WE ARE IN THE GREEN PHASE

GUIDELINES FOR SAFELY RETURNING TO MASS = GREEN PHASE

Welcome

Welcome!

Queen of the Apostles Parish  established November 6, 2011 Avoca, PA. 

Staff

Office Hours

Office Hours
Tuesday - Fri, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Guidelines for Returning to Mass

SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

We are pleased to announce that Eucharistic Adoration will resume on Tuesday, June 2, following the 9 a.m. Mass until 8 p.m. If you will not be observing your hour which you were previously scheduled, please contact the parish office at 570-457-3412 or Ann Jake at 570-457-3521.

We request that all adorers practice social distancing and sanitary practices. Please be aware that the restroom will not be available at this time. If you would like to schedule an hour of adoration please contact Ann Jake.

 
 

FROM THE PASTOR'S DESK THE PASTOR'S DESK

 

 

Dear Parish Family,

     The cost is great, but the reward is greater. One could say this about any of the stories presented in today’s readings. The childless woman and her husband furnished a room where Elisha could stay when he came to town. It may have been a modest space, but it was a generous gesture, along with the meals she served him. Elisha rewards her by promising her that despite the couple’s age she would bear a son. Paul describes a much greater cost in his letter to the Romans and this one applies to us all. To be baptized in Jesus’ name means also being baptized into his death. Jesus’ death, after all, was violent and agonizing because he selflessly chose to submit himself to his Father’s will. But it also means that we will live eternally with him “in newness of life”. In the Gospel, Jesus challenges his disciples to commit themselves to his mission, insisting that they need to take up their crosses to be worthy to following him. But he promised them that if they give up control over their lives for his sake they will find everlasting life in the kingdom of God. A high cost indeed, but an even higher reward. What sacrifices are we willing to make for our commitment to our Lord?

     Next Saturday is the Fourth of July, Independence Day. Please try to attend Mass on the Fourth of July. We continue our prayers for the Fortnight (two weeks) of prayer for Freedom which will end on July 4. We are praying for religious freedoms to be respected and honored in our country and throughout the world.  Traditionally the Fourth of July has been set aside as a day to remember our Independence. It is a day of celebration and family reunions. During this day and weekend let us make time to remember how important our country is and the privilege that is ours to live in a free society. We remember our soldiers who are fighting overseas and defending our freedoms and we pray for them and for an end to war and terrorism everywhere.

     Last Friday we turned Green for our Section of PA. The directives say we can go to 50% of capacity but our church will safely hold only 90 people which includes the Choir loft. The safety of our members and our whole community depends on our diligent efforts to arrange for 6 feet physical distancing, to provide adequate protective equipment (Masks), to tend to sanitization procedures, to restrict people with symptoms, and to monitor when people have potentially been exposed to the virus. I thank the Knights of Columbus who are acting as ushers as well as the deacon, servers, lector and cantors at mass. It’s good to see you back. 90 is our magic number as we open these days. You are welcome to attend daily mass, no need to register. Also, there is no need to register for Weekend Masses at this time. We have never gotten 90 people at mass. Remember 4pm Saturday liturgy and 10 am Sunday liturgy. You must sign in since we are tracking for safety and the entrance is through the Ramp Door. Last weekend we had 100 people total for the Weekend Masses. That is about 25% of normal attendance. Our parish has taken all the safety measures, distancing, protecting the vulnerable, etc. as we look forward to moving to full opening. We will continue to live stream our Masses on line on our Facebook page until the crisis passes.

     Please continue to remember to drop off or send in your weekly contributions to the parish office during this time of special need. The parish bulletins will be on line for any of you to view. We are all in this together. We have left no one behind. Care for your family and neighbors in need. Continue to check on them. Let them know your love for them. It’s important.

     Finally, Congratulations to Fr. Seth Wasnock, new pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish. Fr. Seth began his ministry at the parish on June 1st, just in time for the Fireworks displays and picnics around the parish. He is arriving from St. Rose of Lima/Mt. Carmel/ parishes in Carbondale and St. Michael’s parish, Simpson. Fr. Seth is five years ordained and this will be his first time as pastor. The people are excited about his coming and looking forward to new life and a more normal experience of parish. Our prayers are with you Fr. Seth. We know you will do well and thank you for relieving me of my administrative duties.

Thank you for all you are and all you do.

