An Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 12/24/21

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Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. James,

I post already now, quite early, my reflections on this holy night. I do so prior to the Mass of Christmas, because so many of you have informed me that, due to the emergence of the new strain of coronavirus and the increase of cases of infections in our area, you will refrain from in-person worship. Also the weather forecast for our area does not induce an urge to be on icy roads. You have my complete support for your decision. For those of you who venture to read my words prior to attendance at Liturgy, consider it preparation for the beautiful celebration before us, a celebration enhanced by those who have worked behind the scenes to “deck the hall” with things of beauty of sight and of sound.

In light of an ever-changing pandemic scene, our bishops have posted a new advisory which cautions us, even those who are completely vaccinated and have received boosters, to continue to wear masks that cover both nose and mouth while indoors, even as and especially as we sing the familiar hymns and carols of Christmas, and to maintain and respect appropriate distance. The advisory reminds us further that Holy Communion may be received in one kind only and that social gatherings following Eucharist are not allowed. As your pastor, I reiterate my complete support and application of this advisory. We shall continue to undertake every recommended precaution against the further spread of the Covid-19 virus.

May the words which I share with you via this medium whisper the peace, for which we all so long. We are united, whether afar or in person, in our Collect for Christmas:
O God, who makes us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of your Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he come to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child. And may the blessing of Almighty God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you and those whom you love this night and always. Amen. (adapted)

Your fellow traveler in The Way,
Clarence E. Butler+