This post is mostly meant for my parish family, the people of God at St. Jane de Chantal Parish, which includes our mission church of St. Michael the Archangel. First, thank you for your devotion and support to our wonderful parish. I am so glad I moved to Abita Springs in 1996 mainly because I found my spiritual home on earth in this beautiful parish and this beautiful church. The first moment I simply saw the church from the moving van I said out loud, this church is where we are called to be. From the first time I stepped in to St. Jane I fell in love with the worship space and the first Mass was incredibly moving to me. The first time I went to confession at St. Jane the kindly Benedictine monk said to me, welcome home. And it has been home for me and my family and many of you reading this for a varying number of years. Here at this church parish I felt my first stirrings of a vocational call and received encouragement from the pastor and the deacon to follow thru on my call that eventually led to ordination on 12.13.2008. I was originally assigned to my spiritual home as deacon but shortly thereafter I was assigned to Most Holy Trinity, about 10 miles down the road. Spending almost 5 full years at MHT, another wonderful parish, only made me long for beloved St. Jane de Chantal all the more. Since the summer of 2016, St. Jane has been not only my home but my assigned ministry.
Among the many joys of being assigned to St. Jane is assisting the Priests at Mass and helping with other tasks as needed. I've been assisting our Pastor ever since my return to St. Jane and have enjoyed his counsel and support as well. Fr. Ken Allen has encouraged me in my prison ministry and in our Adult Faith Formation program which primarily includes Bible Study. We have seen our parish grow in these past several years and have added Masses, ministry, assets, staff and devotions. All the time the parish has witnessed great faith and closeness to God.
If you were at Mass today you know what I am about to say; if not, please take the time to read thru my entire message. It is a rare event when the Archbishop writes a letter to the parishioners of a particular parish. One such letter was read today. In his letter, the Archbishop explained that our beloved Pastor will be on a sabbatical; a three month period of rest and extended retreat. The letter was read by Fr. Peter Hammet, OSB, who has been assigned to our parish as temporary administrator. He will help guide the parish forward while this period of sabbatical is in effect, again a period of about 3 months.
My message to all is please accept this news as people of great faith and with holy acceptance. Please accept this news as a graced opportunity to lift Fr. Ken in prayer while he is away. Also we have this prayerful opportunity to lift Fr. Peter in prayer as well as he begins this assignment. We certainly know that we have great intercessors in both our patron, St. Jane de Chantal and also St. Michael the Archangel, patron of our mission church. Additionally, we can call upon the Cure of Ars, St. John Vianney, patron of parish Priests.
During a time like this we all, as family, a parish family, can respond faithfully, even heroically. These are perfect times to volunteer in one of our parish ministries or to assist when events are opportunities arise. This is also the time to continue supporting our parish and our many ministries financially. For those unable to attend Mass please call our office to inquire about online giving. Also, please become familiar with our website and our Facebook page for updates and information.
Finally, let me encourage those among us who are thinking it is time to return to Mass to return indeed. Now if you are sick or considered high risk during this pandemic, you certainly may continue to miss Mass as the dispensation from Archbishop Aymond is still in effect. However, if you long to return, please do so. We are taking many steps to make things as safe as possible. You heard today that we are mandating masks as outlined by our state government and fully endorsed by the Archdiocese. We encourage use of hand sanitizer as well and the Priest and Deacon will sanitize their hands before Holy Communion. Also, the expectation for distribution of Holy Communion is the Priest, Deacon or even an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, will wear masks. We have also purchased a machine to assist with disinfecting the church and began using it today. So we long to see you return to Mass if you can.
As of now, there is no change to the Mass schedule or to the confession schedule. Please keep in mind, as of now Fr. Peter is the lone Priest assigned to St. Jane. Fr. Alex Guzman, in residence at St. Jane will help when he can but his primary responsibility is the Hispanic Apostolate across the Northshore.
Please know that you can contact me or Deacon Mark if any help is needed and our office phone is answered all day until about 3:30. As of today, the office is also open for face-to-face visits until 12:30 M-F.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for your love of St. Jane de Chantal Parish. As we respond to our current reality in faith, draw always closer to God and to one another as the Body of Christ.
And may we all remember the words of our patron, St. Jane de Chantal: Live Jesus!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us
St. Jane de Chantal, pray for us
St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us