My Dear Parishioners,                                   March 30, 2020

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Compassionate Lord and God! I hope you are all staying healthy. Indeed, the present time, characterized by the COVID-19 pandemic, is a time of testing; at such a time, the Church discerns and asks the Holy Spirit for enlightenment. After a prolonged discernment by our Bishops, priests and the faithful, two major decisions have been made, namely: (a) that public Masses are cancelled until further notice from our Bishop Robert McElroy, and (b) that in the interest of the health of our parishioners and all others who may happen to stop by our church, St. Thomas Indian Mission is CLOSED until further notice. Now what do we do?

FOLLOW THE MASS ON TV OR RADIO.

     Bishop McElroy has dispensed all Catholics in the diocese of San Diego from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. He asks instead that during this time parishioners follow the Mass on TV or Radio. For this reason the diocese is streaming daily and Sunday Mass celebrated at the diocesan pastoral center chapel and available at any time of the day. This can be accessed at www.sdcatholic.org. Moreover, the diocese will provide streaming and recording of Holy Thursday Mass, the Good Friday liturgy, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday Mass which will also be accessible at www.sdcatholic.org. (Note: I cannot stream my private Masses as I don’t have and cannot have a Facebook account).

     Those whose only access is radio are asked to tune in to the El Centro based JP2 Radio (John Paul II Radio) which broadcasts on Sundays an English Mass at 10 AM and a Spanish Mass at 12 noon. 

CONFESSIONS

     This present difficult time is one of those times that we are allowed to CONFESS DIRECTLY TO GOD, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches.

            Pope Francis says: “Take your sorrow directly to God. People who cannot get to confession because of the coronavirus lockdown or another serious reason can go to God directly, be specific about their sins, request pardon and experience God’s loving forgiveness.”. . . “This is the right time, the opportune moment. An act of contrition done well, and our souls will become white like the snow.”

            The Pope says: “Do what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says. It is very clear: If you cannot find a priest to confess to, speak directly with God, your father, and tell him the truth. Say, ‘Lord, I did this, this, this. Forgive me,’ and ask for pardon with all your heart. Make an act of contrition and promise God, ‘I will go to confession afterward, but forgive me now.’ And immediately you will return to a state of grace with God. As the Catechism teaches, you can draw near to God’s forgiveness without having a priest at hand. Think about it. This is the moment.”

            (Note: Because of my health issues, I deem it more prudent not to proceed with my original plan to hear confessions during this time. Instead, I encourage parishioners to avail themselves of what the Church teaches a penitent may do during times of testing like the present situation characterized by the COVID-19 pandemic).

WE URGENTLY NEED YOUR SUNDAY CONTRIBUTION

 

     Our parish needs your generous help as it is really economically challenged. Our income is most closely tied to cash in the collection basket. We live a hand-to-mouth existence. We even cannot afford to maintain petty cash for on-the-spot charity purposes.   Please mail in your Sunday contribution. Address it to:  St. Thomas Indian Mission, P. O. Box 1176, Winterhaven, CA 92283.

      I was at the Post Office this morning where I was told that the Post offices will not close as the mail cannot carry the COVID-19 virus. The virus, if any, is easily killed as the mail travels. To facilitate your giving, we are also presently working with ParishSoft and have set up "Online Giving" for our parish.

If you are a registered parishioner with an envelope number we recommend you use the sign in tab to register for a new account and you will have access to your own giving portal. You will be able to see every transaction you have made to our parish.

 

HELPING HANDS

 

     Amid the COVID-19 pandemic we find ourselves in a time of testing, but it also has the potential to be an experience when we create new solidarity in our community of faith, new avenues for reaching out to the marginalized, to those among us who most need assistance. As a Church family we should be looking out for each other.

