Fr. Hurley's Herald

Fr. Hurley’s Herald

9/27/2020

Blessing of Objects

The parish office has been getting inundated with objects to bless, so I am opting to set aside one evening a month to do this.  It might make things easier all the way around.  Since I am generally around to hear Confessions at 8pm on the First Wednesday of each month, I am going to do the blessings before that. This will be easier for bulk items.

Starting October 7th at 7:30pm, I will bless all objects, such as pictures, statues, scapulars, medals, salt, water, oil, wine, candles, etc.  For those that have not been enrolled in the Brown Scapular or Miraculous Medal, this will be a good time to have that done, too.  The blessings will be done using the Rituale Romanum (Roman Ritual), because there is a blessing for almost everything. 

If you need a single object blessed in between time for a birthday or baptism, please drop that off in the office with you name, phone number, and date needed by.  Otherwise, the First Wednesday will be the primary days to bless items, especially in bulk.

Funerals

Back on April 30th, the Archdiocese of Detroit issued directives regarding funerals and eventually began to open things up to the reception of Holy Communion and more capacity.  The focus for this article is simply the location of where a Funeral may occur.  The Archdiocese of Detroit lists 3 possible locations (with the provision of a 4th that is already an option).

The first is in a Parish Church where a “Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass may be celebrated”.  The second is at a Catholic Cemetery in which “a Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass may be celebrated a Catholic cemetery chapel or graveside”.  This means a Mass may be celebrated at/in the chapel.  Graveside would be the Liturgy Outside of Mass. At any Cemetery, “Committal Services may continue to be celebrated at any proper burial place pursuant to the guidelines of the cemetery”.  Finally, we are already allowed to celebrate a Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass in a funeral home, but they are restricted currently in the number of people that may be present in their building.

There have been requests to have funerals outside.  Since we do not have a chapel at Mt. Loretto Cemetery, we are not able to have the Funeral Masses outside.  I don’t want to set a precedent for something that is not permitted.  However, we were able to accommodate a wake (visitation and Rosary/Scripture Service) at St. Louise for a parishioner that had a large family and a number of friends.  The family led the Rosary, which was one of their customs, and said that it worked out well. The funeral was held in church here at Immaculate Conception and we were able to accommodate them here.  It seemed to work out well. 

Visiting in Church

One of the caveats that has manifested during this time of restriction and limitation is visiting or talking in church before Mass, especially before weddings and funerals.  Quite often we are sanitizing after morning Mass, so we need time to clean and allow the product to dry.  Therefore, we have been restricting people from entering the parish church, to ensure that they do not ruin their clothes by sitting on a pew with bleach. 

One of the things that many visitors not realize is that visiting prior to Mass (and afterwards) is not considered a liturgical gathering, therefore, it is limited in scope and is not to exceed 10 persons.  So, if you see a sign up asking for silence in church before or after a Mass, please understand that this is the reason for that request.  I have been having to excuse people from the church, who are chatting, in order to follow this directive.

Furthermore, we shouldn’t be chatting in church to begin with.  I have had a number of complaints from people that come in to the church with limited time to pay a visit to Our Lord and are disturbed by people who want to chat with them.  Please do not disturb people while they are praying before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  A simple greeting is fine if they give you eye contact, but please do not go up and disturb them if they are praying. Please also do not get offended if they do not want to talk or visit.  Some are on lunch break. Others have a few moments after work before they have to head home to their families.  Please respect their boundaries.

Fr. Hurley’s Herald

9/6/2020

Parish Census and Enrollment

The Parish Finance Council wanted to do a parish census and subsequently do a follow up campaign in which they called parishioners/families to make sure that we had the correct contact information.  In order to get this process going, we had to determine a threshold regarding parish enrollment, which was the parishioner/family has contributed to the Sunday Collection (this includes on-line giving) at least once since January 2019.  During the Covid shutdown, the Archdiocese of Detroit was asking similar questions to track the health of the parishes throughout the AOD.  This helped them gauge attendance, enrollment, giving, and the like, causing them to delay the Catholic Services Appeal, encourage us to apply for the Parish Protection Program, consider laying off staff, and move towards an archdiocesan wide reorganization.                                                                    

In order to begin this process, Karen linked me to the Parish Data System, which is the software program that tracks parish enrollments, giving, and the like.  What I began to encounter were registered families that had been inactive for years.  Some would register to get a sacrament and then would never been seen or heard from again.  Quite often, the date of registration corresponded to the birth of a child, leading to a baptism.  The last time a contribution would be made would correspond to the age of Confirmation for some of the children.  We also saw this trend with weddings.

