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A Letter from the Pastor


Dear People of Visitation,

Right here, in your prayerful hands, is the Lent booklet for 2021. Last year Lent was bifurcated by the coronavirus. My memory is not phenomenal by any stretch, but it suggests to me that life became quite different right about Saint Patrick’s Day, 17 March. Of course, we went from parochial powerhouse to pastoral ghost town with suddenness akin to an old-fashioned train wreck. We had no choice. It was a tough time, at least it was for me and more than a few of you. And now, things are much better than in those early days of closed school, empty offices, and no more than 5 people in a room to produce a live streamed liturgy (sometimes with a heroically handheld smartphone camera), but they are still quite a ways from pre-Covid days. I know so many of us still look forward to a return to more normative times.

I suggest that these peculiar seasons make the Lent booklet this year of particular importance. It is a tangible product of the mostly unseen entity that is still Visitation Parish. Yes, all those wonderful, kind, and talented people who used to wave and converse in the narthex and on the Sunday sidewalk are still there, albeit unseen, sometimes hunkered down, occasionally even lonely, in their homes, awaiting a new day when they sense it is safe to significantly come out again. Some of those folks helped produce the little book you hold at the moment. I am thankful to each of our contributors, whatever their pandemic-engendered circumstances. With each day’s reflection, they have made a worthy effort to raise the spiritual consciousness of us all. No mean feat at that.

In one of our Covid caused “Video Visitations” I quoted an adage I spied on an Ozarks church sign. It read, “The more you miss church, the less you miss church.” I am hoping that the use of this precious book will prove to be something of an antidote to the unfortunate, and sometimes inevitable, truth of that sign. Then, we pray, we will soon sense the end of the pandemic and see the beginning of our parish restored in prayer, and in person.

In our Holy Communion,

Msgr. Bradley S. Offutt, Pastor

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