Dear Parishioners: As I write this column I am looking out the window at the Blizzard of 2015! It’s been snowing for over 24 hours, the winds are whipping, snow drifts are piling up, and the temperatures are dropping! Juno is sure leaving a mess to be cleaned up in the next few days. However, we can give thanks that nobody has died and electrical outages haven’t been wide scale. Fr. Connors and I have been hunkered down in the Rectory watching the snow fall and watching the local news and the Weather Channel for the latest developments on the blizzard. At the time of this writing schools have been cancelled for both Tuesday and Wednesday. It is a good thing because our crack snow removal team led by Paul Anderson have been working all day and night plowing and removing snow. They cannot seem to remove it quickly enough as it keeps falling and falling. They tell me the snow drifts are terrible and difficult to shovel. I am grateful for their tremendous hard work and dedication to keeping OLM clean, clear and safe!
Just in time for this time of the season for cold and snow we mark the Feast of St. Blaise. He is the patron of throat diseases and all ailments of the winter. In honor of his feast we are blessing throats this weekend at the end of all Masses. His feast is celebrated on February 3 but we will anticipate it this weekend. And so we turn to St. Blaise and pray: “Through the intercession of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness. Amen.”
I recently received a communication from Bishop Tobin about the spread of influenza conditions. He suggests ways for pastors to deal with the widespread effects of the flu and other seasonal illnesses. They include eliminating the Sign of Peace, asking those who are seriously sick and ill to stay at home and praying for the Lord’s protection from illness. They are all good suggestions for us to follow. However, my experience has shown when we eliminate the Sign of Peace from Mass, many people continue to offer it to one another. I think a more practical approach is simply to rely on your own good judgment and prudence when extending the Sign of Peace. So we will continue to offer the Sign of Peace at OLM but I urge you to use prudence in doing so. If you are sickly then simply offer it with words not with your hands. And if someone doesn’t offer you a hand to shake at the Sign of Peace then just assume they are exercising prudence not being rude. Also we urge everyone attending Mass to wash their hands prior to Mass, and also use a hand sanitizer before Mass. Hot water, soap and scrubbing still works on getting rid of germs!
I hope you were able to stop by OLM School for the Open House last Sunday. We had many new families stop by and take a look around. I met a Grandmother who graduated from OLM School in 1966 and she was bringing her grandchild for a look around and to register for next year! While some things in the school have changed since 1966 the commitment to excellence in academics and a strong Catholic environment have certainly not changed. If you didn’t get a chance to do so, just contact our Principal, Mr. Scott Fuller, to arrange a tour for you and your family.
Our own Fr. Connors has been bouncing off the walls all week in anticipation of the Superbowl. He has had enough of the so-called “deflategate” and is ready to move on to Phoenix. Not a day goes by when he isn’t talking about Bill Belicheck, Tom Brady and the Patriots. I’ve tried to get him to talk about theology, philosophy, and public policy but its all Patriots all the time! I don’t know what to do with him other than to join in! Go Pats! Let’s hope the Blizzard is the last of the season and let’s pray everyone is able to stay safe and secure during this terrible weather. May God protect us especially our first responders, snow plow operators and snow removal teams! God Bless. Good-bye Juno, Hello Superbowl!!