Laudato Si’ week May 16-24

May 16-24 is Laudato Si’ week

For Laudato Si’ Week 2021, Catholics across the globe will take part in the celebration that will serve as the crowning moment of the Laudato Si’ Special Anniversary Year.

The weeklong event will let the faithful celebrate the great progress the global Church has made in its ecological conversion journey during the past six years and offer a clear road map for the decade ahead.

We know that much remains to be done, but we rejoice and celebrate the steps we have taken thus far, and we look to the future with hope.

An ample array of workshops, trainings, and events will help us explore these themes:

  • Day of global action in which individuals, communities, and institutions around the globe will organize concrete action to care for our common home
  • Live-streamed concert and cultural festival on World Biodiversity Day, 22 May
  • Prayer gathering and missionary-like sending of Catholics to go and announce the Gospel of Creation in every corner of the globe
  • Closing event to launch the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, which will help guide this work in the decade ahead

View the complete Laudato Si’ Week 2021 schedule here.

Numerous educational resources are available to assist you in sharing Laudato Si’ with Catholics in your diocese, including:

FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT

St. Luke’s is hosting a drive-in movie right in our own parking lot. We will show a family-friendly movie at dusk on Saturday, May 22. You can bring a lawn chair, blanket, or listen from your radio. Concessions will be available for a donation, but you are also welcome to bring your own food. If you have any questions, please contact the parish office or email c.epplett@lukespot.com.

The Equality Act

The U.S. Senate is expected to debate and cast a vote on The Equality Act soon. A date has not been set, but President Biden has indicated he wants this legislation passed within his first 100 days in office. The bill was passed by the House at the end of February.

The legislation would amend existing federal civil rights laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which had banned discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin, to include protections on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Our religious liberty is at stake if this bill passes. Our parishes, schools, and charities would not be allowed to minister in accord with our beliefs because we would lose legal protection from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1994. This exemption is something that has never been at stake under federal legislation.

As noted in a USCCB backgrounder: In addition to effectively adding new classes to these titles, the Equality Act expands the definition of “public accommodations” from restaurants, hotels, and theaters to nearly every consumer service or place of commerce, gathering, or charity, notably including health care (§ 3). It also expressly makes available restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms to persons according to their “gender identity” rather than natural sex (§ 9). In addition to “sexual orientation or gender identity,” the Equality Act adds elements to the definition of “sex” to include “sex stereotypes” and “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.” It also defines “sexual orientation” (“homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality”) and “gender identity” (“the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth”) themselves.

Please see the information below, and we encourage you to write our senators.

More information may be found here:

https://grdiocese.org/equality-act/

USCCB: https://www.usccb.org/equality-act#tab–backgrounders (scroll down toward the bottom for backgrounders)

The Person and Identity Project provides formation, resources, and pastoral guidance on issues of faith, “gender,” and sexual identity: https://personandidentity.com/

Discernment Opportunities

Are you discerning the priesthood?

‘Exploring the Priesthood’ is a discernment opportunity sponsored by the diocesan Office of Priestly Vocations. Time for prayer and reflection will be held monthly for young men (ages 16 – 35) to discern God’s will for their lives.  This year’s discernment opportunities will be offered on the following Sundays at noon: Feb. 21, March 21, April 18, and May 16.  If you are interested in joining these events, please email Pattie Reynolds in the Office of Priestly Vocations at preynolds@grdiocese.org.

Mass Guidelines

Dear friends in Christ,

This has been a challenging year on many levels.  We have had to adapt and to keep adapting to ever-changing guidelines in response to Covid.  I am grateful to all those of you who have been patient and understanding as we have tried to navigate these uncertain waters.

Having public Masses suspended for three months was very difficult to say the least.  After they resumed, however, we were blessed to be able to celebrate Masses outside through the summer and into the fall.  Doing so enabled us to be able to avoid many of the things that most other parishes had to implement in June, like strict limits on attendance at Mass, sign-ups for Masses, and yes, having to wear masks.

Since we had to move indoors a couple months ago, however, we ourselves have also had to implement many of these things.  Since then the number of complaints, comments, etc about how we are celebrating Mass and what we are or are not doing to prevent the spread of Covid have increased.  Having spoken to numerous other priests, I know that we are not alone in this.  There is considerable anxiety out there.  And every parish including ours has members with completely opposite viewpoints on what we should and shouldn’t be doing as a parish in response to Covid.

