May 20, 2020

 

Dear Friends,

I write this letter to welcome you back to the public celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass here at St. Jerome’s.  Our first public Mass will be on Friday May 29th at 9:00 am.  There are a number of precautions that we will observe as we make our way back into church.  First, Bishop Bradley has asked that everyone wear a face mask when entering the building.  We will be sitting in every other pew to distance ourselves to the best of our ability.  People are asked to sit six feet away from each other, of course this does not apply to families occupying  the same household.

For now church attendance for each Mass is being limited to 25% of our capacity.  It will be on a first come first seated procedure.   Approximately 50 people will be allowed into the nave (where the pews are), all others will be directed to overflow seating in the parish hall where they will be able to listen to Mass and receive the Eucharist.   To offset this limited seating beginning on May 30th every weekend we will be celebrating a Saturday Vigil Mass at 4:00pm.

Please be assured that after every Mass we will be cleansing and disinfecting surfaces used by parishioners.  If you are unsure about coming back to Mass (fearful), or are in poor health, or susceptible in any way Bishop Bradley has extended the dispensation to Sunday obligation until September.  You don’t have to come to Sunday Mass if you are not ready at this time.   If you choose to stay home but would like to receive Holy Communion please call Chris at our office and she can make arrangements for a home visit.  Please know of my continued prayers for you all.

Peace and all good,

Rev. Christopher J. Ankley

CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF KALAMAZOO

May 15, 2020 Page 1
GUIDELINES FOR THE FAITHFUL
FOR PUBLIC CELEBRATIONS OF THE HOLY MASS*
*These Guidelines are in effect beginning May 27, 2020 and throughout the duration of Parish Community Level 1 of our return to the public celebration of Holy Mass. The guidelines may be amended if/when the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic change.

Dispensation from the Obligation of Sunday                              and Holy Day Masses
The dispensation from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass is granted to all the faithful through September 6, 2020. All the faithful however have the obligation to “keep holy the Lord’s Day” and on Sundays are encouraged to spend time in prayer, participate in a live stream of the Mass, meditate on the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection, and participate in Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
**Please note the date of the General Dispensation is at the discretion of the Bishop and is subject to change based on current conditions related to the managing the spread of the pandemic and in consultation with federal, state and local healthcare recommendations.

Timelines
Preparatory Stage: Beginning May 13, 2020 through the time leading up to the first public celebration of Mass, anticipated for May 27, 2020. The General Dispensation remains in effect.
Parish Community Level One: Welcome Back! Return to Public Mass, May 27, 2020; The General Dispensation continues through September 6, 2020.
Parish Community Level Two: To be implemented with lifting of restrictions and allowance of more capacity at Parishes.
Parish Community Level Three: Full Capacity allowed at Parishes; Dispensation no longer in effect

May 15, 2020 Page 2
General Guiding Principles
The Common Good: We must consider the common good as we determine all that we do.
The common good considers the spiritual, financial, mental, and physical health of the entire
society. During this time we must balance the spiritual health and the physical health of the
faithful. This is especially true for the most vulnerable members of our populations, including
the elderly and those with chronic illnesses. We also must rely on medical personnel and
scientists to give the best advice in these matters.

Keep the Liturgical Year: Even in the darkest days of the pandemic, the Holy Father and his
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments made clear that Easter
would not be “postponed.” Liturgical seasons preceded it and followed it. Similarly, the entire
course of the liturgical year is to be maintained and the primacy of Sunday is to be respected
(General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 4; Catechism of the Catholic Church,
2177).

Limited Attendance: The dispensation for the requirement to attend Sunday Mass will be
extended. Those at higher risk; namely, the elderly, the immune-compromised and hospital
workers, may likely need to wait until Level 3 before returning to the public celebration of the
Mass. There might be creative solutions to allow people in these categories to attend Mass with
a decreased risk of contamination (e.g. grocery stores with hours specific to these populations)
but it will be some time before we can resume full capacity at our churches.

