From the Pastor's Desk: Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie, SJ.
Two weeks ago, our world began to shut down and our way of life was transformed. Each of us in our own ways have been challenged by the coronavirus crisis. All of us have been required to adapt and to develop ways of coping amidst the stress.
I am consoled to report that Holy Trinity parishioners and our staff have stepped to the challenges presented before them—demonstrating what a community of faith can do when called upon. Allow me to list some of the ways.
Despite the closure of our buildings, Holy Trinity’s liturgical life continues to thrive. Our Pastoral Associate for Liturgy, David Pennington, along with our Director of Music, Kathy DeJardin, have organized virtual Morning and Evening Prayer three times a week. Parishioners are welcome to join Morning Prayer at 9am on Mondays and Fridays and Evening Prayer at 5:30pm on Wednesdays. Also, my fellow Jesuits and I have taken turns recording daily homilies and have had a couple of videotaped Eucharist liturgies for Sunday and Feast days from the Chapel of St. Ignatius. In addition, the website has links to live stream daily Eucharistic Liturgies from Georgetown’s Dahlgren Chapel and other Jesuit parishes around the country.
Holy Trinity School continues its outstanding programs through cyber school. Coordinated by Principal Kevin McShane and his Assistant Principals, Charlie Hennessy and Kerri Edwards, dozens of our teachers continue to teach hundreds of students through online platforms. These students are learning at home encouraged, of course, by their first teachers—their parents.
Our Ignatian Spirituality & Prayer ministry, under the leadership of Catherine Heinhold and Martina O’Shea, has been quite busy. Twenty-one retreatants and ten directors have continued their Lenten Retreat through telecommunications. Meanwhile, 25 people have been engaged in Praying in Sacred Space on Thursdays and Saturdays. Also, the training programs in Spiritual Direction and the Spiritual Exercises are continuing online.
Our Social Justice ministry has coordinated creative and compassionate efforts of outreach. For example, Ashley Klick, our Pastoral Associate for Social Justice organized a phone tree whereby some 50 parishioners called more than 1,000 older parishioners as a way of touching base, especially for those who may feel alone and isolated. In addition, parishioners have increased their support to migrant families as well as tour parish efforts with the Kino Border Initiative and Global Response Management.
In the area of Religious Education under Judith Brusseau, adult confirmation, marriage preparation, and baptism preparation have been moved to a virtual platform. Our generous volunteer catechists have been meeting virtually to share strategies for assisting parents in their role as primary teachers of the faith and to support one another. In addition, a weekly newsletter has been planned for resources for parents to encourage and support faith formation strategies at home.
Youth Ministry, under the leadership of Rebecca Hoesterey, is holding Wednesday evening virtual spaces for 8th-12th grade students to connect and share life, as well as be led in interactive reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation. Meanwhile, dozens of young adults, as part of our Young Adult Community, are holding weekly virtual faith-sharing on Thursdays and virtual “happy hours” on Fridays.
Last but not least, special kudos go out to our Director of Communications, Karelia Pallan, and coordinator Xareny Jackson, who monitor and update our website, our daily emails, and have helped to organize all of these teleconference outreaches in addition to creating this blog.
Amidst all the troubling news the past two weeks it is good to tell these stories of good news. Indeed, these parish activities are contemporary examples of following Jesus’ command to go to all the world and share the “Good News”!