“For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.” -Matthew 18:20
6 September 2020
Brothers and Sisters,
Tucked into the last days of Summer vacation just before the start of the school year, Labor Day usually comes and goes without much fanfare. So, with the enthusiasm the holiday deserves, I extend a blessed Labor Day, offering gratitude to all who labor in the field and empathy for those struggling to make ends meet. Amid this pandemic, many individuals struggle with financial insecurity, whether unemployed or underemployed; our neighbors strive to survive while quietly accepting work beneath their experience or rightful pay to provide for those they love. Join me in praying for all those seeking employment in our world, Nation, and hometown.
Likewise, I’m grateful to those who labor and care for humanity. Let us offer prayers for those who extend Christ’s healing in the medical and care professions and for those who extend Christ’s mercy as they faithfully serve the poor and marginalized at charitable organizations. Thank you for being on the front lines of caring during these challenging times.
To those who grow, raise, deliver, and serve our food and goods. Thank you for your commitment to feeding the hungry. We thank those working in the transportation and delivery service industries who diligently keep us and our goods, services, and infrastructure moving as well.
Additionally, thank you to all who are in manufacturing and commerce work, including those who had to pivot to help provide necessary medical and safety supplies to the medical community and Nation.
With joyful gratitude, we remember those who use their God-given gifts to bring us song, works of art, and athletic accomplishment, thank you for glorifying God and bringing us enjoyment through your professions.
With profound appreciation, let’s pray for those who teach and inspire our children, often giving a disproportionate amount of time and personal resources to ensure our children learn and are well. I’m fortunate to the OLPH School staff as they adapt to deliver the best educational opportunities to their in-classroom and digital learners.
Thank you to those striving to protect us, including our police officers, first responders, firefighters, and countless others who support their efforts. We are grateful for the brave and honorable officers who de-escalate violence and encourage accord.
To our military troops and civilian supporters, often little is shed on the many roles and responsibilities that our men and women embrace for our Nation and world’s safety. May all of your sacrifices lead to lasting peace.
Many thanks to those who serve as elected officials, government employees, or the private sector workforce who support our government’s appropriate and prudent governance. Despite these politically charged and often divisive times, let us continue to show gratitude for those who selflessly strive to serve, even if we do not agree with all their decisions or policies.
My thanks, of course, to those whom I have the pleasure to work with each day at our parish, neighboring parishes, Archdiocese, as well as the lay staff who have accepted the call to go BEYOND to build Christ’s kingdom on earth. I also extend prayers for Archbishop Lori and Bishops Madden, Parker, and Lewandowski, who have shown exceptional care for our Archdiocese.
Lastly, I want to thank a particularly important set of workers who may not traditionally be recognized: our mothers, fathers, caregivers, and parental figures. Each day your work is heroic, and you have done much to comfort and care for children, both young and grown. Your workday has no end, but remember your work in love and charity has eternal life as its reward.
My apologies if I have failed to mention your work profession, specifically. May, the Lord bless all yours and all our efforts. May the Lord open our hearts so we may appreciate the purpose and value of our work.
Thank you for supporting this longer letter of thanks, and now a word about the Gospel! Jesus provides us with a concrete way to approach those who are persisting in sin. While many of us prefer to avoid confrontation, we are called to challenge one another to grow in virtue. In fairness, this intent must be grounded in love and not seek humiliation of the other, but a conversion to Christ. To that end, we should offer our guidance directly to the person. Only in persistent sin do we bring our concerns with wider circles.
In this context of correcting another in an effort to grow in faith, fortunately, Jesus continually reminds us of his abiding presence. For instance, when we proclaim “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” at each Mass, the Trinity draws us into communion with the Triune God. Praise be to God for his constant presence! If you are struggling to recognize God in your life, consider reaching out to a faithful friend and pray together. May God bless these simple yet profound encounters.
Some of the key considerations for this week:
- Sign up” for Mass for September 12 and 13. Register here.
- With the start of school at OLPH, the parking lot outside of Harrison Hall and behind the Parish Center will be closed off during the day. For this reason, please note a change to our Reconciliation Schedule. Wednesdays from 11am – 12pm the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered outside the front of the Church, while our other scheduled times of Wednesdays from 6pm to 7pm and Fridays from 4pm to 6pm will remain in the back parking lot.
- Daily Mass will be open for public attendance (and live streamed) on Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays at 8:15am. An additional Mass for school students will be offered on Thursdays as 10am. While this Mass is not open for public attendance, the School Mass will be streamed at www.facebook.com/olph.md. This Mass will be geared to grade-school children and is a great opportunity for families to pray together. You are welcome to watch the Mass live or revisit it later in the day as your schedule permits.
- Do you know of a family member, friend, or neighbor who may be interested in the Catholic faith? Check out our announcements and website for wonderful witnesses of two parishioners who have gone through our RCIA process. Encourage them to reach out to Sr. Lorraine for information on RCIA and the process of becoming Catholic. The gatherings will begin through zoom and are non-committal opportunities to learn more about the faith and to connect with others on this same journey. For more information, contact Sr. Lorraine by calling the parish office 410 747 4334 or via email at LMcGraw@archbalt.org. ▪ Happy Birthday! On Tuesday, September 8, the Church celebrates the birthday of Mary (which makes logical sense, as it is 9 months after we celebrate the Immaculate Conception on December 8). Let us be mindful to ask Mary this day for her continued care and protection for our families, our parish, our community, and our world.
- On September 9, the Church celebrates St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest and missionary. St. Peter Claver dedicated much of his ministry to African Americans from the end of 16th to the mid 17th Centuries and is the patron saint of slaves. In connection with the U.S. Bishops and Catholics throughout the world, please mark this day with particular prayer, penance, and fasting. Let us pray for those who still experience the great weight and burden of systemic racism and pray for the conversion of hearts, that we might all recognize our complicity in this sin and our need to work for lasting justice.
- Bridges to Housing Stability will be hosting their 10th Annual Chili & Challenge next Sunday, September 13th. In years past OLPH parish chefs have twice walked off with the “Golden Ladle” This year, although OLPH will not make Chili the parish continues to partner with this organization’s efforts to eradicate homelessness in Howard County with a financial donation. If you too would like to support their mission, you may order Chili curbside carryout HERE
- On September 14, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Cross. As many churches were not able to take up collections for Christians in the Holy Land on Good Friday, we have been asked to take up a collection at this time. The Christian community has undergone great hardships and sadly continues to dwindle. The best way to offer a gift is through our online giving, olphparish.org/giving. You may also designate gifts in an envelope. Thanks for your generosity.
- This week Governor Hogan announced that Maryland will enter into the next phase of Coronavirus recovery given improved infection rates, declining use of intensive care beds and expanded testing availability. While lifting the restrictions that have been in place since March, Governor Hogan continues to encourage people to wear masks and remain socially distant where possible. We have not yet received any new guidance which will cause change to our current operations.
- For your continued safety, the OLPH Facilities team added another layer of protection to our School, Parish Center and Church this past week. BioProtect, a 90 day antimicrobial surface protectant was applied to all high touch areas including pews and kneelers. In the coming week, our pew cushions will also be treated and returned for your added comfort as well as protection.
- As many of our students and children are online for many hours for school and social engagements, I encourage parents to check out Childhood 2.0 (“Social Media Dangers Documentary”). This is an excellent 90-minute video that encourages parents to take steps to keep children safe. Moreover, parents may decide to use this video as a means to speak with middle and high school teens about the sad, predatory dangers (I encourage parents to watch first still). The current impact on children and their development is staggering. May the Lord guide our parents as they navigate new, and sometimes necessary, technologies.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett