Parishes have found many ways to accompany the faithful during the pandemic. While people have been asked to stay in their homes, parishes have tried to look after spiritual and physical needs. Not only were Masses put online and resources provided to help the faithful pray at home, but calls were made, groceries delivered, the sick ministered to, and the sorroful comforted. "Let the grace of your baptism bear fruit in a path of holiness," Pope Francis states in Gaudete et exsultate. As ministers have acted from the call of their Baptism, they have allowed many to glimpse holiness. I thank you for that.
Many articles in this issue focus on living out the faith during this period of crisis. Kathy Kuczka writes in "Parish Outreach Continues during Time of Fear, Contagion" of the many ways that parishes have served the faithful during the pandemic and what ministers have learned through that service. Paul H. Colloton's article "Praying Alone and with Others during the Time of Pandemic" offers parishioners ways to deepen their prayer lives. "Teams Continue to Nurture Faith as Elect Await Baptism," by Catherine G. Johnson, shows the many ways that parishes are meeting the needs of people in the Christian initiation process. In "With Baptism Delayed, Elect Find Solace, Comfort in Faith" the elect tell their stories of how their faith has sustained them during this time of crisis.
As people gather again in churches, parishes may want to make use of the second form of the Rite of Penance. In "Liturgy for Rite of Penance Celebrates God's Compassion," Christopher Ferraro guides readers through the liturgy of this form of the rite that portrays the ecclesial nature of the sacrament.
Having sought the Lord's presence in a troubled time, ministers may desire to pay special attention to the reflection by Fr. Ronald Patrick Raab, CSC, on the reading from Isaiah 55 on the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Eileen D. Crowley explores the use of photography for the liturgical environment and worship in the article "'Art of Our Days': Media Art for the Liturgical Environment." She specifically examines the use of media art during a Liturgy of Hard Times.
The Worship Meeting Agenda addresses the preparations that parishes will make as they reopen as they need to baptize children, provide the sacraments of initiation to the elect, schedule weddings that were delayed, and reach out to parishioners.
Directors of faith formation will want to be sure that parents and other mentors in the faith receive the Living Our Faith article "Helping Children Examine Their Consciences."
Parishioners will enjoy learning more about St. Mary Magdalene, whose feast is celebrated on July 22. The article "Mary Magdalene: A Witness of Faith for Generations," by Kathy Kuczka, provides the faithful insight into the woman who brought the Good News to the Apostles.
Finally, we pray for Ray Repp, whose music has touched the hearts of many for decades.
May you listen for God in the "tiny whispering sound" (1 Kings 19:13).
Bishop Joseph N. Perry
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Using the liturgy as its source, Pastoral Liturgy® has been intentionally designed to be of service to the whole parish with resources for leaders and parishioners, those who are just beginning to learn about liturgy, and those who are seasoned volunteers and professionals.
The six 32-page, full-color issues follow the course of the liturgical year to provide guidance for liturgy preparation, faith formation, liturgical art and architecture, and the many areas of parish ministry that flow from the liturgy to witness the Gospel and build the kingdom of God.
Pastors, parish staffs, liturgy committees, catechists, musicians, architects, and everyone seeking to learn more about how the liturgy forms and informs all of parish life will find this resource a valuable support to understanding the liturgy more fully and incorporating it as the source for all they do. That's why Pastoral Liturgy® magazine is the liturgy magazine for the whole parish!