Faith Reflections for our St. Michael Family
Faith Reflections from our own parishioners for our St. Michael Family
As we deal with the current difficulties we are facing, it is our hope you will find some comfort in reading these reflections from our own parishioners and know you are not alone and we will get through this together. (We invite you to add your own reflection and contribute to this page. To submit e-mail your refection, email to [email protected])
From Mark Cristelli: NEW! My wife Cindy and I have been thinking about how Catholic families are staying connected to our faith during these unprecedented times we are currently experiencing. There are a number of things Cindy and I are had been doing but also realized there were many other things that fellow Catholics are doing that we have decided to incorporate into our daily lives. This is a short list of some of the more significant ways people in our community are practicing their faith during this time of crisis.
- Participate in a Mass online. In just 2 weeks, we’ve went from EWTN (Catholic television network) being one of the few opportunities for a televised/online Mass, to having MANY options. Even our local Priests, Father Jesse of St Michaels and Father Stephen of St Benedict’s in Florence are (or soon will be) live streaming Masses on Facebook. Bishop Berg in Pueblo live streamed a Mass from the Cathedral last Sunday. Check the online bulletins of both parishes and the Diocese for schedules and details. Trust me when I say, MANY Catholics in Fremont County are participating in televised/online Masses. If you are not, it’s a great opportunity to stay active in the faith, and is very comforting, even if it is over the airwaves and not in person. Personally, I’ve said that, after this pandemic has passed, I can see myself still participating in an online daily Mass. Participating in an online daily Mass is good practice that I can see turning into a good habit, post-pandemic.
- Spiritual Communion. Spiritual Communion is uniting oneself with God, through prayer. When we receive Holy Communion of Mass, we are in unity with Christ, as we physically take Him into our bodies. Spiritual Communion offers that same union with Christ, except it is solely through prayer. It can be made at any time, on any day- even multiple times daily, by anyone. St Padre Pio reportedly made a Spiritual Communion several times a day, as he “always desired to be in union with God”. It is NOT some sort of “consolation prize”. There is true power and effect in a Spiritual Communion. Do some internet research and if you are like me, you will be quite pleasantly surprised at what you learn. Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire daily internet Mass includes a Spiritual Communion at the end of Mass. It is a short prayer that is powerful and mighty.
- Another sacrament, Confession, is being offered at this time as well. Father Jesse is hearing confessions by appointment (call or check the online bulletin for details) and Father Stephen at St Benedict’s is doing drive-through confessions in the St Benedict’s parking lot. Check St. Benedict’s bulletin for more details.
- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In case you didn’t know, St Michael’s is still doing Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and intends to keep doing it through the lockdown! Please note, this is in alignment with the recent state mandated shelter in place order, so there is no need to worry about going against the governor’s order. It is on Tuesday afternoon and evening, 3pm to 7 pm and also on Wednesday from about noon until about 8 am on Thursday. If you’ve been participating in Adoration, you’re encouraged to keep participating. If you have not been participating, this is a great time to start! Nothing surpasses the peace, hope and love one receives while adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and that peace, hope and love extend well past the time you spend in the chapel.
- Novenas, or nine-day prayers. There is always a place for a Novena, and this crisis is no exception – there is no denying the power of a solemnly prayed Novena! Search the internet for Novenas for the coronavirus epidemic or simply make up your own. By the way, did you know that St. Corona is the current patroness of epidemics? Check out this wonderful article: https://catholicexchange.com/in-defense-of-saint-corona
- The Thank You Jesus Rosary. For those of you who attended the St Michael’s Parish Mission last fall given by Father Sylvester, you undoubtedly remember the fascinating segment he gave about the Thank You Jesus Rosary. At any rate, several people in the parish ordered Thank You Jesus Rosaries and they (as if on cue) arrived about 2 weeks ago- just as the epidemic was ramping up. I’m not certain but I think extras may have been ordered and are currently available. They are $20 per Rosary which is a great deal. If you search for them on the internet, they are $70. Also, it can be prayed on a regular rosary as well. In short, it is a rosary that consists of simply saying “Thank you, Jesus” 1000 times per day. I know, it sounds like a lot but it is quite doable. A round of 200 thank you Jesus’ can be completed in less than 5 minutes. So, if you were to break up the rosary into 5 rounds of 200 “Thank Yous”, you only have to find a spare 5 minutes on 5 different occasions during the day. If you start and end your day with a round, and include a round at lunch time, you only have to find time for 2 more rounds (5 minutes each). This is a very powerful prayer that I now cannot imagine not doing daily, pandemic or not.
