J. M. J.

12-27-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Nativity/Birth of Our Lord is a feast day so powerful to experience and equally important to ponder that merely one day’s celebration is not sufficient. Instead, we celebrate what is called the Octave of Christmas. “Octave” means “eight” and refers to the eight full days from Christmas Day through January 1, the feast of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Masses for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God are: Vigil, Dec 31 at 5:30pm (English) & 7:00pm (Spanish); and Jan 1 at 11:00am (English). These celebrations allow us to thank God for the past year (or maybe to thank Him that the year is passed!) and ask for His blessings for 2021, along with the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary.

This weekend we celebrate Holy Family Sunday. Yearly, we are blessed to ponder the example of the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the shining model for all Christian families. If you are called to the vocation of Christian family life, then use this celebration to ask the Holy Family to bless and guide you in your vocation. Are you a husband and a father? Then, strive to be the best one ever. Why settle for less? Are you a wife and mother? Then, endeavor to be the best one who ever lived. Again, why settle for less? Are you a child? (Including teens on this one!) Be a light to your family, helping to show them the way as did the Child Jesus, who eventually became the “Teen Jesus.” We cannot settle for being anything less than a saint, because only saints go to heaven. Praise God for His mercy, grace, and forgiveness to help us when we fall to start again and again on the path to the holiness of life. Be a light wherever God has placed you.


O Come, Let Us Adore Him!

12-20-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Well, Christmas is just about here. You’ve no doubt seen our “elves” already at work, just beginning the transformation of our St. Mary’s church and campus into a place of Christmas splendor. After the 4th Sunday of Advent has ended, they will finish with a joyful flourish!

I realize that it is an understatement to say that it’s been quite a year. No one could have dreamed of the way things went. In the midst of all of the uncertainty, fear, sorrow, loss, and pain, we still have a secret to the joy that cannot be taken away. It’s an open secret available to anyone who will open their hearts even just a little to the incredible event that we celebrate. The long-awaited fulfillment of God’s promise to truly save us. Not merely giving us what we want on our Christmas lists or taking away aches and pains, but to be saved. Your Savior has come.


Gaudete Sunday

12-13-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We continue to pray for a swift and safe end to all the problems caused by the pandemic. In the meantime, please remember who we are: we are always and everywhere – whether online in comments and social media or out and about in the community – disciples of Jesus Christ. Therefore, let each action and word be not your own, but His. If someone has a conversation with you or me about any topic, will they come away from the conversation knowing we are a faithful disciple?

There are, as you likely know, a few vaccines preparing to roll out. Some people have wrongly suggested that certain vaccines coming available were made with tissue taken from aborted fetuses. Here is the “official word” on the morality of the current vaccines:

“To clear any confusion or concerns regarding COVID vaccines and future production, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released the following memo from Greg Schleppenbach, associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities:

“Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine involved the use of cell lines that originated in fetal tissue taken from the body of an aborted baby at any level of design, development, or production.


Confirmation November 17, 2020

12-06-2020Pastor's Letter

See the St. Mary HOC confirmations here.

Making a New Start

11-29-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Happy New Year! At least, happy new liturgical year! As always, the first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the Church’s new liturgical cycle. The good Lord knows that we need a new beginning! Most of the Gospels for this liturgical year will come from St. Mark – Cycle B. We begin each new year not by looking back at Christ’s first coming at Christmas, but by looking forward to His glorious Second Coming. As disciples, we are to keep the future in mind as we go about the present. 


Parish Necrology for Nov 1 2019 - Nov 1 2020

11-22-2020Pastor's Letter

View the Parish Necrology here.

Additions Old and New

11-15-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When driving near Old St. Mary’s, take a look at the beautiful new addition on the York St. side of the property between Old St. Mary’s and the rectory: a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Grace. The statue itself is not new. Many years ago it graced the grounds of a convent on Magnolia St. housing Dominican Sisters, who taught at St. Mary’s. The statue is a donation from April Bransome-Gorton in memory of her parents, Dr. and Mrs. E. D. Bransome. We are extremely grateful to the Bransome-Gorton families for this lovely piece of St. Mary’s history.

Other, new additions will (hopefully) have arrived by the time you read this – the last four stained-glass windows! Once they are installed, I will have a special writeup explaining the detailed symbolism in each window. We are so grateful to our donors, whose overwhelming generosity made these exquisite pieces of art possible for all people to enjoy.

Please note that the usual 5:30pm daily Mass on Tuesday, November 17, is canceled. The Bishop will be here that evening at 7:00pm to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on our youth who missed it this spring because of the shutdown. Please pray for these wonderful young men and women, asking their Confirmation Saints to intercede and help them come to great holiness.


