Friday Fanfare – April 3, 2020

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Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd!
I hope you are safe and healthy wherever you are: working your “essential” job or ‘sheltered at home’.
This extraordinary time we are living in gives rise to opportunities for frustration, or for creativity in our daily habits.  If you are like me, you are eagerly waiting for the “all clear” to indicate that we can get back to the freedom of movement and freedom of personal contact that we took for granted…prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.  I hope that many of you have received calls from our Vestry, checking in with you to ask how you are doing and whether you need anything with which your parish church can help.  Additionally, I have been phoning around to see how our folks are doing, and- frankly- just to get to hear you voices.  I miss you all.  Remember, the clergy still gather at the Chapel at 8 a.m. to pray Morning Prayer together.  If you’d like to join us in your home, please do so.  Both the current ‘quarantine’, and the season of Lent give us a chance to read that Christian book or spiritual classic we’ve always wanted time to read.  Make reading a holy habit of this season we are in.  Cultivate prayer with your spouse, children, grand-children.  If you are a writer/reflector, maybe a bit of journal-writing would be a good idea.  What might you read a year from now, looking back on your reflections from these days of pandemic?
We’ve got some plans in place for the coming Holy Week.  And, I have a spiritual tool to recommend…as well as a request for prayers and practical help with our 24/7 food ministry- “Shepherd’s Pantry”.
Here we go….
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(A)  GSAC PLANS FOR HOLY WEEKFor last Sunday (3/29/20) we got the word out (a bit last-minute!) about a pre-recorded Lent V Mass available on YouTube.  Several of you have kindly responded that you were blessed by the opportunity to share the liturgy in this way.
For the Palm Sunday litrurgies, (4/05/20) we are planning to pre-record  ( on Saturday afternoon/evening) both the “Blessing of the Palms” liturgy, and the whole Palm Sunday Mass in the Main Church.  I want to thank Ben Bowen and my wife Sara for their technical know-how in putting this together.  After we have posted the completed recordings to our YouTube account, I will send out a “Saturday Sentinel” giving you the link to access the recordings on Sunday morning (or whenever you so desire).  So:  stay tuned tomorrow evening for that email from me with the link.  All you will have to do is “click” on the link, and you will be set up to enter into the worship experience. { In (B) below, I will give you a special way to experience the Sacramental worship of the Mass.}For the Weekdays of Holy Week:GSAC now has a “Zoom” app, with which we can offer Zoom meetings for everyone who joins in by responding to the Invitation I send out.  For Mon-Friday, I will host a Zoom Bible Study focusing on the Gospel assigned for the Mass of the Day.  Each day, this  meeting will take place at 11 a.m. and last an hour.  Feel free to join in as often as you would like.  Getting “on” is very easy.  Click on the invitation link and you’ll be ready to join in.  (In case “Zoom” is new to you, it is basically a “Face Time” app which includes multiple folk sharing the screen with the host.)  By gathering around God’s Word this way, we both observe these holy days together, and will actually get to see one another for the first time in a while!  I look forward to seeing and hearing from YOU during one of these 11-Noon Zoom gatherings next week.
(B) MAKING A “SPIRITUAL COMMUNION”This pandemic has meant that most of us have not been able to receive the Blessed Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood for several Sundays now.  And, that is a real “absence” in our lives, isn’t it?
One way of recovering some of the blessedness of Communion during times of ‘quarantine’ is to intentionally participate in prayers of “Spiritual Communion”.  The Diocese of Ft. Worth has provided a link to a brief service of “Spiritual Communion”.  Here is that link:
Spiritual CommunionFeel free to download and print out this resource.                                     

Of course, this is a tool that can be used anytime you are not able to receive during Mass.  The beautiful prayers offer us a way to “sanctify Christ as Lord in (o)ur hearts” (I Peter 3:15).  Perhaps, giving attention to such preparation in prayer might help us develop a more heart-felt approach to Holy Communion. 
How we may deploy the link above:
On Sunday, after receiving and distributing the Elements of Communion to the few folk helping record the Mass, I will invite anyone who is interested to use the Spiritual Communion prayers.  I will, myself, pray the S.C. prayers out loud, and observe a brief time of silence for those who are using the SC liturgy with us.

(C) Outreach: Intercessory Prayer and Shepherd’s PantryGSAC has several members needing your intercessory prayers at this time.  Here are the ones of which I am aware:
R.F. Brown
Judy Hankins
Melisa Monson
Shepherd’s Pantry is being filled and emptied every day!  Our “24/7” pantry could use help in two ways:
1.  Donate non-perishable food items (esp. helpful are ring-topped canned meats, baby food, and ring-topped fruits & vegetables)You may simply leave your contribution below the cabinets of the Pantry, or do your own “stocking” into the cabinets.  Daily, I am checking on the condition of the Pantry, and would be delighted to stock into the pantry the items you leave at the foot of the cabinets.
2. Donate financially by writing a check payable to GSAC, with a memo line “Shepherd’s Pantry”.
From the Treasurer’s corner:
Thank you to all who have paid or pre-paid their offerings/pledges to GSAC.  The bills do not ‘stay home’…they keep coming in!  So, we need the parish family to keep as up-to-date as possible in our stewardship giving.
You may simply send your check(s) in to GSAC at :  3601 Fall Creek Hwy, Granbury, TX 76049.

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Sara and I hope that you and your family know how deeply grateful we are to be your fellow servants at Good Shepherd. This “Friday Fanfare” comes with love and prayers.In Christ,Fr. Stuart Smith