Dear Members and Friends of Our lady of Peace parish in Fords, New Jersey,
As a parish community, we are mindful that this is a stressful and anxious time for all, as the COVID-19 health crisis is causing so many disruptions and hardships to our daily lives, forcing many of us to stay home from work and school, practicing social distancing and self-quarantining and for some, perhaps threatening one's employment security.
As your pastor, I want our parishioners and the community we serve to remain connected to each other and to the Good Lord.
As a Catholic Family, we want to provide the spiritual, social, and physical support that we all need as we face this crisis together. With the help of God, the grace of our Lord Jess, and the power of the Holy Spirit, we will get through this!
Although you are right to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus, this is NOT the time to become isolated. Please continue to reach out to fellow members and neighbors through phone calls, texts, emails, and FaceTime and Skype video chats.
When we began this Lenten season, we used the theme of "wilderness" as a way to enter into this journey toward Holey Week and Easter, but we had no idea how much of a "wilderness" we would encounter. This Lenten season is unlike any other before and will stretch us spiritually to trust in the Lord with greater purpose and preparation.
This is an opportunity for us to stretch our spiritual muscles in faith, hope, and love that we might indeed "love God, love our neighbor, and make a difference" - especially during this time of uncertainty.
As you know, there is a material responsibility that you have always accepted. I ask that you continue your financial support by mailing your regular contribution or, you may bring it to the parish office.
Remember, there is one thing of which we can be certain, no matter what - God is with us always!
Devotedly yours in Christ,
Rev. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.