Dear St. Anthony Community,
As the pandemic COVID-19 continues to strike in the world, I invite you to see this situation as an open door to share God’s love. Actually, every need is always an opportunity to share his love. Let us not despair. No matter how frustrating, confusing, or scary this crisis gets, fear doesn’t have the final say. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
Our Diocesan Bishop Barber said on his last instructions to us priest that “The public order says the public can still go to the grocery store, the bank, the doctor, the veterinarian, the auto repair garage and even the laundromat. So if someone comes to you asking for confession or to receive Holy Communion, I would provide for them—while taking all necessary precautions. I leave it to each pastor’s discretion, but I recommend keeping the churches open for private prayer, and even exposing the Blessed Sacrament for periods of adoration. If you can do your laundry, shouldn’t you be able to say a prayer?”
And that’s exactly what we have being doing in the past week and will be doing in the days ahead. The church is open for you to come and pray if you feel the need; if you see Fr. Giopre or myself, and want to receive Communion or go to confession, don’t doubt in asking us please. Also, this past Friday and the upcoming one until this situation is ended, we will continue to have the Blessed Sacrament exposed from 9:00AM to 11:00PM. Come as you wish, we are taking many precautions to keep the pews sanitized and offering ways for all of you to feel safe. Staying at home at this time is the safest thing to do, especially if you are vulnerable because of age or other illnesses but still here is your church open for you.
If you need help, we first want to say that we see you and we care about you! Our goal during this crisis is to serve you however you need. There are members in our community that are willing to go shopping for your
groceries and our Society of St. Vincent de Pauly is ready to serve you too in case you need food. Also if you willing to help those most vulnerable, let us know, give us a call or email us. I’m sure there are ways to help others. At least accompany us in prayer as we pray for you all.
Bishop Barber also commanded us: “I also ask priests to continue offering Mass daily in your church. Even if the faithful may not be present.” Hebrews 8:3 says “It is the very duty of a priest to offer gift and sacrifice.” We need to pray and intercede for the needs of our people, and for an end to this pestilence.” Therefore, Fr. Giopre and myself have been celebrating Mass privately for the daily intentions and for you all. Some of those Masses are live broadcast on the St. Anthony’s Facebook page as we did this past Sunday and will also do it the upcoming weekend.
Bishop Barber also said, “We will also be looking at post April 7 strategy regarding Holy Week and Easter services.” We are still awaiting for his instructions as how we will precede regarding the greatest week for all
Catholics in the world. I hope and pray we could be able to come together again and celebrate the great joy of the Resurrection.
Lastly, kindly, we encourage you, support your parish as this is also a difficult time for us too. Please, give online using the Give+ app, download it for free and find us there either with the zip code 94561 or by name, St. Anthony Church, Oakley, CA; we will be immensely grateful.
Once again, be sure of our prayers for you all. May the Lord bless us all and reward you abundantly.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Rafael Hinojosa