Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On July 23rd of this past week, I celebrated one month among you as your new pastor here at St. Francis de Sales Parish. As I have said to you before, it is good to be here with you!
I also want to express my gratitude for the warm welcome that I have received, and for the tremendous help that so many of you have provided, especially our parish staff, and those who have assisted with cleaning and moving furniture and other items from room to room, or into storage for inclusion in our upcoming rummage sale for the benefit of St. Francis de Sales School.
Father Paul Wharton, my predecessor, did a tremendous job leading the parish through the difficult time of the pandemic. Little-by-little, our parish and parishes everywhere have been moving back toward a more “normal” life as our diocesan protocols and other guidelines have permitted. In my meetings with parish staff, our Pastoral Council, and with several of our parish organizations, it is obvious that our parishioners are eager to return to our regular parish activities, but to do so in a way that is safe, and that is respectful of the various guidelines and expectations of Bishop Brennan.
As a part of that movement back to normal, before I even began officially as your pastor, I had agreed with Father Paul Wharton about resuming weekday Masses according to the normal “pre-pandemic” Mass schedule. Beginning Wednesday, September 1st, we will also resume the Wednesday evening Mass, but at 6:30 p.m. instead of 7:00 p.m. This will make for an earlier start and end to the Knights of Columbus meetings and other meetings that have customarily met after the Wednesday evening Mass.
One change that I am instituting, beginning in September, is the weekly observance of Eucharistic Adoration each Wednesday, beginning after Wednesday morning Mass and concluding with Benediction just before the 6:30 p.m. Mass. It is my hope that more frequent (weekly) Eucharistic Adoration, together with the availability of daily Masses, will strengthen our appreciation and love for the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. I thank all who have been committed to spending time in prayer before our Eucharistic Lord in the past on First Fridays, and I encourage all parishioners to consider dedicating some time to prayer before Our Lord each Wednesday beginning on September 1st.
Once again, I thank all of you for your warm welcome to Beckley and to St. Francis de Sales Parish, and I ask you to remember me in your prayers as I continue to settle in and begin my pastoral ministry here. Please know that you are in my prayers as well, especially at daily Mass.
Sincerely yours in Christ,