Parish Appreciation Series: Holy Family Cathedral

From Fr. Steve Maekawa:

“One of the great challenges is that people are feeling- rightfully so- the inaccessibility to the Eucharist. There are many people who come to Sunday Mass, daily Masses during the week, or have holy hours during adoration, or are involved in ministry groups. There’s an absence in their life that’s really obvious, particularly in the Eucharist and they’re feeling it- an explicit presence of God in their life that they’ve lost, that’s been taken away. It’s understandable that people feel the way they do.

We’ve tried as a Church to respond with things such as livestreaming Masses, things such as the sacramental life of the church that sustains the faithful, even if they may not be able to attend Mass or receive the Eucharist. We know that whenever the Eucharist is celebrated, it is for all the baptized faithful, and it’s just that they can’t experience it in the way they’re used to. And that’s why the Eucharist is given to us in the first place, so there can be this closeness to such a great miracle, this gift.

The other challenge, too, is that with the current mandates, we are aware that some people are isolated and don’t have a lot of contact. Other people are raising families and have the additional stress of kids being at home and them making sure the kids are doing their school work, there’s the present worry of economic impact that’s affecting people already. We are all creatures of routine, and all of our routines have been disrupted in ways that are really critical in of life: our practice of faith, our abilities to earn a living, the ability for kids to feel happy and stable, to be able to do things that kids are supposed to be able to do when they’re kids.

One of the blessings is that there’s a certain amount of creativity: the desire to make the best of a bad situation, and I think that’s a blessing. I think when parishes livestream Masses, Stations of the Crosses, classes, other things, meeting and stuff are all really great to see the faithfulness of people being expressed and coming up with stuff that isn’t a preference to do, but it’s the best we can do for now. That is a sign of faith.

One of the things we’ve been doing this week is with our parish staff and some of our parishioners- we’re making personal calls to every person in the parish. We’re going through the parish registry and that is an opportunity, it’s a blessing to be able to say that we’ve reached out to all of our parishioners, to check in with them, ask if they’re okay, how they’re doing, if there’s anything we can do to help them. We are discovering that not everybody is online, not everybody is technology savvy, and some people are feeling more removed and we need to reach out. It’s good for us to know and to be able to help out with.

Given our Church, there’s always a number of people who are going to want to be able to do something, and that’s a challenge, too. Right now, there’s not much we can do, it’s hard and we don’t have a remedy to do that, but it’s great to see the creativity coming out. In every parish, there’s parishioners who are naturally leaders, directed toward action, toward service, a challenge of having to do that more remotely, and looking for ways we can do that.

We have electronic versions of the bulletin, we post it on the website, and you know, something we’re finding is how different generations use technology. There’s no one universal platform- even for some people, for old and young adults, some use email and some don’t. Everybody’s really spread out right now and things like this matter more now. We try to reach out to all platforms: Facebook, email, website, MyParish app or whatever we can use. That’s why we started making phone calls: we don’t want to miss anyone. Sometimes, people are unaware of the ways people can look things up. We want to let them know that we’re praying for them and we’re concerned about their well-being.”

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About the Parish Appreciation Series:

We asked several parishes 3 simple questions:

  • What challenges are you facing right now?
  • How are you addressing these challenges at your parish?
  • How has your parish community been blessed, despite these difficult times?

The responses have been nothing short of overwhelming: we received over 6,000 words from over 15 parishes, full of hope and courage to face the unknown in service to God’s people. Through this series of posts, each parish shares their story as we’ve received them, with minimal editing, to allow the voice of each person to speak, in all their humanness.

We pray that they inspire you to hope, just as they have inspired us. Stay safe out there, guys.

How to Get Connected:

Here are a few ways to stay in the loop with the latest news & updates:

  • Follow along online. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for other news and updates, or email Anna Schulten to be added to a special email list:
  • Connect to your parish. Make sure you know how your parish communicates: via website, bulletin, MyParish app, phone tree, or other means. If you’re not sure, ask!
  • Offer to help. Contact your parish to learn about volunteer opportunities.
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