A Note from the Pastor

Fr. Gerard Lecomte, CJM

This is a difficult time. We are struggling to find the right balance between safety and service. In light of the well-documented increase in Covid-19 virus infections in our local community, we have sadly decided that our St. James and St. Leo church buildings will be temporarily closed, effective tomorrow, 4/2. We know people who have been coming to the Church have been careful, but all it takes is one asymptomatic parishioner to infect many others, and that is an unacceptable risk.

What is the Alternative? There are several things we can do to minimize the loss of Church building access.

  1. Consider creating a Sacred Space in your own home. See below for ideas.
  2. Starting Friday, daily Masses with our pastor will be available on the Parish website. With Holy Week next week, we intend to provide livestream or taped liturgies for you to participate.
  3. Although the Church building is closed, there are prayerful outdoor spaces (such as our Our Lady alcove, the Prayer Garden, and the Patio of the Bells). These devotional areas can be visited individually for a quiet moment, respecting social distancing. (It is not encouraged to invite groups to these areas.)
  4. Confessions with Fr. Gerard and Fr. Howard are available by appointment or at the usual Saturday afternoon time at the Patio of the Bells.

This decision was not made lightly, and was one of love and compassion. Do remember that we are always in communion with one another as the Body of Christ.

Although we cannot be together in person at Mass on Sundays, we can still gather together spiritually, in community, in our homes. Many may already have a sacred space set aside in their home as a visual reminder of the presence of God. They go by many names, such as home altar, prayer table, sacred space, or feast table. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be a table. A shelf, or a nook, or even an outdoor space can work. Make your space fit your existing space, and make it as elaborate or as simple as you wish. 

The important thing is that it is personal to you and your family, and that it be a visual reminder of our faith within your domestic church.
There are wonderful resources online for ideas, but be sure to search with the word “Catholic.” Catholic bloggers (such as link) and Pinterest are two such resources. Some elements to consider:

  • Bible: Your family Bible is an important and essential element to be kept within your sacred space. Other religious books can be kept nearby as well.
  • Crucifix: A crucifix is an essential reminder of the sufferings of our Lord, in anticipation of his Resurrection.
  • Mary and the Saints: Consider images or statuettes of Mary and particular saints that are meaningful for your family. Your family might choose a patron saint.
  • Rosary and prayer cards: Keep the rosary that you use in your sacred space.
  • Liturgical colors: Reflect the liturgical year by displaying the current color, such as with a tablecloth or placemat.
  • God’s Creation: Any elements of the beauty of God’s creation are appropriate, such as flowers, rocks, shells, etc.
  • Candles or tealights: Real (or real-looking) candles represent the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  • Holy water: You could include a small font or bottle.
  • Music: Pay attention to all our senses when spending time in your sacred space, and play meditative music.

Your sacred space is a physical reminder of our faith, so focus on what is important to you. Change things up often, especially with the seasons. You could add a resurrection set for Easter, palms from Palm Sunday, or doves at Pentecost. Involve your children or grandchildren to add items or crafts that they make.
Send us photos of your sacred spaces; we would love to see them! (Send to psmith@stjames-stleo.com )