June 29, 2020 – Fr. Paul

As most of you know we opened the church for mass on a limited basis this past Sunday. This coming Monday we will open for daily Mass at our traditional time of 8:15 am. You do not need reservations but the same rules apply: please observe social distancing, sanitizing hands and wearing masks. I would like one communion minister and could use another helper at the door to facilitate entry.
We are opening only the main door on Green Trails at 8:00 am, not before. The Naper side will remain closed.
Mass will continue to be streamed Monday thru Friday at 8:15 am. There will be no Saturday morning Mass except for funerals.
There is a video on YouTube called “Welcome Back” where I explain our new mass procedures. It’s dated Sunday, June 21. You can also find it on the home page.
It was great to see some of you and I am looking forward to see more of you.
Father Paul

June 19, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear St Margaret Mary,
As you may know this weekend marks the beginning of a new phase of our journey through Covid. At 10:00am Saturday morning the bishop will ordain six men to the priesthood. You may watch the Mass on YouTube by clicking here.
There will be no Saturday Mass from here until 5:00pm.
Sunday morning we will stream at 11:00 not 10:00am.
I know changes in schedules can be disconcerting but they are unavoidable.
Looking forward to seeing some of you this weekend.
Father Paul

May 30, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear St Margaret Mary,
You may have heard that governor had issued a new directive that allows us to move forward. As soon as we have enough volunteers in place and have concretely determined exactly how to carry out the liturgy with safety we can begin. But I cannot at this time tell you when that will be or the number of Masses we can provide. That is all being worked out.
It is important to reiterate that we are not recommending that anyone come to Mass as odd as this may sound. The truth is any father of people constitutes a risk and you are taking a risk to gather. Also because we need to limit each celebration we need a invitation system which we have not yet decided on. Our first goal will be at least one Sunday Mass. When we get enough volunteers we can do two Sunday Masses and then one or two Saturday Masses. It will be a very different experience but it will have its own beauty and grace. God makes this happen.
We will be in touch. Be skeptical of rumors. Many people misunderstand what they hear or pass on someone else’s misunderstanding, so be skeptical.
Two letters from our bishop can be read by clicking the links below..
Still missing you,
Father Paul

May 21, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear St Margaret Mary,
I hope you are all well and reasonably content. Our bishop has shared with us a multi-phased plan for reopening our churches.
Phase I allows for reopening for Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals and Reconciliation with a limit of ten attendees. We are already at phase I except for Reconciliation.
Phase IA allows for parishes to reopen for private prayer and adoration with a limit of ten or fewer.
Phase II allows for reopening for weekend and weekday Masses for larger groups depending on size of church space. Our space can fit 850 so about 10% to 15% of that will be allowed. This is a guess the State of Illinois has not finalized the guidelines.
It will be important for us keep health and and safety as the priorities while maintaining due respect and reverence for our sacraments and liturgies. We are assembling a parish leadership team that will lead or efforts after participating in required training programs. This is important to assure that we conform to the norms established by the diocese in conjunction with public health authorities. We have to obtain supplies of cleaning materials and protective gear.
Volunteers Needed
We will need volunteers to assist in many ways. Importantly, leadership team members and volunteers must not be part of the vulnerable population or suffer from underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, lung pathologies, cancer etc. Those who are over sixty should consult with leadership team. But I ask that those younger than sixty and healthy and having no underlying health problems to consider helping with one of the three re-opening teams. I especially encourage high school, college students as well as young adults to volunteers for these teams. They are:
• Set-up team: Sample duties include ensuring that all supplies needed for each sacramental gathering are ready for use, entrances and exits marked, etc.
• Greeting team: Sample duties include assisting in managing the flow in and out of church, making sure attendees use sanitizer upon entering, are wearing a mask, reminding people not to enter if ill, and getting people seated [more or less assigned seating].
• Cleaning team: This has to do with disinfecting areas used before and after services. Masks and gloves and cleaning supplies obviously will be provided.
As I mentioned all teams members will be trained and this is already in process. Once we complete the process, we will have to complete all the tasks assigned in order to qualify for reopening. Each parish will move at its own pace. Following our certification approval we will only open our doors when the Leadership Team and I are confident that we have the right volunteers in place to make reopening possible. Again the need for help from you cannot be overstated.
Because we must limit the number at Mass, we need an on-line registration, although we will also accept phone ins. I will write to you later about this.
The guidelines and measures required to reopen are designed to protect our wellbeing and that of the broader community. We are our brother’s keeper. Jesus commanded us to love one another as he did which requires infinite patience, forbearance and willingness to extend ourselves for the wellbeing of others.
Needless to say there is no absolute assurance when we will reopen nor that we will qualify, but I am reasonably sure we will.
The times of weekend Masses will have to be altered since I am alone and all my helpers are older than I and even I am in the “vulnerable” category.
We are looking to have two Saturday afternoon Masses, one at 3pm and one at 5pm. Two Sunday morning Masses, one at 9am one at 11am. That is providing we get enough volunteers for those times.
Please offer your service by emailing: volunteersmmp@gmail.com.
Thank you. I know we will get through this together.
Father Paul

