5:00 p.m. Vigil Mass, 7:30 & 10:00 a.m. (English)
and 12:00 p.m. (Spanish) Sunday Masses are open
Dear St. Charles Parish Family and All Friends in Christ,
When I’m packing for a vacation or anytime I’m leaving home on a trip, the challenge is always to ask oneself, “what do I really need?” You can’t take everything with you, so this time away from home is always an opportunity to focus on what is most essential. The prophet Isaiah in the first reading is speaking to the people who are in exile – who have been dispossessed of their land and have been forced to leave their country and home. In “survival mode” as in the situation of those in exile, there is a focus on what is most important in life and a longing for that place of comfort. What the prophet reminds them of is that what they thirst for most is what money cannot buy. He is not inviting them to receive a free meal but to heed or to listen to their deep thirst and to come to the Lord that they may have life. In the Gospel, the crowds follow Jesus into the desert – they go far from home into the wilderness because they recognize in Jesus the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah: in Jesus, the deep longing of our heart is satisfied. The multiplication of the loaves and fish is not so much for the crowd as it is to teach the disciples a lesson. The disciples are focussed on material need, and when they are confronted by their inability to solve this problem by their efforts and resources, they want to dismiss it – make it go away. They think the problem can be solved by having the crowd buy food themselves. Jesus challenges them to “give them some food yourselves”. The disciples are confronted by their incapacity and then come to Jesus with what little they have. The difference with Jesus is that he does not focus on what is lacking but instead looks to heaven. What comes from heaven satisfies the deep longing of our heart. “They all ate and were satisfied.” Our attempts to satisfy this hunger or thirst with material things or through our own efforts always leave us empty and frustrated. In this pandemic situation, we are like the Israelites in exile or like the disciples confronted by the vast crowd. Do we pray that the Lord just take away our problems, or is Jesus saying to us, “there is no need for them to go away”? The Lord is inviting us to become aware of our deep thirst that these “problems” bring to light. It is only when we come to the Lord with our deep need that we will experience a superabundant satisfaction. St. Paul asks rhetorically, “What will separate us from the love of Christ?” These things we suffer – anguish, or distress, or famine, or persecution – don’t separate us from Christ, but it is “in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.” Paul is convinced of Christ’s love for us because of the mercy he received when his world was turned upside down. We act out of fear when we focus on what is lacking. May we turn our eyes to heaven in our need and let Jesus feed us. When our heart is full in the midst of the desert, there is nothing more convincing than that.
Please see below for important clarifications regarding recent coronavirus restrictions issued by Governor Wolf: The new restrictions announced by Governor Wolf on July 15 do not apply to churches. However, the Governor’s new 25/250 occupancy limits apply to non-religious services such as Bingo, Festivals, Wedding Receptions, Baby Showers, etc. that might be held on parish grounds. We will continue to follow the liturgical directives as outlined by the Archdiocese for the “Green” Phase. These recent restrictions announced by the Governor will not affect the way we have been celebrating the Mass and the guidelines we have put in place and are following to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for those who come to Mass. The Archdiocese has created a new section on the Arise website called “Announcements, Updates and Clarifications” in which updates will be posted in response to new restrictions or changes as they are announced on the State or Federal level. To view these clarifications, visit: http://archphila.org/arise/
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: http://stcharlesbensalem.org (look for the link, “Hymns and Readings for Mass” under the video replay frame).
The readings for this Sunday’s Mass can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/080220.cfm
This Sunday’s Bulletin is available here: https://www.e-churchbulletins.com/bulletins/511434.pdf
I ask all those who are coming back to Mass for the first time 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, if you are not coming to Mass, 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.
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. No walk-up service is available. 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 email@example.com 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
Mass cards and/or Mass intentions can be arranged by contacting the parish office by phone or email or by mailing in your requests. Please allow a week for requests to be fulfilled. Walk-in service is not available. Mass card pick-up for pre-arranged requests 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
Novena in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary
August 6-14, 2020
Archbishop Nelson. J. Pérez invites the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to join in a novena in preparation for the Solemnity of the Assumption on August 15. The special intention of this novena is for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
The novena can be found here: http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Assumption-Novena-English.pdf
Mission Appeal Weekend – August 8 – 9, 2020
Fr. Mark Marangone, s.x., a Xaverian Missionary (St. Francis Xavier Foreign Mission Society), will be preaching the Mission Appeal at St. Charles the weekend of August 8 – 9 as part of the annual Missionary Cooperation Plan. Founded in 1895 in Parma, Italy, by St. Guido Maria Conforti, and being exclusively a foreign mission society, with about 700 members, the Xaverian Missionaries (Priests and Brothers) depend greatly on proceeds from friends and benefactors. They began ser- ving in mainland China in 1899, among non-Christians until the early 1950s. Expelled from there they were invited to serve in other countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Nowadays they carry out their service in the following 20 countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Mozam- bique, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Missions are especially in need of support. Please be as generous as possible to the Mission Co-op Appeal this year.
Let’s continue to pray for an end to the Coronavirus pandemic, entrusting ourselves to Our Lady’s intercession. In our mother’s arms, we are not afraid! As always, I promise you my prayers and am grateful for your prayers and support!
Sincerely in Christ,
Rev. Philip M. Forlano, Pastor
St. Charles Borromeo Parish
1731 Hulmeville Road
Bensalem, PA 19020
(215) 638-3625, ext. 726