Why is God doing This to Us?
We are all trying to figure this out, but I know that everything works for the good for those who love God (Rom 8:28). He is using the Virus to clarify what is most important to us. We have all become worldly, and a bit “agnostic.” Bodily health has become all-consuming to us. Agnostics think this life is all we get, and so dying is to be avoided at all costs. We should not be naïve: most of our media and government executives do not believe in God as we know Him; they suffer a hysterical fear of death, and they spread this fear to others.
A noble and rational person would give his or her life for justice, beauty, honor, love, and above all for faith (as do the martyrs). They know that it is better to die for love than to live without it. God’s gift of faith, hope, and charity frees us from living in fear of death. I beg you to make every effort, my dear people, to keep your faith and your peace during this epidemic. God is permitting the virus to deepen our faith. Let nothing trouble you, for you are in the hands of God.
As Safe as Possible
Having said that, we must make a reasonable effort to prevent sickness and death. The church remains open from 6am to 6pm, but we have roped off pews so that no one sits closer than 8 feet. We wipe down all surfaces daily with disinfectant. Your priests continue to offer Masses at the scheduled times, but only with servers, camera operator, and cantor (for solemn Masses). The Archbishop has directed that we make a Spiritual Communion rather than congregate in the church for sacramental communion, at least until we better understand how to contain the virus. Spiritual Communion sheets are in the church.
Live streamed Masses and other resources
Fr. Cameron Faller has an eloquent and heartfelt video (https://www.facebook.com/sfvocations/videos/679693926106566) explaining why we should not merely “watch” live streamed Masses, but how our painful thirst at being denied the Holy Eucharist will lead us to pray the Mass more deeply. Masses at M-F 7:30 & noon, Sat 8:30am, and Sunday 9:30 & 11:30am can be followed here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/starparishsf/videos. I also ask you to sign up for our YouTube Channel and invite your friends to do so as well. Star’s channel has 750 subscribers, and with 1000 YouTube will allow us to stream our Masses for all to see (on our current Facebook page only those with Facebook accounts can see the Mass). Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE. My favorite devotional is Magnificat, which I read every day in my Holy Hour. They are offering the beautiful little magazine free, in digital format, during the crisis (www.magnificat.com/free).
Our Lady’s Annunciation and St. Joseph’s Consecration
On Fridays of Lent I encourage you to make the Stations of the Cross at home. You can find Via Crucis booklets in the church, but please do not be within 8 feet of others, unless they live in your household. Wednesday is the Solemnity of the Annunciation, and I will offer a sung Mass, as planned, at 6pm tomorrow. You can pray the Mass with me at the link above. Finally, I ask everyone in our parish to consecrate themselves to St. Joseph, father to Jesus and our own “Father and Lord.” I recommend a 33-day preparation, using the excellent book by Fr. Donald Calloway (https://www.fathercalloway.com/books-and-gifts/consecration-st-joseph-wonders-our-spiritual-father). I will be making the 33 day preparation myself beginning March 30. On May 1, God willing, I will celebrate a Sung Mass for St. Joseph the Worker at 6pm in the main church with all of you. At that Mass all who attend may consecrate their lives to the protection and providence of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer and Protector of Holy Mother Church.