Continuance of Live-streamed/Televised Masses and Communication:
The continuation of live-streamed liturgies is highly encouraged. All parishes that are currently livestreaming
Mass have been encouraged to continue the practice at least one Mass each
weekend, for those who are homebound, sick, or otherwise vulnerable. Clergy and Parish staffs
are encouraged to continue to increase the communication to parishioners by using all means
possible providing opportunities for catechesis and engagement in digital formats and video
conferencing technology.

Prudence and Common Sense: Every reasonable means will be employed to keep the
spread of COVID-19 under control, realizing, of course, the impossibility of creating a totally
risk-free environment.

May 15, 2020 Page 3
Be informed: There will be a number of changes determined by your Pastor and Parish Preparation Team. Please visit your Parish website and review all Parish communication so you are informed as to the specifics regarding your Parish Community (e.g. Mass time changes, attendance procedures, etc.).

Grace and Understanding: None of us have lived through a pandemic before, and so there are likely to be mistakes and imperfections as we attempt to do so. Priests, leaders, parishioners, and all who assist, as well as the Diocese, are likely to make some incorrect assessments and decisions. We all will need the grace of humility and “a spirit of cooperation” to get through this together.

Safety and Hygiene Protocols
Our parish communities are a great good that we want to preserve. All those attending Mass are strongly encouraged to adhere to the following:
Masks (cloth face coverings) are to be worn by everyone approaching the church and inside the church (except for those under 2 years old and those who have a medical condition that impedes them from wearing a mask), as well as all church buildings.
Social distancing is necessary. There will be clear protocols that will change where you can sit, how you can greet people, and how to receive Holy Communion. You will need to keep six feet of distance between anyone not in your household for the foreseeable future at church.
Those who are sick or symptomatic should stay home.
Please wash your hands at home, and use hand sanitizer upon entering the church. You may also bring your own supply of hand sanitizer to use before Holy Communion.

Physical Distancing
The capacity of the church is limited to no more than 25% (one-fourth) of its total capacity to ensure proper social distancing is achievable.
A distance of six feet (6’) is to be maintained between persons in general, as much as possible (unless you reside in the same household).
May 15, 2020 Page 4
Seating availability will be clearly marked (such as designated seats in alternating pews with a 1 or 2-pew separation or seating in different sections for different Masses). Those living in the same household may sit together without social distancing.
Cry Rooms are closed until further notice due to the limited space constrictions and inability to ensure social distancing is possible.
Rest Rooms: No more than 1 person (or 1 parent + children from same household) allowed at a time.
Bulletins and Parish printed materials: Parish bulletins may be made available to parishioners in the narthex/vestibule, along with other printed materials, but will not be distributed by ushers or others. The Parish Bulletin should also be made available online.

Notes for Mass
Offertory Collection: Secure receptacles or supervised baskets will be available at the entrances to the church or other designated places. An offertory collection will not be taken up during the celebration of the Mass.

The Sign of Peace: This liturgical action, shared among the faithful, will continue to be a “contact-free” gesture.

Reception of Holy Communion
Holy Communion is to be distributed only under the Species of the Sacred Host. The Precious Blood is not to be distributed at this time.
The faithful have the right to receive either on the tongue or in the hand, according to the discipline of the Church
Holy Communion may not be received in the hand if someone is wearing a glove. Instead, proper and diligent hand hygiene should be observed before and after distributing and/or receiving Holy Communion.
The faithful should remove any masks and gloves as they approach the minister.
May 15, 2020 Page 5
If possible, the reverence and the verbal exchange should take place 6 feet away: Bow – “The Body of Christ” – “Amen” – then step forward to receive.

Reception in the Hand: For those receiving in the hand, please approach the priest (or deacon or EMHC), placing your dominant hand under your less dominant hand creating a sort of throne upon which to receive the Lord. After receiving Jesus in your hand, step to the side, and place the Host gently in your mouth, making sure to consume any particles of the Eucharist that remain in your less dominant hand, as even the smallest particle is still Jesus. Then, simply replace your mask and return prayerfully to your seat.

