From the Pastor – August 2, 2020

During the course of these past few months, since the Black Lives Matter movement, we have seen a number ofstatues toppled, decapitated, and removed. These include statues of Christopher Columbus and figuresassociated with the Civil War. In addition, other statues and landmarks have been defaced with graffiti. Thesemonuments represented racist events and individuals, and many people thought they should be defaced orremoved. Obviously, there has been a lot of publicity about these events.  What we hear very little about, however, is that there have been statues of Jesus and the Blessed Mother that werealso defaced. In addition, some churches, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, have had graffiti painted on them. Wasthis done because some people do not like the way the Catholic Church cares for all people, regardless of race,skin color, ethnic origin, or religion? Or is there no apparent reason for why this has been done? It seems that allof this is getting out of hand. I am not sure of the statement that folks think they are making when they desecratesymbols of care, concern, and love.  Today’s Gospel is a prime example of the care and concern that Jesus has for people. It is the story of themultiplication of the loaves. Jesus was concerned that those following him would not have enough to eat,especially if they tried returning to their homes, which were miles away and would take a few hours to reach. Jesusfed these followers, but he also taught them how to feed each other by sharing whatever food they had. Peoplewho traveled in those desert areas always carried food and water with them so that they would not collapse fromthe heat or die on the way to where they were going. So, Jesus responded to their needs, as he did with anyone hemet.  Jesus taught his apostles to do the same, and now we have the responsibility to do the same with the people thatwe meet. This does not mean that we have to solve everyone’s problems or difficulties. It does mean, though,that we can be agents of care, concern, and healing for those who look to us for some kind of help. Not only doesthis show others how seriously we take the message of Jesus, but it is also a way that we can help build thekingdom of God on earth. Our mission is to help others experience Jesus through us and the efforts we make tohelp others.  This is especially true during the pandemic, which has somehow brought us together to watch out and care forone another. Maybe this is why this pandemic has occurred. Maybe it’s God’s way of reminding us that the worldis much bigger than ourselves, and that we have to care for each other and the earth on which we live. It is easy tocomplain about COVID-19 and its destructive force in our world. It put masks on our faces and socially distancesus from each other. This may not be what we wanted or expected, but it is the realty for the present.  Last Saturday, we celebrated the Feast Day of our patron, Saint James, with a bilingual Mass and procession. Itwas a nice celebration. And last Sunday, at the 12:00 Mass, we had a Mass of Thanksgiving for all the FirstResponders, doctors, nurses, EMTs, and all the workers who have stayed on their jobs and helped to keep ussafe. We also remembered those who died from COVID-19, whether they were those living in the towns aroundhere or people we knew. Then we followed Mass with a picnic. THANK YOU TO ALL WHOPARTICIPATED IN THE FEAST DAY AND/OR THANKSGIVING & PICNIC. These are good waysto come together and celebrate who we are as God’s people.  GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!HAPPY AUGUST!!  ~ Fr. Joe