Important Information on Parish Response to COVID-19
Mar 22, 2020
As a parish, we find ourselves yet again in unprecedented and uncharted waters. This is not the first time and probably not the last time St. Johns is challenged. But I am supremely confident that the Holy Spirit is with us and will get us through yet again. That is about the only certainty I have. After that, we are doing the best we can. What we knew and did last Friday changed again over the weekend and I have to be honest, I thought would be where we were at for the foreseeable future. That changed again Sunday and Sunday night with new directives from the health Department and the Diocese. So, this letter is based on what I know right now. Please know that this is subject to change.
What we know now is this latest Directions from the Diocese of Buffalo.
All public Masses are canceled beginning Saturday, March 14 at 4:00 pm, until further notice. This includes Sunday Masses as well as weekday Masses. Those parish priests who have the capability to live-stream Masses should promote these among parishioners via email. These Masses, however, are to be celebrated without a congregation. Father Walters and Father DiGiulio will say the masses privately and so our mass intentions will be covered. If you wish a mass intention to be rescheduled, we will honor your request when masses resume. The church will be open for prayer every day. The Church will be open for private prayer Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 3:30pm as well as Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am to 4:00pm.
- Weddings and funerals will be permitted, but should be limited to immediate family members only. You might suggest to families that, if they are worried about coming to church, the burial take place now, with a memorial Mass celebrated at a later date. I am available to plan this. Please call the rectory and we will do whatever we need for funerals.
- Parish baptism celebrations should be limited to immediate family only if they cannot be postponed.
- Upon reasonable request, confessions may be heard, preferably by appointment” at the parish office or some other appropriate place, like in the church when it is open for private prayer. We will post hours of when Father will be in church but call and I can arrange them personally as needed.
- Parish business offices may remain open. We will be open mornings Monday through Friday from 9:00am to noon but we will be checking our email regularly so we can keep in touch.
- Priests: All precautions should be taken when visiting and anointing the sick at home, in nursing homes, and hospitals. Please check with hospital administration about required protocols and visitations. We have been advised that hospitals are restricting access. We will not be visiting shut-ins unless they require anointing until further notice.
- The obligation to keep the Lord's day holy can be fulfilled by maintaining a prayerful attitude and through personal and family prayer. The faithful are urged to watch the celebration of the Eucharist on TV as well. We plan to live stream Holy Week Liturgies so watch for further updates
Finally, we have a parish Facebook page and website. Everything we do will be posted there first so you can quickly get the latest information there. We are starting a blog on our website which our deacons, Father Jim and I will be posting and discussing the daily readings. Feel free to follow this as a way to feel connected and keep our faith growing as we hanker down. What we are doing is mailing this bulletin home to EVERYONE in our Parish Data Base. When you get it, please let me know three things.
- How I can communicate with you moving forward as things change. I will create data bases so we can communicate more rapidly in the future
- What you need moving forward from your parish and your parish team of sacramental ministers, deacons, staff, school, and myself,
- If there is any way you can send financial contributions either via online giving or mailing a check we would be most grateful. Our parish expenses continue and we really need your help!
You are all in my prayers,