Fr. Greg's Pastoral Letter | Sunday, October 4, 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers –

I come to the weekend with a great deal of anticipation and excitement – the doors of our church are open again to receive you, albeit in limited numbers. It’s been 29 weeks since any of you gathered to pray together within our church, made sacred across more than a century by its walls absorbing the faith and prayers, the hopes and fears, the joy, the sadness, and the perseverance of the faithful who have come before us. As the rings of a tree chronicle a life story, so will the walls reveal the story of the past six months – a long quiet pause, similar to the one from 1918-1919, when the church was also closed on account of the Spanish Flu.

But, that pause will also point to the activity of the Holy Spirit in our faith community, for though we have not been together physically, we have been together through the miracle of modern technology. None of us could have imagined the consolation most felt looking at the number in the lower left corner of our screens: “983 watching now.” Listening to the Word, knowing others were huddled at their computers, too; singing the Psalm response, knowing others were holding their cups of coffee, too; and praying the Prayer for Spiritual Communion, knowing others were opening their hearts, too; this fed us and consoled us, and bound us. Though the church was quiet and at rest, the Holy Spirit was not. And, as we navigate our way into a still-uncertain future with COVID-19, the Holy Spirit will continue to move within and among us, creating and healing and bringing life, in ways we cannot imagine. I look forward to being in awe of that with you, seeing you again, and meeting many of our new parishioners for the first time. Welcome back.

I do want to emphasize two things. First, our livestream Masses will continue. Second, if you do choose to come to Mass or to come to receive Communion after the livestream Mass on Sunday, please register online before you come. While we can receive walk-ins, if capacity hasn’t been reached, those must be the exception, especially as the numbers we are allowed to accommodate for Mass increase. Please register for the Saturday 5 pm Vigil Mass HERE, and the Sunday 5 pm Mass HERE, and the Sunday Communion HERE.

On another note, I am delighted to welcome Robert Nolan to St. Ignatius Parish as Communications Director. Robert has an extensive background in communications strategy, writing, social media, web design, and myriad other communications skills. After graduation from Boston College, he served in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Robert has held senior positions at the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Foreign Policy Association. In addition, he has produced television content for PBS and written for U.S. News and World Report. Immediately prior to recently relocating with his family from New York City to Northern California, he made a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I am very happy and excited that Robert is joining the St. Ignatius Parish family. Please join me in welcoming him.

I also want to take this opportunity to express my immense gratitude to Viviana Davila for stepping up these past two months to help us as interim Communications Director. Viviana accomplished a great deal in a very short time, including expanding the content of our e-newsletter, making improvements to our website, and directing the initial publication of our virtual ministries. Viviana did all this and so much more in a limited number of hours, while continuing with her work at UCSF. Though leaving us in this capacity, Viviana will remain part of our community, primarily as a section leader in our choir. Viviana, on behalf of our community, thank you for generously and creatively stepping in to help us. We are very grateful. May God continue to bless you.

God bless you and keep you safe and healthy.

Oremus pro invicem.

Fr. Greg