Pastor's Corner

May 21, 2020

My Dear Parishioners,

We have heard the Governor of California announcing that the Stay-At-Home mandate will continue to be implemented for maybe until July of 2020. The mayor of Los Angeles County had said that due to the current situation of the number of virus positives still increasing and the number of deaths still coming, that if would be prudent to keep the Stay-At-Home rule for the next three months or so. This is just reminding us that the CDC health mandates are always changing, all for the common good.

For the Common Good

Because the Stay-At-Home mandate is still in place, the reasonable response from our California bishops is to keep our churches closed until further notice. I know that we all want to go back to being able to visit and pray inside our churches, and most of all, to celebrate the Sacraments, but we have to support the decision of our local bishops now. I do appreciate the Church authorities’ consideration of saving a life and protecting every individual from being infected by COVID-19 and therefore stop the spread of the virus that is so highly contagious.

Here in our own community, we just need to continue being patient and hopeful that this pandemic will soon end and we all return to normalcy with renewed sense of appreciation for the Sacraments and the joy of being close as a family. I have learned important things that matter during this pandemic crisis, such as finding out tremendous gifts of talents from our parishioners that are available to be tapped, another, I found how important is the role of the people in the celebration of the liturgies, even though the Mass can be celebrated privately. The presence of the people is always at the forefront of every liturgical celebration especially in the Mass. From all the Masses that we live-streamed, I come to realize that what really matters is that the Lord who died for us and rose from the dead to bring us back to the loving embrace of the Father is TRULY PRESENT not only to me but also to all of you! That very presence of Jesus gives us the graces we need to grow in the faith and deepen our love for God and for others for the rest of the week.        

Archbishop Gomez has asked us to endure once again the extension of Stay-At-Home mandate until it is safe for us to open the church for the celebration of the Sacraments. Archbishop also extended the dispensation from Sunday obligation until further notice. He especially gave consideration for the care of the most vulnerable members of our community and those with existing health problems that they are safe and protected.

Be the ChurchIn light of extending the dispensation from Sunday obligation this might help: The Code of Canon Law states that if participation in the Eucharistic celebration becomes impossible for any “grave cause,” it is “strongly recommended that the faithful take part in a liturgy of the word . . . or that they devote themselves to prayer for a suitable time   alone, or as a family, or, as the occasion permits, in groups of families.” In addition, the tradition of the Church has long held that the faithful unable or unwilling to receive the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass might instead participate in a “Spiritual Communion” – what St. Thomas Aquinas described as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament and in lovingly embracing Him.”

Faith, Hope, Charity

Let us approach these challenging days with the strength of Faith, the certainty of Hope, and the joy of Charity. Having gone through Lent, it should help us relive this great trial evangelically. That should be the attitude of each one of us. As we face the unknown, we do so remembering that Jesus faced death and won – and that His victory ultimately is our victory! This is always cause for faith, for hope and for joy – no matter the challenge – and as people of faith, we have a prime opportunity to be witnesses to this truth.

With COVID-19, the world is in a rare common battle that knows no borders, class, ethnicity  or religion. All we can do is always be prepared, invoke common sense and prudence, and, most importantly, put our trust in the Lord.

Let us continually pray to God for our cities, for our world, for all those who are sick with COVID-19 and for their caregivers – and for our own communities, that they might bear witness to faith and hope in this moment. This should remain to be the response of us all.

Peace, 
Fr. Riz

Blessing, Faith, Give

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Also, I encourage you to take part in Census 2020 because your participation will make a difference in the economic health of our State and in particular our city of Simi Valley.