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February 16, 2020

Last weekend, here at Lourdes, we conducted our

in-pew process as part of our participation in our annual Together in Mission appeal.  It can seem like a tedious process, I know, especially for those who have been through it before and are already engaged in Together in Mission, but it is the most thorough and most effective means of eliciting new participants for this initiative.  I am very grateful for the goodness, the patience and the generosity of all those who participate in this very worthy appeal, which sees 100% of the funds raised go directly to Together in Mission.

It is because of your gifts that the 64 parishes and 71 schools which benefit directly from Together in Mission, can continue to serve the spiritual needs of their communities.  It’s no exaggeration to say that our efforts to support this appeal, together with all the other parishes that participate in this work, help to keep the lights on and the doors open in very trying circumstances for these Catholic communities.  As I noted last week when I spoke at all of our masses, this is a profound commitment to the catholic mission and ministry that reaches beyond our own parish boundaries.  It’s a very practical way to make a difference for the good in the lives of our brothers and sisters in faith.  It’s a real expression of our catholicity, of our being in communion with one another.  Together in Mission gives us the opportunity to put some practical reality on our profession of faith that we are One, Holy, and Catholic.

If you have not yet had the opportunity to sign up to participate in our annual appeal, I encourage you to do so now.  Many of our families who have participated in prior years have received materials in the mail, and I encourage you to complete and return them at this time.  For those who haven’t received materials in the mail, or who may have misplaced them, materials were and continue to be available in Church.  It’s also possible to go online to www.ourmissionla.org and make your donation.  In choosing these options, I encourage you to note that you are participating as a member of Our Lady of Lourdes, Northridge, so that our parish goal can be credited by the campaign. 

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We are moving through the final weeks of our cold and flu season this year, and I notice that many people are not feeling as well as usual.  This has implications for gathering with others in places like our places of work, as well as in our churches or schools, or in any other place where we meet people in larger numbers.  As a general rule of thumb, 

The obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and other Holy Days of Obligation is the ordinary expectation for Roman Catholics.  However, extraordinary circumstances such as sickness excuse the faithful from this obligation.  If you suspect you have the flu or are suffering from a serious cold or other contagious illness, please stay at home and do not risk spreading infection to others.  In the same way we would avoid getting too close to others who are sick when we are unwell ourselves, we prudently avoid exposing others to our ailment. 

We’ve all learned to cover our mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.  Ideally we have a handy supply of tissues at the ready, but if not, the upper sleeve/arm is best used.  Even so, after coughing or sneezing, it is always prudent to wash hands in soap and hot water, or to at least make use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.  Used tissues should be disposed of in the trash.

Regarding the sharing of the Sign of Peace, it’s good for us to be sensitive to one another in this, and neither put pressure on another, nor feel pressured by another to shake hands.  If we’re not sure as to whether or not our hands are suitably germ-free, it’s probably best to avoid shaking hands at the Sign of Peace, and instead share a different sign, perhaps a wave or clasp your hands together and with a smile say “Peace be with you.” 

When it comes to receiving communion, even if there’s a personal preference for receiving the host on the tongue, it is recommended that for the duration of someone feeling unwell that they receive the host in the hand.  This is both prudential and charitable, exercising appropriate concern for other worshippers in the Body of Christ.  Similarly, when feeling unwell, worshippers may be prudentially advised to forego receiving the Precious Blood from the chalice. 

Finally, and in summary, if you’ve been to your doctor recently, and they’ve noted that you are particularly susceptible to infection or to complications due to flu in particular, please refrain from practices that might make you sick, including shaking hands, receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, drinking the Precious Blood from the chalice, etc.

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