Reception on the Tongue: During this time, it might be better to consider receiving in the hand; however, if you choose to receive on the tongue please adhere to the following: approach the priest (or deacon or Eucharistic Minister). Please allow time for the Host to be placed safely on your tongue, and for the one distributing to remove his hand, so as to avoid contact. After receiving, replace your mask and return prayerfully to your pew.

Dismissal:
The Presider will announce dismissal procedure at the conclusion of Mass. Please prepare to return to your vehicles promptly. It is not recommended that you congregate with other Parishioners.

Thank you for your prayer, patience and understanding during this time. Please visit www.diokzoo.org for updates.

 

Please send questions to:  officeofcommunications@diokzoo.org

We ask that you please be courteous and charitable in your communication.

LETTER TO THE FAITHFUL
May 1, 2020 — St. Joseph the Worker
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Alleluia! As we continue in this joyous Easter season we can take comfort that Jesus has conquered sin and death by the power of His
self-sacrificing love. We have every reason to rejoice and sing, Alleluia!
And we can do so even while continuing to confront the coronavirus, which has dramatically impacted every aspect of our lives. Naturally we all feel a certain amount of uneasiness and many have experienced a true sense of loss. However,
as People of Faith we take heart knowing that Jesus is our Living Hope, because His resurrection gives us confidence in knowing that His victory over sin and death means that we too share in His victory. We are not powerless; in fact, with Jesus’ grace, we have the power of Jesus’ love to overcome all our fears.
Certainly we could all agree that this past Holy Week and our current Easter season is like no other any of us have ever experienced. None of us were able to celebrate the holiest days of our faith in the ways we wanted to do so. But I am so inspired by, and profoundly grateful for, our priests, deacons and countless parish volunteers who almost overnight started live streaming the celebration of the Holy Mass, as well as many other opportunities for virtual prayers. While we were not able to actually be together, we still celebrated to the best of our ability.
How were we able to do what we’ve done so far, and why can we continue to be filled with hope in the midst of this pandemic? Because: this is Easter! It is the celebration of New Life. It’s the perfect time for renewal. Just like the Apostles, hiding behind locked doors until the Risen Jesus came to free them, Jesus’ peace unlocks our hearts and frees us from the control of fear. And just as Jesus’ peace and mercy were given to the Apostles on Easter Sunday night, making them the “agents of His Mercy” to the world, so too, along with St. Faustina the Patron Saint of “Divine Mercy” we too can say: “Jesus, I trust in You. Have mercy on me, and on the whole world.” Even with the restrictions of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order which has now been extended at least until mid-May, we too are called to embrace the mission that Jesus gave to those same Apostles, and which He now shares with us: to allow Jesus’ breath of the Holy Spirit that He breathes upon us to make us also His “agents of mercy” to all.
Despite all our fears, challenges, and making adjustments to our new reality, I am hopeful that when this historic pandemic is over, we will emerge from this time truly renewed in Christ: stronger in our faith with a new perspective; more aware of who we are as members of the Body of Christ; more deeply yearning for the Gift of the Eucharist; and more determined to move forward in our faith, while embracing the mission of the Eucharist to serve God and our neighbor.
“Jesus, I trust in You.
Have mercy on me,
and on the whole world.”
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A NEW PERSPECTIVE
I hope for a perspective similar to what Pope Francis described in his homily for Divine Mercy Sunday, “Now, while we are looking forward to a slow and arduous recovery from the pandemic, there is a danger that we will forget those who are left behind….the risk that we may then be struck by an even worse virus.” While it may be hard for us to imagine any virus worse than the coronavirus, our Holy Father went on to explain that the virus he was talking about is: “The virus of selfish indifference.” As our Holy Father warns, this is the reality of sin which “begins with selfishness and ends up selecting one person over another, discarding the poor, and sacrificing those left behind on the altar of progress.”
Let us join with Pope Francis, praying for the new perspective which helps us to see “that there are no differences or borders between those who suffer — we are all frail, all equal, all precious.”
A DEEPER AWARENESS
My vision as we move forward in hope includes a sincere desire that we can take what we have learned from this time of challenge and use it to deepen our awareness of the things that matter most in our lives. We have all had a rude awakening over the past few months as a deadly virus has swept through our world. Many have died. Many more are sick, lonely, unemployed or afraid of what may happen to them. I pray that the hardships we have endured during the past few months have taught us how precious human life is, how blessed we are with family, friends and neighbors, and how important it is to cherish and protect the dignity of human life.
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Despite the great loss that we have experienced, and the world-wide suffering this awful COVID-19 has caused, I believe there may also have been some positive outcomes. From my observations, besides being concerned about ourselves and our own families, I think I have seen more of a genuine concern for others’ well-being. There definitely appears to be a greater sense of compassion for people’s suffering everywhere. We seem to be more aware that we are part of the human family, because what is affecting us, is affecting everyone, everywhere. There’s much more conversation about ways we can help one another and a greater awareness of our own, vulnerable human nature.
