Church hours for private prayer during Holy Week

Holy Week Church Hours at Our Lady of Victory, Harveys Lake

Tuesday:             9 – 10 am
Wednesday:       Noon – 2 pm (please note, no evening hours)
Good Friday:      1 pm – 3 pm
                               5 – 7 pm

Easter Sunday:  12 pm – 2 pm

Regular Church Hours at Our Lady of Victory, Harveys Lake

Monday:          Noon – 2 pm
Tuesday:          9 – 10 am
Wednesday:    5 pm – 7 pm (Evening)
Thursday:        Noon – 2 pm
Friday:              9 – 10 am
Sunday:            Noon – 2 pm

Holy Week

We are completing our Lenten journey as begin Holy Week.  Our Lenten Journey – it may have a deeper meaning this year than ever before.  Lent is always a time in which we are to give up something or add something to our lives so that we can grow more deeply closer to the Lord.  As our lives have changed, our experience of the traditions of our Catholic faith have been severely limited.  Yet through the electronic media the church has begun to be present and reach out in more ways than ever expected.    I know we have been without the physical experience of the Eucharist – the source and summit of who we are as Christians – and with that we are reaching…and God is reaching back.   So many are experiencing an awareness and a longing for something we took for granted.   And the Eucharist is still being consecrated and the priests themselves are probably praying for all people in ways they never did before as they celebrate the Mass.

This longing is our Lenten Journey.   Now we begin Holy Week which officially starts on Palm Sunday.  The Triduum is the culmination of the week.  

The Most Holy Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil).  These three days are one continuous liturgy – they are not three separate liturgies – but one continuous celebration.  The Triduum calls to mind for us the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – it happened only once and is not repeatable – but we make that moment in Salvation History present.  We reenter into the spiritual journey of Jesus Christ and his disciples and allow ourselves to walk it again as if it were yesterday.  Jesus’ sacrifice and the truth of the resurrection was for those at that time a salvific blessing – and Jesus intended it for us and for all people, until the end of time. 

This year we are not able to physically attend these liturgies.  Interestingly enough, I have come to realize that all Catholic do not know about the Triduum.   Also so many over the years have been so busy that they were unable to find time to experience this Holy Week the way they wanted.   And maybe we are beginning to prioritize our schedules differently because we can – maybe we are spending time with family or finding time by ourselves in different ways than before.  Therefore, maybe we can take time to enter into the depth of this Holy Week in prayer in ways as never before.  In Psalm 46, God says: Be still and know that I am God.  If we choose, we may be able to prioritize our lives for God in a profound way during this Holy Week.  As an average parish priest, I know that I am working hard to provide a live-stream of these liturgies – and our entire Catholic World will be transmitting experiences from around the world that we can tap into.   The truth of our faith is lifted up and celebrated in the Triduum… Come and join in  and be still with God.

The Eucharist will be with us til the end of time…and God is reaching out to us in so many ways.  Let us reach out to our God during this Holy Week…and continue to grow more closely to our Lord and celebrate this Holy Week.  Our world-wide celebration is the most important day of celebration in our faith…the truth of who Christ is in our lives – his eternal love for us in the now and forever of our lives. 

May you be blessed with Easter Hope and Strength
Father Toomey
Pastor

Live Stream broadcasts of the Triduum on Facebook…and there will be links to from our webpage. 

Holy Thursday from Gate of Heaven at 7 pm                                                

Good Friday from Our Lady of Victory at noon.

Easter Vigil from Our Lady of Victory at 8 pm

Easter Sunday Mass from Gate of Heaven at 10 am

Bishop Bambera’s Message to the Faithful
April 2, 2020

March 31, 2020

In my daily prayers, I am reflecting both spiritually and practically on the current challenges we are facing in the world.  The reality of the spread of COVID-19 has been made more real to us by its entrance into our own Back Mountain community, as seen by the closing of the Trucksville Sheetz due to one of their staff members contracting the virus.  We are not immune and must do all we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Yesterday, Bishop Bambera gave all Pastors of the Diocese of Scranton the responsibility to decide whether or not to open their individual churches for private prayer opportunities.  It is very important that we provide a place for individual prayer for our two churches.  However, we are at a disadvantage in the physical plans of our two church buildings.  Neither Gate of Heaven Church nor Our Lady of Victory Church is a stand-alone building.  Both Churches are attached to office and operational areas that are critical to the function of the parishes.  If an infected person came in to pray, the safety of my staff would be jeopardized, and the operation of that the Church would have to shut down for a significant period of time. 

With that in mind, I have made the decision to temporarily stop private prayer hours at Gate of Heaven Church.  Due to the design of GOH, all entrances into the Church proper pass through staff and operational areas.  I have identified a specific entrance and space within Our Lady of Victory for private prayer for anyone that would like to still come to pray.  Please review our new private prayer hours at Our Lady of Victory listed below. 

Please know that it is with a very heavy heart that I have made this decision.  Keep praying for me and the decisions that I must make at this unprecedented time.  Decisions like these will always be questioned, but I must do what is best and safest for those who wish to still pray in church, my staff and our parish families. Please forgive me if this upsets you.  I am upset over it too. 

I pray for you at the Mass always.

