Updates for St. Richard
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FROM FR. JOHN – 07/01/2020
Hello everyone! I hope you all are surviving the hot, humid weather that has descended on us, and that you all are being spared from Covid-19. We are now almost entering our 5th month of this pandemic, and it appears that the numbers are trending back upward, especially among the younger population. That is not good news, so we continue to pray that the Lord will keep us all healthy and in good spirits.
Due to the increase in the number of positive cases of the coronavirus around the state of Mississippi, I want to once again ask you all to please continue to wear your face coverings and to maintain good social distancing, especially while in the Church.
I really want to commend you all for being so diligent thus far in respecting our church guidelines during mass. When I look out over the congregation at weekend masses, I see almost all of you wearing your masks and keeping your proper distances. THANK YOU for that! It’s one less headache I am forced to deal with! Thank you also for those who stick around after each mass to wipe down the pews. It helps tremendously.
I also want to sincerely thank all of you for your continued financial support of St. Richard Church. Our contributions have remained remarkably steady throughout the pandemic, and that is a testament to the generosity of this parish. So thank you again for your continued support!
As you all know, Fr. Nick has officially started his new assignment as our diocesan Vocations Director. We again thank Fr. Nick for his many years of service to our parish and school, and we pray that his new ministry will be filled with many blessings.
Taking Fr. Nick’s place is Fr. Adolfo Suarez. Fr. Adolfo has been ordained 1 year, and has served previously as the Associate Pastor of St. James Church in Tupelo. Fr. Adolfo is a native of Mexico and completed his seminary education at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. We are very pleased to welcome him here to St. Richard. I know you all will make him feel very welcome.
Finally, many of you have asked about when various parish programs will resume on a regular basis. As of now, we are planning to start such things as RCIA, religious education, etc. in August as we normally do. However, with the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus, things may change or get delayed. I will do my best to keep you all informed as decisions are made or when changes occur. Thank you for hanging in there with us.
OK, that is enough for now. I pray you all enjoy your July 4th holiday. This is the first time in many years that St. Richard won’t be hosting our fireworks show, due to the pandemic. We are hoping that perhaps on Labor Day we can get together as a parish for some food and fireworks. Again, keep praying that this virus will loosen its grip on us and allow us once again to experience some much-needed community! God bless!
FROM FR. JOHN – 06/12/2020
This weekend will mark the third week that we are back to having public masses. I want to thank all of you who have attended mass the past couple of weeks for being so patient, understanding, and helpful with this new way of doing things. I especially appreciate those of you who have helped clean the Church after each mass. That helps tremendously!
This past week has been a busy one for us here at St. Richard’s. Last Saturday evening, June 6th, 24 of our young parishioners received the Sacrament of Confirmation at 6 pm mass. It was a wonderful evening despite the social distancing and pandemic requirements. Congratulations to all of them! This past Thursday evening, June 11th, St. Richard hosted a mass for the graduating seniors of St. Joseph High School. This was the first time they were all back together since Spring Break, so it was a very special and powerful moment for them. Congratulations to all of them who will be graduating this afternoon. On a related note, the Valedictorian of this class is parishioner Michael Doherty, son of Dr. Michael & Kristin Doherty, and the co-Salutatorians are parishioners Alexandra Ladner, daughter of Dr. Mark & Angela Ladner, and Aislinn Boggan, daughter of Nathan & Anna Boggan. Also last evening, parishioner Farrell Moorehead, daughter of Bobby & Bridget Moorehead, was the recipient of the inaugural Finn Blaylock Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship was started after the passing of Finn last year and it is meant to go to a St. Richard graduating senior who embodies the characteristics of Finn, characteristics such as faith, love of family, love of the outdoors, and curiosity about the world around them. Farrell is very deserving of this scholarship. Congratulations to all of you. We grow them smart here at St. Richard’s!!!
This coming week Fr. Nick and I will both be out of town on Monday and Tuesday, so there will be no daily masses. Normal daily mass schedule will resume Wednesday morning, June 17th. On that day, I will be also joining the other priests in our diocese for the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral at 1 pm. The Chrism Mass is normally held at the beginning of Holy Week, but this year the pandemic caused its postponement. This year’s Mass will be an abbreviated one with only clergy attending. Thankfully, I will be bringing back the blessed oils after this mass. These oils will be used in the administration of various sacraments throughout the year.
