Pastor's Desk

From Your Pastor – March 26, 2020

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

We are now approaching our second weekend without public Sunday Masses in our Church. I cannot think of another such time in the history of our parish.

Fr. David has been posting daily Mass from our own beautiful church, so that you can continue to worship in a familiar place. I have posted Sunday Mass in Spanish, so that the prayer life of our parish can continue as seamlessly as possible. These Masses are available “on demand”.

Our rectory office remains open during business hours for answering phone calls and doing whatever can be done while preventing potential contact with the coronavirus. Ignacio, our maintenance man, is sanitizing the church and making needed repairs which are difficult to do when the church is occupied.

I was pastor of St. Apollinaris Church in Napa when a powerful local earthquake struck early Sunday morning on August 24, 2014. The power went off and it was still dark outside. As I got dressed and prepared to leave my room, I had to be careful not to cut my feet on broken glass. I rushed across town to check on a priest who was recovering from recent hip replacement surgery. He was shaken, but fine.

By the time I hurried back to the church, the sun was rising and parishioners were gathering in the parking lot, offering help. One came with a wrench to shut off the gas. Another came to check out the electrical systems. Still another came with flashlights. And some gathered simply because they wanted the reassurance of being near their church, even though we could not enter it for several more days. Later that morning, all Masses took place on schedule, outside. National Public Radio was on hand to report on the events.

(In the collection that morning, we received a note from a couple visiting from Kansas. They were so moved by the Mass that they wrote a check for $10,000 for repairs. After I announced that at next Sunday’s Masses, parishioners applauded. I then received a note from another couple visiting from Texas, saying that their state would not be outdone by Kansas, and enclosed another $10,000 check.)

By the next weekend, we were back into the church, though it suffered significant cosmetic damage. As it turned out, there was over $1,000,000 in repairs needed for our relatively new church and gymnasium. The gym was repaired in less than 6 months, and we were able to salvage some of the remaining indoor sports seasons. Somehow, we got through it all.

Pope St. John XXIII often said, “History is the teacher of life.” St. Vincent’s has experienced, and grown stronger, through challenges in the past. The Great Depression. World War II, whose final outcome was not at all assured. The Bay Area wartime blackouts to fend off potential enemy bombings at night. The polio scares of the 1950’s, which terrified parents and closed public playgrounds and pools. The Cuban Missile Crisis (within days of the opening of the Second Vatican Council), in which the whole world came as close to nuclear war as it had ever been, before or since. The spiritual shelter and solace provided by our parish, together with your prayers and good works, have given witness to the providential love of God which is always near.

Fast forward to the present. This has been a very challenging couple of weeks. The end is not yet in sight. Most of us are worried about the health of our loved ones, our community and our country. Some households have experienced limited inconvenience, while other families are experiencing illness, significant or total income loss, and anxiety about the future. Still others have no one to pray or care for them.

At the same time, there are many coming to the aid of those in need: medical professionals, public safety workers and providers of essential services. We have a renewed appreciation for all those who now risk their health to provide services we depend on. Together with continued support of our parish, the Lenten penance of giving alms is especially fitting now for helping the neediest among us.

In all of this, we know that “we conquer overwhelmingly through Him who loved us,” and that “nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” (Romans 8) May the Holy Spirit continue to guide, protect and strengthen us now and in the days to come.

You are all in our prayers.

Rev. William Donahue

About our Parish and our Website

Our parish mission statement identifies St. Vincent’s as a Eucharist centered people who, as the Body of Christ, live our faith in word and deed by sharing our time, talent, and treasure to support one another and serve those in need.

This website is intended not only to provide you with the information you need about our parish but also to help us build up our life as a community and so help us in our mission. It provides a way for us to connect with each other; and we invite you to use it to share stories, to learn about what’s happening and what’s coming up, and to provide information you think we all need to hear. This site will evolve as our parish evolves; it belongs to all of us. I hope you find it helpful.

“All are Welcome in this Place.”

This hymn speaks to the atmosphere, design, and heart of St. Vincent’s parish: there is a place here for everyone.  In fact, you are not only welcomed, but needed!  As we explore and expand our ideas of just what a Church community is, we recognize first that pivotal life events occur in church: weddings, baptisms, First Communion, Confirmation; but, we also find that we need community in order to be a Spirit filled Church where we praise God, share our faith, and help one another by way of fellowship, and the numerous ministries available to all parishioners. Through our stewardship, the gift of our time and talent, there is a wonderful opportunity to give and receive, to make friends, to help friends, to see how our talents are a gift from God made for sharing.  We are bonded to a group of people with whom we already have at least one thing in common, and that is our faith.  It is our hope that you will use this community website to build bridges and connect with one another, and see that each of us, too, is a gift from God meant to be shared.