June 21, 2020

Our first week of re-opening for public Masses went well and it was so good to be able to gather around the Table of the Lord and give thanks and praise to God. We will continue to grow into this new phase in our re-opening process. We ask that you continue to be patient as we learn from week to week how to make this experience of the liturgy better for all of us.

One of the things we know is that because we have a screening process and a process for checking people in before Mass, it is very important for you to arrive 30 minutes prior to Mass. In order to have time to check people in and seat them, we have to close the doors at 5 minutes prior to Mass starting. If we don’t do that, because of the way we have to show people to their seats, we will be interrupting the liturgy as we seat people. So, please plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to Mass, and know that the doors will have to be closed five minutes before the scheduled time for Mass.

As I mentioned last week, Archbishop Etienne has promulgated a Pastoral Letter on the Eucharist, entitled “The Work of Redemption, Eucharistic Belief and Practice in the Archdiocese of Seattle.” The letter is published in the June edition of the Northwest Catholic, and is also available online.

It is a beautiful reflection on the centrality of the Eucharist in our lives and we will have a chance to reflect on the different elements of the letter over the coming year. Archbishop has designated this year, starting last Sunday on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, and continuing through the same feast in June of next year, as a Year of the Eucharist. During this time when many have had to fast from the Eucharist, we welcome this opportunity to focus our prayer and reflection around this most precious gift of the Lord.

Last Saturday, June 13, and this Saturday, June 20, Michael Barbarosa and Val Park were ordained to the Transitional Diaconate. Michael and Val have been with us in the past here at St. Joseph as seminarians. Michael was here two summers ago and Val spent his Pastoral Year with us last year. Michael was ordained at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Federal Way two weeks ago, and Val was ordained at St. James Cathedral in Seattle this past Saturday.

Their ordination to the Transitional Diaconate is a significant step in their life, in their formation, and in the life of the Church. At their ordination, they commit themselves to serving the church in humble charity, to preaching the Word of God faithfully, and to deepening the spirit of prayer in their lives, especially in their commitment to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours faithfully. They also promise respect and obedience to Archbishop Etienne and his successors, and to remain celibate for the rest of their lives.

Deacons, as you know from the ministry of our permanent Deacons, Deacon Scott Aikin and Deacon Tom Hayward, can baptize, preach, and witness marriages. Michael and Val, as Transitional Deacons (i.e., transitioning to priesthood) make a promise of celibacy whereas Permanent Deacons can be married.

We will have a chance to see Michael and Val again and experience their Diaconal ministry this summer and next year. Michael will be with us for a couple of months beginning in early July, before he heads back to seminary in Chicago. Val will be with us on weekends during the next school year as he completes his fourth year of theology at Mt. Angel. It will be good to share ministry with these men and to have them here in our parish again.

Finally, I want to wish all of our fathers a very Happy Fathers Day! Thank you, fathers for your vocation and for the gift you are to your spouses and your children and to our community of faith. May God Bless you abundantly and fill you with his strength and his peace.

God Bless,
Fr. Gary