Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Our Communities and an End to Racism: Feast of Saint Peter Claver, Wednesday September 9
September 4, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As our nation continues to be confronted with racial tension and civil unrest, we might be tempted to believe ourselves powerless to respond. However, we can all respond on a personal level – and that personal transformation can lend itself to communal engagement. We seek the Lord’s mercy for our own sins, and we join our prayer and fasting as acts of repentance and reparation. With hearts renewed, we then ask the Lord to inspire us to become beacons of hope and light to others. We start with ourselves, and then ask the Lord how we can be a channel of His love and mercy to a hurting world.
As a pathway to renewal, I ask the faithful of the Diocese of Gary to join with me and dioceses across the country on September 9 for a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Our Communities and an End to Racism. This is a significant date because it is the Feast Day of Saint Peter Claver, a Jesuit priest who lived from 1580-1654 and ministered to slaves as they arrived on the slave ships in Columbia. He is the patron of interracial justice and African Americans.
I will begin Wednesday with a 7 a.m. Prayer Service at the Cathedral and follow with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The Cathedral will be open to the public, offering visitors the opportunity for Adoration and prayer, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. when Fr. Surufka, administrator for the Cathedral, will conclude the day with Benediction at 5 p.m. and Mass at 5:30 p.m. I welcome everyone to sign up to attend the day’s activities or, if you are unable to attend in person, to view the livestream. Links for the livestream and sign-up for the day’s activities are available through the diocesan website, dcgary.org.
Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism offered his perspective on what we are trying to accomplish on this day:
“In the midst of our country’s ongoing racial unrest, we restate our commitment to peacefully seeking racial justice. … We reiterate the value of those whose human life and dignity in this country are marginalized through racism and our need to fight for them including the unborn. [On September 9, a day of fasting and prayer], we urge Catholics to consider attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and offer your participation in reparation for sins of racism to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We invite the faithful to also consider praying the rosary, the USCCB’s Prayer Service for Racial Healing, and for the intercession of the saints who have fought for racial equality such as St. Katharine Drexel and St. Peter Claver. We must continue to engage the battle against the current evils of our society …”
As we prepare for this day of prayer and penance, I offer the following USCCB examination of conscience in light of the sin of racism, asking ourselves:
- Have I fully loved God and fully loved my neighbor as myself?
- Have I caused pain to others by my actions or my words that offended my brother or my sister?
- Have I done enough to inform myself about the sin of racism, its roots, and its historical and contemporary manifestations? Have I opened my heart to see how unequal access to economic opportunity, jobs, housing, and education on the basis of skin color, race, or ethnicity, has denied and continues to deny the equal dignity of others?
- Is there a root of racism within me that blurs my vision of who my neighbor is?
- Have I ever witnessed an occasion when someone "fell victim" to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism and I did or said nothing, leaving the victim to address their pain alone?
- Have I ever witnessed an occasion when someone "fell victim" to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism with me inflicting the pain, acting opposite of love of God and love of neighbor?
- Have I ever lifted up and aided a person who "fell victim" to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism and paid a price for extending mercy to the other? How did I react? Did my faith grow? Am I willing to grow even more in faith through my actions?
Join with me in prayer that the Holy Spirit will move among us, to give us hearts of repentance, so that we may become the people and the community of faith the Lord want us to be. Let us look into our hearts and ask for the will and the strength to help contribute to the healing of racism in our time.
Thank you for keeping me in your prayers and know of my love and prayers for you. If I can pray for you specifically, please share your request through email at [email protected]. You may also send a prayer request through the diocesan website at www.dcgary.org.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in you…
The Most Reverend Robert J. McClory
Diocese of Gary
August 5, 2020 Letter from Bishop McClory:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Due to the continuing number of COVID-19 cases in Indiana, the bishops of the Province of
Indianapolis, have continued the dispensation from the obligation of Sunday Mass attendance until
Nov. 1, 2020, unless further developments determine otherwise.
Our parishes are following guidelines recommended by public health officials and designed for the
public celebration of Mass. I commend our pastors, pastoral staff and volunteers who have gone to
great lengths to assure safe worship spaces in our churches. I have every confidence that our local
parishes will continue to practice social distancing and safety protocols so that public Mass and the
sharing of the spiritual gifts of the Church may continue.