Father Daniel Toomey
Pastor, Gate of Heaven & Our Lady of Victory Churches 

Regular Private Prayer Hours at Our Lady of Victory

Monday & Thursday: Noon-2pm
            Tuesday & Friday: 9am-10am
            Wednesday Evening: 5pm-7pm
            Sunday: 12pm-2pm

Holy Week Private Prayer Hours at Our Lady of Victory                      

Palm Sunday: 12:30pm –  2:30pm

            Monday: noon – 2pm

            Tuesday:  9 – 10am

            Wednesday:  noon –  2pm

Good Friday:  1pm – 3pm and 5pm – 7pm
Easter Sunday: 12pm – 2pm

As a pastor, I would like to ensure you know that the Bishop has given us his guidelines for how we will be celebrating Palm Sunday and the Holy Week as we follow the CDC guidelines during these unusual times.   On March 25th, the Bishop provided a video you are able to view as well as his letter on the Diocesan website at dioceseofscranton.org The Bishop has suspended the celebration of Masses that are open to the public and all public gatherings in parishes and worship sites until further notice.

As the Bishop says, “we are being called to be socially distant from one another, it does not mean we have to be spiritually distant.”  (Bishops Letter, March 26)

We will be letting you know of all of the times that liturgies will be aired on live-stream and those that will be taped.  We will let you know how you will be able to pick-up palms.

Bishop’s letter, March 25, 2020.  Regarding Confession:  “With the increasing difficulty for individuals to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation due to the current health crisis, the faithful are reminded that by having perfect contrition, one can receive the forgiveness of sins apart from going to confession.  Perfect contrition requires the following three things: a love of God above all else; a sincere desire for the forgiveness from sin; and the resolution to go to confession as soon as possible when this health crisis subsides.”

As I mentioned during last week’s Mass, We are called to be People of Faith and People of Hope.  Let us persevere through this with God’s Graces as we pray for each other and we pray together.

Father Daniel Toomey
Pastor

Please remember…

Masses will be live streamed from each of the churches on our Facebook Page

Sundays at 8 am from Our Lady of Victory

Sundays at 10 am from Gate of Heaven

If you do not have access to Facebook, or cannot be on at those times, a link to these weekly Masses will be put on our website, goholv.org, after the completion of the live Masses.

Stations of the Cross
Please visit our website on Fridays.

Noon: Gate of Heaven Stations of the Cross
7 pm: Our Lady of Victory Stations of the Cross

Regarding Friday Abstinence,

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera has granted a dispensation from the obligation to abstain from meat for this Friday, March 27, 2020 and next Friday, April 4, 2020.   The obligation of fasting and abstinence still applies on Good Friday, April 10, 2020.

Bishop Bambera’s Message to the Faithful
March 25, 2020

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE MASSES ON FACEBOOK FROM GATE OF HEAVEN AND OUR LADY OF VICTORY

In preparation for the live stream of the Holy Mass on Sunday

The following prayer is very important to help you enter into the communion part of the Mass…so as to experience a spiritual communion with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

You may pray it when I am receiving the Body and Blood of Christ at the altar, just before I purify the vessels. 

Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen

After Spiritually receiving the Graces of Holy Communion you may pray the following prayer

Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from you.
From the wicked foe, defend me.
At the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.

Our Lady of Victory Stations of the Cross

Gate of Heaven Stations of the Cross

(CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Join with Bishop Bambera and Catholics around the world as we pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary in Response to COVID-19 during this live broadcast on Catholic Television.

Watch the live broadcast at: https://www.dioceseofscranton.org/media/ctv-catholic-television/rosary-in-response-to-covid-19/

UPDATE ON HOURS:

The Gate of Heaven and Our Lady of Victory churches will be open for prayer. Churches will be open at these times:

Gate of Heaven will be open:

MONDAY, WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY:  noon – 3 pm. (*These Hours Changed)

Tuesday evening: 5 – 6 pm. (*These Hours changed)

Sunday: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Our Lady of Victory will be open:

Tuesday and Friday: 8 am – 10 am.

Wednesday evening: 5 – 7 pm.

Sunday: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm

This is for individual prayer. No group prayer and group devotions are permitted, in order to follow the directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Our Churches will be sanitized appropriately after these time frames.

(Initial Schedule: please monitor our website for changes and adjustments).

Church bulletins will be available in the churches as well as on-line.

As Pastor, my concern is for the safety of all my parishioners and my staff.  I believe we have to be safe and sensible during this time of concern.  The Gate of Heaven and Our Lady of Victory offices will be closed to walk-in traffic beginning on Monday March 16 until further notice.  The office staff will be able to monitor the phones and manage all your needs and parish business accordingly. 

Gate of Heaven Church will be open for regular hours as usual.  Please monitor the website for details.

Please sign-up for Flocknote, our on-line parish community, so that you can receive messages from us.   Go to GOHOLV.Flocknote.com and sign up.   You will then be on the sign-in page and you may enter your ‘email’ and ‘cell phone number’ then click ‘next’ and select the groups from whom you would like updates. You may also elect to receive the bulletin electronically from the group titled ‘weekly bulletin’.

Please consider the profound spiritual benefits at this time through our access to the Formed.org website, which is essentially ‘Netflix for Catholics’.   The passcode for access is: VAMGCT

If you are attending Mass please be sure to provide a safe distance of 6 feet between yourself and other parishioners (family members excluded).   Please do not come to Mass if you are sick.  If you have allergies and appear to be sick, this yields the same concern – please stay home for the emotional sake of others. 

Please be safe and sensible, blessings. 
God bless you, 
Fr. Toomey

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“May we pray for the wisdom and courage to embrace not merely the story of Jesus’ birth but especially his life, death and resurrection – at the heart of which we discover the surest means of achieving life and lasting peace.”
Bishop Joseph C. Bambera

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