So, while we all definitely look forward to the end of this pandemic, an end to all the restrictions, and getting back to some normalcy, including being able to come together to celebrate our faith and receive the Eucharist, I hope we will see a new reality. I pray that we will not return to attitudes that divide us; but rather that we continue focusing on what unites us. I pray that we don’t go back to thinking practicing our faith is unimportant; but rather that more people will find their way back to God, praying for God’s guidance, strength and deliverance.
I hope that we don’t return to an attitude of “looking out for Number 1”; rather that the tremendous examples of heroic generosity of true acts of self-sacrifice that we have seen in the courageous healthcare workers, first responders, employees in essential services and volunteers who have given themselves unselfishly for the good of others, will continue to be a priority for all of us. Let us make sure that we express our deep appreciation for the great work done by so many generous and caring people including our dedicated educators, our tireless parents and all those tending to our precious children.
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THE YEAR OF THE EUCHARIST
As you know we are currently observing a very special diocesan Year of the Eucharist. None of us ever dreamed that during this year when we anticipated a deeper love for and celebration of the Holy Eucharist, that most of us would be without the Body and Blood of Christ for an extended period of time. In normal circumstances, we are so blessed with the regular availability of Mass and the sacraments, unlike in other parts of the world; now, because we have been deprived of this Precious Gift, perhaps we can value the Eucharist even more, see it as the amazing privilege that it is, and recognize it as a blessing from Jesus. May we never take the Eucharist for granted again. And so I pray that when we do resume public celebrations of the liturgy, that we will do so with a renewed devotion to the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. I also pray for a renewed appreciation for the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) as the most effective means of freeing us from the debilitating effects of sin, as Pope Francis referred to it, a virus that is worse than the coronavirus, which does such great harm to our souls.
When we emerge from this pandemic, the Year of the Eucharist will continue to offer us wonderful opportunities to have a revitalized sense of what it means for us to be in “communion” with our Saving Lord and with each other. Jesus gives Himself to us completely in this Most Holy Sacrament. My prayer is that we can return to Him with a renewed sense of gratitude and with a deeper commitment to serve all God’s people.
The Eucharist calls us to mission, not just to love one another through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, but also to be missionary disciples, joyfully sharing the Good News. This is truly what evangelization means. By necessity during this pandemic, we have had to learn how to make better use of digital media to proclaim the Gospel. As things return to normal, we need to expand our outreach at all levels: diocesan, parish, and through individual families, so that we continue becoming true evangelizers, committed to carrying Christ’s message to everyone we meet.
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PENTECOST: OUR HEARTS ARE RENEWED
In just a few weeks, this year’s Easter Season will culminate, as it always does, with the Solemnity of Pentecost, “the Birthday of the Church”. Even though the Apostles and early Disciples, who had been traumatized by Jesus’ awful suffering, death and burial, and who, in the days following Easter, eventually came to the realization that their beloved Jesus had indeed been raised from the dead, gloriously triumphant, it was not until the Holy Spirit so powerfully came upon them at Pentecost that they became re-born in the Holy Spirit, empowered, emboldened, and inspired to take up the mission Jesus had given them. They began to preach boldly, and to proclaim the Good News of the Risen Jesus to any, and all, who would listen. It was not only their passionate proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus fueled by the Holy Spirit, but it was also their own witness to the teachings of Jesus that was so convincing. The Acts of the Apostles records that thousands of people at a time responded by being baptized, and becoming joyful disciples of Jesus. The early Church grew exponentially, and spread literally like wildfire in spite of, and perhaps even because of, the suffering and intense persecutions that were mounted against them, and the great challenges that they personally endured for their faith.
My dear Family of Faith, my hope and prayer is that despite the traumatic period of time through which we have been living, we will allow that same Holy Spirit, who filled the hearts of the first Apostles and turned them from fearful followers into fearless witnesses in the first generation of the Church, to change our hearts and transform us from passive participants to active promoters of our faith in our own generation of the Church here in southwest Michigan. I pray that we no longer take our faith for granted; I pray that our weekly attendance at Mass in whatever way we are able to do so — in person when we can come back to Church or virtually for those who for a time may have to rely on that — and the
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“…we will allow that same
Holy Spirit, who filled the hearts of the first Apostles and turned them from fearful followers
into fearless witnesses…”
regular reception of the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Penance and the reception of the Eucharist, will be our new normal. I pray that our celebration of Pentecost this year will be a time when each of us — me, all our priests, deacons, lay faithful from oldest to youngest — will personally invite the Holy Spirit to renew us, as He did the first Apostles, and empower and embolden us to be joyful disciples and effective witnesses to the Risen Jesus in our lives. Just as the first Apostles and disciples were effective not only by their inspired preaching but through the way they lived their faith with such conviction, may it be true for each of us. We can draw others to Jesus by the ways we live our lives as people of vibrant faith, who love God and love our neighbor, especially those most in need.
