Catholic Masses canceled this weekend, schools closed, Archdiocese of Newark says
Updated Mar 13, 9:45 AM; Posted Mar 12, 9:53 PM
This weekend’s Masses are canceled in New Jersey’s largest Catholic diocese and the faithful are not obliged to go to church on Sundays until further notice, Cardinal Joseph Tobin said late Thursday.
The Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Newark will also be closed next week as the state tries to combat the coronavirus pandemic, church officials said.
Blogger Comment: God has come to us as man. Christ instituted the Church as Sacrament to divinize him and incorporate him in the Life of God. Christ went to the people, taught them, healed them, fed them and lived with them as one more.
Is this not the mind and spirit of Pope Francis?
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I take the following from “30 Days” Year (?): You decide!!
“Closeness and Compassion”
“On Saturday morning at Constitucion station, located in what is by no means a ‘good’ neighborhood in Buenos Aires, everything is moving as always,: buses. Taxes, travelers going in and out of the terminal, women with shopping, police, street vendors with their carts. The youths of the parish of Sant Elisa and those of the Virgen de Caacupe have set up their yellow tent on the edge of that perpetual whirl of human motion, alongside the monument to the inspirer of the Argentine Constitution, the Mason Juan Bautista Alverdi. They call it the Carpa misionera, the missionary tent of the Catholic Church. They have also brought a statue of the Virgen de Lujan, the Madonna venerated in the national shrine. Around it they have set a few tables with statuettes of the child Jesus and Saint Expedito, the saint of urgent cases. And then some of them begin quartering the whole station precinct, handing out to people waiting and passing by a holy picture of Jesus with a prayer. Many people approach to ask for a blessing, leaving in the boxes on the table little notes asking for health and work for themselves and others, prayers and masses for their dead loved ones, happiness and rest from toil. A queue wanting confession has formed in front of Father Flavio. Baustismos a qui, baptisms here’, says a banner hanging from a tree. And underneath it stands a table where two youths write down requests for baptisms. Even of those who wander up out of simple, instinctive curiosity. Since yesterday evening, since the start of the mission, the baptisms of thirteen children and adults has taken place in front of the ‘carpa catolica,’ prople already prepared by lay catechists, with whom post-baptismal catechesis continues. At one point, unexpectedly and without warning, Father Bergoglio also arrives. The Archbishop of the city greets the young men and women one by one, and hugs Don Fecundo, who immediately thunders into the megaphone: “Adelante, come over to the Carpa misionera, we’ll be celebrating Mass in a few minutes.” A street drinker also stops. At eleven in the morning he’s already a bit tipsy. He closes in on Bergoglio, looks at him in puzzlement: “I’ve seen you somewhere…,” he mutters. And adds: “Are you Catholic? Then you say Mass!: Don Facundo, while taking out vestments for the service, also asks him to say mass. Then, in front of the small group of kids, old men, others with children and chance passérs-by, the Jesuit Cardinal speaks a few words. “Lets call on Jesus for all we need. Let’s’ ask the Father in His name, let’s ask Him to ask the Father. Like the poor who asked everything of Him when He went through the streets and they thronged around Him. Jesus is very keen to be with the rest of us, with all the rest of us, with all those passing by. It’s something that interests Him first of all. If there had been only one man or one woman in the whole world, He would have offered His life just the same, for that one man or one woman.”
For that reason Bergoglio – and Facundo, Don Flavio and all the priests aof Buenos Aires who sometimes go to baptize and confess in the stations, squares and even under the obelisk in Plaza de la Republica, along the immense Avenida 9 de Julio – believes it is most important to make things easy, not to be selective, not to put obstacles in the way of this desire for Jesus. Embracing any hint of expectation that might spring from the fleeing and fortuitous situation that the present moment offers. Acting as the Apostle Philip did with the eunuch to whom he proclaimed the good news as they went along. “Look, here is water: what prevents me from being baptized?” the eunuch asked as they passed near a steam. So Philip baptized him. When they were out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord spirited Philip away and the eunuch saw him no more and went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8, 36-39).
If the Church is not a centralized Institution but the Sacrament of encounter of the people and Christ if we cannot have crowds in a single space, the Mass and the sacraments should be on the road – on foot and on the move. (But that might seem shocking to us). However, this seems to be what is in the mind of Pope Francis in his determination to redevelop the figure of the Synodal Church which was from the beginning: Sacraments made available and easy – “going to the peripheries.” Jesus Christ on the move to and with the crowds (as above).