Unfortunately our ushers and sacristans have borne the brunt of some angry remarks and have been treated poorly by a few people, both those who think we are not doing enough to prevent the spread of Covid and others who think that anything we ask is an unjust imposition on their freedom.  Much of it has centered around the wearing of masks.  Some people are very nervous when they see anyone at Mass without a mask.  Others are upset that they are even offered a mask if they aren’t wearing one.  Trying to balance these very different viewpoints has not been easy.  In an attempt to find this balance, last weekend we began to ask anyone without a mask to sit in one section on the side of the church.  Some had no problem doing this, but others got upset.

Therefore I want to clarify that the guidelines we are following right now come from our bishop.  They do not come from me or a government official, nor are they made up by our ushers or sacristans.  As we have stated since we resumed indoor Masses, these diocesan guidelines ask that we wear masks at indoor Masses.  However, at the same time they call for us to be pastorally sensitive to anyone who cannot medically tolerate a mask, small children who won’t wear them, etc.  The guidelines also state that we have anyone without a mask sit in one section of the church.  Again, this is an attempt to accommodate people with very different opinions.  Of course like everything else it is not perfect.  So I simply have to appeal to everyone’s better nature and ask you to please exercise patience and understanding.  This is what the vast majority of our parishioners have done, and I am very grateful for this.

Whether masks and the other things we have been doing make much difference in preventing the spread of Covid, I do not know.  I have been given very different opinions on this from medical professionals as well.  But regardless of whether we think they are effective or not, or whether we like them or not, this is what our bishop is asking us to do right now in order to be able to continue to have public Masses.  The majority of people I have spoken with about masks have said they wear them not for themselves but for the sake of others.  As such, doing this can be an act of charity towards others, a small sacrifice we can offer to the Lord.

At the same time, however, it is impossible to create a completely risk-free environment in which infectious diseases cannot spread.  Wearing masks and so on can only minimize the risk.  For this reason the bishop has once again extended the suspension of the Sunday Mass obligation through February 17, Ash Wednesday, for those who are most vulnerable to Covid and for anyone who does not feel comfortable attending Mass right now because of the pandemic.  If you do choose to come to Mass, please be kind and respectful towards our ushers and all those who help out here at St. Luke’s.  They are volunteers who have been giving of their time to the parish week after week, most of them for years.

When we come to Mass, let’s remember the great mystery that we are entering into: how God is literally coming to us to provide us spiritual nourishment for our journey through this life.  The Mass is the highest prayer of the Church and a time for us to gather to worship the Lord together.  We are so blessed in spite of everything this year has brought.

In Christ,
Fr. Bill

Franciscan Life Process Center

For up-to-date happenings,
please check out our website and Facebook site.

Franciscan Life Process Center
11650 Downes St. NE Lowell, MI 49331
654 Davis Ave. NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504
www.lifeprocesscenter.org      www.facebook.com/FranciscanCenter

Since our founding by the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist in 1974, the Franciscan Life Process Center has assisted in the education, healthy development and cultural enrichment of individuals and communities of people throughout the greater Grand Rapids area and Kent County.

Our Mission: 
To promote a relationship with God that brings dignity
and hope to the sacred process of all life
through programs that assist, educate, enrich and inform.

GLO Ministry

Deacon Pitt provides meals to people downtown in the Heartside neighborhood of Grand Rapids twice a week. On a normal day he serves about 120 people. Last week with the shutdown 200 people showed up and he was running out of food. By the end he could only offer a bread stick and a bottle of water. Normally he serves chili, but has been unable to find ground beef. He is looking in particular for donations of ground beef and is willing to pick it up. Any help would be much appreciated.

For more information visit GLO website: https://www.gloministry.net

Corona Resources

Saint Luke Food Pantry
Will be held the second Thursday of the month from 3 – 5:30 pm.
Please, if you are need food prior to this date call the parish office at 616-895-2247. This is open to all GVSU students, all Parishioners, and Allendale residence. We will be able to help you within hours of a call for emergency help.
Love INC also has a food pantry:
Monday 1-6 pm & Thursday 1-6 pm at 6561 Lake Michigan Drive here in Allendale – this is for anyone who needs food; it’s also the time & location for food donations
Diaper Store of Allendale.
Valley Church holds a diaper and wipes pantry. Right now they are holding it for the next three on Saturdays from 10 – 11 am at 5980 Lake Michigan Dr. After that it is the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.