That’s why we launched the “Let Jesus’ Light Shine” campaign to remind us throughout this 50 day season of the “Light of the World’ even when dealing with darkness.
It is important to note that during this time of crisis, lockdown, and quarantines, the ministries of the Church and outreach to those in need have not been restricted or put on hold. In fact, our parishes continue to be Centers of Hope. Most of our churches have remained open and our Eucharistic Adoration Chapels have as well, available for our people to come for personal prayer. Several parishes have hosted blood drives, and maintained their outreach to the poor. Catholic Charities Diocese of Kalamazoo initiated a major, diocesan-wide Emergency Food Program (www.ccdok.org), with staff and hundreds of volunteers from across the diocese working overtime to provide essential services — including food, clothing and other necessities — to people in need throughout southwest Michigan.
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Photo by: Tony Dugal
We must always strive to care for those chronically on the margins, as well as those who may find themselves temporarily there due to adverse life circumstances caused by the pandemic. We want to provide a safety net for people who might otherwise fall through the cracks in the public safety net.
To assist our parishes to keep some semblance of financial stability during this time, we have instituted a special program called Forward in Faith: Parish Support Fund. This is a fund established by the Diocese to provide financial relief for parishes during this crisis by means of online giving. [For more information about this fund, please go to www.diokzoo.org/parish-fund.] To allow parishioners to concentrate on parish support, The Bishop’s Annual Appeal, which supports essential diocesan ministries, will be rescheduled for later in the year. As I have said many times before, strong Parishes make a strong Diocese and we are working to ensure our Parishes are financially secure.
Although we have been forced to change the way we have been providing our ministries, our mission remains the same. We are committed to proclaiming the Gospel, to prayer and worship, to lifelong faith formation, and to serving the needs of all God’s people.
Due to the fact that many Confirmations and Parish Collaborative visits, as well as other diocesan gatherings, had been scheduled during this time, we have had to postpone all of them to a later date. In consultation with our priests and deacons, we will thoroughly and thoughtfully create appropriate guidelines for the protection of all people while also mindful of ways we can continue to provide spiritual and pastoral care.
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MASS OF THANKSGIVING
The first thing that we will schedule as soon as we resume our public worship in the Diocese of Kalamazoo is a diocesan Mass of Thanksgiving. While I do not know what that date is at this time, this special Mass will allow us to give thanks to God for His protection and His abiding Presence with us throughout this time. At this Mass we will also take the occasion to distribute the Holy Oils which I blessed/consecrated during our Chrism Mass on Holy Tuesday. This special Mass of Thanksgiving will be an opportunity to bring together our priests, deacons and our Lay Faithful in a prayerful expression of our thanks to God for the blessings we continue to receive here in southwest Michigan.
Photo by: John Grap
ENTRUSTING OUR DIOCESE TO MARY, MOTHER OF THE CHURCH
The month of May is traditionally dedicated to special devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary. This year, I think this is especially appropriate. On this first day of May, I joined with all the Bishops of the United States, at the invitation of Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, the President of the USCCB, to reconsecrate all the dioceses in our country to the protection of our Blessed Mother. When it first became apparent that the deadly coronavirus pandemic threatened millions of people throughout the world, Pope Francis immediately turned to Mary, Health of the Sick. He implored her to intercede for us and to help all who suffer from this modern day plague find comfort and hope in the healing power of her Son, Jesus.
Following is one of our Holy Father’s prayers to Mary during this troubled time. It is the text of an ancient Marian hymn, Sub Tuum Praesidium (Beneath Thy Protection):
We seek refuge under your protection,
O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our pleas —
we who are put to the test — and deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.
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Recently Pope Francis has encouraged all individuals and families to pray the Rosary daily during the month of May to ask for our Blessed Mother’s special protection and care during this pandemic. Please consider continuing or starting this beautiful practice. As our Holy Father said, “contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial”.
While in some way we look forward to a return to a time of normalcy, we all know that we will never be quite the same. May Mary, the Mother of the Church, and the Mother of God, bless our Diocese, and all the people we serve, with her compassion and her courage. May she inspire us to avoid returning to business as usual, but rather that we embrace the mission of her Son Jesus, to move forward in hope. May Saint Joseph the Worker, the foster father of Jesus and the Husband of Mary, whose Feast we celebrate today, continue to be the Protector of our Church. May all that we have experienced lead us to a profound renewal of our faith in God, of our hope in a better life to come, and of our ability to love God and our neighbor by living the mission of the Eucharist.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Paul J. Bradley
Bishop of Kalamazoo
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May 31, 2020

