Conventual Franciscan Friar Fr. Julio Martinez was featured in the Chatham News and Record: ‘Living sermons’: Black and Latino churches lead faith vaccination efforts in Chatham.
Fr. Julio is pastor of St. Julia Catholic Church in Siler City, North Carolina, in the Diocese of Raleigh. His congregation is more than 80% Hispanic, and he has been working with parishioners to understand better the benefits of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
In June, the parish restarted their regular Mass schedule. Friar Julio shared this in his message to his parishioners:
My dearest sisters and brothers, the pandemic has caused us much grief, but we have also learned much. It has taught us that life is fragile and sacred. It has taught us that today and every day is a precious gift from God and that the people in our lives are also precious gifts whom we need to appreciate with all our hearts. It has taught us that we need each other and that to be a member of a community makes us stronger because of the companionship and the support that is shared.
We are stronger and more enlightened because of what we have all gone through. The pandemic has given us the opportunity to recognize what is really meaningful in life and has given us a greater appreciation for life. We are more aware of what we need to prioritize in life. May we never forget the lessons that we have learned. May we become more humane and caring for one another. May we become more aware of the importance of God in our lives and the blessings of living the Gospel of Jesus. May we be stronger in our faith and in our desire to be good. May we create a stronger community grounded in the love of God and one another.