Coronavirus update from Fr. Buffer 3/27

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 

Someone recently remarked, “This has been the Lentiest Lent ever!” Perhaps to emphasize that point, our Bishop has asked that today be observed as a day of prayer and penance. I suggest we observe the same forms of penance and self-denial that we normally practice on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. With regard to prayer, you can pray the Stations of the Cross this evening or at noon. Another good prayer for today would be the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Morning prayer can include Psalm 51, one of the traditional penitential psalms. Today at 1pm Ohio time, you will be able to watch the Holy Father live from Rome as he prays for the world and imparts an extraordinary blessing Urbi et Orbi (to the City and to the world). In normal times this blessing would not be given until Easter Sunday. This broadcast will be hosted by Vatican news; here is a link for more details:

We continue to hear from those who have watched the Mass streamed live on Facebook and appreciate it very much. At the same time we know how greatly our hearts yearn for the day when we can again gather as the Body of Christ to celebrate the Eucharist together and receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. It is too early to say when this will happen, but we know that the day is coming in God’s good time. Perhaps we will spend the rest of Lent repeating one of the antiphons from the liturgy of the second week of Advent: The Lord will come; he is true to his word. If he seems to delay, keep watch for him, for he will surely come.   

Sincerely Yours, in Christ, Fr. Thomas Buffer,Pastor

Coronavirus update from Fr. Buffer 3/25

Dear Friends in Christ, 
While we are unable to gather everyone in the church for the Eucharist, we have been livestreaming the daily Mass at 6pm from St. Mary Church in Marion, Monday-Friday. Since the church bells ring every evening at 6 to remind us to say the Angelus, this has helped us introduce that traditional prayer to some people who were not previously familiar with it. The Angelus is based on Luke 1:26-38, the Gospel passage that tells of the event called The Annunciation, which is also today’s feast day. At the heart of the prayer and today’s solemnity is the great mystery of the Incarnation: The eternal Son of God took a human nature to Himself in the womb of the Virgin Mary. But first, God’s angel waited for Mary to say something: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.

We ask for the grace to imitate Mary’s obedience of faith to the message God speaks to us through His Word, and through the events of our own time. 

This afternoon I participated in a conference call that included about twenty priests of the Diocese of Columbus, to receive specialized instruction from a medical doctor on how to visit patients with infected diseases, and covid-19 in particular. I learned some things that some of you already know from your professional experience, such as how to put on and remove protective gear such as gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection. As with most things, there is a right and a wrong way to do this! We also discussed how to administer the Sacrament of the Sick (anointing) to someone with a contagious disease. Bishop Brennan joined the call to thank everyone and offer his blessing. 

   We  need to start thinking about the day when it will be possible to reopen our churches and other facilities. While we do not know how soon that will happen, we remain optimistic and we want to be ready! I believe that the reopening of our churches, in God’s good time, can be a great opportunity for evangelization and for rediscovering the treasures of our Faith. Please pray for these intentions. 

Sincerely Yours,

in Christ,

Fr. Thomas Buffer, Pastor

Coronavirus update from Fr. Buffer

Dear Friends in Christ, 
In the first reading of today’s Mass, the LORD says through the prophet Isaiah:

 I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.

Over the centuries, Christians have understood Jerusalem to refer to the Church, ever since John, the visionary of Revelation, described the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven. John also heard a voice saying, Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away. (Rev 21:3-4). 

What is the city of God? It is a place where God and His people live together in joy. During this time of social distancing, we are told not to gather together with friends, family, fellow workers, teammates. Everyone’s health, we are told, depends on maintaining physical separation. While doing everything we can as the earthly city to stay home and stay apart, the Church must do everything she can to stay close together. Whenever we join in prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus, even if separated in space, we are united in the Lord, as he promised us: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20). Whenever we say to God with sincerity, “Thy will be done,” we are joyfully united our will to His. This is what makes us citizens of the city of God, the holy city, the eternal Jerusalem. This is what makes us truly Catholic Christians. God’s word tells us that, if we do this, God will be with us, and rejoice with us.

We have received thanks from so many people for the livestreamed Masses during the past few days. Our plan for Masses Monday through Friday this week (3/23 to 3/27) is to stream the Mass live at 6pm every day from St. Mary Church in Marion. Last week we had planned to celebrate the Mass at Sacred Hearts Church on alternate days, but we decided to remain at one location since we have been ordered to refrain from non-essential travel, and we need to set a good example. Members of the parish staff at Sacred Hearts and St. Mary will be working from home during this time. 
Sincerely Yours, in Christ, 

Father Thomas Buffer, pastor