Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday 14 August 2016

Dear Friends in Christ,

In my entire life, I have never had surgery or spent even one night in a hospital, but my turn has come. I have a naturally occurring bone spur in my right shoulder which in the past couple of years has grown large enough to damage the rotator cuff, and for the last eighteen months or so, I have known that something would have to be done about it to prevent the damage from becoming worse. So, in the first week of October, I will have surgery to reduce the bone spur and repair the rotator cuff, and then I might or might not spend one night in the hospital before going home. The procedure is relatively simple and routine, but the recovery is not. For about six weeks my right arm will be immobilized while the rotator cuff heals, and during that time I will be unable to do many ordinary things, including the celebration of Mass. And so with the help of our parish staff and my brother priests and deacons, I have made a plan to deal with this nuisance.

During the months of October and November, we will not have the noon Mass at St Mary’s on weekdays, but that is the only major change in our schedule. Father Duncan has very graciously agreed to take my place on Saturday afternoon for Confessions and the 5 pm Mass and on Sunday morning for the 11 am Mass. He will also continue to hear Confessions during the Wednesday afternoon Holy Hour, with the single exception of 12 October when the Holy Hour will be canceled. Father Bart and Father Cruz will celebrate the weekday Masses at 7 am and funeral Masses at noon on weekdays as needed, and the weekend schedule will remain the same as ever.

Also during October and probably for much of November, I will not be accepting appointments in the parish office. I do not know how soon after the surgery I will be able to drive, and even after I am able to get around a bit, I will still have significant restrictions on my activity. As soon as I am able to move about, I will begin to say Mass for you in the chapel of the rectory, and I hope in due course to be able to come sit in the sanctuary during the celebration of Sunday Mass, even though I will be unable to lend a hand. I will also stay in touch with our school principal and the parish clergy and staff by phone and email, so I will not be far away even while I am largely confined to the rectory.

I’m letting everyone know about my surgery so far in advance precisely to minimize the inconvenience to others. I will continue to have appointments during August and September, and everything essential will be taken care of by someone. As you all know, I am not a patient man, and given the robust good health I have enjoyed for all of my life, I have little experience being a patient. How curious that until now I had never thought of the linguistic connection between those words! But my time has come, and one way or another I am going to learn to be patient by becoming a patient. Thanks in advance for your patience with this little disruption to our routine.

Father Newman