Hello, I am Father Don Oleksiak, diocesan administrator of the Diocese of Cleveland.
I hope you have been praying for your priests and parish staffs who have been working over the past few weeks preparing your churches to welcome you back for the public celebration of Mass on or after Monday, May 25.
Jesus invites us to the table of the Lord and we are excited, cautious and ready to come back. As he invites us, he also gives us some pretty clear instructions in this Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
As we return to the public celebration of Mass, we are reminded that the Mass is not simply the necessary ritual formalities to receiving Communion, but it is Christ’s perfect offering of himself and all of creation to the Father. As we are united with our Lord and one another in Mass, we pray that God will send his Holy Spirit upon us to give us the strength and courage we need to live out our faith daily and to bring others to know the love and mercy of our good and loving God.
Thank you for your patience, understanding, prayers and cooperation during these very difficult days. As we gather to celebrate Memorial Day this weekend, we pray for and honor the women and men who died while serving in the U.S. military. We pray in thanksgiving for our freedom -- especially to worship -- and we pray for peace in the world and in our own hearts.
Please know that you remain in my prayers. Please use good sense and stay home if you are high risk, elderly or not feeling well. And finally, please know that God is with you until the end of time. God bless.