St. Matthew’s Faithful Receive Eucharist Memorial Day Weekend

NORWALK — At the end of Sunday’s 11 a.m. outdoor Mass at St. Matthew Church, Msgr. Walter C. Orlowski reached out to the many parishioners who were watching by live-streaming and could not join the 50 people who had gathered on the church lawn with their chairs.

“For those of you at home, who are watching this Mass streamed live — and we’re grateful to God for your presence with us, which is in the thousands streaming live — if you want to come to the church and receive the Eucharist today at 12:15, I will give you Communion.”

Many accepted his offer. It was a simple service. They drove up, and he gave them Communion, reverently, with no conversation. He wanted them to have the opportunity to receive the Eucharist on Memorial Day Weekend, especially since the Saturday 4:30 car Mass had been cancelled because of rain.

He encouraged them after receiving the Eucharist to pull up on the church property or drive a short distance to St. John’s Cemetery to say prayers of thanksgiving.

He told his parishioners, “I am grateful to God for the opportunity for us to have Mass with you, for you to worship and receive Communion.”

And the faithful were equally grateful, especially to receive the Eucharist, which they had not done since March 14, when the coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings were instituted.

Father Sunil Pereira, parochial vicar, was the main celebrant at the 11 a.m. outdoor chair Mass, which was concelebrated with Monsignor Orlowski, pastor and dean.

In his homily Father Pereira said, “Growing up as a little kid, I always had to introduce myself as the son of someone.” He lived in a close community where everyone was connected in some way.

“We identify by our relationships to each other,” he said. “We are all interconnected or related some way or the other.”

Father said that even when he goes grocery shopping at Shop Rite and sees someone from the parish, they immediately connect as being members of the family of St. Matthew Church.

“We are connected, interlinked some way or another… even though we live in a world where we do not have so much interaction in person,” he said.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus tries to explain his relationship with the Father, when he says, “The Father and I are one.” It is there that he reveals himself as the Son of the Father in the Triune God.

At the same time, Father Pereira said, “Jesus also wants each of us to be related, to be connected to him….If everyone is my brother and sister, then I have an obligation to the other person. The person sitting next to me is no stranger.”

Father said that we can glorify God through the good things we do for others.

“During this time of pandemic, we can see so many beautiful examples of kindness generosity and charity,” he said, pointing to the charitable works he has witnessed by parishioners of St. Matthew, which glorify God.

He told the story of a man who offered to have business cards printed for St. Mother Teresa, but she did not want her name or the name of her community on the card. What she requested were these words: “The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is peace.

“When we reach out in love and kindness, we do service to humanity and share God’s love with others,” Father Pereira said. “We are called to glorify God by our service and our acts of kindness.”

On Ascension Thursday, which marked the beginning of public Masses, Monsignor told the faithful, who were sitting in their cars in the church parking lot and listening on St. Matthew Radio, WSTM 103.3 FM: “It is a GREAT day — a BEAUTIFUL day — as Phase One of our reopening has begun….The first time you have the opportunity to receive the Body of Christ — there’s so much to be thankful for on this Feast of the Ascension. God is so good to us on this beautiful day, under a blue sky, where you and I gather as a family of faith to worship the one true God and to understand that we are not alone. We thank God for each other because we are a family of faith: the people of St. Matthew, called to follow the Lord, not only in our prayer, but in our care and concern for each other. Thanks be to God. How wonderful it is to see you! We look forward to seeing you again soon. In the meantime, stay healthy. Stay well.”