Fr. Angelo’s Note

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Here at the Companions of St. Anthony, we the Conventual Franciscan Friars and our friends at the Shrine of St. Anthony continue to pray for and walk in solidarity with all of you. May the Lord bring all of you his peace.

While the government has set up physical boundaries to keep families in our nation safe, it has also provided the baptized with the opportunity to intensify their experience of the domestic Church. The home and family is an image of the universal Church: a communion of knowledge and love that is given life and harmony by being united to Christ. Many married couples report blessings upon their marriages and the fruitfulness of being able to spend more time with their children.

However, this experience is not universal. Close-quarter living also comes with liabilities and a peculiar set of challenges. Not only are the personal and familial bubbles we have been forced to create full of anxiety over the threats against life, justice, and peace but also the very feeling of isolation or a lack of privacy has been disorienting for many. The sense of the surreal is not a momentary experience but the new abnormal.

Even while the situation with the pandemic remains unstable and uncertain, here at the Shrine of St. Anthony, we are doing everything we prudently can to move forward with a phased reopening. It is our short term goal to schedule more frequent Masses, opportunities for confession, and access to Our Lord in his Eucharistic presence outside Mass. The shrine grounds remain open, and many people come to our beautiful campus to pray the stations of the cross, sit before Our Lady at the Lourdes Grotto, walk in the woods, take a loop around the campus on their run, picnic as a family, or to just get out of the house! Further, the live-streamed Mass every morning at 8:30 will continue indefinitely, and streaming of other devotions programs will continue to happen from time to time, as indicated on our website. We will begin having outdoor Mass by Carrollton Hall. The schedule is: Monday through Friday and Sunday at 10am. All are welcome!

The holy one, the true, who holds the key of David, who opens and no one shall close, who closes and no one shall open will never abandon us (Rev 3:7). The walls will never truly close in because even in the close-quarters of the domestic Church, Christ is head of his body and protector of the People of God. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has provided a list of “Tools for Building a Domestic Church.” Take a look and be creative.

Meanwhile, continue to be assured of our solidarity. We thank you for your love and support!

Peace and all good.

Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger, Rector