Dear Sunday Mass Friends in Faith,
2020 has certainly been an unusual year, to say the least. It seemed to start off fine but by early March everything turned upside down. The Covid 19 virus came along and we found ourselves relegated to our homes unable to do most of the usual things that make up everyday life. Even today we are still aware of Covid 19’s presence and the need to be careful. In most places we are not back to normal, at least the normal of our past. And if the virus was not enough, we find ourselves needing to do some self-reflection amid protests and riots inflamed by divisiveness, racism, anger, prejudice, and hate in our cities and nation. A time that has not only divided us as a nation but also as a Church, and as a people of faith. Yes, 2020 continues to be an unusual year!
During this strange year, we here at The Sunday Mass have tried to stay focused on our mission and ministry of providing The Sunday Mass each week. However, amid all the turmoil mentioned above we are aware of an incredibly special milestone that 2020 is for The Sunday Mass. Fifty years ago, in December of 1970, The Sunday Mass appeared on television for the first time. It was a dream of Fr. Mark Connolly, C.P. and his classmate and friend Fr. Leo Gorman, C.P., that came to life in December of 1970 on Channel 9 in New York City. Their dream was to provide a mass on television for people who could not get to mass because they were homebound, in a hospital, in a rehab center or an assisted living/nursing home. Fr. Mark along with Fr. Leo brought to life perhaps one of the first television masses on TV and here we are fifty years later still going strong!
Fr. Mark’s and Fr. Leo’s dream became a reality in 1970 and has remained a main stay in the life of many individuals and families for 50 years. Fr. Mark left The Sunday and the Passionists in the early 1990’s but The Sunday Mass remained in the capable hands of Fr. Leo until 2003, when he stepped down as Executive Producer and Host. The Sunday Mass did not miss a beat as Fr, Michael Salvagna, C.P. took over the helm and guided the mass until 2008. In 2008, Fr. Edward L. Beck, C.P. accepted the challenge of shepherding The Sunday Mass, and in a very creative way did so until 2016. In 2016 I was asked to continue the dream of Fr. Mark and Fr. Leo.
Fr. Mark and Fr. Leo are no longer with us but their spirits are very present each Sunday as their dream and now our dream comes to life not on one television channel in the New York area but on many stations and channels across the United States and around the world via You Tube and The Sunday Mass website. The Sunday Mass is a great gift to many. It continues to serve the homebound, the hospitalized, those in rehab centers and assisted living/nursing homes. It has served us during this time of virus when our churches have been closed. The Sunday Mass has also become a tool for evangelization. Introducing people to the Catholic faith and reconnecting people with their faith. On any given Sunday, The Sunday Mass reaches thousands, if not millions of people, hungering, searching, and desiring to be part of a faith community or thirsty to enliven, re-establish, build, or just uncover their relationship with God.
I am proud to be a small part of the Fifty-Year history of The Sunday Mass and I feel a great responsibility to keep Fr. Mark’s and Fr. Leo’s dream alive. So, during this Fiftieth Anniversary Year I am inviting you to help me, to help us, keep the dream alive.
In the early days of The Sunday Mass the expenses were not that great. However, over the past fifty years expenses have increased significantly. I know many of you already support us with weekly, monthly, and yearly donations which we greatly appreciate. You make The Sunday Mass possible. In this special anniversary year, we would like to begin to set a firm financial foundation for the next fifty years.
I know these are tough times, especially with what we have gone through these past seven or eight months, but we only celebrate a Fiftieth Anniversary once. So, if you would like to join us to celebrate the past and plan to be good stewards for the future, we invite you to help. If you can help financially, great! If you can help with your faith filled prayers fantastic!
I want you to know that each day I pray Morning and Evening Prayer of the Church which is my responsibility as a religious and a priest. My first petition at each hour of prayer is for the intentions of The Sunday Mass faith community. Thus, each day you are remembered twice in my prayers.
If you would like to make a Fiftieth Anniversary donation or offer a prayer of thanks and hope for the Fiftieth Anniversary of The Sunday Mass you can do so by filling out the form and sending it back to us. You can also make your donation by giving us a call at 1-855-786-6277.
I pray that you will continue to have a blessed, holy, safe and healthy journey through life these days and may the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in each of our hearts!
Peace in Christ’s Passion,
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P.
Pastor of The Sunday Mass