The continued dispensation is a prudent measure since a significant number of the faithful may find it
difficult to fulfill the obligation during this time. To be dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday
Mass does not mean people should stay away from church or fail to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
The Sunday celebration of the Mass remains at the core of our expression of the faith and the place
where we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. I encourage those who have been away to contact their
local parish to learn of the various protocols we have in place for safety.
For those unable to attend in person, many of our parishes are offering livestream coverage of Sunday
Mass (for a listing see www.dcgary.org). In addition to participating in Sunday Mass, it is the Catholic
tradition that Sunday is kept holy by refraining from work, increasing our love of the Lord and extending
charity to others through prayer and service.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Heb 13:11) As our public celebration of the Mass
has limitations, there is no limit on the love of Jesus and the power of the Eucharist. As the body of Christ may
be somewhat separated physically, let us remember that we remain spiritually united in Jesus.
Thank you for keeping me in your prayers and know of my love and prayers for you. If I can pray for you
specifically, please share your request through email at [email protected] You may also send a prayer
request through the diocesan website at www.dcgary.org.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in you...
The Most Reverend Robert J. McClory
Bishop of Gary
May 17, 2020 Letter from Fr. Kevin Huber
Dear Friends in the Lord,
As you know, the Bishops of Indiana have given pastors of Catholic churches in Indiana permission to celebrate
Mass publicly. For a little while, the Mass schedule will be a little different. Beginning Monday, May 18th, Fr. Jordan and I
will celebrate Mass Monday through Friday at 7:30 AM at Queen of All Saints Church. Beginning Saturday, May 30 th ,
Sunday Mass will be offered at 4:30 PM on Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 AM and 12:00 PM in Spanish at Queen of All
Saints Church. At St. Mary Church, Fr. Jordan and I will offer public Mass at 9:00 AM on Sunday, beginning May 31st. You
will soon discover that communal worship is going to feel and look very different. To prepare you, I want to share with you
the procedures we will use at Queen of All Saints Parish and St. Mary Parish to ensure your health and safety.
First, I am encouraging people who are most vulnerable to COVID19 to continue to shelter at home. Specifically,
women and men who are 65 years of age or older or who have chronic illnesses should continue to self-isolate, participating
in Mass through Facebook, live streaming, or television. However, please if you belong to this group, you will not be turned
away from Mass, unless you are exhibiting sign of illness. We will continue the practice of recording and live streaming
Mass at 10:30 AM on Sundays.
Second, we will observe social distance during Mass. To accommodate for the appropriate amount of social
distance, the staff has determined the number of people who can participate at a scheduled Mass, using a formula that
divided the square footage of the pews divided by 36 feet. At Queen of All Saints Parish, the maximum number of people
allowed in the church at this time is 175. At St. Mary Parish, the maximum number of people allowed in the church is 100.
For the time being, however, Mayor Parry has ordered that gatherings for church services not exceed 25 people, at least
until May 23rd .
Third, please make a reservation to attend the celebration of Mass. Everyone who wants to come to Mass is
required to call the Parish Support Center at 219-872-9196 to a make a reservation to participate in Mass. When you make
your reservation, you will be given specific instructions about where to park, the brief screening process you will experience,
which includes temperature screening, and what to bring when you come to church for Mass. People without a reservation
will not be able to enter the church.
Fourth, when entering the church, please sit in pews that are open and in spaces that are marked with an X.
Please note that families who currently live together are in daily contact will be permitted to sit together. While the place that
you sit may not be your preferred seat, respecting these measures will ensure that everyone is comfortable and safe as we
resume communal worship.
The procedures outlined above are in compliance with the guidelines for the Gradual Re-opening of Public Masses
provided by Most Reverend Robert J. McClory, Bishop of Gary, which can be found on the website at www.qas.org .
Remember, one of our core values is generous hospitality, which includes providing a safe and healthy environment for you
and your family to worship the Lord. To avoid confusion, frustration, or disappointment, please follow these procedures.
Please know that on May 30 th , the Vigil of Pentecost, I will initiate our three elect, Bryan Allen, Chad Clark, and
Louis Gross, who will receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. The next day, the Solemnity of
Pentecost, I will receive into Church two candidates, Berri Beuker and Jesse McClaren. Please pray for these elect and
I appreciate your patience and consideration during this time of transition. Please be sure of my prayers for you
and those whom you love, asking our Lord’s blessing and protection for all of you.
