Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of our Diocese and it opens a year of celebrations recognizing the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Diocese of San Jose. Last night we began with a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. The pandemic limited our attendance at the Jubilee celebration to just one person from each parish and the priests, but it was still a lovely event.
The Pope has declared that the year 2021 be a Year of St. Joseph and a Year of the Family to celebrate both hidden and essential workers in our communities and the primacy of the family. In every community, there are lots of hidden and essential workers. Over the last several months, I have highlighted several of those groups: from the doctors and nurses to the grocery clerks and teachers. This weekend, I would like to highlight one small group of “hidden workers” in our own community and that is the many liturgical ministers who help the priests put on our liturgies. They are especially hidden right now as they are behind the cameras and behind the scenes. I am grateful for all the liturgical ministers, whatever role they have at the liturgies. I would like to highlight just a few.
I would like to recognize the new Mass Coordinators, of whom we have 18 who help coordinate all the other liturgical ministries during weekday as well as weekend Masses. They set up the Mass and clean up afterwards, as well as ensure that every other minister has what they need to get their role completed throughout the Mass itself. Fred Tou and his team have done a fantastic job in this new role. I would like to thank Tim Peterson and his Tech Support team. They spend endless hours behind the scenes getting microphones set up and synced with live stream both on YouTube and Facebook. None of that work is seen, and it is also thankless. So thank you to Tim and his team.
Finally, I would like to highlight the ministry of the musicians and cantors. This time of pandemic has been particularly difficult for this ministry because we have been limited to just the piano at Church and one cantor. It is a daunting job to be the only voice and for the cantor to be in a room completely separated from the music and to have your music/voice be broadcast online for the whole world to critique. Tamami Honma and her choir members and cantors have done an outstanding job, especially with the addition of many new songs. They are working especially hard in preparation for Holy Week and a lot of it has to be done remotely, which makes it even more challenging. If you get a chance, please acknowledge and thank these hidden workers among us. In the weeks and months ahead I will highlight many others who are so essential to us all.
This coming Tuesday, I will give my last session for the Retreat on Forgiveness called “Joy—Choosing to be a Person of Forgiveness.” Over the last several weeks I have talked about what forgiveness IS and what is NOT, giving you the metaphor of the prison cell as unforgiveness. Then I have walked us through a common language about how to understand the dynamics behind anger and hurt so we can better choose the constructive response of forgiveness. I introduced an acronym of PATTA (Pause, Affirm our feelings, Think, Talk and Act) to help remember to breath and pause before reacting to something that produces anger or hurt. In this last session, I will be helping people become a person of forgiveness and how to make “forgiveness” our first response to every situation. It does not happen in a moment but it takes a commitment and pledge to be a certain way—to choose to be a person of forgiveness. If you have not watched the first four sessions, you can still do so by clicking here for YouTube. Please come join me on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. for our fifth session on forgiveness.
In preparation for Holy Week and Easter, we will have a communal sacrament of reconciliation service on Saturday, March 27 at 2:00 p.m. There will be two parts: A Virtual Communal Prayer Service at 2:00 p.m. and that will help us prepare for the reconciliation. Then the second part is in-person confessions at 2:30 p.m. onwards for those who feel comfortable coming to the Church property. The four priests will be outside and we will keep a safe distance with face masks on. We ask people to sign up for 15 minute time frames so we minimize the number of people at the Church at any one time. For those who do not feel comfortable coming in person, we encourage you to attend the Communion Prayer Service and as we did last year, make a perfect contrition asking directly from God forgiveness and when the pandemic passes go to the sacrament in person. Finally, please register for Masses for Holy Week and all Masses as they will become busy for attendance.