May 16, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear St. Margaret Mary,
The dioceses of Illinois are working to reopen the churches but this is a very onerous task. We have to follow guidelines laid down for the prevention of the spread of this dangerous virus. Therefore we need to maintain distance which means only 10% to 15% of our capacity can be utilized. We need a way of selecting ahead of time the exact number we can fit. We need volunteers to make sure only people with reservations come or we will over play out capacity. We need a clean up crew after every Mass to sanitize the pews etc. And none of this will take place until there is a downturn in the number of infections. So we will all need the fruit of patience from the Holy Spirit. Meanwhile the bishop stresses that vulnerable people should not risk coming to Mass. The normal obligation to participate in Mass has been suspended and will remain so for some time. Enclosed are two letters from the bishop.
Still Missing You All,
Father Paul

May 8, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear St Margaret Mary,

May the Lord’s peace dwell in our homes! This past Tuesday we learned that our loan was approved and in fact deposited in our account. This will help.
Yesterday the deans all talked with the bishop about the gradual opening of our parishes. The bishops are working with the governor. But obviously we will still be subject to great care in our relating to one another. We will need volunteers to help shepherd people through our transition and help with the sanitizing of the pews after each use. Obviously however many we can have assemble, it will not be the full complement of our family. The bishop wants to reiterate that people who are elderly or frail should not expose themselves to danger. Also if anyone can make it to a weekday mass, once we are open, they should cede their place on Sunday to someone who cannot. Also he has asked us to increase our home communion service for those who must stay home, although this may be daunting.
He also wants us to continue live streaming for those who cannot come, so that will be a little bit of a wrinkle. But I have confidence that we have both the wisdom and the generosity to overcome all hurdles.
I still miss you and am anxious to restart.
Father Paul

April 18, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear St Margaret Mary Parish,

We are nearing one month of the stay-in-place order. Most of the parishioners I’ve been able to talk to are doing all right. Some are even thriving! When the government initiated the loan program for small businesses I applied for two, one for the parish and one for our All Saints Academy. Yesterday I got the bad news from Chase that the fund had become depleted. We will remain in the queue in case congress authorizes more money. This morning I heard from Harris bank that the loan to the school has been approved. So that’s good news.
Also some clown has been using my name to solicit help. Do not sent emails to that goofy email address. My email is phottinger@smmp.com.
I am very grateful to all those  who have continued to support our parish during the quarentine either by direct deposit, mail or dropping off envelopes. Please keep one another’s needs in your prayers.

Father Paul

April 15, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear St Margaret Mary,
Some of you have expressed a desire to get the Christ among Us magazine for this period. Unlike palms these are time sensitive and very helpful spiritually so I put the box in the entrance to the downstairs office which is kept open during the day for the US mail. Please use caution in picking up a booklet, wear gloves and only touch the one you take.

