The Diocesan Digest
Weekly Administration E-Mail Communications for Pastors and Associate Pastors
April 16, 2021
Welcome to the Diocesan Digest!
If you have any questions or suggestions about this communication, please contact Bevin Kennedy (firstname.lastname@example.org, 603-663-0136).
Topics in this Digest
1. State Mask Mandate
You may have seen that the Governor announced the repeal of the State mask mandate. This is causing confusion because it does not repeal what is in place for guidance for Houses of Worship in New Hampshire which incorporated the CDC’s best practices including the continued recommended wearing of masks. From the first days of this pandemic impacting our State, the Diocese has been, and will continue to be, informed by federal and state public health experts and our own local, Catholic health resources.
What the Governor is allowing to expire is separate from the broader and still prudent precautionary measures which remain in place: washing and sanitizing of hands, maintaining a distance of six feet, or twenty for choirs, and other measures the Diocese has had in place since last May. Masks when in close confines, such as when we are at Mass, are still strongly encouraged to be worn by those who are able, according to the guidance we have asked all to follow.
While vaccines are now widely available, they should not give the false sense that no other precautions are necessary or helpful. We ask you, therefore, to continue to follow the guidance of best practices for the Celebration of Mass and other aspects of Parish life which are found on our website by clicking here and watching the Diocesan Digest for further updates.
Please also be aware that municipal regulations may address the wearing of masks in your community.
For questions, please contact Fr. Jason Jalbert (663-0132 or email@example.com); Meredith Cook (663-0148 or firstname.lastname@example.org); or Dennis Honan (663-0112 or email@example.com)….
“No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.”
It’s unlikely that those who survive the pandemic will look back on these days with much nostalgia. Sickness and loss, fear and division, stress and isolation. The consequences will be with us for a generation. Yet emerging from the tragedy were also instances of humanity, decency, and heroism that echoed the time of the first Apostles and disciples. We’ve shared food, masks, information, errands, songs. We’ve gathered on balconies and in virtual rooms. We’ve found ways to pray, to heal, and to encourage. This Divine Mercy Sunday, give thanks for those who have helped you through this and every crisis – especially to healthcare workers and to those volunteers in the local community who’ve helped with the massive undertaking of “getting shots into arms!”
Special thanks, too, to the many parishioners and visitors who were able to attend the Lenten, Triduum, and Easter liturgies this year! We should be ever grateful to those who volunteered their time and efforts to ensure a safe and sanitized church, a beautiful worship environment, and reverent Masses and liturgies: Our wonderful team of ushers that welcomes everyone and maintains good order (Special thanks to Max, our youngest usher!); our Safety Committee members who protect us with compliance issues relative to Mass registration, crowd control, and distancing requirements; our Liturgy Committee (notably Colette, Delia, and Mike I.) that works tirelessly to schedule ministers and adorn the church with flowers and banners; our music ministers (Margaret and her colleagues) who support our worship with appropriate and uplifting music (Alleluia!); all of our lectors and EMs (Excellent Easter fire on Holy Saturday with the help of Jay Bartlett and Jan Wolowski!) who proclaim the Word of God and distribute the Body of Christ; our sacristans who set out vessels and prepare sacred linens (Thanks, Lisa!) for Holy Mass; the volunteers who led the Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings; our Faith Formation team that fostered a deeper understanding of Easter faith in the parish’s children; and, of course, to the volunteers who work behind the scenes counting collections – especially Nina and Susan, but also Colette, Millie, Mary, Eileen, and Barbara!
Father John Mahoney
We learned many lessons about covenants during the 40 days of Lent this year. And now we exult in the most important covenant – that God so loved the world that He sent His only son so that we who follow him might have eternal life. God loves us. God is merciful toward us. And God wants us to live forever with Him in His Kingdom. This is the essential meaning of our Easter celebrations.
Throughout the Easter Season, we continue our works of charity and mercy. Pope Francis called mercy the “beating heart of the gospel.” Mercy and compassionate treatment of the distressed and undeserved is another term for God’s charity. Consider showing devotion to it by reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a rosary-based prayer that was received by Saint Faustina, a Polish nun in the 1930s, through visions of Jesus. Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated the week after Easter, but many make the Chaplet part of their regular prayer and devotion by reciting it every day at 3 p.m. (the traditional hour of Christ’s death).
Wishing you all the blessings, charity, and mercy of the Holy Season of Easter,
Fr. John Mahoney
“Now the Passover of the Jews was near.” As Christians prepare for Palm Sunday and Holy Week, followers of the Jewish faith tradition prepare for the beginning of Passover at sundown on Saturday, March 27. There are many traditions that led to the Jewish use of unleavened bread, or matzah, during this feast. One of the most interesting is the usage of the Hebrew term “the bread of poverty” for matzah. This hard, flat bread is said to remind Jews of what it was like to be poor captives in Egypt and to promote humility and a greater appreciation of the gift of freedom. Food for thought for one and all—and for gratitude!
The first day of Holy Week is Passion Sunday. Its more popular title, Palm Sunday, evokes the waving of branches and singing of Hosannas. The branches in our hands today place us squarely in the crowd. And crowds can have power. A crowd is also a place in which one might get lost, become faceless, just another palm waver. Jesus is always singling you out, and his relationship with you is unique and deep. You are someone whom he has taught, healed, forgiven, touched, and been touched by. Walk the whole walk with him this week. Do not be like those who today cry Hosanna and tomorrow Crucify him! Keep your eyes locked on his as he reveals again the depth of his passion for you. And do so with a spirit of humility and gratitude, just as did our Jewish ancestors in faith!
Fr. John Mahoney