Solemnity of Pentecost

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love!

This Pentecost Sunday is an especially joyful day in our beloved Diocese. Today we begin the gradual return to full participation in the life of the Church through our first weekend in Level 1 for the public celebration of Masses in a very modified manner.  Although we know we still have a long way to go, it’s a joy-filled experience to finally welcome people back to celebrate the Holy Mass together.

As we are all keenly aware, it has been more than two months since March 20, 2020, when I suspended the public celebration of Mass and the sacraments due to the serious health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a recent series of meetings with all members of the clergy, as well as Diocesan Staff, whose goal was to develop a comprehensive return to public worship plan, I am confident in saying that our parishes are committed to complying with the safety and civil guidelines we have been given and to implementing safety and hygiene protocols. I want to commend and thank all who are contributing to these Diocesan-wide efforts to assist in the preparation and planning and to welcome back fellow parishioners.  While the celebration of Masses will certainly be different for the foreseeable future, it is critically important that all of us remain committed to complying with all safety protocols for the sake of the common good and for everyone’s health and well-being.

I am very pleased to warmly welcome each member of our faith community who is able to return to the public celebration of Masses. However as we know during Level 1, not everyone will be able to attend Mass physically due to space limitations and the need to protect all who are especially vulnerable to this devastating virus. That is why the dispensation from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days remains in effect until September 6, 2020. It is also why I have encouraged parishes to continue live-streaming Masses so that everyone in our Diocese can continue to “keep holy the Lord’s Day” by spending time in prayer, meditating on the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection, and participating in Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.

Our special celebration of “The Year of the Eucharist,” originally announced in my pastoral letter Loving God and Our Neighbor: Living the Mission of the Eucharist, continues for the remainder of this calendar year and its observance remains vitally important for the spiritual health and vitality of our Diocese. Especially when “social distancing” is necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19, the spiritual closeness of Christ is essential to our physical, mental and emotional well-being as missionary disciples who gather around the Lord of Life and who are sent out by Him to do His work.

None of us ever imagined that during the Year of the Eucharist the majority of our people would be denied the ability to receive the Eucharist in Holy Communion.  What we have learned, however, is that the desire for sacramental unity with Christ is stronger than ever. We pray that by the grace of the Holy Spirit this period of temporary absence from Holy Communion will lead to a fervent renewal of devotion to this extraordinary gift that Christ gives us whenever we receive His Body and Blood in the Eucharist.

I want to conclude these brief reflections on this extraordinarily special observance of Pentecost Sunday by offering heartfelt words of appreciation and thanks to the thousands of health care and public service professionals who have cared for our sick and provided for the “front-line”, essential services in our communities.

I also extend special acknowledgement to all our Graduates whose hard work and academic achievement deserve far better commencement ceremonies than have been able to be provided under these very unusual circumstances.  May the Holy Spirit guide you in all your future endeavors.  On another note, I offer regrets to couples whose weddings had to be cancelled or delayed.  In a very special way, I express my heartfelt condolences and prayers to individuals and families who have experienced the death of loved ones during this time and been unable to provide them with the normal Funeral Masses and Burial Rites due to this awful pandemic.

On a joyful note for all of us as the Body of Christ, I particularly want to welcome into the Church all those whose journey of faith had to be temporarily suspended at the time of the Easter Vigil, but who now will be received into full communion or be baptized, confirmed, and be one with us at the Table of the Lord on Pentecost or in the near future.  May the Holy Spirit continue to guide you in the ways of faith.

These have been difficult times, to be sure, but because we are People of Faith, we look to the magnificent gift of the Holy Spirit as a sign of renewed hope and vitality in our Church and in the world we live in.

As we now begin to return to some level of normalcy, we can only do so with a strong faith in Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  And so we pray: “Come, Holy Spirit.”  Let us adapt St. Francis’ Prayer to pray in our own uncertain times: “Where the is darkness, let there be light. Where there is sorrow bring joy. And where there is doubt and uncertainty, fill us with holy hope.”

Asking the Blessing of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit upon you and our entire Diocese, I remain

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Paul J. Bradley
Bishop of Kalamazoo

 

View a PDF of the  Letter to the Faithful

Diocese of Kalamazoo Daily Mass Live Stream link

On October, 19, 2019 the Diocese of Kalamazoo is hosting a Eucharistic Congress to Ignite the Faith in Southwest Michigan.  This congress will bring together about 1000 of the faithful of the Diocese of Kalamazoo to unite in prayer and dialogue to inspire more faith in Southwest Michigan.

The faithful will gather at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo.  While at the congress they will pray, be encouraged by talks, and discuss in small groups how the Diocese of Kalamazoo can accompany families, foster more priests, and encourage the growth and sharing of the faith throughout their community.

We are currently looking for sponsors to assist with the approximate $50,000 cost of the event.  Sponsors will be listed in the program and throughout the venue as well as on the diocesan webpage and social media.  The higher level sponsors also include a specific room acknowledgement as indicated below.

The four levels of sponsorship are:

Tongues of Fire: $2,000 – includes digital acknowledgment on keynote room

Burning Bush: $1,000 – includes digital acknowledgement on a breakout room

Flaming torch: $500 – includes acknowledgement at lunch

Sanctuary Lamp – $250

If you would like to help sponsor this congress, you can sign up and make payment on our website at www.diokzoo.org/ecsponsorship.  If you have any question or would like to speak to someone about sponsorship opportunities please contact Tom Dowdall at tdowdall@diokzoo.org, or 269-903-0145.

Thank you for your support of this initiative to transform the Church in Southwest Michigan.

With the Love of Christ,

Jamin Herold

Executive Director – Parish Life and Lay Leadership

Director of Eucharistic Congress

Diocese of Kalamazoo

jherold@diokzoo.org

269-903-0183

GREAT GIFT IDEA!  BUY ANY RETREAT AS A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR YOUR LOVED ONE!  

