(All present need to bring and wear a mask)
All interested in helping restart under our new protocols:

Ministers of Holy Communion, Lectors, Hospitality Ministers/Ushers, Sacristans

All ministers who wish to help during this transition period will need training.
We are offering two sessions, but you can attend either one.

May 26,2020 Tuesday at 6:30pm at St. Mary, Hemlock
May 28, 2020 Thursday at 9:30am at Sacred Heart, Merrill

Again, all who help, or who wish to help, should attend one of these orientations.

Pastor’s Pen

This virus period has prevented us from going about our normal routine. We have not attended concerts, plays, athletic events, or theaters. We have not gone to restaurants or gone shopping, or attended church, or visited vacation spots. Instead we have had to be creative with our time. So how have we used it?

We have “gone without” many of the things that were part of our daily routine. In thinking of what you USED TO do or USED TO eat or how you USED TO play or spend your time, have you decided that there are some things you simply do not need anymore?

A thought came to mind when visiting a restaurant to get someone a treat for their birthday. Restaurant personnel said that they were doing a lot of business. All sorts of people received their $1200 check and, not surprisingly, they right away came to spend their windfall.

This is an example of how culture programs us and, if not careful, we imprison ourselves. We are acquisitive. We WANT. We buy. And we are broke when the tough times come! Meanwhile, needs exist everywhere.

In what sociologists call a “consumer society,” we are programmed to buy, get, make a down payment on–one or another item that presents itself to us on billboards everywhere, on tv ads all the time, and in pop-ups constantly on the Internet. And when it’s not these venues telling us we NEED to get some item or other, it’s our cell-phone ringing and pleading with us to “save” money by SPENDING it on what some company wants to sell us.

No wonder we hear that most American families have very little to “hold them over” during a period of no income. They have SPENT whatever they earned on acquiring, consuming, buying the many “creature comforts” that Madison Avenue seduces us into acquiring.

It used to be that we’d “save for a rainy day” and hopefully have enough to see us through a tough period. Over time, however, we have victimized ourselves by spending, spending, spending, and acquiring, acquiring, acquiring. Come the time when a flood strikes or a lockdown puts us out of work, oops, what can we fall back upon? We spent it (whatever it was that could have been our nest-egg).

Hear me correctly. As I mentioned at Thanksgiving time, I was born into a family that was doing very well—at least for my first 9 years of life. I was by then programmed to know what good things were—and I was imprinted with wanting those good things. However, dad and mom lost everything, and we “went without.”

One day, mom spoke to me and my brother and told us to be sensitive to dad. She said that when a dad loses his business, it can sometimes be fatal (depression, heart, etc.). She said that we should be understanding and show our love and support for him.

Things never did return to “the good old days,” but as I told you at Thanksgiving, bacon and eggs for us that day was great. We no longer had the “creature comforts” we once had, but we had each other. I have a mature perspective on this period now–but at the time, all I knew was that mom and dad were great. What more did we really need?

So as we continue moving through this period of reduced activity, we might think of it from the “blessing” perspective. We’ve been stopped in our tracks to reconsider what we think is important. Maybe we haven’t previously brought to mind that our loved ones might be taken from us very quickly (as some in our faith community have experienced this year). Maybe we’ve been so busy accumulating things for ourselves and our castle that we haven’t been overly generous to aiding those in real need.

I think of those Humane Society commercials that show one pup after the other—born into a world to suffer cruelty. Or I see people hunt elephants or giraffes–for what? The thrill of killing an innocent, beautiful, endangered creature who just wants to live as you want to live? Extend this reflection to people, and surely you are moved, at least a little, to support some organization that actually heals or helps them in some way.

Maybe this viral period has made a tiny inroad into our minds and hearts and moved us to ask: why be so prodigal in our consumption, our self-absorption. Since scripture tells OUR story, we ARE the prodigal son or the prodigal daughter! And this lockdown has forced us to consider a life-change in our investment of time, energy, interest.

Which is why I actually like the symbolism of how we will start receiving communion. Not until the mass has been dismissed (“Go in peace”) will people line up—observing social distance—and receive. The distributor will say “The body of Christ” and we will reply “Amen.”

Remember—when you hear “The body of Christ,” it is a question. “Will you go from here and BE the body of Christ?” And your “Amen” is “Yes!” And out the door you go—symbolizing your apostolic commission to go spread the “good news” by your way of interacting with people. We go outside to be the “real presence” of the risen Lord–alive in the world.

Memorial Day Mass Livestreamed


Saginaw Diocese Protocol for Resumption of Masses (main points)

Parishes are permitted to resume public Masses on Monday, May 25, 2020 under the
conditions below and as outlined in the Liturgical Guidelines and Protocols for Resumption of Public Masses. All parishes in the Diocese of Saginaw will resume the celebration of public Mass by Saturday, May 30, 2020 under the same conditions.

The following are necessary conditions for the resumption of public Masses:

• Face-coverings/masks are to be worn by the faithful in and around the church.
• Cleaning and sanitizing of church facilities using proper techniques before or after
• Masses using CDC guidelines.
• Physical distancing must be practiced in the church and on the church property.
• Parish churches are not to exceed 25% of total capacity for the church. Depending on
church layout, this number may have to be less than 25% of the total capacity.
• This limit should allow people to remain at least six feet apart.

Bear in mind:

• Both indoor and outdoor Masses require adherence to strict physical distancing

 Funerals, Weddings, and Baptisms during Mass may resume along the same timeline and under the same conditions as listed above.

All non-liturgical gatherings should continue to be suspended.

All the faithful in the Diocese are dispensed from their Sunday obligation to attend Mass through Sunday, August 30, 2020.


The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water.” The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”

Don’t let worry bring you down—let the Church help.

A philosophy class exam question was: “Prove that the chair here in the front of the classroom doesn’t exist.” Students wrote furiously but one wrote 2 words and left. The teacher picked up the student’s answer that said: “What chair?”

If God had trouble raising children (Adam and Eve), what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?