Twilight Twitches

msgrfetscherDear Family,
Our hearts continue to ache with gnawing feelings of helplessness as we ponder and pray about the crises in Ukraine. We pray that the Lord will bind up and cast out the spirits of evil that chain hearts. We ask in our best sense of Catholic tradition that St. Michael the Archangel defend the good and just. How many pictures of children freezing in shelters will it take?

On this First Sunday of Lent, we bring out our banners with the special letters. PFA means we begin a time of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. These are the special challenges we accept as we journey through Lent.

I call them challenges, because even though we know the words from the past, the real challenge is asking ourselves, what is new about this year? What new things are on our plates as we prepare for the feast of Easter? The Ukraine crisis gives us a special focus to which we can dedicate these Len-ten challenges.

In my own mind and heart, the pain of war in Europe looms greater in each moment. As usual, I am writing this Twitch a few days before you read it. I keep hoping that some good happens in the next flash of time.

I heard one commentator offer a piece of advice I think I’ll take. He said that with everything being instantaneous in terms of reporting and news flashes and the like, that we should pause and wait and give the news flashes, etc., time to be verified. It makes you think about just how much has changed in the way we receive and process news. I fear we are more easily misled when we don’t take the time to evaluate what we hear.

It reminds me about the way we hear Scripture. We hear a word flashing by. I keep begging our readers, slow down. Please! Thank God we have screens in the Church that let us read along.

When I’m at my Irish-guilt best, I envision myself saying to the readers, “There is someone out there in front of you whose eternal salvation depends on the way you proclaim today’s Scriptures.” Of course, we are presuming that the folk want to hear. It is a two-way street. Nevertheless, from my side of the altar we need to do all we can to be good ministers of Word and Sacrament and Community.

YEA! On a happier note, this morning (Tuesday last) Annie passed on to me the very wonderful news from the Archdiocese that in addition to discontinuing all masking, we now can remove our spatial seating signs. There was also a note that we could restore the greeting of peace. Of course, they didn’t know about our holy elbow bump/ wave procedure. Receiving the Sacred Blood of the Lord will remain on hold for the time being.

I sure hope the changes bring us a little peace. We will never be quite the same. How painful it was to see the various situations that stubbornness and attitudes could bring about.
Still, we had very few minor “moments” here. As I said last week, I’m so grateful for the vast majority of you who did your best to cope. Our ushers excelled at their primary role of being ministers of hospitality and it wasn’t always easy.

Because of the new guidelines, or happily less of them, we will resume our Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Simple Supper of soup and bread.

I’m laughing to myself when I think about my big pastoral challenge for the week, finding a good meatless soup recipe. Still, it’s only Tuesday, so who knows what might pop up? Hope you like lentils. We move forward with hope and prayer,

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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