray. O Holy Spirit, divine Spirit of light and love, I consecrate to you my understanding, my heart, my will, my whole being for time and for eternity. May my understanding always be submissive to your heavenly inspirations may my heart ever be inflamed with love of God and of my neighbor; may my will always conform to the divine will, and may my whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be honor and glory forever. Amen.

There are many other options and ways out there on the internet.  I would also suggest this one.