On Sunday, June 21st we will begin having 1st Communions for our 2nd graders. Most of them will participate at a 2 pm mass that day, so please keep them in your prayers. Some of them are not able to make it at that time or have a conflict, so we will be having their 1st Communions in the coming weeks. We are very excited for these children as they reach this important milestone in their faith journeys.
Ok, that is enough for now. Have a wonderful weekend, and keep up the prayers for those affected by the pandemic and those who care for them, and continue to pray for justice and peace in our country and around the world. God bless!
FROM FR. JOHN – 06/05/2020
First of all, I wanted to say how happy I was to return to the celebration of public masses last weekend. It was great to see many of you again, and I hope that more parishioners will return to mass over the course of the next several weeks. We will maintain our normal mass schedule of 4:00 pm vigil on Saturday as well as 8:00 am, 10:30 am, and 5:00 pm on Sunday. The capacity in the church is 150 people. If we go over that number, we will have an overflow mass in the gym that you will be directed to.
We have several things going on here at St. Richard Church over the next couple of weeks. Last evening we had a Mass for and recognition of our departing St. Richard School 6th graders and their families. It was so nice to see them all together one last time before they disperse for the summer and to their new high schools. We pray for them and we wish them all the best.
This Saturday evening, I will be celebrating Mass to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on our St. Richard Church candidates for Confirmation. Bishop Kopacz has granted us pastors delegation to confer this Sacrament this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I am very excited for our young people to receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit and bring to completion their Catholic initiation.
Next Thursday evening I will celebrate Mass for our graduating seniors from St. Joseph High School. Covid-19 caused our seniors to end their high school experience in a disappointing way, but I know all of them will be excited to get back together as a group to pray together and to see one another before graduation. Speaking of graduation, St. Joseph High School will hold its commencement exercises on Friday, June 12th at 3 pm on campus. Please keep our St. Joe graduates in your prayers as they begin this next chapter of their lives.
Finally, please continue to pray for peace and justice in our community, nation, and our world. It has been a chaotic couple of weeks throughout our country in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. Please continue to pray for and work toward racial healing and reconciliation as well as peace and non-violence in our neighborhoods, towns and cities. Living as brothers and sisters in Christ can be very challenging from time to time, and experiencing such things as racial discrimination, rioting, and violence can leave us shaken and confused. During times like these, it is especially important to implore the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to bring about greater love, unity, and peace. God bless you all!
FROM FR. JOHN – 05/21/2020
The video below explains the preliminary plan for resuming masses at St. Richard Church on Pentecost Sunday, May 30-31st. I will publish the written guidelines in a separate post. God bless!
FROM FR. JOHN – 05/18/2020
Greetings from St. Richard Church. I hope this finds all of you doing well and staying healthy. We are now into our third month of being isolated due to the CoronaVirus, but some things are slowly getting back to normal. Continue to pray that the Lord will keep us steadfast and patient as this virus runs its course.
Congratulations to all our high school and college graduates! We have had many parishioners finish their studies recently, so we extend a sincere ‘Well Done” to each of them. I pray that their next chapters in life will be successful and peace-filled.
Thankfully we will be able to return to the celebration of public mass on Pentecost weekend, May 30-31st. I received the directives from the diocese this morning and have been working today to formulate St. Richard’s plan on resuming mass. Hopefully by tomorrow or Thursday I will post our specific directives on here, on our website, and through our parish-wide email. Additionally, the Bishop has given us pastors the ‘green light’ to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on our candidates this year. We will be setting a date for that very soon, as well as a date for 1st Communion.
Since parish life is getting ramped back up, our parish staff will be returning to the office next Tuesday, May 26th. They have all done a great job both working remotely and helping one another out, but it will be great to have them back on campus. I emailed them today and told them that if they have developed any bad habits like ‘excessive day-drinking’ or ‘all-day pajama wearing’ over the isolation period, they’ve got 6 days to get it together!!
That is all for now. Please be looking for our “Returning to Mass Directives” on here in the next day or two. God bless!
