Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for your patience and support during the present pandemic circumstances. I’m pleased to say that our parish and school are holding their own due to your confident support of our work. Last week our return to public Masses went well. All credit to Greg Moman, Bob Schwab and Rick Burke for getting the system set up for you to return to church safely.

For the next two weeks we will continue the present system. Only 100 people will be admitted to the Upper Church for Mass. On weekdays you may simply turn up to attend, but for the three weekend Masses please go here to use Sign-Up Genius to register your attendance. Please keep in mind that if you register to attend a weekend Mass, but don’t show up you may be depriving another person of the opportunity to attend Mass. If your plans change call Beth Jones and let her know. Her number is (724) 458-0196. When you arrive at church for the weekend Masses there will be two check in stations in the porch. If your last name begins with A-L report to the station on the South side (by the Guadalupe Hall). If your last name begins with M-Z report to the North side (next to the parking lot).

Eucharistic Adoration and individual confessions will resume in June and next week will give you more instructions about how to participate. Until then, at all masses, the priests have been instructed to grant General Absolution. This absolution is provided for in canon law for times of emergency. At the discretion of the bishop priests are instructed to lead the faithful in an examination of conscience and an act of contrition. Penance is given and absolution granted. This absolution is equivalent in effect to the absolution you will receive in individual confession; however, the assumption is that you will also plan to attend individual confession again once you are able.

We have decided at this time not to re-open our food pantry. After consultation with other charities and social services we are confident that most of our clients are receiving adequate support through the emergency measures our government authorities are making available. However, Chris Loewer is still taking calls at Mother Teresa House and directing people who are in need to sources of assistance. MercyWorks is also available to receive donations to assist parishioners and local people who are suffering financial hardship because of the pandemic. If you are in difficulties or know anyone who is please refer them to Chris Loewer at Mother Teresa House: His email address is: cloewer@charlestondiocese.org, and phone number (864) 412-7102.

We are also concerned to be in touch with all our parishioners who may be in need. If you have any financial or personal needs please contact Beth Jones or Donna Craft at the parish office (864) 422-1648. They will listen to your concerns and assist you. If you have spiritual needs, they will refer you to the clergy for a follow up call or email. If you have financial concerns, they will direct you to find assistance and if you need support and friendship, they will network through the members of our local small groups to provide local support and help for you.

These next two weeks in the church year we celebrate the Lord’s Ascension and Pentecost. These feasts are the climax of the paschal mystery of our salvation. The Lord returns in triumphant glory and through this action the Holy Spirit is poured out on mankind. The longer I seek to follow the Lord Jesus, the more convinced I am of this amazing historical transformation of the whole of humanity and the human race. Through his life, death, resurrection and ascension into glory the Lord Jesus Christ became the turning point of human history. After Pentecost we entered into a new age – an age of compassion and the realization of God’s mercy alive and active in the world as it had never been before.

I hope you will make plans to join us back at the celebration of Mass! Remember the Sunday Mass obligation is suspended until further notice, but you should try to come to Mass at least once a week. Come on the weekday Masses if you can and join us for Ascension Sunday and Pentecost. As you do, pray that the summer will see an easing of this plague on humanity and that we will soon return without fear to a full and abundant life.

Your pastor,

Fr. Longenecker