Community, Endings, Beginnings

By Eric Brooks

Two things struck me regarding Msgr. Cody and his tenure with us this weekend. The first was in his farewell letter when I suddenly realized our parish has been in flux for fourteen months regarding a permanent pastor. And, in reality, had been for somewhat more than fourteen months. Compounding that was the minor issue of a global pandemic, Ohio being locked down, the parish being closed and then incrementally reopened. Masks, social distancing, essential industries; lions, tigers, and bears, oh my. And let’s never forget toilet paper. 

The second was Msgr. Cody’s closing remarks this morning at his final Sunday as our administer pro-tem. In that statement, Msgr. Cody mentioned, among many other things regarding our parish, the strong sense of community at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Despite fourteen months of unprecedented changes and restrictions throughout our society, the parish has maintained that sense of community. Our community has adapted to and overcome every test we have been challenged with. 

No in-person services… we’ll broadcast them online. No in-person small groups (i.e. bible study, Parish Women’s Association, Men’s Faith Formation, Saint Vincent DePaul Society, etc.) … we’ll Zoom those meetings. Incidentally, I have developed a deep hatred of Zoom over these past fourteen months. No Holy Water, no Precious Blood at Communion, folding metal chairs in the chapel, the church locked down outside services. No problem, we’ve got this. 

It was our community that allowed us to survive through these challenges. Supportive comments on the OLPH Facebook page, participating in those broadcast Masses and Zoom meetings, doing whatever was required in order to return to Mass in-person as a community. I would certainly not equate the past fourteen months to forty years wandering the desert, but they were certainly dark times for our parish, our nation, and our world. 

And we overcame them as a parish community.

I have the utmost respect for Msgr. Cody for being dragged out of retirement and shepherding OLPH through those dark times. (And it seems he will continue to be dragged out of retirement at St. Joan of Arc. They are fortunate to have him, and I already emailed my cousin where she and her family are members of that parish to look forward to him helping with weekend masses.) However, Our Lady has come to an ending with Msgr. Cody and now face a new beginning. 

Sometime on Tuesday, July 13th Fr. Yokum arrived at our parish and became our new pastor. We will welcome him, the Parish Women’s Association will host a reception for him this Sunday afternoon, and then the real work begins as a community. A new beginning.

But what does community mean in these strange and evolving circumstances? 

For me it was defined by dropping off cookies for Msgr. Cody’s reception last Saturday afternoon. It was a host of familiar faces, heartfelt greetings, and hugs… yes, hugs despite the waning pandemic. It was walking into a room and being recognized as a fellow brother in Christ and immediately welcomed. It was “Hey, have you ever met Eric? Let me introduce him.” 

I do understand the cookies may have influenced these positive reactions. In my experience, no one bearing a few dozen cookies ever receives a poor reception. 

It is these individual and very personal interactions that define us as a parish; define us as a community. Fours. We have not walked in the desert for forty years “For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness…” (Josh 5:6) nor we have been tempted in the desert for forty days. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights…” (Mt 4:1) But we have made it through fourteen months as a community and a parish, united together in our love of Christ and each other. 

I am very much looking forward to all of us showing Fr. Yokum that community. 

For anyone who is a fan of Robin Williams, John Lithgow, or Glen Close, I will leave you with, “You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else.”

Join us for Mass: Pentecost

Join us for the celebration of Mass for the Solemnity of Pentecost!

Due to the availability of volunteers, beginning this weekend and continuing indefinitely, we will switch from streaming the 10 am Mass on Sunday to the 8 am Mass on Sunday. We will continue to stream the 5 pm Vigil Mass on Saturday whenever we have a volunteer sign up. 

If you are interested in helping run the live streams for our Masses and other events, please email us at broadcast@ouraldygc.org

This weekend, we will be streaming the 5 pm Mass on Saturday, and the 8 am Mass on Sunday. You can join the live streams at the buttons below. Both will also be saved to our Youtube Channel for later viewing.

New Statement from the Ohio Bishops – Obligation to Attend Mass Resumes June 5/6

The Ohio Conference of Catholic Bishops have released a statement reimposing the obligation to attend Sunday Mass beginning the weekend of June 5-6. “Together, the Bishops of Ohio have decided that the general obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (including the Saturday/Vigil Mass) is to be reinstated (CIC, can. 1247). This will take effect in each of the Dioceses of Ohio the weekend of June 5-6, 2021. As has always been the case, those who have a serious reason are exempt from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2181). This includes those who are ill, have significant health risk factors or care for someone who is immuno-compromised or ill, as well as those who have significant fear or anxiety of contracting the coronavirus in a large group of persons.” We encourage everyone to read the entire statement, which is attached to this email.

In addition, the Diocese has requested that we allow all pews in the church to be used in order to accommodate more people as they return to Mass. The ropes currently blocking off every other pew will therefore be removed before this weekend’s Masses. We ask that you still try to maintain at least 3 feet between households if possible. As of right now, the health order in Ohio to wear masks will be in place until June 2, so we will keep our mask requirement in place until then. 

We thank you all for following the guidance of our Bishop throughout this pandemic, and we are excited for another big step in a return to normalcy. We will release any additional information or updates to guidelines from the Diocese as they are made known to us. See you at Mass!

