Lenten Message from Fr. Shafique

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

During Lent, which is about six weeks between Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday, many Catholics practice self-denial and sacrifice as they repent their sins and pray in preparation for Easter. Some choose certain pleasures to give up for the full 40 days, and all Christians are instructed to not eat meat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays during Lent, and Good Friday. 

This reminds me that during these uncertain times we have been forced to give up many things as the coronavirus pandemic has denied many people face to face gatherings, outside entertainment and everyday activities. These weeks offer challenges we’ve never had to face. We can’t attend Mass. Our routines are disrupted. We worry about ourselves and our loved ones. Our participation in the life of the Church has been affected, so we have tried to compensate by offering online Masses. 

I fear that this year’s Lent again may not be normal, but it is important to notice some qualities during this health crisis — suffering, giving up certain things and solitude — are in fact symbolic of Lent’s spiritual practice of self-denial. 

Ash Wednesday, as with many other things right now, will look different at many Catholic parishes. Other Catholics will be watching the livestream or pre-recorded Mass, as they have been for much of the pandemic, and will of course, not receive ashes. That is the way it seems like now unless things change close to Ash Wednesday. 

In researching the meaning of the word, quarantine; I found it has origins in the French for “forty” or “a forty-day period.” Many people have compared the notion of quarantine to Christ’s 40 days in the desert and the 40 days of Lent. This could be our opportunity to be in the desert like Jesus, with time away in solitary prayer. We may never again have a Lenten Season that affords us so much time to give to the Lord. Let us use this time wisely and well.  

We now have extra time to spend in prayer each day — prayer to strengthen your personal spiritual relationship with God. Pray to remember those who are sick and living in great fear, our health care workers who remain on the front lines of this disease, and for one another. You can pray the Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Stations of the Cross or follow online Masses. 

 So let us, in this new Liturgical Year, think about how we live as a community, protect each other from illness, and be part of the solution to a global health crisis. And, as Christians, meet these challenges, and maybe even bring about a new and better ways of taking care of each other in the years to come. 

I want to remind you again during Lent 2021 be not afraid and become the people of hope.

Fr. Shafique

Home Blessing

Have you ever had your home blessed? Whether you have just moved into your home, or have lived there for many years, you may consider participating in this ancient practice. While this is something that you can do yourself, you may also consider contacting Fr. Shafique and have him come to your home.

The Blessing of Homes is very popular in his native Pakistan, and is a practice that he would like to make encourage in the States. If you would be interested in having your home blessed, or finding out more about it, feel free to contact Father through the Parish office.

A Christmas Note from Fr. Shafique

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Jesus is the reason for this season. We have now entered into the season of Advent. In this season of hope and joyful expectation we are reminded of the good news of Christmas and God coming to us. He is Emmanuel, God with us. This day the Divine became human. As we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, we remember how God first gave a home to the needy couple by being born in a stable. As we remember the birth of Jesus and re-create the stable, I ask that you take part in providing a “roof” for the Holy Child. This Christmas, let us be mindful of those who are in need of our welcome – a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a fellow parishioner. Let us make room in our hearts for forgiveness and love and reach out to those who are asking for them. In addition, Pope Francis keeps reminding us not to forget the poor. During this season of giving, let us also find time to help the needy. Let us extend God’s gift of generosity by helping a family in need, visiting the sick and those feeling lonely during this pandemic. Through these simple actions we are able to bring Christ to others this Christmas. 

This year the Easter and Christmas seasons have been different. We all experienced and continue to live through this experience of ‘lock-down’ due to the COVID 19 pandemic. We face many new challenges but also new opportunities. With our ‘staying home’ we discovered the importance of being together as family and supporting each other in the time of illness and fear. However, the closing of so many businesses and public institutions brings with it a serious reduction of or loss of regular income. 

Your support to your parish St Mary Cause of Our Joy has been amazing in these unprecedented times. I am very impressed by your help in many ways. You were there when your parish needed you, may it be financial support or otherwise. I have seen many volunteers preparing churches before and after Masses making it safe for all our parish family. I remind you that your first obligation is to your family and loved ones but any small amount you can give towards your Parish, will make a difference. The generosities of your gifts given to the Lord are modeled upon what the Three Kings presented to the newborn King. We are grateful to you for your generosity.  

The backbone of our parish are those who volunteer, we have a long list of those dedicated and committed members too numerous to mention. As your pastor, I treasure the gift of you and the dedication, sacrifices, and hard work you have shown to make this parish a beacon of Christ’s love and I say THANK YOU. 

The parish staff and I, promise you to keep you in our prayers. Know that we pray for you, your loved ones and your intentions. Thank you for lifting us in prayer as well. May you have the grace to find happiness and joy this Christmas and throughout the New Year 2021. I would like to remind you of my words at my installation July 2019, “Westland into Joy land”.

