Everyone is Welcome!
Everyone is Welcome!
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August 4, 2020
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
As I type this letter, Tropical Storm Isaias has just about finished giving Upper Bucks County a thorough bath. The church and rectory do not seem the worse for it, and I hope you can say the same for your homes.
The last time you heard from me was late spring. I should have reached out to you since then. Like you, I have been caught up in the craziness of the Coronavirus Pandemic. It has been a strange experience, since in some ways there has been less to do; yet, in other ways, I have found that I was busier than ever at my desk. Nevertheless, I was happy to get upstairs at the end of the day or evening. Until recently, virtually everything here was cancelled. Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals scheduled in late February or early March are only now being celebrated, including Public Mass. Like you, I found that distressing. Celebrating the Eucharist without you is not the same. Even now, with more and more people returning on a regular basis, I miss those things in our celebrations that emphasize the bond which we have with each other. I miss you bringing up the Gifts at the Offertory. I miss being able to take advantage of that moment before Mass when we greet each other and express the Sign of Our Lord’s Peace following the Our Father. I miss hearing you sing. I miss being able to offer the Precious Blood at Communion time. I miss being able to shake your hands, receive a kiss or give a hug outside at the conclusion of Mass. Not being able to celebrate all of Lent and especially Holy Week & Easter was just not natural. We had three plus months of this before we were even able to get a sniff of “Phase Yellow” and eventually “Phase Green”. Heck, after three months in the garage, my truck’s battery was dead as a door nail.
I’m sure you have your own Coronavirus stories. Regardless of age, I’m sure everyone of you who has or had a medical condition have been highly aware of your susceptibility to the Coronavirus. For the elderly, being isolated from everyone by your choice, must be particularly difficult. For those of you with school age children, your experience swung to the other side of the pendulum. Parents working from home trying to establish a quiet environment to work; kids coming to grips with the four walls of their home; no personal interaction with classmates or teachers and waking up and going to sleep everyday with an unending stream of Covid news and statistics. It might not be pretty, but you know we will get through this. As we do, St. Lawrence Parish will be here ready to return to the natural rhythm of our parish life. Our celebration of the Eucharist with song & joy will be waiting for your participation. Our celebration of First Holy Communion is still scheduled for September 27th. The ladies are primed and ready to return to our monthly Coffee & Donuts. We’ll be making up for those missed Saturday Night Special Dinners; the Holy Name Society will be ready to host the Annual Night at the Races and you can be certain, that the two 10-week Parish Scripture Studies will be ready for your participation.
Silver linings have also become a part of the Coronavirus Pandemic. One of the more prominent of these silver linings has been the Live Streaming of our Sunday Masses. It began on Palm Sunday. The response by both parishioners and many people outside our parish has been very gratifying. Because of this, we have made the decision to make this a permanent offering of our parish for all people unable to participate in the Eucharist for any reason. Because the video part of the tech industry was not considered “an essential “ industry, those companies which manufacture video cameras and the components related to such systems were shut down. Now they are scrambling to address three months of back orders. When the components for our future system are available, our contractor will have it up and running. The contractor is Somerset Media Group, the same company who installed our church’s new audio system last year.
Finally, I want to encourage and invite each of you to consider becoming more involved in your parish. Think about stepping forward to become a Lector, Greeter, Eucharistic Minister. Think about joining the Holy Name Society or the Altar & Rosary Society. Check our web site for a sense of what these two groups are about. Talk to their members. There are great women and men who are part of these groups and they would love to have you as a member of their group. There’s much more to them than you think. Think about becoming a catechist in the PREP program. We will need additional camera women/men to give our current staff a break. Our parish should have a Pro-Life group; think about being a part of that group. Perhaps, you have been a part of other kinds of groups when you lived in other parishes…..Talk to me about it; it could be something that St. Lawrence Parish would benefit from.
If the Coronavirus has taught us anything, it is that Riegelsville is not the center of the Universe; the world does not begin in Kintnersville or Durham and drop off into an abyss in Easton. There is much for us as a parish to gain from the larger Church and world, and at the risk of being cocky, the people of St. Lawrence Parish have much to offer our region and world. Oops! The sun is out! Where did Isaias go?
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Walter Benn
Our Pastor, Fr. Walter Benn
On Religious Freedom
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Our wonderful parish is located next to the Delaware River, among the rolling hills of Upper Bucks County. If you have visited the area, you have discovered that this is an unadulterated farm country. Many of the farms in the area have been within the same families for many generations. Historically, the Catholic community here has been small but growing. St. Lawrence became an independent parish in 1974.
Come with us and take the time to experience our parish. When you do, you will discover a group of believers who are proud of their parish and proud of their Catholic faith.