March 17, 2020
You’ve heard me say from the pulpit that it’s important to not get hysterical in the present coronavirus crisis, and I continue to repeat that important point. However, we have to be realistic as well, and realize that we might be unwittingly giving or receiving this virus to others.
Today, Bishop Mark Pivarunas sent a message to the CMRI priests stating the following:
As Catholics, we have to set a good example to our neighbor by obeying lawful civil authority. At this time, the President of the United States has issued guidelines for the next 15 days in order to protect the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions from contracting this virus as it could be fatal to them. His other concern is that our healthcare system is not able to provide sufficient medical care to large numbers. It is prudent that we abide by these guidelines not only for the welfare of those most vulnerable, but also that a large number of our faithful avoid mandatory quarantine in the event that even one parishioner should come down with this virus.
Therefore, for the next 15 days, we should cancel all public Masses; however, our churches and chapels should remain open for the faithful to be able to pray privately. Also, our priests should add intheir Masses an “oratio imperata” under #13 Pro Quacumque Tribulatione found in the back of the Missal for the containment of the virus and the health of our parishioners.
You are obviously dispensed from assisting at Mass on Sunday, which is a matter of Church law. You are not dispensed from keeping Sunday holy, however. This obligation is from Divine Law, so you must offer special worship to God in your homes on Sundays, refrain from servile work, and sanctify the day by appropriate observance.
There will be no public Holy Hours, public Stations of the Cross, or other devotions that attract agroup of people larger than 10. The Chapel will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and I’m asking the parishioners to sign up for at least one Holy Hour a week – that way we would have continuous adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during the day and evening hours! With over 200 households in the parish, we should be able to easily cover the 105 hours that this represents. The secretary, Anne Marie Netzel, has the sign-up sheet, and you can personally sign up your family or call it in to her. More than one family can be signed up per hour, but be sure to observe the 10-person limit.
The priests will be offering daily Masses, of course, in the Convent, Novitiate, and Rectory, praying for your intentions and asking God to bring this epidemic to an end. They will be available for Confessions at the normally-scheduled times. Besides making the Holy Hours, I urge you to make many Spiritual Communions during this time, since, as rule, the priests will be giving Holy Communion only to those in danger of death. They will continue to make sick calls, taking the necessary health precautions.
It is possible, of course, that this shutdown will last more than the 15 days. We will have to wait and see. I urge you to remember that measures such as this were taken during the great Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918. Those that quarantined and took precautions as a rule survived. “In times like these, it’s good to remember that there have been times like these.”
Obviously, the Mount continues to incur expenses, as you all do. We will gratefully accept your continued tithe and support, which may be given to Anne Marie in the parish office, or to Tim Drahman in the accounting office. We had scheduled the Easter flower collection for next Sunday, March 22, so you may still give your donation for that purpose, if you wish.