March 16

March 16, 2020

Dear Folks,

The Bishop met with the pastors of the diocese addressing updated decisions involving the life of the parish in the time of the coronavirus.

  • At this point all Masses will no longer be public and functions of the parish will cease until further notice.
  • Confessions and Adoration will continue with the current schedule.

Below, you will find formal notes from the chancery expressing the directives set before the pastors. I am very sorry for the time in which we live with such a human health condition; we expect this will last for an extended period.

  • Confirmation and First Holy Communion Masses will be delayed, but not cancelled. I’m sorry for this devastating news.
  • We can only take Holy Communion to people who are dying or who actually have the virus.
  • Fr. Heisler has arranged with computer technology experts to teach his class on prayer through the internet, and the Religious Education office is investigating options recommended by the chancery in this regard.
  • The Bishop is bringing seminarians home from Philadelphia and we may have two of them stationed at St. Francis.
  • Regarding remote access to Mass, we are upgrading our system and it will take two to three weeks to accomplish. We will post remote Masses as we get streaming addresses.
  • Please watch this website for updated information as it comes in.

Let us pray for one another, Fr. G


Please find below a summary of key points from the pastors’ March 16 webinar with Bishop Burbidge.

  • Public Liturgy & Sacraments
    All public Masses (including Sunday, Holy Day, and weekday Masses) are suspended immediately until further notice.
    – Priests should celebrate private Masses daily for their parishioners and the intentions of their parish as well as for the relief and assistance to all affected in any way by COVID-19. Private Masses should not be offered at usual Parish Mass times. If at all possible, they should be celebrated in the Rectory Chapel. Priests are strongly encouraged to post written or recorded daily homilies on the parish websites.
    – Bishop Burbidge will make available his private celebration of the Sunday Mass. Any parishes who are able to livestream or post recorded    private Masses are strongly recommended to do so.
  • All Confirmation liturgies are suspended until further notice.
  • All weddings and funerals should continue only if absolutely necessary, with the attendance limited to immediate family members.
  • Churches may remain open for individual private prayer, especially prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. However, no gatherings for devotions (such as Stations of the Cross) are permitted. If tabernacles are not already located in the main body of the church, no more than 10 persons should be present in the Church, according to the recommendation of the White House on March 16.
  • Individual reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation may be made available but not in large gatherings. No more than 10 persons should be present in the Church, according to the recommendation of the White House.
  • The number allowed in the Church is never to exceed the White House recommended 10 persons. A porter (where possible) could be assigned by the Pastor throughout the day to ensure the number is not exceeded. (Such individuals should not be “at risk” according to the CDC). The interior of the Church building and pews should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • Pastoral Care of the Sick
    Pastoral Care of the Sick should be limited to those who are dying and those with coronavirus who request the Sacraments.
  • Communion should not be brought to any other parishioner who is homebound or who cannot attend Mass.
    – Priests are asked to find other ways of comforting and praying with the homebound, such as praying together by phone.
    – “Acts of Spiritual Communion” should be available on the parish website.
  • Deacons and lay volunteers should not be visiting the sick in any official capacity.

International Travel

All priests are asked to suspend any international travel through June 30, 2020.

Upcoming Events
• Priest Day of Prayer (March 25) – canceled
• Convocation (May 4-8) – canceled
• Deanery Meetings – to continue as scheduled
• Holy Week and Triduum – under advisement


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