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We will learn along the way how to be better prepared; to proclaim the Gospel more effectively

July 10, 2020 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: Archbishop, In the Press, Breaking News

We will learn along the way how to be better prepared; to proclaim the Gospel more effectively

In early March, Catholics in the Archdiocese of San Antonio still had a choice of whether or not they wanted to attend Mass and risk possible exposure to coronavirus.

And suddenly, they didn’t. Public Masses in the archdiocese were canceled, as they soon were throughout the country due to the pandemic.

Now that curves of infection are “flattening” and hospitals have had a chance to ramp up their capacity and supplies, many local churches are slowly reopening Masses to the public. What exactly that will look like varies depending on each parish’s unique spaces and limitations.

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, following guidelines from health authorities and civic officials, and in consultation with the presbyterate, issued guidance for celebrating public Masses again on May 19, with the first public weekend Masses May 23-24, the Feast of the Ascension.

His May 11 decree offers guidelines for pastors while still giving them the flexibility to implement the recommendations and requirements in the way that works best for their unique parishes, such as marking off every other pew and putting down tape lines to mark distances.

Archbishop Gustavo also urged priests to also continue offering livestream Masses for people who will choose not to come to the public Masses at this time. He noted that the dispensation from the Sunday obligation still stands for all Catholics in the archdiocese at this time.

In his homily at San Fernando Cathedral on May 24, the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, the archbishop said that Jesus enters heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father as an intercessor.

“The risen Lord understands our pains and anxieties, our hopes and dreams, our weakness when left to our own resources. The Lord intercedes for us before the very throne of God,” he said. “That is why our own prayers of intercession always end with ‘through Christ our Lord.’”

Archbishop Gustavo explained that the power and strength of God dwells within us. “We are so often only aware of our weakness, our vulnerability, our powerlessness, our sinfulness. But that is only part of the reality,” he added. “As believers in the risen Lord, we are also given all we need on our pilgrimage through life -- not only for ourselves but also for others, especially those who are most vulnerable and needy.”

The archbishop emphasized that Jesus sends each of us as a missionary disciple – whether we are ready or not! “Are you willing to join me in this greatly needed work in our world today -- proclaiming God’s enduring, unconditional love to others – through our actions, not only our words,” he concluded. “Our Lady of Guadalupe, intercede for us and show us the way to become missionary disciples. Teach us how to pray for others in this time of pandemic and crisis.”