     I commend the noble idea of Rosanne Rutherford – our Pastoral Council Chairperson, as she proposes the creation of a “group email that can provide a link/connection to each other. Many of our Parishioners are elderly, some are in poor health and others are overwhelmed.  So why not use this group email to see if we can lessen the burden.  Someone needs something, let us know, if you have something to offer, post it.  Someone needs something from the store, let us know or you need a meal, let us know. Let's make this group email a Helping Hands site, we can help to make life better.” . . .  Rosanne continues, “We can help each other without putting our self in danger.  Wear mask, gloves and wash your hands frequently.  If you're dropping off something do just that, drop it off and leave.”  

     In this effort, Rosanne (Email: [email protected], Tel: 928-782-3116) is thus far joined by Marcie Fraijo  (Email: [email protected], Tel: 928-246-2749) and James Joseph La Rocco (Email: [email protected], Tel: 928-581-5781). You are most welcome to join these Helping Hands or to relay to them any one in need of assistance. Join this group email.

 

May Mama Mary intercede for us and the whole world to her Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

With my priestly blessing,

 

Fr. George “of the desert” Decasa Pastor

St. Thomas Indian Mission, Fort Yuma, California

P.O. Box 1176, Winterhaven, CA 92283

 

Parish Website: www.stthomasindianmission.org

Parish Email: [email protected]

 

THE WEEKLY PARISH BULLETIN

     I will continue to publish our Parish Bulletin. You can access it by visiting our parish website www.stthomasindianmission.org. 

Better still, if you have an email address, please send it to me and I will send it to the printing company (lpi) so that you will get your Bulletin delivered right to your inbox every Saturday.

     This time, I will organize the Bulletin in such a way that it facilitates your reflection which may be characterized as a “para-liturgical celebration of the WORD followed by your SPIRITUAL COMMUNION OF THE LORD.

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Baptism

St. Thomas Indian Mission Catholic Church

Requirements for Infant Baptism

In order to have a child baptized at St. Thomas Indian Mission Catholic Church, the parents must be among its parishioners. Parishioners of St. Thomas Indian Mission are those who live within the geographical boundaries of Winterhaven as well as those who may not be living within the geographical boundaries of Winterhaven but are regularly attending Mass here and are registered as regularly contributing members.

Moreover, the following requirements must be fulfilled:

  1. A completed baptism form (Form B-1) to be submitted by parent(s) or legal guardian;
  2. A copy of the child’s birth certificate;
  3. The child must be under the age of 7; if the child is 7 years old or older, the child must first participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (catechism classes) for two years;
  4. The godparents must have received the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation, and must be in good moral character, living a life of faith;
  5. One godparent (male/female) is sufficient, but there may be two, one of each sex (ref Canon Law # 873-874)
  6. Godparents that live with partners as a couple must be married in the catholic church;
  7. Godparents must be at least 16 years of age;
  8. Godparents that belong to a different parish are required to complete Form B-2;
  9. If the parents of the child to be baptized are not married in the Catholic Church or if the parent is a single mother or single father, the godparents of the child must be a couple married in the Catholic Church.
  10. The parents and godparents are required to participate in a pre-baptism class.

 

Information

UPCOMING IMPORTANT DATES:

March 26 (Thursday):

           6:00 PM = Lenten Talk by Fr. George.

           7:00 PM = Parish Penance Service and Confessions. Three other priests will come and help hear individual confessions.

HOLY WEEK:

April 5 (Palm Sunday): 15 minutes before the usual start of each Sunday Mass: Blessing of Palms followed  by procession into the church.

April 9 (Holy Thursday) 7:00 PM = Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

April 10 (Good Friday) 3:00 PM =   Celebration of the Lord’s Passion:

Liturgy of the Word; Adoration of the Cross; Holy Communion.

April 11 (Holy Saturday) 8:00 PM = Mass of Easter Vigil.

April 12 (Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord): Easter Sunday Mass at 7:30 AM and at 10:30 AM.

 

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Message

" Dear friend, May no adversity paralyze you.  Be afraid neither of the world, nor the future, nor of your weakness.  The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, His name will continue to resound throughout the world"

                                                                                                     -Pope Benedict XVI

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“Leon Bloy, the great French Catholic convert, liked to say that, in the end, the only thing that matters is to be a saint,”