 

1. Young Adult Retreat 2019 – A Grown Up Look At the Virtues: Looking to get away to spend some time with the Lord during the season of Lent? Join us from Friday March 1st at 7 pm – Sunday March 3rd and take this time for prayer, presentations, recreation, reflection, and fellowship at Pretty Lake Camp (9123 West Q Ave., Mattawan, MI 49071). Cost is $50 per participant. Please register by contacting Tim McNamara (tmcnamara@diokzoo.org) and stay tuned for more information. God bless!

 

2. Diocesan Annual Lenten Retreat 2019 (Formally Diocesan Annual Open Retreat) – March 16-17, 2019 at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp (8258 Victory St., Vicksburg, MI 49097). Our facilitators are Madeline Haydon, Michelle Moynihan, and Nicole Kegley, all three who serve at their respective parish as Echo Apprentices. The retreat begins at 9:00 am on Saturday, March 16th and concludes at 11:30 am on Sunday, March 17th. There are two options available when you register – one is with an overnight stay and the second is for those who would like to commute. The cost structure is as follows (please note all rooms have two queen beds):

Single Occupancy: $120
Double Occupancy: $80
Triple Occupancy: $65
Quadruple Occupancy: $60
Commuter Rate: $40

Deadline for these prices is March 1st. After that there is an additional $20 added on and rooms will be given on a first come, first serve basis. All registrations are due by March 8th. To register, please visit https://imdisciple.com/lentenretreat For more information, please contact Tim McNamara attmcnamara@diokzoo.org.

3. Diocesan Women’s Retreat: Intended for any adult woman, this retreat is meant to provide intentional time for you to reconnect with the Lord Jesus Christ and to encounter other women from around the Diocese who desire to grow in their faith. This retreat will be held at Indian Lake Nazarene Camp (8258 Victory St., Vicksburg, MI 49097) on Saturday, November 2nd – Sunday, November 3rd. There are two options available when you register – one is with an overnight stay and the second is for those who would like to commute. The cost structure is as follows (please note all rooms have two queen beds):

Single Occupancy: $120
Double Occupancy: $80
Triple Occupancy: $65
Quadruple Occupancy: $60
Commuter Rate: $40

To register for the Women’s Retreat, please contact Tim McNamara at tmcnamara@diokzoo.org. Thank you and God bless!

 

 

MASS OF REPARATION AND HEALING FOR THE CHURCH

O C T O B E R 7 , 2 0 1 8 , 3 P . M .
S T . P H I L I P P A R I S H
1 1 2 C A P I T A L A V E N E – B A T T L E C R E E K , M I 4 9 0 1 7
DIOCESE OF KALAMAZOO
www.diokzoo.org – 269.349.8714
B I S H O P P A U L J . B R A D L E Y , C E L E B R A N T

At this critically important moment in the life of our Church we are called to
come together in prayer and devote our time for the intentions of the continued
healing of all victims of abuse and for the ongoing reparation and healing
of our Church. There will be time for Pastoral Conversation following the Mass.

 

 

DIOCESAN 50th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION:  A special Mass for couples of the Diocese of Kalamazoo who are celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversaries in 2018 will be held on Sunday, October 14, 2018, 3:00 pm at St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo. Couples celebrating their 50th Anniversary any time in 2018 are asked to contact their parish office rectory so that their names can be submitted for a personal invitation from Bishop Bradley to participate in this celebration.

 

 

Join us for our annual fundraiser and enjoy good food, fun, and faith.

There are activities for people of all ages. Bring the family, have a great time, and support your parishes!

The 32nd All Saints Superfest will be held September 21, 22, and 23 on the grounds of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Battle Creek.

September Good News & Brews
Married and single young adults from college through their 30s are welcome to come enjoy discussion, fellowship and music from (newly named) Jeremiah and the Hebrews and featured speaker Sr. Joseph Andrew on holiness/vocation at Arcadia Brewing Company in Kalamazoo on Sept. 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. Future dates are: Oct. 11; Nov. 8; Dec. 13.