God bless you and

perhaps I will see you in Church soon,

Fr. Phil

FORMED

GUDELINES FOR 2021 MASS SCHEDULE

Google Map

Mass 6-21-2020

Mass Times

Please remember that as of this time the Church is limited to 75 people per Mass including Father, Deacon, lectors and servers

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday Friday - 9 a.m. daily
Wednesday - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday - 4:00 p.m.
Sunday - 10:00 a.m.

Reservations are no longer necessary
Face masks are required

All parish and church events cancelled due to quarantine

July

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There are no upcoming scheduled events.

The unique symbolism of the Sacred HeartText

 

The Sacred Heart most obviously brings to mind the Passion of Christ on the cross. But why is the Sacred Heart always shown as if it’s on fire?

The Sacred Heart is among the most familiar and moving of Catholic devotional images.  But its symbolism can also be strange.  As we mark the Feast of the Sacred Heart, here is a look at the explanation behind some of the features of the Sacred Heart.

The flames

The Sacred Heart most obviously brings to mind the Passion of Christ on the cross.  There is the crown of thorns, the cross, usually atop the heart, and the wound from the spear that pierced His side.  But why is the Sacred Heart always shown as if it’s on fire?  That certainly did not happen at the crucifixion.

There are three reasons behind this. First, we have to remember that Christ’s self-offering on the cross was the one-time perfect consummation of all the sacrifices of the Old Testament.  This necessarily includes burnt offerings, which were the highest form of sacrifices in ancient Israel, according to The Jewish Encyclopedia.  An early form of such sacrifices was what Abraham set out to do with Isaac, hence the wood he had his son collect beforehand.

Second, fire is always associated with the essence of divinity in the Old Testament.  Think back to the burning bush that spoke to Moses, the cloud of fire that settled on Sinai, and the flames from above that consumed the sacrifice of Elijah.  This explanation fits with the gospel account of the crucifixion, in which the piercing of Christ’s side revealed His heart at the same time that the curtain of the temple was torn, unveiling the holy of holies where God was present.

Finally, the image of fire associated with heart represents Christ’s passionate love for humankind.  One 19th-century French devotional card has these words arched above the Sacred Heart—Voilà ce Cœur qui a tant aimé les hommes, which roughly translates to: “Here is the heart that loved men so much.”  One traditional exclamation is, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, burning with love of us, inflame our hearts with love of Thee.”  We see this actually happen in the gospels, where the disciples on the road to Emmaus realized that their hearts had been “burning” after their encounter with Jesus. (I’ve also previously written about the Sacred Heart and fire here.)

The rays of light

Look closer at the image of the Sacred Heart. There is something else framing it besides the flames.  They are rays of light.  In John 8:12, Christ declares that He is the “light of the world.”    In Revelation 21:23, we are told that in the new Jerusalem at the end of times there will be no light from the sun or moon because the Lamb of God—that is, Jesus—will be its source of light.  Light, like fire, is a symbol of divinity. Think of the Transfiguration and the blinding light that Paul experienced on the road to Damascus.  As the light of the world, Christ is also the one who “enlightens” us, revealing God to us.  The Sacred Heart constitutes the climax of divine self-revelation, showing us the depths of God’s love for us. (See also this source here, especially for other associations with light.)

The arrows

The crown of thorns and the spear make sense. But sometimes the Sacred Heart is also depicted with arrows.  Again, that’s not something we find in the gospels. One explanation is that the arrow represents sin.  This is reportedly what our Lord Himself said in a private revelation to St. Mary of St. Peter. (See here for more.)  The arrow could also draw upon an ancient Roman metaphor for love, which, according to ancient myth, occurred when the god Cupid shot an arrow through the hearts of lovers (as this author points out).

The crown of thorns

Unlike the arrows, the crown of thorns is reported in the gospels.  But in traditional images it encircles the Sacred Heart, whereas in Scripture the crown was fixed to Jesus’ head.  One traditional account offers this interpretation, describing those who are devoted to it:  “They saw the crown transferred from His head to His heart; they felt that its sharp points had always pierced there; they understood that the Passion was the crucifixion of a heart” (The Heart of the Gospel: Traits of the Sacred Heart by Francis Patrick Donnelly, published in 1911 by the Apostleship of Prayer).  In other words, wrapping the crown around the heart emphasizes the fact that Christ felt His wounds to the depths of His heart.

