Letters from Fr. Jake

5/22/2020

OLSS Church Reopening

SFoA Chruch Reopening

4/3/2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Our Lady Star of the Sea and St. Francis of Assisi,

Praised be Jesus Christ! As I am sure you all have heard by now of the shelter in place declaration just issued by Governor Kemp, we have just received new directives from the diocese concerning this declaration. The Diocese of Savannah is committed to following the declaration as much as possible and therefore has asked all parishes to officially close their church doors and that all church offices will close or at least maintain a very limited operation (respond to phone calls, emails, paying bills, etc.). So with obedient hearts, we will comply with what our diocese has asked us. This means, sadly to say, that the main church at OLSS and the daily chapel as well as St. Francis in Folkston will be officially closed to private prayer through the time of this shelter-in-place declaration (through April 13, but can be extended). This means that normal scheduled confession times and adoration times are canceled. However if there is a need for private confession, please email me and we can still schedule a private confession. I will still continue to live stream masses which are accessible through our parish website or you can subscribe to my YouTube channel (jakedog 3006). Because of these new directives we will not be giving out palms on Palm Sunday. I will still bless them during the mass, but we will hang onto them to be distributed out at a later time. If there is an emergency please call the emergency number (912-882-3760) and I will respond ASAP, and please do not hesitate to call if it is an emergency. Also please be generous and don't forget that we still need to pay bills here at the church. Our offertory as you can imagine has taken a big hit, you can still donate to the church by mailing your offering or through online giving. If there are any questions or concerns please feel free to email the church office or myself. Let us all pray for each other, especially all medical professionals, during this very difficult time as well as pray for the end of this pandemic. As always everyone of you are in my prayers daily and mass is still being offered daily for all of you as well. Through the intercession of Our Lady Star of the Sea I place all of you under the protection of her Immaculate Heart.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Jake  

jalmeter@diosav.org


3/19/2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Praised be Jesus Christ! Back on Ash Wednesday on Feb 26 we began our Lenten journey together.  We heard the words of the prophet Joel, “Return to the Lord with your whole heart with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your heart and not your garments and return to the Lord your God.”  Little did we know the weeping and mourning that would lie ahead in China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and now in the United States and throughout much of the world.

Despite the hardships, fear and anxiety that are around us now we put our trust in the Lord. Bishop Hartmayer wrote to us, “God does not abandon us; he goes with us even now in this time of trial and testing. In this moment, it is important for us to anchor our hearts in the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.”

Instead of letting anxiety cripple us we can do a few things. First let us turn to the Lord in prayer. Below I am including a couple novenas (nine days of prayer). Please pray it nine days in a row beginning on Thursday, March 19, Solemnity of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Church (or if you get this later then, a day of your choosing). Let us intercede for all of those who will be on the front lines of this crisis: doctors, nurses, health care professionals, first responders and also all government and civic leaders.

Let us remember that we are a community. Be aware of those around you. If we do enter into a period of quarantine or lock-down as in Italy be aware of your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or in need of special assistance. If you feel overcome with fear and anxiety you may reach out to myself and our deacons for prayer and/or counseling.

At the direction of Bishop Hartmayer and following the recommendation of the CDC, of no groups gathering of more than 10 people, there are to be no public masses celebrated in the diocese of Savannah through the end of March. We will reassess this on April 1. I know this is very hard for you to go without receiving the Most Holy Eucharist during this trying time, but know that I will be offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in private for all of you every day. All parish meetings and events have been canceled till further notice. However depending on further recommendations from the CDC we would like to have the daily chapel open during the day for prayer and reflection Monday thru Friday. The main church will be open Friday evening and Sunday for a good portion of the day. This would mean few people in the church and chapel spreading out to maintain social distancing. We will post church openings on the doors of the church as well as on our Website and Facebook page, plus send out push notifications. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in the main church during specific times on Friday and Sunday. We will not offer a parish penance service this Lent, but we will publish some times when I will be in the church hearing confessions behind the screen only or by appointment.

In case of the need for Anointing of the Sick or Last Rites please call our office during office hours or our emergency number after office hours (Emergency Number: 912-882-3760). If you are experiencing a financial crisis we have some limited means of assistance. We will maintain our normal business hours for the time being, this includes our food pantry, unless we are directed to close by the diocese.

Since we will not be together for at least the next two or three weekends I would like to offer some spiritual resources for our continued journey in the desert:

-Our parish has a subscription to Formed.org, this is a treasure trove of Catholic movies, videos and teachings – for adults and children. All you have to do is go to www.formed.org and select “sign up.” Then select “I belong to a Parish or Organization” and type in Our Lady Star of the Sea Church (select the option that has our mailing address) and you will be prompted to a free sign up which will give you access to thousands of Catholic resources. On our Facebook page and website we will list some favorites to get you started! Here are some other resources:

Novenas for Protection against the virus:

https://www.kofc.org/en/resources/news-room/11036-protection-prayer.pdf

https://www.ncregister.com/blog/smcafee/pray-this-marian-novena-for-protection-against-coronavirus

-Free Magnificat (daily readings and written reflection) at https://us.magnificat.net/

-Live Masses by Pope Francis, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, National Shrine in DC, etc.

http://www.catholictv.org/masses

-Live Mass (Extraordinary Form) - http://livemass.net/

-EWTN TV has religious programming and daily mass.

-The Cathedral in Savannah offers Sunday Mass on the Diocesan website or the Cathedral website at 10:00 a.m.

-Daily Mass and the Divine Office: https://www.sistersofmary.org/

-USCCB.org  (the US Bishops’ website) offers daily readings and a daily video reflection.

-WordonFire.org by Bishop Robert Barron offers Sunday homilies and daily meditations and many Catholic resources.

-We will look at offering a Facebook Live and YouTube Live Mass this weekend and following weekends. We will post info on our website for access.

-Dynamic Catholic offers daily Lenten videos at “Best Lent Ever.”

 -Keeping up with the daily catholic news in the world:  www.newadvent.org

My brothers and sisters, again this is a trying time for all of us, none of us have experienced this type of situation before, but it is not the first time the Church has encountered it. This is a time to be united in prayer, offering up our sacrifices to God. Many of us may find that we have some down time; this is an excellent time to spend quality time with your family as well as deepening our relationship with God through spiritual reading, prayer, and sacrifices. Remember that the Lord is watching over us! Despite the change in schedules and routines Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) No matter what the next few weeks hold we have Jesus, our Church and each other!

Daily Chapel openings for prayer

-Monday – Friday: 9am – 2pm

Main Church openings for prayer

-Fridays – 6pm – 9pm (with adoration)

-Sundays – 9am – 2pm (adoration 10am – 1pm)

Confessions

-Fridays – 6pm – 7:30pm

-Saturdays – 4pm – 5:30pm

OLSS Live Stream Sunday Mass – 10:00am (hopefully we can make it work)

You are all in my prayers.

Father Jake