Also some of you may be interested in helping a parish outreach program. This program has two purposes: the first to make contact, see how people are, offer prayer etc. The second purpose is to get an email address if possible and update any data out of date. I realize some of you might be able to do the first, not the second. That’s okay because the first is the more important.

Stay vigilant and safe.
Love, Father Paul

April 11, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear St Margaret Mary,

At least today the weather is smiling on us in Easter-like way. I hope you are all staying well and safe and can enjoy Easter with at least some lovely food and family.

My blessings on all of you and your families to the third and fourth generation.

Thanks to all who have communicated their love and appreciation.

Missing you this weekend more than ever,

Father Paul

April 6, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear St Margaret Mary,
Today is the day of the traditional oil Mass at the cathedral when the sacred oils needed throughout the year are consecrated. Obviously they won’t be this year. That will come later like many things. Let’s hold one another close at times like these, but of course no public celebrations and that is difficult.
This brings up an issue I think we can work on: praying. We have set up a Google page so you can send in your requests. Now what if some of us volunteer to be prayer warriors. We could go to that same doc and pray for the names and intentions listed there. Please let me know if you are able and willing to be a prayer warrior. My email is phottinger@smmp.com.
Another thing. I know a lot of your are joining us at Mass over Facebook and YouTube. How about if you take a picture of your family at our Cyber Mass? You can send it in to our Facebook page or our website. It doesn’t matter if you’re all in pajamas. Just that you are there.
Still missing you,
Father Paul

April 2, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear Margaret Mary,
As we begin a new month of staying in place I know many of you are becoming weary of the new normal while at the same time concerned and even frightened at the possibilities on our horizon. But this is also an opportunity for us to practice and experience solidarity with the suffering of the world. The paschal mystery of our Lord’s death and resurrection changes for all time the the way people can frame the meaning of life and death. And providentially this month is the yearly renewal of that mystery.
So on the one hand the liturgy will be bare bones but on the other it will be more immediate than ever. Our work will be joining in our own awareness the suffering of all the world with the love of God and the glory of God promised by Christ’s resurrection. This can only lead to a deeper sense of gratitude for life, for love, for God and the life he had given us to share.
The schedule is a bit different this year. Saturday evening we will celebrate Jesus’ messianic entrance into Jerusalem. It will be relatively brief. We will distribute palms when this is all over. Sunday morning we will have the reading of the passion from Matthew and Mass.
The times listed are for streaming but you may watch them later.
Keeping you all in prayer,
Father Paul

March 28, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear St. Margaret Mary,
As we progress in our social distancing and sheltering in place, I hope you are all well and avoiding infection. We are planning to have all the services of Holy Week, the Triduum and Easter online, not ideal but better than nothing.
This past week I met with various chancery workers virtually as did our business manager Mike Prus. Next week our staff will have virtual meeting and we will continue to serve you as best we can. If you have ideas, please let us know. Not every suggestion will be feasible in the present circumstances. One thing you could help with is: if you are getting these communications and know others who do not share a link with them.
This Sunday we will have both Facebook live stream and YouTube live at 10 am. Again: our Facebook address is facebook.com/smmpnaperville our YouTube address is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKjocNNCMrbDTWlTLsohKwA
Happy Listening!
Father Paul
Don’t forget our website with cache of already sent missives.

March 26, 2020 – Fr. Paul

Dear St Margaret Mary,
Friday March 27 our Holy Father will lead a prayer service from St Peter’s.  The live stream address: www.Vaticannews.VA at 12 noon our time. It will be a first in that Catholics throughout the whole world will be united at a single hour in prayer. Of course whenever we pray the Our Father for example, we are praying not only with the communion of saints but with all believers on earth praying at that moment. The same is true for our Mass. What is unique here is the actual gathering of people in prayer at one moment.
Father Paul