Fr. Greg's Pastoral Letter | August 9, 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers –

 

Last weekend we heard the story of Jesus’ invitation to his disciples to minister to the 5000+, who were hungry, feeding them from their five loaves and two fishes. It’s the same call that you and I have as disciples of the same Lord, feeding those in our time who are hungry. As I said in my homily that day, there are times when, as much as we want to respond generously, we fear that who we are or what we have is not enough. But in the quiet recesses of our hearts, when we listen carefully, we can hear Jesus say, “Just give them what you have, and leave the miracles to me.” (To access the homily, click here )

 

So many parishioners have been doing this in this pandemic, during these months of shelter in place, caring for family members, reaching out to neighbors, helping people they do not know. Each sharing from her or his loaf of bread, giving a morsel from the small fish she or he has. One such parishioner is Mary, a contemplative solitary.

 

For some years, she has been writing a psalter, a book of prayers accompanied by images related to those prayers. Mary’s plans for publication of the psalter changed in April when she read Dr. Helen Ouyang’s, A Covid Diary, in the New York Times. Dr. Ouyang is an E.R. doctor and had been documenting her experience in the early weeks of the crisis in NYC. Her harrowing first-person account was shocking and chilling to Mary, and she was moved to respond.

 

Deciding that she was too old to go to New York (not to mention her lack of medical training!), Mary wondered how could she help. “All I have is words. And I pray. Against all this suffering, can beauty make a difference?” So she wrote and she prayed, giving what she had. And more than 30 new prayers came.

 

Understanding that a traditionally-published book would take two years and that the crisis was now, Mary took her cue from Dr. Ouyang, who’s only link to the outside world in those early weeks was her mobile phone. Mary worked with a friend and published as a single post her entire work, Psalter, Prayers for Our Time, on Instagram and Facebook, which I offer here for your prayer and, I hope, consolation.

 

I know so many of you have made tremendous offerings to God during these times. If you would like to share your story, please let me know because we can all be inspired by others. Sometimes all we are able to see are bread crumbs or bits of fish. But God sees more. God sees the truth. And the potential. Which is why God says, with a tender smile, “Give it to me and trust. I will make more of it than you can imagine.” Amen.

 

Finally, I’d like to welcome Viviana Davila back to the staff. Many will remember that Viviana worked with us for several years in our Communications Department. She left last fall to take a job at UCSF, which she continues. However, with Covid, circumstances allow her to help us out while we search for a more permanent replacement. Welcome back, Viviana!

 

Let me close with words from the Psalter introduction:

 

        "So far this pandemic has given at least one gift. 

        We now see with astounding clarity 

              that we are one family. And we will have one future. 

        So we can pray here together for our shared future. 

        And we can pray for joy."

 

To that we say, Amen!

 

God bless you and, as always,

 

Oremus pro invicem.

 

Fr. Greg