March 13, 2020
Dear St. Lawrence Parishioners,
The Coronavirus (COVID–19) continues to be a prevalent and ongoing health concern across our country. As a result of Governor Holcomb‘s announcement from March 12 that non–essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, Bishop Doherty is dispensing from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for the last three weekends of March (March 15, 22, and 29) but regularly scheduled public Masses will go on. As the situation evolves, we will keep you updated on this matter. This is not a permanent dispensation.
The Coronavirus COVID–19 has generated an unprecedented set of conditions that is having a dramatic impact on our lives. The staff at St. Lawrence has been regularly evaluating what our response should be. Our main focus has been and will continue to be the health of our parishioners and students during these challenging times.
We will continue to follow our normal daily and weekend Mass and Reconciliation schedules (including Morning Prayer and Rosary). However, beginning Saturday March 14, in an effort to curb the proliferation of the Coronavirus, we have decided to cancel ALL other church activities at St. Lawrence Catholic Church until further notice. While Mass will continue as scheduled, if you are sick or show any symptoms, please stay home and get well.
The next 30–60 days at the least, are simply going to be unlike anything we have experienced in recent history. The dilemma of what we know and don‘t know will continue to complicate our decision making. This is a humbling fact: We simply don‘t know what the situation will be now or a week from now. We will continue to assess the spread of the virus and communicate changes as they occur.
Important points to note:
- Mass obligation is dispensed for three weeks (see dates above).
- Bishop Doherty will be celebrating 8:00 a.m. (Eastern) Mass at Church of the Blessed Sacrament for the next 3 Sundays (March 15, March 22, March 29) which will be livestreamed here: http://churchoftheblessedsacrament.yourstreamlive.com/ and would love the presence of those unable to attend their parish Mass.
- All nursing home and home–bound visits should be canceled; our older clergy need to be very careful and use their discretion about making these visits.
- Weddings/Funerals/Confirmations will continue as planned unless further recommendations are issued by the local health department. However, we will not be hosting funeral dinners or other public gatherings during this time.
- At Mass, we will not be distributing the Precious Blood, the host should be received in the hand (not on the tongue), and we are omitting the sign of peace and holding hands during the Lord‘s Prayer. Please be respectful of those around you and use the hand sanitizer found near the entrances of church.
Again, for the time being, we will follow our normal Mass and Reconciliation schedule. Please pray for all those affected by this pandemic and for our churches.
Fr. Underwood Fr. Eric Underwood, pastor
My God I honor and Him alone I serve.