May 5, 2020

Dear Friends of St. Anne's Shrine,

The last couple of months have been both historic and unprecedented in so many ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives and has touched virtually every person around the world. Our Lenten journey took an abrupt turn and the Easter season continues to be celebrated under various restrictions nationwide to stem the spread of this disease. We pray for the healing of those who are ill and that those who have died are embraced by the risen Lord.

Our programming at the Shrine has been adversely impacted as well. There have been retreat cancellations throughout the spring and summer. As I write this I am not even sure when we will be permitted to celebrate public Mass under our outside pavilion and begin the pilgrimage season. I wonder if we will be able to celebrate the Anointing of the Sick after Mass in June as we usually do or if at all. I have many questions as probably you do as to what the future holds. We are not enclosing a schedule of events with this mailing as we normally do because the situation we are facing as a country is so uncertain and fluid. Call our office or keep an eye on our webpage for announcements and further information.

One thing I am confident of is that we will indeed be open to celebrate with one another eventually, hopefully by Pentecost on May 30-31. Our staff is in the process of preparing the grounds, clearing rubbish and fallen tree branches from another hard and windy winter, getting our statues ready for installation in the grottos, power washing structures, repairing fences, cleaning the beach and other pre-season tasks. This past week our facilities crew installed a refurbished corpus on the large crucifix in the center of the Stations of the Cross. The body of our crucified Lord provides a powerful image for our prayer.

With all the cancellations and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, we are obviously worried about our ability to meet expenses as revenues disappear. Many of our costs are still incurred as we need to make preparations in order to open the pilgrimage season. Your assistance during this vital time is needed more than ever. Please consider making a special Easter season gift to help us get ready to open the pilgrimage season and to meet our operating expenses.

Since the suspension of public Masses, we have been recording Sunday Mass remotely on the Society of St. Edmund YouTube Channel. You can search that channel if you wish to tune into our Masses but I hope we do not have to do this much longer. Thank you for your continued friendship and support for the Shrine. I can’t wait to celebrate Mass with a live congregation and celebrate the love of God with you and many others in person. May God hasten that day! God bless you! Thanks again and hopefully we can open for Mass on Pentecost weekend!

Sincerely,

​​Rev. Brian J. Cummings, S.S.E.

Spiritual Director

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