St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church
St. Catharines, Ontario
31 Chestnut Street East
St. Catharines, Ontario L2T 1G8
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 905 227 2358
Dear fellow Parishioners:
This is the first time that I have taken to writing the parish through our website. Many reasons have contributed to this, but after thought and prayer, and a deep need to communicate in these days of staying inside, having no church functions of any kind, and my own health situation, I write to you now. This will quickly become a regular feature.
First, you are daily in my prayers. I share with others in the loss of Masses. With churches closed and all visiting suspended, there is a different sense of the presence of God that we experience. I know that God’s love touches us wherever we are, but the gathering of a praying community is part of our faith and human nature. Hearts that ache for what we had can thankfully find support in on-line and televised various religious worship. Each time I celebrate Mass in these present circumstances, alone in church with the angels and saints and memories of you to be with me, I can easily recall that Christ gave us the Eucharist as an on-going and eternal joining of Himself with us.
Second, I have relied on your prayers for me. In the general way of my position as Pastor, but in a very personal way. On March 18, I experienced a medical emergency. I had a minor stroke. I spent a total of seven days in the St. Catharines General Hospital. I continue to recover at the parish house. The stroke was in the left side of my brain, and doctors tell me it was of a minor and not major nature. I have recovered most of my abilities, but my walking (still using a walker) and the use of my right hand (writing, printing and messaging) still needs therapy. I am grateful that this situation in my life occurred at this time, when so much is shut down, as all my duties are not available, but it has meant no visitors which is a different kind of burden. Please continue to pray for my healing, and patience with myself.
Third, this is Holy Week. Never has the Church had an experience like this. Even in the years of Roman persecution before the year 313, we could gather to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of the Lord. These are indeed strange times. No matter how you celebrate these sacred days – through media events, in private prayer, remembering days of the past – may we all remember that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again. Let our hearts and minds be filled with the trust that God has not left us alone.
As I spent my days in hospital as a patient, I got to see up close and personally the sorrows and triumphs of many people. Let us remember our first responders, our health care workers, patients who cannot receive visitors, visitors who cannot be visiting, and all of us who are trying to stay well.
I thank you for the hope and joy and love we have in this parish. These are days of wonder and mystery, of confusion and uncertainty, of great sacrifice and compassion.
God is with us. Our Blessed Mother is with us. Saint Patrick and all in heaven are with us. We have a great crowd of supporters. Praise be to our God.
Sincerely in Christ,
Father Brian Bevan.
April 8, 2020