Faithfully yours in the Lord,
Fr. Kevin Huber
May 10, 2020 Video Message from Bishop McClory
May 3, 2020 Video Update from Bishop McClory:
May 2, 2020 Letter from Bishop McClory:
On Friday May 1, I had the extraordinary privilege to reconsecrate our diocese to the Blessed Mother under the titles Mary Mother of the Church, Our Lady of Lourdes, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At the very time of the consecration, Governor Holcomb issued his “Back on Track” Roadmap to Safely Reopen Indiana.
What does this mean?
Our COVID19 Liturgy Task Force continues to examine appropriate ways to maintain access to the sacraments and safely reopen public worship. The Task Force will now revise its work considering the governor’s latest guidelines and present it to the College of Consultors (a consultative group comprised of pastors) for review. Following the review by the Consultors, we will present to all the priests of the diocese. Our pastors and parish leadership will need time to absorb the protocols and be prepared.
I will also communicate directly again with you, members of the faithful, so that you are aware of the broad outlines of our revised guidelines. I do want to prepare you for a few items that are clear from the latest public health and government guidelines. Although the Governor’s plan allows for indoor worship services to eventually convene, following specific social distancing guidelines, the strong preference is that places of worship continue to use virtual services. He further encouraged church leaders to ask those 65 and older, and those at elevated risk, to remain at home until at least May 24.
Social distancing will be very new for us in our churches. For some time, we will likely be wearing masks and staying further apart than is our standard practice. Most parishes will likely have to limit the number of people we allow into the church for a given Mass. This will not be easy to absorb, but with a spirit of gratitude and patience, I have great confidence that we will get through these days.
The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of the Catholic faith. In the Eucharist, we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. All of us deeply desire to return to our public celebration of the Mass, but we must do so in a manner that is responsible and within the context of the continuing health crisis.
Stay tuned for more updates next week. Please keep praying for all those suffering the effects of COVID19. Let us pray for the continued intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes during these days for healing, comfort, protection and wisdom.
Jesus, I trust in you…
The Most Reverend Robert J. McClory
Bishop of Gary
Fr. Kevin Huber's Updated Letter:
Dear Friends in the Lord,
One of the most effective means of communication that we have is our website and App. Information and approaches change constantly as we navigate the challenges that come from the COVID-19 virus. Please check the parish website for updates and details about how the Parish Staff at Queen of All Saints Parish and St. Mary Parish are working to meet your spiritual and pastoral needs. Please look below for information about a variety of topics.
Mass Schedule: The bishops in the Province of Indiana have suspended the public celebration of all Masses until further notice. Since the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life, Fr. Jordan and I will celebrate Mass each day and post them on the website, beginning Thursday, March 19, 2020. The video should be uploaded to the website by 10:00 AM.
During the time of the distribution of Holy Communion, I encourage you to make a Spiritual Communion, which you can find below:
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
The Sacrament of Penance:
Due to the stay-at-home order, the Sacrament of Penance is offered by appointment only as of March 25, 2020. Call (219) 228-0044 to schedule a time.
Queen of All Saints Parish Legacy Center: Closed until further notice.
The Queen of All Saints Parish Community Center: Closed until further notice.
Christ the King Adoration Chapel: Christ the King Adoration Chapel will open at 6:00 AM and close at 6:00 PM, at which time the doors will be locked. The chapel will be used only for visits to the Eucharist and for adoration.
Parish Office Hours: The Parish Support Center is closed until further notice. You can contact us at [email protected].
For Emergencies: When you need immediate attention after normal operation hours, please call 219-228-0044.
Prayer Requests: Please make prayer requests through the parish office e-mail address at [email protected]. This week our parish staff will be contacting all our parish members, asking you or updated contact information. Please let us know what we can pray for you. Parish Staff members will then pray for your intentions daily at 10:00 AM.
You can also find this information on the Parish App, the Parish Facebook page, and through Flock Note messages that we will send to you. With the members of the Parish Staff, you can be sure that we are walking with you. You are not alone.
Faithfully yours in the Lord,
Fr. Kevin Huber