FROM FR. JOHN: 04/30/2020
Hello everyone! I hope this finds you all doing well as we endure the CoronaVirus pandemic.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked us American Catholics to join in prayer tomorrow, May 1st, in reconsecrating our nation to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title, Mary, Mother of the Church. As many of you know, the month of May is normally dedicated to venerating our Blessed Mother, so I would like to invite you to join me on here at 2 pm tomorrow as we live-stream a special ‘reconsecration’ prayer service. Here is a link to the prayer service:
I also want to invite those of you who would like to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation to come to the church between 3-5 pm this Saturday, May 2nd. Fr. Nick will hear confessions from 3-4 pm, and I will hear them from 4-5 pm. Again, please observe ‘social distancing’ while in the church, and no more than 10 people in the church at a time. If you come in and notice more than 8 people in the church, kindly wait outside or in your car until someone leaves. That will help ensure safety for all people.
We will return to having Eucharistic Adoration in the church on Wednesday, May 6th, from 9 am until 9 pm. Again, ‘social distancing’ and the 10-person rules will be in effect.
Finally, for those of you who visit the church from this weekend on, we will have at the entrance of the church small batches of palms from Palm Sunday as well as bottles of Holy Water blessed from the Easter Vigil for you to take. In order to be safer from the spread of the CoronaVirus, please use the hand sanitizer found at the entrance of the Church before picking up palms and Holy Water bottles.
Thank you all for your patience, perseverance, and prayers as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times. We will get back to normal, slowly but surely, so hang in there!! God Bless!
FROM FR. JOHN – 04/07/2020
Greetings St. Richard Parishioners. I pray that your Holy Week is off to a productive start. This past Sunday we heard the retelling of the Lord’s Passion, and this account is a timely reminder that suffering is a natural and necessary part of the human condition. It was through the freely-chosen experience of suffering and death by Christ that ultimately saved all of us from the ravages of sin. During this unprecedented time of fear and uncertainty, I hope that this message of the ‘redemptive value of suffering’ takes on a new and hope-filled significance for all of us.
This evening at 7 pm I will live-stream an abbreviated “Reconciliation Service” from the Church. Normally during Lent we host a time for you parishioners to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Due to the CoronaVirus pandemic, it is not possible to have a communal service. However, just because we can’t get together to celebrate this wonderful sacrament doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take some time to acknowledge our sinfulness. All of us are sinners. All of us are in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, taking some time during Holy Week to examine our consciences and to ask for the forgiveness of our sins is quite appropriate.
Below I have attached a copy of an Examination of Conscience that comes directly from the church’s Rite of Penance. It is very thorough, and it should serve for help you get into all the spiritual ‘nooks and crannies’ where sin resides. I ask you to take some time today to look it over and to prayerfully (and honestly) take an accounting of your moral life. Then, when we are once again able to gather publicly, make it a point to come receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will be glad that you did.
I hope you all will be able to join me this evening online. God bless!
FROM FR. JOHN – 03/31/2020
First of all, I am happy to have emerged from my self-quarantine this past Sunday. Even though I was in proximity of someone who tested positive a couple of weeks ago, I successfully passed the 14 day mark with no symptoms. However, the pollen is making me miserable this spring. My eyes are burning and watering as I write this.
As we approach Holy Week this Sunday, I just wanted to bring you all up-to-date on what will be going on. The Vatican has given us abbreviated liturgies to conduct in the absence of public congregations, so the Holy Week liturgies will look a bit different. Fr. Nick and I will celebrate Palm Sunday, the Triduum liturgies, and Easter Sunday mass from the Church rather than Foley Hall. These liturgies will be live-streamed on our Facebook page at the following times;
Palm Sunday – 8 am
Holy Thursday – 7 pm
Good Friday Stations – 3 pm
Good Friday service – 7 pm
Easter Vigil – 8 pm
Easter Day Mass – 8 am
As always, these masses and liturgies will be available to view at any time after they are concluded. I hope all of you will tune in, and that these will help you feel more connected to our parish.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday, and many of you have asked about distribution of palms. The diocese has asked us to bless the palms at mass, but to distribute them at a later date. I am going to see if there is some way we can make them available to you all that day, if possible. I will let you all know. If that is not possible, we will schedule a date later on for that.
We have also purchased a bunch of Holy Water bottles that we will fill for you all after the Easter Vigil with the water that will be blessed that evening. Again, we will figure out a day and time to get these to you all.