Karen then had to make sure the PDS information also corresponded to the Envelope Provider’s system.  The end result was that the number of actively registered parishioners fell to about 850. This is in line with the guestimate of the Finance Council of about 800 families that was made earlier this year.  We tried to take into consideration those who were elderly and possibly in nursing homes, as well as, those who are known to be unemployed.  With the use of online giving the number of envelopes assigned will be closer to 750 once Karen completes the correlation between PDS and the envelope company software.    

However, a parishioner or family may have been inadvertently made in active during the course of the update.  Please let us know if that is the case.  One of the ways that you will know is that you will not receive envelopes during the next round of mailings.  If you do not give online and were expecting envelopes and do not receive them, please call the office for us to update our records.  I apologize ahead of time if this happens to you.

Please note that the members of the Finance Council will be making phones calls in the near future to confirm your mailing information.  They will not be asking for money, so if someone were to pose as one of them and ask for money, please hang up and call the office to notify us of that case.  

Bishop Kelley Catholic School

Monday, August 31 was the first day back for the school.  It was good to see the kids return and brighten up the day.  They all seemed excited to be back to school.  They parents seemed very happy, too.  Thank you for all of your prayers, so that we could open up and return to school for in-class instruction.

For Liability reasons and due to Covid, I am going to have to put signage up around the parking lot and the playgrounds stating that this is the private property of the parish.  It hasn’t been as bad with the parking lot (the parking lot usage gets abused around Lapeer Days or other events). Unfortunately, I am getting more and more concerned with the playgrounds.  Too often, I am finding things damaged or mishandled, such as a kid climbing on the basketball pole to “fix the rim”.  I am also concerned that we will need to limit the amount of traffic to the parish and school, so as to limit the amount of sanitizing that will happen.

Religious Education

Religious Education is in the process of organizing and contacting parents for this coming year.  It appears that we will be doing distance learning this year.  More information will follow, so that we can begin the end of September or the beginning of October.

 Confirmations

Archbishop Vigneron delegated the authority for Confirmations to the priests until the end of the December 24, 2020.  Bishop Cepeda wrote: “Pastors have the faculty to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to their parishioners, including minors of the appropriate age, in their parish church for the rest of the calendar year (expiring on December 24, 2020).  Pastors must ensure that all liturgical directives are followed in the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation.” 

The Confirmation retreat will be on Saturday, September 19th from 10am to 12:30pm in the church.  I am considering adding a second retreat on Saturday, October 16th from 10am to 12:30pm.  I will be sending out an email with this information, but if you are one of the people that suspects they were not Confirmed validly, please call the parish office or email me.

The Rite of Confirmation will take place at Mass on Wednesday, September 30th at 7pm. If there is a need, there will be a second date on Wednesday, October 21st at 7pm. 

Catholic Services Appeal

The 2020-2021 Catholic Services Appeal will begin the weekend of September 12/13th.  The AOD has begun to centralize this operation, so you may have already received an appeal letter through the mail.  If not, please look for it in the next couple of weeks.  They are trying to get as many people to register and donate on line.

Annual Good Friday Appeal for the Holy Land

The annual appeal taken on Good Friday for the Custody of the Holy Land was delayed due to the Covid shutdown.  The Franciscans that manage the Custody for the Latin Church have asked us to do a collection the Sunday before the Triumph of the Holy Cross on September 14th.  This will be done as a second collection the weekend of September 12/13th at all the Masses. 

From the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, there is a statement regarding the aid given to the Christians in the Holy Land:

“In a recent interview with the Custody of the Holy Land, President Fr. Peter Vasko explained that the foundation has “donated $10,000 to the parish of Bethlehem and $10,000 to the parish of Jerusalem for food supplies.” Vasko says that FFHL has been focused on helping deliver supplies to the elderly and those who were not able to leave their homes because of COVID-19. Additionally, they have been providing assistance to families in need and those who have lost their jobs during this difficult time. FFHL continues to give to many other fields as well, including scholarships for the Magnificat school of music, helping with the building and renovation of homes for the Christians of the Holy Land, financing the social services centre in Bethlehem and the Casa del Fanciullo for children with disadvantaged families, and funding sports programs for Palestinian children.”

https://www.ffhl.org/ffhl-response-to-coronavirus/#

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher also takes up an appeal.  I hope to do one of those as well.

