Well folks, here were are in week 2 of the great COVID-19 Quarantine! I just want to let all of you know that I’ll be praying for you. Masses will continue, and together we will all get through this. As things move forward, it’s still hard to believe how much the whole world has changed in just a few short days. Things that even a month ago, I don’t think we could have ever believed were possible. Yet here were are! Please, at this point, if you are able to stay home, please stay home. Limit your contact with others, and together, with God’s help, we can work through all of this.
Last week, I wanted to mail a bulletin to every parishioner, but we only give out an average of 400 Bulletins, while we have about 650 registered families. We quickly discovered that it’s really hard to stuff 650 envelopes with 400 bulletins. So with that in mind, I’ll be repeating a lot of what was said last week, and this will be mailed to those who didn’t get one last week. For those who have asked, after this week, we will not be mailing out bulletins. However, the bulletin will continue to be available online and in the Church when you make a visit.
For those of you with internet access, I’m pleased to say that the Livestreamed masses have been a wonderful success. We’re averaging around 90 people for daily mass and around 200 for the weekend masses, and I’m told that in the next week or so, the Diocese will be mailing a postcard to every household on ways to continue to participate in our faith in these dark times, and our Parish will be included as where to go for daily mass. Please join us if you can, instructions are on our website at www.popnc.net as well as the schedule, which is on the back flap of the bulletin. Thank you again for all your support.
Churches Open for Private Prayer
As of the printing of this bulletin, we are keeping the Church open for private prayer every day from 8am-7pm, except Monday. Even though we cannot gather in groups, please stop and make a visit during the week. However, please be aware that If the governor would enact a “Shelter-in-Place” order, we will have to close the Church for the duration of the shelter-in-place.
Extended Confession Times
As we’re not permitted to gather in the Church, Confessions are to be held outside. For as long as we can, I’ll he having Confessions on the back porch of the rectory. There are two chairs there, and for now it’ll work. Again, if a Shelter-in-Place is ordered, we won’t be able to continue confessions until it’s over.
Anointing of the Sick
Due to the nature of the crisis, at this point, we’ve been asked to limit anointing of the sick to those who are in danger of death. However, if someone is indeed in danger of death, by all means call the Church. I’ll take appropriate precautions, but I’ll of course be out to do the anointing.
FORMED, Online Classes, and Adult Faith Formation
It’s a shame that we only just started an adult ed class down in the Church basement and we had to cancel due to all of this going on. I know the class was looked forward to by many. While right now we can’t meet in person, I am interested in hosting an online class while so many of us are cooped up in our homes. In order to participate, you would need either a smartphone, a tablet, or a PC or laptop with a speaker, Microphone, and Webcam, (most laptops work well). The class would be on “Prayer”. If you would be interested in participating in an online class on “Prayer” while you’re stuck at home, please email me directly at email@example.com by Wednesday, April 1st. I’ll survey some times, and then send instructions on joining to everyone who emails me. Even if you’re not the most comfortable with a computer or tablet, please consider joining us and making the best use of this time when we’re all stuck at home.
At the same time, if you haven’t already, I’d like to also invite you to sign up for “FORMED!”. There’s a lot of amazing Catholic content on there for us to enter deeper into our faith during this Lent that’s become more austere than any of us could have imagined.
All you need to do to sign up is:
1. In any browser, go to www.formed.org
2. Click sign-up
3. Select “I belong to a Parish or Organization”
4. Type in our parish zip code (15714)
5. Enter your email address & you’re done
Finally, I want to thank everyone who dropped off their envelopes or signed up for online giving this week. We received almost 50% of our normal weekly collection, which is better than I expected, but not quite enough for us to survive on. Please continue to support your church in this dark time. You can give online at www.popnc.net, mail your envelopes in, or drop them in the box in the sanctuary.
Please know that you are all in our prayers in this difficult time.
-Fr Matt Baum
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.