LETTERS FROM THE PASTOR
Past Letters appear below. Read the most recent letter from Fr. Erik on our Home Page
In C. S, Lewis' great fantasy novel, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, the Kingdom of Narnia labors under a curse where it is always Winter but never Christmas. I am somewhat sympathetic their predicament. Right now, it seems that it is always Covid and never Christmas. Two weeks to flatten the curve has turned into months of social distancing. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to handle the Christmas Masses here at St. Ambrose. Christmas is usually the time when everyone comes out of the woodwork and we are packed to the gills. But this year, we can't be packed and may be forced to turn people away when we reach capacity. Friends have told me of their anxiety over whether or not they will be allowed to meet with family and friends this year.
Be of good heart! This is not the first Christmas during trying times. There have been Christmases during times of war and persecution. In some countries, believers have to gather in secret to celebrate the birth of the Savior. Yes, there have been Christmases during times of plague.
While we may not be able to celebrate as we are accustomed to, we will still celebrate. We may have to video chat with families and friends. Some may have to watch Christmas Mass remotely. But we will still celebrate.
May 13, 2020 - Safety Guidelines for Mass Attendance
My Sons and Daughters in Christ,
Our first weekend of 'soft open' Masses went very well. (Once we remembered to take up the collection.) I would like to thank everyone for their patience and cooperation.
For next weekend, here is some new information and a couple of reminders.
1) The hard cap of 20 persons has been lifted due to a clarification from the state. The principle is a six foot social distance between family groups. When and if that limit is reached, no more people will be admitted to a particular Mass.
2) Please remember to wear a mask when entering or exiting the church. (The masks may be removed when in your pew. Also, be attentive to maintaining the six foot interval even in the communion line. (There are helpful marks on the floor for this.)
3) We have adjusted the air dampeners to provide more ventilation. (This will increase AC costs, but it is worth it.) The church is sanitized by our staff after for each Mass.
4) The church doors will be locked at the beginning of each Mass. Do not expect to be allowed entry if you are late.
5) If you are sick, have symptoms, are in a vulnerable group, or do not feel comfortable returning to Mass yet, PLEASE STAY HOME. The dispensation from the Sunday obligation is still in effect. We will continue providing Sunday video Masses for the foreseeable future.
6) The basement is closed. Restrooms are available on the main floor off the right hand (North) side of the church.
7) One-time use worship aids will be available. Do not put them back or leave them in the pews. Take them with you to either re-cycle or throw out.
8) If you have any questions, please ask them.
God bless you all!
May 6, 2020 - Public Masses will Resume - Restrictions will Apply for Attendance
My Sons and Daughters in Christ,
Last Friday we received notification from the diocese that we are allowed to resume the public celebration of the Mass in limited fashion in accord with the public health directives issued by the State of Utah. Therefore, beginning on Saturday, May 9th at 5 pm we will resume our ordinary schedule at St. Ambrose with the following conditions:
Social distancing will be observed. Every other rank of pews will be blocked off. Immediate families may sit together. (Rule of thumb, if you came in the same car, you can sit together) otherwise maintain six feet spacing in the pews.
Once we reach our revised capacity of 20 or when the Mass begins the doors will be locked and no one else admitted.
Those attending Mass are expected to wear masks though they may be removed once you are in your place in the pews.
There will be no gathering, socializing, or conversation either in the church or the parking lot.
Please maintain the six feet interval in the Communion line.
The only restrooms available will be those on the main floor. The basement will be locked.
We will also observe the pre-quarantine restrictions of no sign of peace and Holy Communion only under one form.
Only the parking lot doors from the vestibule will be used for entrance and exit.
The dispensation from the Sunday obligation remains in effect for those who are unable to attend either due to our limited capacity, concerns about the virus, or because of their vulnerability to the virus. We will continue to post Sunday Mass on-line.
PLEASE, IF YOU HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS OR ARE ILL IN ANY WAY, STAY HOME!
We are in unexplored territory with this and will modify these practices if needed. Also, if necessary, I can add one more Sunday, one more Saturday, and an additional daily Mass each if necessary. We will see what the demand is and act accordingly.
To aid in sanitation, all of the prayer books will be removed from the chapel, worship aids will be one use only, and our staff will sanitize the chapel for each Mass.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you soon and all of you as the restrictions are lifted. Know that each and every one of you is in my prayers at each Mass!
Easter Message 2020 - Holy Thursday - April 9, 2020
I am a connoisseur of memes. Some may be asking what a meme is; well this is the definition I found: a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users. I especially like that ones that convey something serious while making me laugh at the same time. (In stressful times, humor is very important.)
Recently I found one that really spoke to our faith and current situation. (I couldn't find the original, so I had to remake it.)
Yes, this is a strange/trying/frightening time. We are being challenged in many ways and while we know that it will end and normalcy will return, there is still a great deal of uncertainty. Many of the things we depend on to get us through tough times aren't availible; socializing, school, work, entertainment, and, yes, coming together to worship Our Lord and be comforted and led by the Gospel. We have phones, the internet, video Masses, etc... but it is not the same. As a priest, my life is defined by serving God and bringing Him to you the people and many of the normal ways are not possible now. This is especially true in Holy Week when we celebrate in the most solemn way possible the central mysteries of our Faith.
This is a reality but there are other realities that we must remember too. First, the Church and Her members have been through tough times before. This is not the first pandemic that has limited our worship. The Church has experienced times of persecution and war and She and we have endured. I have been so edified by what I have heard and seen of how you have been coping and reaching out to one another.
But the greatest thing we need to remember is that Christ has triumphed, Christ has risen! The tomb was and is empty. No matter how the world, the flesh, and the Devil assail us, the victory has been won! Christ victorious is with us wherever we find ourselves and so we have cause to rejoice.