“FATHER, THE HOUR HAS COME”
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
WE ARE BACK!!!! We are not back from the future…or back into the past…WE ARE BACK WITH EACH OTHER!!! It was a difficult time to be away from the church, from the sacraments, and from each other. At the very beginning of the quarantine, one of the newspapers was interviewing me and God inspired me to say something that is still in my mind since then. The social distancing will BRING US CLOSER TOGETHER…six feet away with masks…but closer!!! It was funny to observe how the folks from our morning mass quickly came together as a community. Everyone would say good morning to each other, welcome those attending for the first time, one person out of her own generosity would post the entrance antiphon, communion antiphon and other prayers. It really moved me to see you together during this time. By one family sending me cookies, it generated the cookie drives and people in town LOVE them. On my second round, they recognized me immediately! Some places I became known as the “cookie priest’! I replied to them in the same way that I would always say to everyone else…I’m only the delivery guy!!! God is the one who is doing everything and holding us together as he has up to today…and He is doing that THROUGH YOU….so THANK YOU ALL!!! All of you showed us a lot of support by your Facebook/YouTube comments, emails, prayers, waving and smiling through masks. We would not have made it through without you!!!
This weekend is not only special to me for seeing all of you, for us getting together to celebrate mass, but it also marks my 6th anniversary of Ordination. I could not wish any better gift than celebrating physically with you!!! Not even in the greatest imagination could I ever imagine that I would be celebrating masses online during a world pandemic. It’s true that lately there were some very difficult moments, but they cannot be compared at all with all the joys that I have lived both in these 6 years or during the pandemic. Each smile (behind the masks), the (virtual) high-fives, dedicating each second of the day thinking, praying, reaching out to you. I even learned how to use Facebook!!!! As I said six years ago, nothing would be possible if there were not so many people behind me supporting me with their prayers. Through all the difficulties, sadness, fires, and crises (including a world pandemic), there was never a moment that I thought that I should not have been a priest. I’m a VERY HAPPY priest, fulfilled and proud to be called your pastor. I’m sorry for my mistakes, and if I have offended anyone, I ask for your forgiveness. Please know that the doors of IC are always opened for anyone who wants to come back. Please be assured of my daily prayers to you!
Father Steven Clemence