2020: A Year of Grace
This time last year, we embarked upon a new decade filled with great anticipation and promise for the year ahead. Abruptly, our plans were halted as COVID-19 spread around the world. Undoubtedly, the impact has been far-reaching on the global stage; however, it has also given us the opportunity to receive so many graces and blessings.
We ushered in the first moments of 2020 with adoration and a candlelight Mass filled with parishioners converging to pray for the new decade. We began the grade school spring semester, like any other year. Students and faculty returned to the daily routines after Christmas break. Young and old alike, we together prayed at the March for Life in Lincoln. The morning was cold, but our hearts were filled with the warmth and hope of defending the youngest members of our human family.
February began with the fun and competitive Trivia Night held in the LPAC at Pius. A few days later, a group from the parish went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Rome. Each place we visited brought the gospel of Jesus to life as we visited Bethlehem, Nazareth, Cana, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River and Jerusalem. Next, we followed the travels of Sts. Peter and Paul and explored the Eternal City, visiting breathtaking basilicas and walking in the footsteps of saints and martyrs. As we arrived at the airport in Rome for our departure back to the USA, the airline attendants were just beginning to ask travelers if they had been to China. Little did we know that as we returned home, international travel would suddenly come to a standstill, and so many aspects of our lives would be limited.
The Second Annual Eat, Drink and Be Giving Dinner took place with great success and raised a significant amount of funds for our gym renovation. The Men’s Club hosted their annual Fat Friday Celebration for the men of the parish. With the beginning of Ash Wednesday in late February, our KCs famous Friday Fish Fries commenced. For the first couple of weeks, the Knights Hall hosted dinners, but as restrictions started, they quickly adjusted to carry out and delivery.
March 11th was the day that the most restrictive directives went into effect. Almost overnight, families, students, and teachers had to adjust to distance learning. Churches were open, but public Masses were not allowed. Never in my priesthood did I imagine that the restriction of the public celebration of Mass would ever occur in America. We all tried to cope to the best of our abilities. We started live-streaming Mass here for the very first time. Our main tech resource, James Duchesneau, brought the filming of our Masses to a new level and our family choirs elevated each liturgy with sacred beauty.
April brought us Holy Week and Easter live-streamed. April also would be the beginning of eleven Eucharistic Processions through every corner of our parish in order to protect us from sickness as well as assaults from the Evil One. These processions continued throughout the summer as we prayed for peace in our country.
In May, we finished up the spring semester with May Crowning and a special car parade where students and parents could greet their teachers outdoors. In addition, public Masses resumed! The gym renovation began, which included a new Heating and AC system, covering the deteriorating ceiling with acoustical tile, and replacing all of the windows in the gym and stairwells.
In June, our dedicated Thrift Shop volunteers reopened with limited hours and continued to be a great help for our community by making available inexpensive clothing and home goods. We were disappointed when Fr. Goodwin left to pastor Davey with the regular diocesan priest transfers, but were delighted to welcome Fr. Kipper to our parish.
During July we live-streamed many Eucharistic Holy Hours praying for our country with the Patriotic Rosary. We gradually increased our times for Eucharistic Exposition as more people committed to weekly holy hours.
With massive amounts of planning, meetings and coordination throughout the summer, our grade school opened its door for the 2020 Fall Semester in August, not knowing how long we would be able to continue with in-school classes. Due to our dedicated faculty and staff, parents and students, we were able to finish the Fall Semester completely in-school! The Altar Society formed a women’s events committee to help keep women connected during these times of social distancing.
In September our parish helped the city mourn the loss of Officer Mario Herrera by opening our doors to Lincoln for prayer and reflection at his candlelight vigil and his funeral at the Pinnacle Arena and procession and burial at Calvary Cemetery. We had the annual Marian Mass in our parish this year with a beautiful candlelight Mass, and the Lord provided us with a calm and mild evening for the procession through our neighborhood. We capped off the month with our Walk the Little Way Fundraiser. The students go on a rosary walk to Calvary Cemetery where they pray for our donors and our beloved dead. Sponsor and donors stepped up in these uncertain times to help our school with very generous support.
On October 1st we celebrated our patronal feast with a special Mass and celebration throughout the day in school. The Altar Society established a much-needed prayer line so that parishioners can support each other in prayer.
In November, we remembered those who went before us in faith as the month dedicated to All Souls. There was the opportunity to light candles and leave prayer intentions in the sanctuary. With great joy, we welcomed Bishop Conley, who returned from his medical leave and resumed full leadership of our diocese.
In December and the Season of Advent, we had large crews of volunteers who helped clean and decorate the church and sanctuary for Christmas. On December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Year of St. Joseph was inaugurated. We had the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to local churches with the Holy Family during the Christmas Season.
In closing, as we venture into this New Year, let us remember the wisdom of St. Augustine, “Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to His love, and the future to His providence.” In this lifetime, there will most certainly be struggles and obstacles, but you can always have the assurance and confidence in knowing that you are a beloved child of God, and He cares for you tenderly. My prayer for you is that this New Year brings you an overflowing abundance of hope and a profound understanding of the Father’s love for you.
Your Brother Knight,