7:30 & 10:00 a.m. (English) and 12:00 p.m. (Spanish)
Sunday Masses open in the Green Phase
Dear St. Charles Parish Family and All Friends in Christ,
This July 4th Weekend is a needed break for many of us. Perhaps it is the first time many of us are able to “get away” in a long time because of the travel restrictions and social distancing requirements and gathering limitations imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic. The experience of living with all of these restrictions and precautions has been, in many respects, very burdensome, especially for those on the “front-lines” and those in high-risk categories. But what makes this time “burdensome”? It is not just the discomfort of wearing a mask and the more frequent hand-washing. It is something deeper. This time has made us more aware of our vulnerability and the fragility of our life. What makes us anxious and restless is the thought that I can try as hard as I can to “stay safe”, and I still might get sick. There are so many unknowns and uncertainties. Does anything I do really make a difference? This thought can lead to two different reactions that we see all around us. First, if nothing matters, I’m just going to enjoy myself – have fun – and throw caution to the wind. This is a form of escapism – filling ourselves with pleasure to ignore or to distract ourselves from the discomfort of living or to numb ourselves to the existential angst in our souls. The second reaction is to become hyper-vigilant and scrupulous about the rules in an attempt to control the environment and to save ourselves. This response generates in us a self-righteousness and an antagonism toward others who are lax in following the precautions. But this effort to save ourselves does not take the burden away either.
Jesus came to answer this burden – the deep need in our heart for meaning and purpose – the deep longing we all have as human beings for something that the world and our own efforts can’t provide. The one who reveals the Father makes sense of our longing for the eternal and brings peace to our restless hearts. Jesus invites us today as he did to those who felt stuck and weighed down by life’s circumstances, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus invites us to learn from him who is meek and humble of heart. The meek person does not fight or try to control reality. But meekness is not weakness. Rather, the meek person listens to reality and seeks the good or the gift in it – the result of the Father’s “gracious will” in all that has been given to us. Humility is the virtue that makes me see clearly that I am not in control and not presumptuous enough to think I know all the answers. If I think I know the answer already and can save myself by my efforts, I’m not going to seek an answer and recognize the answer when he comes. I’m not going to accept his invitation.
The real purpose of a vacation is not to escape from reality but to come to know Him who enables us to face all of reality with peace. Jesus “yoked” himself to our humanity, bringing the divine life to earth. When we take up his yoke and learn from him and let him accompany us on the journey, bringing us into communion with the Father, our burden becomes easy and light. May this weekend – getting away or not – be a time to find rest for your souls.
Please see below for other announcements and the links to “stay connected” to the Mass and to what is happening at St. Charles.
Mass attendance was up significantly last Sunday as we entered the “Green Phase” and added the 10:00 a.m. Mass back to the Sunday schedule. Our ability to restart the 5:00 p.m. Vigil Mass will depend on the number of volunteers we have to assist with greeting, coordinating the flow of the people for communion, and sanitizing the church after Mass. We will need a team of at least 4 people for each of these duties. Anyone willing to assist on the reopening team at any Mass, please contact the parish office at email@example.com or 215-638-3625 with your name, phone number, and email. A clear “job description” will be provided for each position. I am very grateful for those who have volunteered and are willing to help.
During the “Green Phase”, the Archbishop has continued to dispense the faithful from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. Several weeks notice will be provided as to when the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation will be reinstated by the Archbishop. Those who are sick or at higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19 should not come to church. We will continue to live-stream the Masses each Sunday and post them on the website, Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/scbbensalem/ and YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSf0XIKmwgRsxkG80ItXrwg. The best place to watch the Mass live or on replay is right on the homepage of our parish website: http://stcharlesbensalem.org
A worship aid for Sunday Mass that includes the readings, hymns, and other music for the Mass is available on the website or right here: http://stcharlesbensalem.org/wp-content/uploads/July5Mass-English.pdf
The readings alone for the Mass can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070520.cfm
This Sunday’s Bulletin is available here: https://www.e-churchbulletins.com/bulletins/511434.pdf
I ask all those who do intend to come to Mass to watch the instructional video and to review the guidelines for returning to Mass that are posted on the parish website http://stcharlesbensalem.org so you will know what to expect when you arrive at church. Printed copies of the guidelines are available in the church.
To make an on-line gift or to become a regular electronic donor, follow this link: https://scbbensalem.churchgiving.com Those who prefer not to give on-line, please mail your offering envelope to the rectory or drop it through the mail slot in the front door of the rectory office. No gift is too small. Every gift makes a difference. Your continued financial support during this time is crucial for the ongoing operations of the parish. I am very grateful for the generosity of the many people who have maintained their weekly offering or given even more at this time.
Parish Meetings and Facilities Use during the Green Phase
All indoor onsite meetings of ministry groups, prayer groups, committees, adult faith formation classes, parish organizations and similar gatherings including BINGO and other social and fundraising events remain suspended during the “green phase”. All groups should continue to conduct meetings through electronic means as their leaders see fit. The need for this restriction will be reevaluated on an ongoing basis.
The parish office will be open during the “green phase”, but all parish business will be conducted by phone or video conference and by appointment only. Parish registrations, baptismal registrations, and Letters of Eligibility can be arranged by a phone or video appointment with Fr. Forlano. Please call 215-638-3625 or email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment. In-person pick-up of Mass cards and other items must be scheduled in advance and will take place through the scrip office window. In keeping with current directives, all who do come to the office for essential business need to wear a face mask and practice social distancing inside the parish office.
Thank you for your understanding, patience, and active cooperation with these efforts to protect those who work at St. Charles as well as the vendors and visitors to our facilities.
Mass Cards are Available
We are not taking “announced intentions” with set dates until we are able to return to the full Mass schedule to ensure that all intentions already scheduled can be satisfied. Those wishing to have an unannounced Mass or an “announced” Mass offered at St. Charles at the first available opening (date is not set in advance) may contact the parish office or mail in requests. Mass card pick-up is available Thursdays from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the scrip office window.
Eucharistic Adoration – Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. – SCB main church
If you are willing to spend an hour or even a half hour with the Lord before the Blessed Sacrament, please contact the parish office at 215-638-3625 or email@example.com to sign-up for a time on Wednesdays. Please leave your name, number, and email or use the sign-up sheet in the church. All are welcome just to make a visit with the Lord on Wednesdays. Those who have been regular adorers at the Our Lady of Fatima Adoration Chapel are encouraged to continue your hours of adoration at St. Charles. For more information or to start Adoration on Monday or Thursday, please call Patti Elinich at 215-639-5668. Thank you to all who have made Adoration possible at St. Charles!
Weekly On-line Scripture Reflection Group
I invite everyone to join me in a weekly on-line reflection on the Sunday readings. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you a link to join the on-line meeting through Zoom. The meeting for women is on Mondays at 1:30 p.m. The discussion for men is at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesdays.
Rev. Philip M. Forlano, Pastor
St. Charles Borromeo Parish
1731 Hulmeville Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
(215) 638-3625, ext. 726