There is good news and bad news. The good: we have made it to April. The bad: the governor has extended the social distancing restrictions through at least April 30. We continue to adjust and respond to needs with an amazing amount of flexibility, while still being tested in our ability to keep our entire parish family informed about what is continuing to happen in the life of our parish. Here is a short update:
Usage analytics are indicating that we are getting many hours of participation through our Sunday Masses. The first weekend we had more than 100 hours of live viewing on Facebook and Youtube for the 40 minute Mass which was celebrated… and even more views were registered in the hours and days which followed. You may find our YouTube page by following this link: Click here to go to the St. Anthony of Padua YouTube channel. To follow us on Facebook, normally you are already a member, and then follow our channel: St. Anthony of Padua, Quincy (@stanthonyquincy), and the video and other information will show up in the feed. There are, of course, many other ways to pray with the liturgy of the Church celebrated in our community and throughout the world. The Diocese of Springfield has gathered a list of web broadcasts throughout the diocese, including the bishop’s Masses: here. It is also possible to find the pope’s liturgical celebrations: here. EWTN, of course, also offers 24 hours of Catholic broadcasting daily: here. The Mass for Shut-Ins, sponsored by the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus is broadcast on KHQA at 10:30am on Sundays. We also have Catholic Radio via Covenant Network on 93.7FM. Until this crisis, I was not aware of how wide and far Catholic Broadcasting had become. Indeed, many of the parish Masses are being webcast only until the restrictions on public Masses are lifted, but this is a sign of our evangelical outreach. The Word cannot be contained… it must be proclaimed to the ends of the earth, and what tools we have to accomplish that mission today!
Our daily Masses from St. Anthony are being live-streamed at 9am. We are offering a Eucharistic Holy Hour each day at 3pm. Generally these webcasts are live, but every once in a while for our scheduling purposes, we will use our ability to pre-record and broadcast at the published time. Case-in-point, our official publication time for Sunday Mass is 10:30, but likely it will appear live at an earlier hour, in order to help our small crew to make sure that there were no technical glitches or difficulties which would necessitate a ‘do over’. In any case, we expect to have everything online and running by the published time of 10:30 on Sundays, but if you tune in early, we may very well already be providing a live feed at the 9am hour.
Recorded Masses and Holy Hours never quite match up with being present in person. Indeed, there is no obligation to “attend” Mass online, but it is meant to help join one’s prayer for the day with that of the larger Church. Bishop Paprocki has asked that in this time of a “Eucharistic Fast” that we develop our prayerful desire for union with our Lord. While the visible, tangible reality of the Sacraments is not present, the entrustment of one’s heart and mind to our Lord, who seeks us even more surely than we seek him, is a worthy spiritual exercise which can bear tremendous fruit. Please join your longing for the Sacraments with those around the world who are restricted by this pandemic, with those who are in remote places, for those whose Churches are under persecution, and in particular with those who are imprisoned for the faith.
As for Holy Week, we are trying to get a mailing out with our Holy Week bulletin. We are also including information about electronic giving and the continuing activity at St. Dominic School. We continue to minister in this time of “social distancing” and we continue to bear the obligations toward supporting our school. Many have already stepped forward to make sure that we do not default on these important obligations, and to them I offer my heartfelt gratitude.
Palms for Palm Sunday have already been blessed and today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday) they will be available on the step in front of the parish office. We will replenish them as needed. As it is forecast to rain on Friday, we move the palms in the gathering area of the Church on Friday. In the Church you can also find the latest copies of the Pray Together ‘missalettes’, which have a starting date on Easter Sunday. We will also have a selection of back-issues of the bulletin which are in print. You are welcome to come, also, to spend some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Please bear caution with the wiring which is strewn about… the church is a temporary broadcast studio, after all.
Confessions will be heard on Saturday in the Church from 4pm to 6pm or until all are heard. More hours will be scheduled during Holy Week.
Our Holy Week / Triduum schedule is going to be slightly modified. We will live-broadcast Mass on Holy Thursday at 5pm. The Good Friday Liturgy will be live at 5pm as well. This is to allow for a bit more light in the church, and a longer viewing window for those who wish to join us. The Easter Vigil may not begin until after nightfall. That Mass will start at 8pm. On Easter Sunday, I will try to have the Mass live-cast at 8 am to optimize the ability for people to view the Mass all through the morning. These times are subject to change, but I think they are reasonable and doable from the technical side of things here.
I will do my best to keep this information better updated. Things are still changing daily, if not hourly. Please read our bulletins. If you are not good with Youtube or Facebook, please do your best to keep in touch with parishioners who are ‘plugged in’… perhaps even ask them to help you get set up. These are unprecedented times, but exciting times to see the Church ‘fully deployed’ into the world, keeping the faith through the spiritual, if not visible, bonds that make us the Mystical Body of Christ! -Fr. Tom Donovan