Fr. Hurley’s Herald

August 9, 2020

Family of Parishes

Unfortunately, I don’t know any more than you regarding the Family of Parishes diocesan reorganization.  The vicar, Fr. Rich Treml, will be hosting us for a dinner and further discussion about what is going on.  I get the impression that the parishes are going to eventually be in a hybrid cluster model arrangement.  I am not sure what that will mean for us up here, because the parishes are so spread out in the vicariate.  This will work much easier in the suburbs where the churches are closer together and can share the priests and resources more readily.

Sacristy Traffic

There has been an ever increasing about of foot traffic in the sacristy before and after Mass.  I have been asked repeatedly to hear confessions right before the start of a Sunday Mass.  This has caused me to be late, forget to set up the Mevo to live stream, forget to set something out for Mass, to forget to lock something up after Mass, or to simply disrupt my preparation and prayers before and prayers after Mass. 

I set the nut cracker out as a reminder to stop before entering the sanctuary.  It is one thing if you are a lector or volunteer (cleaning/sanitizing) to come up into the sanctuary to ask me a question or to get the equipment to sanitize, but please wait to see me after Mass when I am unvested. We are now praying the Prayers After Mass before the procession out, so I am hoping that this will alleviate some of the issues by being outside after Mass.  Please note that I am on a water pill to prevent kidney stones.  If I walk past you briskly, I am not being rude, but it is because Mother Nature paged.

Blessing of Items

There have been an increasing number of requests to bless multiple items, which often requires multiple prayer books.  If you would like multiple something blessed, please drop them off at the office with your name, number, and the date you need them back.  I will be happy to do that there.  It is easier to do the exorcism and blessing of salt, water, oil, and St. Benedict medals this way. 

The new rite from the Book of Blessings reduced the blessings to the Blessing of All Things from the Old Rite.  The Old Rite has a blessing for practically everything that can be blessed (prior to cell phones and computers), so each object will get blessed using the Old Rite. 

Dress Code

There is not a formal dress code for Mass and the Sacraments.  Because of this, I am increasingly seeing shorts, stretch pants/yoga pants, flip fops, sandals, & beach/bath wear, and shirts with inappropriate saying or pictures on them.  At a bare minimum, the dress should be what we called business casual.  This would be a polo or button-down shirt with kakis or slacks for men and boys and a polo or blouse with kakis, slacks, or a longer skirt or a dress for the ladies and girls.  For Sunday Mass, a Wedding, or a Funeral, this should be kicked up a notch.  This is also a good way to form the kids in preparing to come to Mass, because it teaches the children that they are going somewhere special to encounter Someone Special in Our Lord.

Music at Mass

Mr. Joe Balistreri, who work in the Archdiosesan Worship Office, wrote an article in the AOD’s blog/website called Encounter/Grow/Witness.  His article is copied below.

https://www.egwdetroit.org/the-role-of-liturgical-music-during-the-pandemic

The Role of Liturgical Music During the Pandemic

Joe Balistreri • Jul 28, 2020

Singing is a crucial component of Christian worship. The first Eucharist, celebrated by Jesus and the Apostles in the upper room, concluded with the singing of a hymn. The scriptures are filled with psalms, songs, and canticles. St. Augustine is believed to have written "he who sings prays twice." We know from church records and musicological research that the hymn "Ubi Caritas", sung on Holy Thursday, dates from the beginning of the second century. The antiphons for Mass that have become known as Gregorian chants were arranged into a fixed cycle in the seventh century, with many of them existing centuries earlier.  

In Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council declared that "the musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy."

When COVID-19 forced us into quarantine and research began to uncover how the coronavirus spread, it became clear that the primary method of spread is aerosol droplet transmission. Unfortunately, researchers broadly agreed that indoor community singing is one of the most effective ways to spread aerosol.

Those who study singing learn how to maximize the efficacy of their breath in projecting sound, releasing large amounts of air with inclusion of consonants and vowel shaping, and ultimately releasing significantly more aerosol droplets at a further distance than speaking. This is also why you may notice singers almost always carrying water with them: singing expels a significant amount of aerosol, and the singer needs to remain hydrated!

For these reasons, it has been necessary to minimize congregational singing at Mass until the pandemic subsides.

A completely unsung liturgical experience would be quite unsettling for many Catholics. The very nature of Christian worship even seems to beg the question: "How can I keep from singing?"