Finally, I’m going to meet with Fr. Nick and try to put together a Reconciliation Service to live-stream the beginning of Holy Week. This will not be a service that serves officially as the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but it will serve as a reminder for us to repent of our sinfulness in our hearts and to commit to receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the earliest possible time. As a side note, the Church teaches that if ‘confession’ is not easily or immediately available, it is acceptable to pray a sincere “Act of Contrition” and have the intention of going to confession when it is convenient and available once again. I mention this because some of you are a bit concerned that we won’t be able to have our communal Reconciliation Service this year. Remember, however, that Fr. Nick and I are available for individual confessions by appointment, so give us a call if needed.
Ok, that is enough for now. I hope you all are doing well and staying healthy. Please be assured of our prayers.
FROM FR. JOHN: 03/25/2020
FROM FR. JOHN: 03/25/2020
Please see below the latest statement from the Diocese of Jackson regarding the suspension of masses until April 30th, 2020. Sadly, Holy Week services and masses will need to be suspended, and such things as RCIA Initiations, Confirmations, and First Communions will need to be postponed. I will keep you informed as things change. God bless, and stay healthy!
From Fr. John: CoronaVirus Update – 03/21/2020
Good morning everyone. I hope this finds all of you doing as good as can be expected given the upheaval of this past week or so. We here at St. Richard Parish & School are trying to quickly adapt to a new way of doing things. I am pleased that many of you are taking advantage of and enjoying our live-streamed masses and Stations of the Cross. As the days progress, we will attempt to add more content and resources on here. Our goal is to make you parishioners still feel closely connected to one another and to our parish.
Some sad news to report; Vince Falconi, the husband of our faithful and long-time office manager Mary Falconi, passed away yesterday afternoon after a long illness. Vince was a GREAT guy, and he and I shared not only a love of our God and of our faith but also the game of golf. Every time I would see him we would always ask how each other’s golf games were. Usually the answer was the same; “There’s room for improvement!” Please keep Mary and her family in your prayers during this difficult time.
As was mentioned earlier, masses will be live-streamed each morning (including Sundays) at 8 am. At each Sunday mass I’d like to give some ‘shout outs’ to various people to recognize birthdays, anniversaries, special intentions, etc. I may not be able to get to them all, but please comment below if you’d like to have them considered. Again, our goal is to keep our parish informed and connected to one another during this time.
Beginning next week our office staff will mostly begin working from home. Fr. Nick and I will both be here during normal office hours, but only one other staff member will be here to answer the phone. However, all staff will have access to email and the website to continue to conduct business, so be assured that we are all here doing whatever we can for you.
Finally, I just humbly ask you to keep us in mind financially as well. We hope to be able to keep all of our staff paid and bills kept up-to-date. I encourage you all, if possible, to utilize our online giving portal which can be found on our website. Anything you can provide would be greatly appreciated. We appreciate that many of you will be taking a financial hit during this time, so please let us know if we can help in any way.
Ok, I think that’s it for now. I hope all of you have an enjoyable weekend (as best as you can, anyway). I was thinking that if self-quarantine is recommended now, I may self-quarantine myself on my boat in the middle of the lake fishing. I think that would benefit everyone!!!
God bless you all!
FROM FR. JOHN: CoronaVirus Update – 03/18/2020
As we begin to embrace our ‘new normal’ here for awhile at St. Richard, we are happy to be able to live stream daily masses on Facebook and on our website. Fr. Nick and I will celebrate mass at 8 am EVERY DAY (Including Sundays), and replays will be available all day on here and our website. The Eucharist is the most powerful encounter with Christ that we Catholics enjoy, so I encourage all of you to tune in. And even though you cannot physically receive communion at that time, ‘spiritual’ communion is also very powerful!
I also encourage you all to send us any ideas you may have of anything you’d like to see us speak about on here. Social media is a great way for us to do Catechesis and Religious Education. If there is a topic you would like either Fr. Nick or me to address on here via video, please let us know. We’d be happy to address whatever topics you may be interested in.
Also, if anyone would like to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, please contact either Fr. Nick or me, and we can schedule a time here in the office. Likewise, if you or someone you know is sick and needs the Sacrament of the Sick, please let us know that as well.