These are some of the ideas I’ve heard in the last couple of weeks of how people are coping with public Mass being cancelled and a pandemic moving across the globe. I’m convinced that this pandemic is energizing, and galvanizing, the faithful of our world and in our community. Please consider doing any of the above that you may not be incorporating into your daily lives, and encourage others around you to do the same. This pandemic, as powerful as it is, is no match for the power of Almighty God. For true protection, against anything, turn to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ and he will lead you home to Him. As our Blessed Mother says: “Pray, Pray, Pray!” There is no substitute for prayer. If you’re scared, pray. If you’re worried, pray. If you are sick, pray. Imagine the collective all of the prayers, fasting and penances occurring in today’s world! As the Church Militant, it is our duty to pray, fast and do penance. After that, God Almighty takes all of these prayers, fasts and penances and uses them to glorify His name. The result is a true flood of his grace onto this earth, into the hearts of all.
So, Pray. Stay faithful. Stay healthy. Stay safe. And wash your hands… ;)
Mark and Cindy Cristelli
From Jeff Piquette and family: "Hello, St. Michael parish family! I know the world may feel a little upside down right now. We are in uncharted waters! However, I can't help but remember how often Jesus turned things upside down for the people He met during His life. When the people accepted His challenges, great - even miraculous - things happened. We have an opportunity to embrace our challenges, trust in God, and see what wonderful things might happen in our lives. We are praying for all of you to be blessed with the graces to seize this opportunity and grow in faith and love. Take care and God bless you!"
From Caitlin Marchand: "Some of you may know this already but let me tell you, St. Michael’s Canon City is a very special place. Ours is a military family so we have belonged to many parishes over the years, each with different strengths and weaknesses. One of St. Michael’s great strengths is its community. We have belonged to parishes where, though we attended mass every Sunday for 4 years and volunteered in faith formation, nobody even knew our names or noticed when we left. We have been to other parishes where visitors receive a warm welcome and that is the end of engagement. Not at St. Michael’s. Here there is real community. You are welcomed, encouraged, given help when needed, asked to help others when you can, and the community celebrates your happy moments and mourns your sad ones.
This in one reason our current situation seems especially sad. Suddenly we are all isolated from our St Mike’s community. We cannot worship and serve and spend time together. Or can we? As my family was praying our small liturgy on Sunday alone at home, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the realization that all over the country and the world Christians were doing the same thing. We weren’t really alone but united in prayer with everyone who like us was keeping the Lord’s Day as best we could and longing to return to our church families. Our community is not gone, it is just different for a time.
How can that be? How can we be a community when the usual signs of community, the sign of peace, the shared Eucharist, or even the coffee and donuts and chatting are gone? Christian community is built around Christian communion. We have a shared faith and shared practices and we share the same life in Jesus Christ through the sacraments. Even now when we cannot receive Him in the Eucharist we are united to Christ by our baptism. Because we are united to Him we are united to one another. We are the Body of Christ.
This to me is both comforting and eye opening. We are not separated simply because we are isolated. And also that community we love so much when it’s easy to take for granted is a huge mystical reality not just a pleasant social reality. When we are able to join together again in our own St. Michael’s church we can rejoice at seeing one another and hopefully go forward remembering that the community we love so much is first and foremost the communion of Christians in Christ and so is unbreakable by any trouble as long as we all keep communion with Him.
This is the traditional hymn for Holy Thursday, which sadly we may not be able to sing under one roof but we can contemplate together. The words are as true now as ever. We are one. We are one now and we will be one always in the love of Christ."
Where charity and love are, there God is.
The love of Christ has gathered us into one.
Let us exult, and in Him be joyful.
Let us fear and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love each other (and Him).