Reflections on Mass Suspension
When I heard there was no Mass, I was sad. I would not be able to receive Holy Communion, pray with the whole community, and learn about God in my Confirmation class.
I read my previous lessons, and I have finished my homework in order to cope with the classes I missed. I even studied about coronavirus. Why has Holy Mass been cancelled? The reason is to keep us safe. I think God wants to keep us safe, too.
I pray for Holy Mass to be resumed, for the coronavirus to stop spreading in the world, and for us to see through the eyes of God the meaning of all these happenings．
Eliana Darlene Riego de Dios（English Sunday School）
When I first heard there would be no Mass from February 27 to March 14, I couldn’t think of anything. It seemed like the end of the world. Having started the day with a Mass for so many years, I felt sick and sad. The source of my life was taken away.
Then the Lord, with His merciful love, made me see what I took for granted—the grace of attending Mass every day. He made me realize how blessed I was to set aside part of the day, praying and talking to Him. Doing so has brought me much closer to our Lord, a grace I never before imagined.
Though the Lenten journey continues without Mass till the end of this month, my heart is filled with peace and joy. I have Him in my heart. Nothing can separate me from Him. I feel united with Him and, through Him, with the entire universal Church in praying for the end of Covid-19 as well as for a joyous celebration of Easter this year!
Francisca Okada （Eucharistic Minister）
In times of loss, despair and darkness, opportunities for graces abound.
In these virus times, for those not able to attend Mass, let us recall how hard it is for our fellow Christian brothers and sisters today who cannot practice their Faith because of persecution in their own countries. We can also remember that the ‘Hidden Christians’ of Japan who were persecuted for 250 years similarly could not go to Mass. How painful it must have been and is for those who loved so much being in the presence of Jesus at Mass yet even now are prevented from receiving this joy.
As part of our Lenten sacrifice, perhaps we can unite in prayer, with the agony of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane, this same ‘pain’ we feel so that God our Father and Blessed Mother may act to protect peoples across the world, heal those afflicted by the virus, and inspire a medical cure. Let us also pray for all those who are persecuted today for their Faith and for the ‘Hidden Christians of Japan’ who bravely kept the Faith alive.
It is an unexpected kind of Lenten sacrifice this year, but know this: our joy will be so enhanced when we can at last receive again the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Till that day, let the world know we are Christians! “Pray, hope and don’t worry!” as St. Padre Pio said. Be joyful, giving and sharing with those who are afraid. Be the light! This is ‘Living the Joy of the Gospel’ –this is our vocation—to help people come to know God through the example and witness of our life. As Pope Benedict reminded us, “The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”
(Pope in Japan: Witness of Catholic martyrs confirms us in faith)
Neil Day（English Bulletin Contributor）
Many of our normal Lenten activities as Catholics have been cancelled for the sake of health and safety. How the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads is not yet fully understood. Indeed, in recent days, all of Italy has been placed on lockdown and Masses in the entire country suspended. It is a worldwide problem.
It is a time of greater Lenten sacrifice and repentance this year. Can we view this positively rather than negatively? Has God been the center of our lives, or do we only go through the motions? How can we be of greater service to those around us in this time of crisis and after it ends? It is a call to self-reflection and renewed conversion in our own hearts here and now. We cannot receive the Eucharist but we can long for it. We can make Acts of Spiritual Communion frequently throughout the day and be kind to our neighbors, including strangers whom we might meet. In short, right now we can be Christ's hands and feet on earth, as St. Teresa of Avila encourages us to do.
Above all, the Bishop has stressed prayer. As the leader of a Rosary Prayer Group, I highly recommend that everyone pray the rosary daily, if possible, along with other prayers you like and use. Our Lady will come to our rescue! I am also praying the Stations of the Cross at home in the evening before bedtime and it is helpful in drawing me closer to Christ.
Another important thing to remember at this time is that there are many people in the world affected by this problem who do not have faith, or have abandoned their faith, or are lukewarm toward God. Our role as Christians in the world, to proclaim the Good News of Christ, can help them in this time of sorrow and remembrance through kindness, gentleness, and gratitude. We must make their burden lighter by exhibiting Christ in our daily lives.
As I was writing this, a neighbor went outside and her daughter was filled with delight in the feeling of spring in the air. The virus is a problem, but the power of God's creation exceeds it. Let us also remember the joy of the Gospel. Mother Teresa encourages us to smile and says, "A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love." Let us surrender to Christ joyfully today!
Susan Miller （ Parishioner )