It is time to come home
Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Peter's: As we round the corner into the Fall of what has been an incredible – that is, almost unbelievable – year, I pray that you and your family are healthy, in good spirits, and most of all, growing in faith. Despite the relative seclusion we’ve endured since March, it seems that the pace of life, or at least our perception of it, has changed very little. As the pandemic began to take hold around the world, it was my sincere hope that if there was a silver lining to be found, it would come in the form of a kind of “imposed monasticism” – a brief period of time in which, without all the distractions of normal life, we would begin to test the truth of the words of Blaise Pascal, the 17th century Catholic Theologian who said:
“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone."
But the pandemic was only the beginning. The devil continues to find ever more opportunities to draw our attention away from Christ, fracture our thoughts, and steal our joy. That stillness I prayed we would find has proved more illusive than I think any of us could have imagined. The cancellation of public Masses made it difficult to remember how crucial it is that we return often to Our Lord’s physical presence and receive Him in the Eucharist – not only for our spiritual health, but to replenish the sense of peace that comes with planting our feet firmly on the foundation of His eternal, unchanging love and mercy. That is why I’m writing you today – to remind you that your Saint Peter’s Basilica is wide open, and it’s time to come home. Many have returned with great joy to the beauty of the Mass and the life-giving source and summit of our faith: the Eucharist. Every week, attendance at Mass rises with last week seeing overflow into Neglia Hall at each Mass. What’s more, we are seeing many new faces and welcoming new families each week who are all seeking the same thing – the welcome of our community, the beauty of our newly refurbished Basilica, and the grace of the sacraments. While some continue to stay away out of a prudent concern for their health and that of others, they long to return as soon as possible. I fear though that some have simply fallen out of the routine of coming to Mass. In times like ours today, when there seems to be no escape from the frenzy and fear permeating into all the cracks and crevices of our daily lives, it is in the presence of Christ, and in His Church – and perhaps nowhere else – that a brief respite can be found. We cannot give in to complacency and forgetfulness and must keep our true goal – achieving sainthood – at the forefront of our minds. And so I say again: It’s time to come home, and come back to Mass. I look forward in hope to seeing you again soon. In Christ, Fr. Gary Linsky The Very Rev'd Canon Gary S. Linsky, V.F. Rector