Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I pray that this message finds you and your family well. As we continue this most unusual Lenten journey together, please be assured of my constant prayers for the health and safety of the Immaculate Conception Parish family.
Your priests and our parish staff are here to assist you during the Covid-19 crisis. I encourage you to visit our website at www.icmarlboro.org, so you can stay up to date with all of the resources available to you. We are currently offering livestreamed daily Mass, Sunday Mass, daily Rosary, evening prayer, and Stations of the Cross. In addition, we are hearing confessions outside keeping safe social distancing, distributing Holy Communion at home, and the Church is open daily for individual prayer. Please remember to keep safe social distancing and we ask that you do not come to Church to pray if you or a family member is experiencing cold or flu symptoms. I ask for patience as all priests and the faithful are learning how to practice our faith together in these unprecedented times. As always, anyone who is in need of pastoral care should call the rectory at 508-485-0016, or contact us via e-mail through the parish website.
Many of you have asked how you can help support the work of our parish. Since my first day at Immaculate Conception Parish, I have been overwhelmed by the support, generosity, and dedication of our parishioners. For this, I am truly thankful. I am mindful that many in our parish community are suffering financial hardships, and their ability to help others will be understandably limited. It is important that we remember to pray for all who are affected by this crisis and lend support as our ability permits. Many in our community are in need of help. I encourage you to maintain social distancing, follow the instructions of local, state and federal authorities, but to check on your neighbors in need, especially our seniors.
We also face another reality. Our parish expenses remain unchanged. Our ability to meet our expenses is dependent almost entirely on our weekly offertory. Through the stewardship of our pastors and administrators through the years, we are fortunate to have manageable debt and some savings. But our weekly offertory is essential in maintaining the financial stability of our Parish.
There are three ways to help as your financial circumstances allow. First, I would encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our electronic offertory program. Second, if you cannot sign up for weekly offertory, you may make a one-time contribution through our website using the "donate" button for the Restoration Fund. During the time we are not able to gather for Mass in person, contributions to the Restoration Fund are suspended and all donations will be earmarked for weekly offertory unless we receive specific instructions otherwise. The Cardinal understands that the parishes are currently struggling financially and is allowing Easter offerings to be used for the parishes instead of retired clergy. He has asked that anyone who wants to contribute to retired priests to use the regular envelopes but anyone who wishes to support their own parish should use a separate envelope. Third, we will be placing a drop box for offerings inside the front door of the Church. You may use this box for your offertory envelopes. You may also mail the envelopes. Since this is an unattended box, I do ask that you only deposit checks into the box. Please know that I am truly thankful for all that you do and for your continued support of our Parish and the ministries that your generosity allows us to provide.
Although we are living in confusing times and the news of the day can be overwhelming at times, I encourage you to take a step back from the news periodically. Take stock in the one constant, God's mercy and love for all of us. We are all worthy of his mercy and love. I pray that you find comfort in these words in the days ahead.
Father Steven Clemence