Moreover, after the resurrection, the crown of thorns becomes a crown of victory. Donnelly hints at this as well:  “From the weapons of His enemy, from cross and crown and opened Heart, our conquering leader fashioned a trophy which was the best testimony of His love.”  In ancient gladiatorial contests, the victor was crowned.  In the Revelation 19:12, Christ wears “many crowns” and believers who are victorious over sin and Satan will receive the “crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

Finally, according to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the seventeenth French nun who helped start the devotion, the points of the thorns are the many individual sins of people, pricking the heart of Jesus.  As she put it in a letter, recounting the personal vision she had received, “I saw this divine Heart as on a throne of flames, more brilliant than the sun and transparent as crystal. It had Its adorable wound and was encircled with a crown of thorns, which signified the pricks our sins caused Him.”

The cross

Like the thorns, the cross is both rooted in the gospels but also displayed in a way that does not follow them in every detail.  There is almost an inversion of the crucifixion.   In the gospels, Christ hung on the cross, His heart correspondingly dwarfed by its beams.  But in images of the Sacred Heart, it is now enlarged and the cross has shrunk.  Moreover, rather than the heart being nailed to the cross, the cross now seems ‘planted’ in the heart—as St. Margaret Mary Alacoque put it—if to say to us that the entire reality of the crucifixion derives its meaning from and—cannot be understood apart from—the heart of Jesus.  As Donnelly wrote, “The Heart [is] … forever supporting the weight of a Cross.” Truly, it is the heart of Jesus that makes the cross meaningful for us today.

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Blog Summary

PARISH HALL DURING COVID

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER

Dear Parish Family,

  We are all connected. John tells us in the Gospel ... Read More »

Prayer for the Increase of Vocations

Holy Spirit, stir within us the passion to promote vocations to the consecrated life, ... Read More »

CONGREGTIONAL MUSIC AND RECEIVING COMMUNION ON THE TONGUE

Following Bishop Bambera’s Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, May 28, 2020, a number of questions have been raised regarding congregational singing and distributing Holy Communion on the tongue.  These clarifications and recommendations are offered to parishes to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus: 

Congregational Singing at Mass

Congregational singing at Mass is discouraged at this time so as to minimize the spread of breath droplets.  Since music is still integral to the liturgy and enhances the experience of livestream Masses, the following directives are offered to parishes:

  • Parishes may still utilize a cantor and organist for Mass as long as they are at least 10 feet away from each other, the assembly, and any ministers in the sanctuary.
  • Cantors should serve more as soloists rather than encouraging congregational singing.
  • Advise the assembly that singing is not recommended at this point, even with a mask.
  • Choirs are not permitted at this point since vigorous singing in close proximity with others increases the risk of viral spread.

Specific Recommendations for Parish Music Ministry Directors:

  • Hymns and acclamations sung by the cantor at Mass should be brief so as not to prolong the liturgy: decreased Mass time equals a decreased risk of contamination.
  • Consider having the cantor only sing the antiphon, a refrain, or one verse of a hymn for the Entrance, Preparation of the Gifts, and Communion.
  • Acclamations sung by the cantor should have very few, if any, repeated phrases (example—using a gospel acclamation setting with three ‘Alleluias’ as opposed to one that has five or six).
  • Try having the cantor introduce some hymns or acclamations that the assembly is not familiar with to minimize any congregational singing.
  • Instrumental selections are also encouraged at this time, especially at the Preparation of Gifts and the Reception of Holy Communion after Mass.

Holy Communion on the Tongue

Although it is strongly discouraged, anyone who still wishes to receive Holy Communion on the tongue can be instructed to wait until the end of the Communion distribution after everyone else has received.  This will minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others, as well as allow time for the priest to sanitize his hands properly after each person who receives on the tongu

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Faith Formation

Religious Education - Sundays - 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Deborah Yuschovitz - Director of Religious Education

Lori Ostrowski - Director of Youth Ministry

Volunteers are always welcome - Pennsylvania clearances required

All Faith formation classes are cancelled until further notice due to Covid-19 Stay At Home Order.  We will reorganize as per the directions of Governor Wolfe and Bishop Bambera when the order is lifted.

First Communion and Confirmation will be scheduled at a later date when all candidates are fully prepared and again when order is lifted

At his time we have no new information on First Communion And Confirmation Masses.  We are in communication with Father and trying to work out details.  We will contact all parents when more information is available.

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