By now you have likely heard the news that our Archbishop has directed us to suspend all public Masses immediately. This is a measure of extreme caution to try to stop the spread of the Corona Virus. Again, there will be no Masses at our parishes until further notice, so please stay home so that we can stop this virus in its tracks.
I want you to know my initial reaction to this was one of deep sadness. Offering Masses on Sunday is the absolute highlight of my week. I look forward to being with you. I love seeing you walk in, and I’m sad on weekends you’re unable to join us. Offering Mass is the heart of the priesthood. It is really the single event that brings the most meaning to my life. I’m sad I won’t be with you, and I will miss you, and I can’t wait until this is behind us so I can be with you again.
Of course, the heart of the Archbishop’s directive is for our parishioners, especially those who are vulnerable to this illness, to remain home and to reduce their interactions with others. So please don’t use your extra time to do other activities. We all need to reduce our time around other people, because this is what is going to help us defeat this virus.
But I want to be clear that we are still here for you as your pastors. All of our Churches will be open throughout the week for you to come pray. We just ask that if you join us for prayer that you will keep your distance from others and that you’ll help us keep our churches germ free. St. Rose will be open Monday through Friday from 3-5pm. We will let you know about our other parishes soon, but we are working out those details.
Fr. Sebastian and I will also be available to visit the sick, to hear confessions, and to meet with you as we usually do and to pray with you. So please feel free to give us a call if you need us. We are happy to serve you and to talk with you, if not in person, over the phone.
We are also going to close our parish offices to walk in visitors for the time being. Our staff will still be here for you to call if you have questions, but we are going to ask that you not drop in unannounced. Please call us and let us know if you need anything from the parish.
Now I have so much to say, but I believe that this can actually be a moment of grace for us all and for the Church. If we deprive ourselves of oxygen for a few moments we desire oxygen. If we deprive ourselves of food or water for a few hours longer than usual we develop a greater desire for food. In this moment, we are going to be deprived of some aspects of parish life, including the Mass, but that might actually give us a greater desire the amazing things our parish offers us, so that when we are able to get back to normal we will be filled with even greater joy.
Again, I have a lot more to say, so please check back regularly and share updates with our parishioners.