Fr. Shafique Masih 

Change to Mass Times

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In this time of uncertainty, I hope this note finds you happy and safe. At the end of August we will be saying good bye to Fr. Joe Plawecki, our long time Priest in Residence. Fr. Joe will be taking over as administrator of SS. Simon and Jude Parish in Westland on the first of September. While we are happy for Fr. Joe to get his new assignment, this will also mean that he will not be available to help me cover Masses on the weekend.

This leaves us in a sticky situation. I have also been looking into the option of paying a retired priest to say a Mass every weekend. While this is an option, it will get very expensive quickly. With the low Mass numbers so low during this time of Covid-19 era, I can not justify that we need three Masses on Sunday.

I have been praying about this problem for months, and have spoken to both our staff, and parishioners to get input. At this time it seems like the best route is, starting in September, to change the Sunday Mass schedule to 9:00 and 11:00 am. When restrictions are lifted, and people are returning to Mass we may revisit this schedule, but I feel that this if the best move for our parish at this time.

Father Shafique Masih

Anniversary of Gojra Riots

Please remember in your prayers today those who were involved in the 2009 Gojra Riots. On August 1st of that year eight Christians lost their lives in anti-Christian riots. Many of us have heard Fr. Shafique speak of the events that happened in Gojra town in the Punjab province of Pakistan while he was the Pastor at the time.

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

Article about the Incident

Come to me…

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest…”

On the 4th of July, Americans celebrate the gift of freedom which we believe is a gift from God, 
a gift which many Americans have died to protect.  Many countries around the world like to 
speak of rights and freedoms, but perhaps only in the USA is it truly, in actual fact, a land of 
opportunity.  I have lived in a few countries, and the more I travel the more I realize the 
United States of America must be a gift from God where anyone can come and seek life, 
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in a singularly unique way.    

We therefore owe the Lord Jesus Christ our gratitude, who died on the cross that we might 
be set free from sin.  The most holy Eucharist is not only a sacrifice of expiation but one 
of gratitude, and how appropriate we should thank God for our country through the sacred 
liturgy. We should be grateful to all our troops who have served, and some have even given 
the very high cost of their lives, dying to protect our freedom.   

On this Independence Day weekend, we reflect upon the great gift of freedom God has 
bestowed upon our country and we take time to say, “Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to 
be free.  May we always cherish this gift of freedom and never take it for granted.  May we 
make responsible decisions, decisions that will reflect our love for you and all your 
creation.  May we continue to work for peace and justice, not just here in our own land but 
for all people throughout the world.  You created us and we know that we are brother and 
sister to each other.  Help us to treat one another accordingly.  Amen.” 

Happy 4th of July 2020 
Fr. Shafique Masih 

Update about Staff

April 20, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Fr ShafiqueAs the COVID pandemic continues to bring our country to a standstill, along with the extension of the stay-at-home executive order, it is with great sadness that I am writing you. Since St. Mary, Cause of Our Joy has had to temporary suspense the celebration of the Mass, it has caused a dramatic reduction in offertory resources. This reduction is being felt in parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit.

At this time, St. Mary, Cause of Our Joy is no longer able to maintain our current operations. Therefore, like parishes around the Archdiocese of Detroit, St. Mary will begin implementing temporarily layoffs, and reduction in hours for our staff. This is a very difficult decision, and was made after a lot of prayer, and time spent trying to balance the needs of our staff with the needs of being good stewards of our Parish’s resources. Our staff will be eligible for many of the government assistance programs, that are helping workers throughout our nation.

It is my prayer that the measures taken today will see the parish through this crisis and to a time when we are able to explore how we can resume normal operations. Please join with me and the Archbishop as we turn to Our Lady of Lourdes to intercede for the healing of all impacted by this pandemic.

Sincerely,
Fr. Shafique Masih
Pastor

Do Not Be Afraid

In Mathew’s Gospel we are told that the angel told the women at the tomb “Do not be afraid…” and then “they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed” ( Mt 28: 5,8) This year with the unprecedented circumstances of the Pandemic, we too likely find ourselves to be both “fearful, yet overjoyed”. Fearful of the pandemic and its effects on our lives, including the inability to join together this Easter in public prayer, and joyful because our faith gives us hope in the midst of fear.

  • Faith in the Resurrection
  • Faith in God’s love for us
  • Faith in our love for God

Pope Francis said “Hope is the virtue of love …if there is no hope, we are not Christian… Do not allow yourselves to be robbed of hope. May we not be robbed of hope, because this strength (hope) is a grace, a gift from God which carries us forward with our eyes fixed on heaven (Homily, August 15,2013)

Fear makes bad decisions. And fear can become a tool of the deceiver, especially when fear holds us back from experiencing God and from loving each other.

Easter is the antidote to fear. “And behold, Jesus met them on their way (leaving the tomb) and greeted them. (He) said to them ‘Do Not Be Afraid’. (Mt 28:10). So this Easter, resist the temptations of fear and clothe yourselves in the Hope and faith that come from Jesus’ Resurrection. Be like the disciple leaving the tomb “fearful yet overjoyed” May the Joy, hope and love of Easter be with all of us.

He is Risen

Alleluia

Fr. Shafique Masih

(From the April 12, 2020 Joyful News)