I’m happy to share with you that Archbishop Vigneron has given his approval for the expenditures involved in replacing our shake shingles and roof. We have already been in touch with the company that will be doing the work, Butcher and Butcher, and hopefully work will commence shortly. They will need a “staging area” from which to work. That will probably be in a small portion of the parking lot. In addition to weather, our roofers will also be working around our liturgical needs as well as those of a neighboring parish. St. Martin de Porres is undergoing renovations in their church building and are unable to celebrate funerals during the week. I have agreed to make our worship space available to them. Obviously this will take a little coordinating especially when we have a funeral liturgy of our own. However, this is a relatively small and easy way we can honor one another as the Body of Christ and members of one Church.

Our celebration of Easter continues as we celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at our liturgies today. The shortage of priests means a firm understanding of this sacrament is very important. First and foremost, one does not need to wait, nor should one delay until death is immanent to call a priest. In all honesty, given our shortage, such waiting until the eleventh hour could likely result in your loved one passing without the sacrament. One of the great stressors for me and I think most priests occurs when we receive a call that someone is actively dying and has a very short time to live – – only to learn that the person has been in hospice for six weeks or longer! THE TIME TO CALL FOR THE SACRAMENT OF THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK IS WHEN THE PERSON FIRST ENTERS HOSPICE. Then a time can be arranged to celebrate the sacrament with the prayerful and supportive presence of family and friends.

Please note that the sacrament is not called “Last Rites.” The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament of healing. While sometimes that healing will mean going forth into eternal life, the sacrament is also about being restored to health in the here and now. That is why it is appropriate to request the sacrament prior to serious surgery or, if elderly and / or infirm, if there is growing weakness or concern that a loved one’s health is in a serious state of decline. The best way to do this is to call the parish office and arrange for a time to receive the sacrament. Ideally, if the infirm person can be present at a Sunday or daily liturgy the anointing may be done either during mass or immediately afterwards. Also, while various addictions are understood to be illnesses, the Sacrament of the Sick is primarily for physical infirmity. Concerns of addictions and / or mental health are more properly handled via counseling and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Emergencies do happen: heart attack, stroke, a sudden turn for the worse and accidents are all too real. I am committed to doing my best to be there for those in danger of death. The reality, however, is that I cannot be in two places at once. By performing sick calls whenever I can before they need to be “emergencies,” I am afforded a better chance to be available for those anointings that truly are emergencies.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO MAKE YOUR PLEDGE OUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE CATHOLIC SERVICES APPEAL (CSA.) You may drop it in the Sunday collection, mail it to the office, bring it in person and there is now even an online option. You can go to www.aod.org/csa to make your pledge and payment. IF YOU USE THIS OPTION PLEASE RETURN YOUR PLEDGE ENVELOPE TO ST BLASE AND INDICATE THAT YOU GAVE ONLINE. THANKS!

Fr. Randy Phillips