13 April 2020

Fellow Parishioners,

Last year, at the Easter Vigil, I had the privilege of being the lector for the proclamation of the creation story from Genesis, the first of the readings on that most holy night.  When I read “then God said,” and the lector who was reading the part of God proclaimed, “Let there be light!” I looked up at the screen at the back of the darkened church and saw the image of the dawn breaking.  It took my breath away.

This year, although the Easter Vigil was not celebrated in the church building of Saint Katharine Drexel, I have seen God proclaim, “Let there be light” throughout these weeks of darkness brought on by the pandemic.

From darkness came light, when Father Keith asked the staff to write Katharine Konnections to the parish community.  He invited us to be a light to the parish in a new way that was, I must admit, a little scary.  Ana Maria, Brian and Theresa have created inspiring and deeply personal videos and letters, providing the Konnection that we all seek.  Beyond this, they have shown tremendous creativity in looking for ways that our parish family can interact virtually. I participated in “Coffee and Zoom” on Palm Sunday, where I had the opportunity to chat with folks I did not know, so we could be God’s light to each other.

From darkness comes light in the videos by Daniel Owens, our Music Director, for at-home worship.  Besides the hours of planning and editing that go into these resources, he brings so much creativity to the process with the music and images he includes in these productions.

From darkness comes light in the work done by the parish administrative staff. The support of Kathy Tolino has been invaluable in all she does to maintain a sense of order and calm in the midst of this crisis.  Stuart Henderson has worked behind the scenes to ensure that the communications to parishioners are sent out each day, through Katharine Konnections, the website and social media.  

From darkness comes light in the generosity of the parishioners of Saint Katharine Drexel.  I know that we are a family that supports each other, as demonstrated when someone needs meals or rides or when food is needed for a funeral reception.  But now, when I come into the darkened office, I see God’s light in the food bins that are filled to capacity every week – twice as much food as we normally collect.  

From darkness comes light when another parish family responds to the invitation to donate through electronic giving, increases their giving, or makes a special gift to help see us through this time.  I see God’s light when I collect the offertory envelopes and checks that people drop off or mail to the office every day.

From darkness comes light, in a very personal way for me, when parishioners write an email or send a note thanking the staff for what we are doing.  We aren’t first responders putting our lives on the line. We’re just people looking after the continued spiritual and financial health of our community. Your notes of support mean so much to all of us. 

And from darkness comes light in the leadership of Father Keith during this crisis and always.

So, as the person overseeing the parish’s finances, I want to thank you for being God’s light during this time of darkness by generously supporting our parish.  Offertory collections, while still below normal levels, have increased each week since the pandemic began.  The mortgage collection has been strong.  Easter donations continue to come into the office and are approaching $8,000. We will track the Easter collection in the bulletin throughout the month of April. 

Happy Easter!  May we continue to be God’s light to each other.

Pat O’Connor

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