Join us for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Join us for the celebration of Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Easter! 

We have been working hard to help you all access our live streams in the easiest, most convenient way. To this end, we have now set up a new page on our website where you can conveniently view the most recent Mass without having to follow a Mass-specifiic link or go to our YouTube channel. From now on, we will be directing you to that page, although you are still welcome to go directly to our YouTube channel if you wish!
Thanks to our fantastic volunteers, we will again be live streaming two different Masses this weekend. We will be streaming the 5 pm Mass on Saturday, and the 10 am Mass on Sunday. 

You can join the live streams at the buttons below. Both will also be saved to our Youtube Channel for later viewing.

Join us for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Join us for the celebration of Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Easter! 

We have been working hard to help you all access our live streams in the easiest, most convenient way. To this end, we have now set up a new page on our website where you can conveniently view the most recent Mass without having to follow a Mass-specifiic link or go to our YouTube channel. From now on, we will be directing you to that page, although you are still welcome to go directly to our YouTube channel if you wish!
Thanks to our fantastic volunteers, we will again be live streaming two different Masses this weekend. We will be streaming the 5 pm Mass on Saturday, and the 10 am Mass on Sunday. 

You can join the live streams at the buttons below. Both will also be saved to our Youtube Channel for later viewing.

Join us for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Join us for the celebration of the Fourth Sunday of Easter! Thanks to our fantastic volunteers, we will again be live streaming two different Masses this weekend. You can join the live streams at the buttons below. Both will also be saved to our Youtube Channel for later viewing.

We hope you all have a blessed weekend!

Join us for the Third Sunday of Easter

Join us for the celebration of the Third Sunday of Easter! Thanks to our fantastic volunteers, we will again be live streaming two different Masses this weekend. In addition to our usual streaming of the 10 am Mass on Sunday, we will also be live streaming the 5 pm Mass on Saturday afternoon. 

You can join the live streams at the buttons below. Both will also be saved to our Youtube Channel for later viewing.

We hope you have a great weekend!

Join us for Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday!

Join us for the celebration of Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday! Thanks to our fantastic volunteers, we will again be live streaming two different Masses this weekend. In addition to our usual streaming of the 8:30 am Mass on Sunday, we will also be live streaming the 5 pm Mass on Saturday afternoon. 

You can join the live streams at the buttons below. Both will also be saved to our Youtube Channel for later viewing.

We hope you have a great weekend!

Join us for Holy Week!

Join us for our Holy Week liturgies! If you can’t join us in-person, join us online! Our schedule for the Easter Triduum is:

Holy Thursday, April 1
Mass of the Lord’s Supper 7 pm*

Good Friday, April 2
Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion 3 pm*
Stations of the Cross 7 pm*

Holy Saturday, April 3
Easter Vigil Mass 8 pm*

Easter Sunday, April 4
8 am, 10 am*, and noon Masses

*Indicates the service will also be live streamed and saved to our YouTube Channel.

You can find more information and the live stream link for each service below.

New Letter from Bishop Brennan

Bishop Brennan, along with all the Bishops of Ohio, has published a new letter to all the faithful. Please see below!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Since the onset of the pandemic just a year ago, the Bishops of Ohio have worked together during this unprecedented time with the assistance of government and health professionals to lead and protect all those entrusted to our pastoral care. By the grace of God and the painstaking efforts by so many to follow Covid-19 protocols, coupled with the expanding availability of vaccines, we are making progress in our fight against this deadly scourge. What a blessing it will be for us to be in person in our churches this year to celebrate the Paschal Mystery, culminating in the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. 

In our shared hope of eradicating this virus and encouraging ongoing return of the faithful to Holy Mass and the Sacraments each week, you are invited to continue to follow all the essential protocols of hand sanitizing, wearing masks and social distancing. These efforts are working to the point that we are in a much more hopeful place than we were even a few months ago. 

At the same time, you are encouraged to receive a vaccine. To reiterate the teaching of the Church with regard to the vaccine options: if you have the opportunity to choose a vaccine, you should choose Pfizer or Moderna. While the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is made from cell lines originating from an aborted human fetus, it should be taken only if it is the only option available. 

As we move toward herd immunity, notwithstanding a spike in the virus, it is our sincere hope that soon we can return to the regular celebration of Mass with full capacity in our churches, and thus lift the dispensation of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. We are advised that parish festivals likely can take place this summer, preferably outdoors, following the necessary protocols. Nevertheless, we all need to remain vigilant. 

We look forward with eager longing to when we can all be together around the altar of the Lord without any restrictions. In the meantime, let us continue to do all that we need to do to overcome the virus, and rely upon the guidance of government and health officials so that we can return to some sense of normal. 

Have a blessed Holy Week!

Sincerely in Christ,

The Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr
Archdiocese of Cincinnati

The Most Rev. David J. Bonnar
Diocese of Youngstown

The Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan
Diocese of Columbus

The Most Rev. Daniel E. Thomas
Diocese of Toledo

The Most Rev. Bohdan J. Danylo
Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of
St. Josaphat in Parma

The Most Rev. Edward C. Malesic
Diocese of Cleveland

The Most Rev. Jeffrey M. Monforton
Diocese of Steubenville

The Most Rev. John Michael Botean
St. George Byzantine Catholic Diocese