Grant Them Eternal Rest

11-08-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We arrive at Commitment Weekend for our Bicentennial Campaign. For those who did not have an opportunity to pledge and would like to, we will leave just a bit of time after the homily this weekend to fill out a pledge card. Remember that half of every dollar comes back to our parish for some much-needed projects. We have already begun receiving distributions from those who have already donated. With these funds, we have begun the security fence around our school and have begun the initial work on the flat-roof sections of Old Saint Mary’s church. The other half of donations go to support and serve important projects and people in the Diocese. Click the banner on our parish website for more information, where you can also donate. Thank you to all who have given it!


Our One Goal - To Be Holy

11-01-2020Pastor's Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

How blessed we are to celebrate All Saints Day this Sunday! It is truly a day for all the Saints, both known and unknown.

Mon, Nov 2, is All Souls Day and begins our solemn month of praying for our Faithful Departed that they may be cleansed from their sins through the saving Cross of Christ. Masses for All Souls: 11:00am at Calvary Cemetery (the church in case of inclement weather), 5:30pm, and 7:00pm (Spanish). The Book of the Faithful Departed will be available near the main doors of the church throughout November to write the names of your loved ones. Regarding the envelopes for All Souls: You are invited to record the names of your departed loved ones on the envelope. These will be placed on the altar and remembered at Masses throughout the month of November.


Discipleship and Civility

10-25-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In order to get this column into the bulletin, it has to be done very early. So, at the moment of writing this, I do not have an update on the status of our Bicentennial Campaign. Hopefully, you received a mailing last week that explains the campaign in more detail and includes a pledge card. This week, you may receive a follow-up call from a parish volunteer to see if we can answer any questions you might have. Remember, you can pledge over five years and nothing is legally binding. Also know that due to the special circumstances of the pandemic, truly no gift is too small. Like Jesus’ story of the widow’s mite (Mark 12:41– 44), the true value of any gift is based on the sacrifice of the giver. This campaign is genuinely a good thing for the people of both the diocese and our parish, which receives half of all gifts. You can also donate online. Just click on our Bicentennial Campaign banner.


Praise God

10-18-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Last week I mentioned that since mid-May, all the parishes of our diocese have been making in-person Mass available. No case of COVID-19 has been contracted by attending Mass at any parish in the diocese – praise God.

During this time, Mass attendance has been gradually increasing. Since July the Bishop has allowed up to 50% capacity provided that we can maintain social distance. That means that St. Mary’s is able to exceed 200 people. Those living under the same roof do not need to socially distance, so we are able to seat more people. As of yet, we have not had to send anyone to our overflow at 5 pm Sat., 11 am Sun. or 12:30 pm Sun.

A reminder that this Sunday we will begin singing again at Mass. This has not resulted in people contracting the coronavirus from attending Mass at other parishes. Of course, we will keep our masks on and sing at a normal, i.e., not elevated, volume. Recall from last week’s column that most people do not sing hymns like professional singers, so the number of droplets produced by “regular” people like you and me (according to the most recent studies with people singing with masks) is not more dangerous than regular talking. We are pro-life, and would never do something to recklessly endanger human life.


Moving Forward in Faith

10-11-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Since mid-May, St. Mary’s parish, along with all the parishes of our diocese and our neighboring diocese, have been making in-person Mass available. Thanks are to God, no one has contracted COVID-19 by attending Mass. Also, almost without exception, the other parishes have been doing at least some singing. Again, this has not resulted in people contracting the disease from attending Mass, and they have been doing this for nearly five months. With this in mind, we plan to resume some singing at Mass (still with masks on) beginning next Sunday, October 18.

Why is this safe? Most people in a congregation do not sing hymns with the gusto of an opera diva or even the controlled beauty of our wonderful cantors; so the number of droplets produced by “normal” people like you and me are (according to the most recent studies with people singing with masks,) not more dangerous than regular talking. We are pro-life and would never do something to recklessly endanger human life. So, let’s dip a toe into the water and “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!” (Psalm 100)


The Lord, the Giver of Life

10-04-2020Pastor's LetterFr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

My recent vacation and retreat were wonderfulopportunities both to relax and recharge. As most of youknow, perhaps my favorite way to unwind is a good, longhike. Over several days in western NC, I was able to clock inover 50 miles of trails with a combined elevation gain of over9,500ft. (If you’re not someone who enjoys hiking, all thatmeans is that I had a great time!) In all my Masses Iespecially remembered each of you and your personalintentions, offering them all up in the greatest possible act ofprayer – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As with any timeaway, it’s always wonderful to come home, and it’s great tosee your faces again! (Well, most of your head at least.)