Lesson 6: Making Use of Media to Celebrate Holy Week

04-03-2020Hermitage at HomeFr. Larry Merta

To my Flock at Holy Cross,

In my last article, I spoke of livestreaming the liturgical events of Holy Week from Holy Cross. That won’t be possible with such short notice. Allow me to refer you to Bishop Olmsted’s Sunday Celebration at 9:00 AM on AZTV7. A live broadcast will also available via Relevant Radio on 1310 AM at the same hour. You can also find it by LIVE FEED HERE.

As mentioned yesterday, there is a flipbook containing worship aids for your use during the sacred liturgies and other ideas that are meant to bring you spiritually together as a family and get more out of your celebrations while at home. Here’s the LINK again if you missed it yesterday.

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Lesson 5: Put on your best at home

04-01-2020Hermitage at HomeFr. Larry Merta

To my Flock at Holy Cross,

As we stay home over the next few weeks for the common good I plan to celebrate Palm Sunday and the Church’s most solemn liturgies of the Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil within our empty Church.

I encourage you to tune in daily to the liturgical celebrations you find on the various media portals. During these days, I have been busy with the soft remodel of our sanctuary. The new tabernacle is in place. Now I can dedicate myself to working with my liturgical team about the best way to livestream Holy Cross liturgies. The externals will be all so different this year. No presence of the faithful, no washing of the feet, no baptisms at this time for our numerous catechumens who have been anxiously preparing for the gift of divine adoption.

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Lesson 4: Praying for Inspiration

03-27-2020Hermitage at HomeFr. Larry Merta

To my Flock at Holy Cross,

Day 10 of quarantine. So far, so good. Thank you for your prayers, your emails, your calls. You’re very good to me and the staff. The sepia tone images I submit with this column were meant to be dull and dreary, and to be a reminder that, like Dorothy, we will all step back into the Technicolor of Parish Life.

But today is partly cloudy, and I need a little something… a little color this time. Here’s a progress report for our new sanctuary window. The artist has had to deal with his own delays at the studio prompted by the social lockdowns.

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Lesson 3: Supporting the Work of the Church

03-26-2020Hermitage at HomeFr. Larry Merta

To my Flock at Holy Cross,

I am grateful for messages my parishioners have sent me and the good number of you who have chosen to stay connected digitally with our Parish Family. There’s been no shortage of suggestions to support our Parish Community. I am grateful for this.

Not only are we priests available to listen to your concerns or to simply catch up a little with our lives, also know that our Parish Deacons are definitely available to establish communication with you as well. They received the gift of ordination to intercede for the Church through their prayerful obligations and to enrich our lives through their gifts of preaching and blessing. You will find their updated contact information on our website, and I encourage you also to reach out to them as well during this time of our physical distancing.

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Lesson 2: Caring for the Sick and the Perfect Act of Contrition

03-25-2020Hermitage at HomeFr. Larry Merta

To my Flock at Holy Cross,

The other day I made an emergency run to a hospital and anointed someone who was apparently diagnosed with the Virus a day after my visit. I took the necessary precautions: wore the gown, gloves, visor and mask. Now, I have chosen to self-quarantine. It’s been 5 days since this all happened. I haven’t experienced any symptoms. I am just waiting. Staying busy with spring cleaning, appointments through phone calls and spiritual study.

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Lesson 1: Following a Schedule and Reverence in Prayer

03-21-2020Hermitage at HomeFr. Larry Merta

To my flock at Holy Cross,

We all need schedules, otherwise we’re more likely to forget, to procrastinate and to put off. Schedules help us measure our resources, our gifts, our time so that we may come to live and understand this Divine expectation: 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

On my first visit to seminary, I was immediately thrust into an observed schedule. The day promptly began with a 5:15 wake up call and morning prayers that so followed in the main chapel at 5:50 am. Mass followed, then breakfast and then housework for 30 minutes. Classes continued for the rest of the morning only broken up by a short break of 15 minutes in which we were encouraged to take a few seconds in front of the blessed sacrament and from there to the gardens for a brief conversation. Angelus, lunch, and then we’d shuffle to our desks in order to resume lecture and study of Spanish, Latin and Greek, Christology, Vatican II documents and the memorization of our spirituality and the Gospel of John. There was a vision nurturing all these activities: a fruitful priesthood in the making through God’s grace and our personal effort. I adjusted, learned some new habits of how to get more out of my study, and planned the good use of the very brief moments of free time by writing home to my family.

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The Heritage at Home

03-19-2020Hermitage at HomeFr. Larry Merta

For now, we must avoid gathering together as one body in Christ, but we are still one Body. We are confined to our homes, but not prisoners of them, although, we will be spending more time there. For the good of others, we find ourselves in solitude, observing distance from others outside our home as a loving act of concern and safety for others. 

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Prayers during these difficult times

03-18-2020Hermitage at HomeFr. Larry Merta

My dear brothers and sisters of Holy Cross Parish,

I offer you my heartfelt prayers for your safety and health during these difficult times. We have been asked by Bishop Olmsted to suspend all weekday and Sunday Masses, along with all parish meetings. The main doors of the Church will continue to be opened from 9:00 am until noon, and from 1:00 pm until 4:30 Monday through Thursday, and Friday, from 9:00 am until noon for personal prayer. I ask that you keep a safe distance of 6 feet from the others not of your household. Our Lord is there, awaiting our prayers.

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