A middle path, recommended by the Archdiocesan Academy of Sacred Music, asks a solo singer or small group of well-spaced soloists to sing the antiphons. These are the texts of the Gregorian antiphons mentioned above, handed down to us over about 1500 years. Instead of participating in the music in an exterior way by singing, the congregation is invited into interior participation in the music by active listening and contemplation.

Some music ministers have taken to singing the ordinary parts — the unchanging texts from week to week, such as the Gloria and the Sanctus — in Latin or to unfamiliar settings, helping to minimize congregational singing while allowing interior participation. These various creative approaches are commendable.

As we wait in prayerful hope for an end to this pandemic, I invite you to join with your music minister in praying in your heart these confident hymn lyrics:

No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging. Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?

June 28, 2020

The Week from Purgatory

This month has been pretty intense shoehorning three months’ worth of activities into the month of June.  This past week began with the second round of First Holy Communions, which was a great day.  Then, the normal weekend Confession and Mass schedule followed by the normal week day Mass schedule.  However, due to the Stay at Home order, there were three funerals scheduled for the week.  The funerals on Monday and Wednesday were here and my high school classmate’s funeral was Thursday at Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Sterling Heights.  We also had a burial on Friday.  All of these brought some closure to the families.

Tuesday was bitter sweet Day. It began with the anticipation of the celebration of the Baccalaureate Mass for the Home School High School Graduates.  It was celebrated with great solemnity on the Vigil of the Birth of St. John the Baptist in the Extraordinary Form in Latin, which is more penitential in nature in the Old Rite, including the wearing of the purple vestments and a more subdued tone for the Ordinary of the Mass.  However, shortly before Mass, I would see the last posting on Facebook of one of my College classmates that his battle with cancer that lasted about two years was coming to an end.  He had been posting his journey with all of the ups and downs that go along with chemotherapy, trial drugs, and the loneliness that occurred during the lockdown and his quarantine.  I would find out after the Baccalaureate Mass that Chris had died shortly before the Mass began. It would dampen my celebrating with the graduates at their reception in the parking lot after the Mass and the diplomas were handed out. 

I was able to celebrate a belated Father’s Day on Thursday after the funeral of my high school classmate, Brian Czach.  The burial was during the Stay at Home order, which was very limited, so this was good that all of his family and friends could attend.  Thursday was my dad, William’s, patronal feast, the Feast Day of St. William the Abbot.  It was good to visit with my mom and dad, especially after he broke his right leg at about the same spot as his left leg a year and a half ago.  Thankfully your prayers were heard, because my dad won’t need surgery as long as he takes it easy. 

There was an anointing in between there somewhere, with the scheduling of the funeral when I return from retreat.  It ends with two weddings on Saturday (one here and one at Marine City, with Fr. Terrien, but the reception is at the Pavilion in Metamora) and the weekend Mass Schedule.  Thankfully, Dcn. Joe Hulway is preaching! 

I am looking forward to my retreat in Tulsa.  Please pray for me while I am there.  Please keep an eye on the parish, too. 

New Directives from the Archdiocese of Detroit

The AOD is allowing us to have 50% capacity in the parish church for Masses with the public, provided we can do our best to social distance and keep everyone safe.  We will still be sanitizing the church for the time being.  I suspect we will continue to do this, especially when we get into the Fall and Flu Season.  This will allow us to open the back door and to resume the collection by the ushers. 

There will be limited singing by the congregation during Holy Mass.  So again, respond to the parts softly or in a low voice as best as you can.

Unfortunately, we are still limited to 10 people for non-liturgical functions like meetings and such.  They are limiting this to 100 when it is held outdoors.

Again, all of the faithful are dispensed from their Sunday obligation to attend Mass through Sunday, September 6, 2020.

Altar Boy Boot Camp

We will be hosting Altar Boy training  during the week of July 20th for boys, young men, and even dads to learn how to serve both Rites (Novus Ordo in English and the Traditional Latin Mass).  Training for the Novus Ordo in English will be Monday and Wednesday, July 20 and 22 from 10am-2pm.  Training for the TLM is Tuesday and Thursday, July 21 and 23 from 10am -2pm.  Pizza will be provided for lunch. 

We will watch some videos, practices the responses in both English and Latin, and learn about postures and positions at Mass and practice them as well. 

Please let me know if you are able to attend and which dates either by email at [email protected] or at the parish office.

Life is Good. Enjoy Life. – Brian Czach