by Fr. George Aranha, Pastor
While the circumstances might be challenging and our Church life is very different, we know that God is still calling us to worship and minister to those in need. So, despite the “shelter at home” and “social distancing” mandates, Santa Teresa Parish strives to remain connected, united and active. As I look at the life of our parish today, it is comforting to see that our parishioners are resilient and that our community never stopped being engaged.
The outreach to our brothers and sisters didn’t stop: Our phone tree volunteers have called every registered family to ask if the parish could help. As Pastor, whenever necessary, I have followed up the calls with visits and phone calls.
The celebration of our liturgies didn’t stop: Every Saturday at 5:30 pm, we live stream the Mass on YouTube, offer the Prayer for Spiritual Communion and all our parishioners share this time together. During the Mass we also offer the weekly petitions of our people that are displayed on the prayer wall of our church.
The care for the spiritual wellbeing of parishioners didn’t stop: Every Wednesday, we broadcast a spiritual segment called “Scripture, Song and Prayer” to lift up the hearts and spirits of those who are bowed down by the corona virus pandemic.
Prayer didn’t stop: Starting May 1st, in celebration of Mary’s Month, we broadcast the daily Rosary with the mysteries for each day. We encourage our parishioners to choose a time of day when they can join in individually, as couples or as families to pray the rosary.
Faith Formation didn’t stop: We now have Zoom Scripture Study and faith sharing on the Sunday Scriptures twice a week.
Our service to those in need didn’t stop: We have many parish volunteers who direct cars and help in the distribution of food in our parking lot every Saturday with Catholic Charities and Second Harvest Food Bank. Our food pantry is open to anyone who needs food at any time. A refugee family came to a Christian Church for help, and they were referred first to a Jewish Community, then to the Mormon Church and finally to us at Santa Teresa and we were able to offer help to this needy family.
Our devotion to Mother Mary didn’t stop: On May 2nd, our parishioners arrived joyfully into our parking lot in their cars with fresh flowers that were then taken in procession and placed in our Mary’s Garden. There were 92 cars, a motorcycle and some neighbors on foot that came to honor our Blessed Mother with prayers, songs and flowers.
It is true that our ministry and worship look different during this time of crisis, but they have never stopped. In and through the pandemic, our community has been trying to continue to live the faith by embracing the bookmark prayer of St. Teresa of Avila, our patron saint:
“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices.“