As we move into a brand-new year, we continue to do the best we can to cope with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We are now moving into another year of this terrible disease and its ongoing effects on all aspects of life, both here in the USA and abroad. Although many of us are dealing with pandemic fatigue, we must still take the necessary steps to remain healthy and to keep others safe as well. I want to express my gratitude to all of you for being mindful of the mask mandate, both from the county and the diocese. Also, since we are now in the midst of winter, it is also cold and flu season. We do ask that if you are feeling unwell for any reason, with headaches, cough, sore throat, or any physical illness, it is best to err on the side of caution and not come to Mass or other events at the parish.
In regards to the Sunday Mass obligation, if a person is seriously ill, or a caregiver to a seriously ill individual, you are excused from your obligation to attend Mass. So, if you are sick, or looking after someone who is sick, don’t worry about having to miss Mass on the weekend. It is far better to stay at home, get the needed rest, and watch Mass online (either from Blessed Sacrament or somewhere else, like EWTN) and do something else to keep in mind the holiness of Sunday. Even if you need to stay home, make sure to keep in mind the sanctity of the Lord’s Day; try spending time reading the Bible, or praying the rosary, or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Along with the new year (and being half way done with January) we have a very important commemoration to make on Saturday, January 22nd. Each year in late January, and by special decree of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, January 22nd is taken as a “day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.” This day of prayer, held on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade (1973), serves as a reminder for Catholics to work in the public square for an end to this terrible practice of abortion, both here in the United States and throughout the world. The Church has long upheld the right to life for the unborn as absolutely sacrosanct, meaning that abortion is considered a very grave moral evil, and it must be opposed at all times.
There are many events to help remind us of our duty and our obligation to work for an end to this practice. In Washington, D.C. each year, the annual March for Life takes place as a powerful reminder of how important this work is. This year however, because of COVID, the diocese is not sending a formal pilgrimage group, but they are encouraging parishes to remind people of this important day. One of the events the diocese is hosting is a special Pro-Life Mass on Saturday, January 22nd, 2022 at St. Gregory the Great Parish in Williamsville. This Mass starts at 5:30 PM and should be a wonderful opportunity to gather with others from around our diocese, and to offer our prayers for the sanctity of life. I strongly encourage everyone to consider going to this Mass and show your support for the cause of life. Also, please support the efforts of our own parish Pro-Life Ministry, under the leadership of Mary Fick. Together, let us make this parish of Blessed Sacrament a place where all life is upheld as sacred, and especially a place where the right to life of the unborn is treasured, promoted, and advanced.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn…pray for us!
~Fr. Martin Gallagher