More importantly, those of you who are younger and healthy, please attempt to check on your neighbors and family members. By all working together, we’ll overcome all this and be better for it. God bless you all!
FROM FR. JOHN: CoronaVirus update – 03/17/2020
First of all, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to any Irish parishioners we may have! I hope if you had corned beef and cabbage today, it was enjoyable!
Today Bishop Kopacz issued new directives for the diocese in response to the CoronaVirus outbreak. Please click the following link to be taken to the diocesan website: http://2o1bb93uvms11ppwm32hemxj-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Bishop_statement_suspensionofMass_3.17.2020.pdf
In light of these guidelines, there will be no public masses at St. Richard until further notice. Fr. Nick and I, however, are working to set up online streaming capability so that we can broadcast our private masses over the internet. We will inform you as soon as we have this set up. Also, there will be no Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesdays. However, the church will be open every day for people to come in and pray. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be by appointment only.
All public gatherings are also cancelled at the parish as well. I listed most of those on yesterday’s update. If you are uncertain as to the status of your group/program, please contact your group/program leader, or call the parish secretary.
The office personnel will still be working during this time. Some of us will be here at the office while others will work from home. The office will be open, but we do encourage you to conduct your parish business over the phone, thru email, or online if possible before coming into the office.
Also, our Capital Campaign to build our Early Learning Center has been postponed until further notice. I understand that many of you may experience financial hardships during this time, so I want us to focus primarily on helping each other out during this crisis. Our building project can be restarted at a later date.
Finally, I do sincerely ask you to continue financially supporting our parish in any way you can. We still have bills to pay, and we don’t want to miss paying our employees. As always, your generosity is always so deeply appreciated.
Let us continue to pray and support one another during this unpredictable time, and may we grow stronger as a result of this testing. God bless you all!
FROM FR. JOHN: CoronaVirus Update – 3/16/2020
IN LIGHT OF PRESIDENT TRUMP’S RECOMMENDATIONS TODAY, DAILY MASSES ARE CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
For the foreseeable future, St. Richard Church will be cancelling the following parish activities, including;
– “Men’s Lenten Prayer Breakfast” on Monday mornings.
– “Lectio Divina” on Tuesday mornings.
– “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” on Wednesdays & Sundays.
– School Masses on Wednesday mornings
– Wednesday Parish Dinners.
– “Young At Heart” on Thursdays.
– “Stations of the Cross” on Friday afternoons.
– “KC Fish Fries” on Friday evenings.
– Parish and School Communal Reconciliation Services.
Other activities may get cancelled, so please check back here daily for updates. If the Bishop decides to cancel masses, I will let you all know as soon as possible.
As of now, the church will remain open daily for personal prayer, and Fr. Nick and I will be available on Wednesday evenings at 5:30 pm for Confessions. The church office will remain open, but I encourage all of you to take care of parish business online or over the phone if possible.
If anyone knows of someone who is sick and needs to see a priest, please let us know.
If you have any questions about anything, please let me know. God bless!
FROM FR. JOHN – CoronaVirus Update 03/14/2020:
Effective immediately, Bishop Kopacz has dispensed ALL Catholics from the obligation of attending Sunday mass. Those over 65 and those with serious underlying medical conditions are especially encouraged to simply stay home and avoid contact with any larger groups of people. Again, ALL Catholics in our diocese are dispensed from the Sunday obligation until further notice.
If you think you are sick, or are not feeling well, please stay home.
There will still be mass at the normal Sunday times this weekend at St. Richard. However, we ask those attending to be aware of the following;
– Avoid shaking hands and respect others’ personal space.
– Receive communion in the hand rather than on the tongue.
– The sign of peace will be suspended for the time being, and avoid holding hands during the Our Father.
– Use the hand sanitizer located in the front of Church.
– We will suspend taking up the offertory collections in the baskets until further notice. However, we still have bills to pay, so we would greatly appreciate your continued giving. A basket will be placed in front of the altar where you can make your offering either at the offertory time or after mass.
Finally, health department directives strongly recommend disinfecting many surfaces after each mass. Fr. Nick or I will be asking for a few volunteers after each mass to help wipe down the pews and other surfaces that have been in contact with people. Your help with that will be greatly appreciated.
Again, I will keep you all updated as things develop. God bless!
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