Pastor's Desk

A Few Words From Our Pastor, November 19, 2020

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

Once again, I thank those who responded generously to my appeal letter at the end of last month. Donations and very nice notes continue to come in, and our parish staff and I are most grateful.

1) There will be two Thanksgiving Day Masses – one in English, one in Spanish, both posted as videos on our parish website. Traditionally, this has been our parish’s one bilingual celebration of the year. Since we are not yet able to gather in our church as one parish community, it makes more sense to have a Mass in each language. We plan to return to our bilingual format next Thanksgiving.

2) The Sunday after Thanksgiving is the First Sunday of Advent. We will unveil our plans for Advent soon. Using an expression familiar to organists, we plan to “pull out all the stops” for a warm and inspiring Advent and Christmas season, whether we celebrate in person or remotely.

3) We learned on November 17 that we will not be able to return to our church for some time to come. Some of you continue to express your frustration about this, which I happen to share. Not long ago, I went to Target on a Saturday, and the store and parking lot were swarming with people, with no apparent limitation on the number of people who could be in the store at one time. Practically everyone can provide their own example of the perceived unfairness of this. On the other hand, one could argue that a church has a higher ethical duty for the safety of its parishioners than a corporation has for customers. As I mentioned before, the California Bishops’ Conference and our diocesan officials in Santa Rosa are doing all they can behind the scenes to provide needed information and to lobby for the interests of our parishes, schools and people, which cannot be separated from the common good of all. At present, the bishop is working with Sonoma County to identify parish facilities that could be used for pop-up COVID testing centers. We have already had two testing days here at SV, and we will probably have more, weather permitting. Some people have told me they feel the church has been too compliant and ought to be more forceful in pressing its interests. A few have even suggested that we disregard the restrictions and resume Masses in the church. It is in nobody’s interest that the waters be even more troubled than they already are. We will work within current limits, and make the most of the things we can do. I urge all to pray for the wide and rapid distribution of an effective vaccine.

4) This week is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower after a grueling 10-week journey. They dropped anchor at Provincetown (the tip of Cape Cod) on November 21, 1620, two days after sighting land. Only half of them survived to celebrate the first Thanksgiving in 1621. In addition to their physical courage in the face of extreme hardship, we should be mindful of the spiritual and Christian nature of their quest which played a crucial role in the founding of our country.

5) Many people are staying closer to home this year, and are adapting family traditions to our current situation. I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving, full of blessings for which to be thankful. — Fr. Bill

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.