Dear Sister and Brothers
I hope you are all faring well in this period of imposed retreat which Providence seems to have wanted for us. The lovely weather is at least keeping our hearts up by giving more light to the eyes and making us feel more positive. I pray that is so for one and all.
Many thanks for all of the phone calls, emails, notes and cards. I am so grateful for your kindness and love and for “keeping an eye on me.” I just wish I could also keep more of an eye on you and be available to you face to face. Let’s hope that those days will come soon, even if we still have to keep two metres apart!
I get the impression that in all the towns of our two parishes everyone has really been pulling together with great charity and humanity. That’s another kind of sunshine which gives joy to the heart. If you know, however, of anyone (including yourself!) who may be in need of practical help which you cannot yourself provide, please let me know and I will try and sort something out.
Our live-streaming of Mass and other devotions seems now to be going well. The equipment still needs tweaked a little to improve the sound better. The camera being used will also be given more memory this week so that, if the signal to the internet cuts out, the Mass will still be recorded. It can then be “uploaded” onto YouTube later.
For all the success of the live-streaming, clearly the live-beaming of the congregation is better! I notice that YouTube tells you how many people have “viewed” or “watched” a given Mass. While that’s good to know, viewing or watching are really what we do when it comes to films, theatre or, in general terms, “spectacles.”
The Mass, of course, is not a spectacle but an event. Indeed, it is THE most important event of history because it is the sacrifice of Calvary in an unbloody and sacramental manner. You don’t just view or watch events, but participate in them, body and soul. So, while the live-streaming is important in our current conditions, the live-beaming of your bodily and spiritual presence at Mass is longed for by the Lord! And it would be nice for me, too.
We have had a few funerals since the lockdown began and it has been sad to see people sitting and standing apart at gravesides or in the crematorium, not even able to give one another a hug. A priest friend told me about 10 days ago that, since he had live-streaming, he was going to have the coffin of the deceased brought to the church. He would then say the requiem Mass with no-one present and, after that, go to the cemetery or crematorium for the final farewell.
So, I have decided to follow his example. If the family wish it, I will have a requiem Mass in St. Mary’s in which they can all participate, wherever they are on the planet, via YouTube. I wish I had thought of this earlier, when I first set up the live-streaming, since there were a few people who died at that time. However, I hope my proposal to start doing so now will bring comfort to those who wish it.
Please remember that I am here for anyone who may be in danger of death or have a sudden deterioration in health or who may be going in to hospital. I am more than happy to come and administer the sacraments. If you are going in to hospital, it would be better for me to come and see you before you go as I don’t think I would be allowed in because I am not a designated chaplain.
Things are going fine for me. I keep busy and have been pleased to have more time for my music and reading. I should take more exercise, of course, but as someone once told me, “there will be plenty of time for that in heaven”! No doubt, I might end up there sooner rather than later if I don’t do the exercise on earth!
I pray for as many of you as I possibly can by name before the Blessed Sacrament, and when I run out of names I just lift up both parishes to our common Patroness and her glorious Son. The children, the sick and the elderly all get first priority in my prayers: if any of you are reading this letter, or hearing it read, then I ask you especially to pray for me.
As the month of Mary approaches, let’s pray the Rosary often together so that under her guidance we might soon meet again face to face.
With my prayers and my blessing,
P.S. A few funnies of varying degrees of corn!
A lion walks into a bar and asks the barman: “Any jobs going pal?” The barman says: “No sorry. Why don’t you try the circus?”
The lions looks at him and says: “Why would the circus be looking for a barman?”
I went to the chemist today and asked the assistant “what kills the Corona Virus?”
She replied to me “Ammonia Cleaner”
I said “Oh, I am sorry, I thought you worked here”
*Breaking News!* – Apparently the first person in Melbourne has died because of the Coronavirus. In his house they found 1000 cans of food, 50 kilos of pasta, 80 kilos of rice, 300 toilet rolls and 50L of hand sanitiser which he had panic purchased from the supermarket and stock piled “just in case”.
The whole lot collapsed and buried him.