The Lord is truly Risen!. Pastoral letter

www.augustiniani.cz

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Despite the rather cool spring and hesitations all of us are experiencing, our parish community is regathering after an absence of two and a half months here at St. Thomas church. Though personally absent we so managed to keep contact through technology and social media that even former parishioners on other continents once shared Liturgy, Bible study and Adult Religious instruction with us.
Even the younger members of our community were not neglected particularly those in preparation for First Communion and Confirmation. Yet, all of us agree that nothing can compare to actual contact.

As is universally acknowledged our Czech government, health authorities, doctors, nurses, caregivers, police, service industry workers, teachers and all those wonderful people who sewed those masks and cared for the aged, disabled and marginalized must be especially remembered with thanks. And, never to be forgotten our own local bishops who urged that our churches remain open as oases of pray and reflection. Despite some criticism our own parish church of St. Thomas and St. Augustine once described as ‘a quiet corner in Mala Strana’ invited all to enter in away from the uncertainties of fear and lurking menace.

There are times when we do not really appreciate the society in which we live. Those of us ex-patriates certainly can count our blessings for being here in Czechia, our host country. The minute attention given by the Czech people to such details as disinfecting public transport that has carried over in the disinfecting the benches in our church; the omnipresence of hand lotions; the disciplined social distancing at our Masses and that polite etiquette accorded each other in public markets. The history of this experience has to be recorded.

Now, as the Easter season draws to a close, it is a fitting time to return to our faith community. Yes, with all those safety precautions in place: the now-near ritualistic washing of hands, social distancing and the use of face masks when prescribed. Once released from any haunting and paralyzing fear or hesitation, let’s gather on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, at liturgy to hear the Word of God and to receive the Eucharist that unique source of strength and healing. We have such important festivals ahead: Pentecost (31 May) and the baptism of Alexander Forrest; First Holy Communion (6 June); the great festival of Corpus Christi (14 June); the celebration of all those current birthdays with an inter-community picnic (21 June); The Confirmation of our young parishioners by the Apostolic Nuncio (28 June). Finally, be courageous, look around and be of assistance to others struggling for meaning, remembering the Lord’s own words ‘Don’t be afraid… I am with you always.’ (Matthew 28: 20)

Fr. William S. Faix, OSA