Dear Friends in Christ,
These are challenging times that we live in. Families and individuals are discovering news ways of life. Despite the difficulties, people have exemplified generosity and creativity in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have all had to find new ways of living. This includes your local Church.
My name is Father Sean Wilson and I serve as the pastor of four Catholic parishes that call ourselves the Petersburg Parishes. This includes St. Joseph in Wapakoneta, Immaculate Conception in Botkins, St. John in Fryburg, and St. Lawrence in Rhine. We have used various means to connect with our parishioners, especially through social media. However we know there are people falling through the cracks. Hopefully some of our elderly parishioners are reading this message. Know that we are praying for you and if there is way we can help, don’t hesitate to call our parish office 419-738-2115. Please leave a message and we’ll get back to you. We are contacting as many parishioners as possible, but there are inevitably some that are missed.
One of the greatest challenges has been the suspension of Mass throughout the country. It was a necessary, but difficult step. As Catholics, the Mass is the center of our spiritual lives. To remedy this we have been live-streaming daily Mass on Facebook Live. This happens at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to view it.
We have been keeping our Facebook page and website up-to-date with the latest information and content. We post a daily reflection from myself or Father Jarred Kohn. Our website is petersburgparishes.org. We also host a weekly podcast entitled “Darting through the Faith.” We will be offering the Sacrament on Reconciliation from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on April 1 at St. Joseph and taking an abundance of caution through social distancing.
Also, whichever Church you attend, please continue to financially support your Church. Our Churches have bills to pay and payroll to meet. You can call your Church to see the best way to support them. For our parishioners, you can mail your offertory envelope (the mail is checked daily). Also we are in the process of setting up online giving.
Finally I would like to end with a word of encouragement. On Sunday, March 29, Catholics throughout the world hear the Gospel of the Raising of Lazarus (John 11). At the start of the story Jesus says, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” We pray that the glory of God will be revealed through this illness. May God be glorified in your family, in your suffering, and in your life!
Sincerely in the love of Jesus,
The Rev. Sean Wilson
The writer is the priest of Petersburg Parishes, which includes churches in Wapakoneta, Fryburg, Botkins and Rhine.