March 19: Letter From Father Steve - Re: Suspension of Mass
Greetings members of Holy Name of Jesus,
Over the past few days, the health department has advised that congregational gatherings should be avoided in order to help contain COVID-19 or coronavirus. Last night, Archbishop Hebda announced his decision to suspend all regularly scheduled public celebrations of Mass.
His decision, while very good, requires a huge sacrifice for us. Our belief in the Eucharist and its importance in our life as a faith community is valued by all. While it’s not possible to gather physically, my staff and I are looking for ways to remain spiritually connected with you. Every day, Fr. Colin and I will celebrate Mass privately and will be offering it for you. I’m pleased to announce that we will record Sunday Mass and make it available on our web site www.hnoj.org/worship-live and Facebook on Sunday morning. When we are unable to receive Holy Communion physically, the Church urges us to consider a “spiritual communion.” Inviting Jesus into our heart and soul is part of our tradition.
We are also exploring ways to provide you with tools to aid your private and family prayer time. I’m pleased to report that both the pastoral and teaching staff have initiated ways to stay in contact with those they serve. Watch for email and our other social media outlets for further information. There are other great resources on-line such as www.formed.org. We will continue to share other resources with you.
The church is available for private prayer throughout the week. Parish office hours have been reduced as the number of parishioners coming has diminished. However, our staff continues to work remotely and is available by phone and email.
I do need your help. I hope you are able to continue supporting us financially. Contributions can be made by mail or by our online platform called WeShare, which can be accessed at https://hnoj.weshareonline.org/.
The mission entrusted to us of becoming 21st Century Disciples will continue. The challenge is to find new ways to advance this awesome task.
Let us pray for one another.
Dear Members of Holy Name of Jesus,
Due to the increasing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19/coronavirus in Minnesota, Archbishop Hebda announced his decision to dispense all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass, until further notice. This is a rare dispensation and a decision he said he did not take lightly. Click to open a copy of the Archbishop’s letter.
Despite the Sunday Mass dispensation, Archbishop Hebda provided some simple ways to stay spiritually connected to the Church and to each other, like participating in a special fast this Wednesday, March 18, and other important ways to increase our spiritual devotion during Lent.
We are here to support your spiritual journey and continue delivering the latest updates during this challenging time. Here is how you can stay involved:
- Monitor our parish website, www.hnoj.org, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for prayer intentions, news and events updates.
- Watch for emails with the latest information. If you are currently not receiving emails from us, contact Michelle Hudlow at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up online.
- Listen to the Lenten podcast. There are CD’s available in the gathering space or use your favorite podcast app and search for Holy name of Jesus. Or use the MyParish app and click on the podcast icon.
- Participate in electronic giving to support our ongoing ministries and operations. One time donations or scheduled giving is available. See our website page https://www.hnoj.org/online-donations for more information. Another option is to mail your contribution.
As you may have seen at daily Mass, Holy Name of Jesus has observed no-touch worship this week. We want to do everything we can to reduce the risk of disease transmission for those who decide to attend Mass over the next few weeks. These are the things we are doing at Mass:
- We will be offering the Sign of Peace without touching.
- We will refrain from hand-holding during the Our Father.
- We will not offer Communion from the Chalice
- We are encouraging all parishioners to receive Communion on the hand due to the increased risk of receiving Communion on the tongue. Fr. Colin will distribute only for those who still wish to receive Communion on the tongue. He will be in the back-left of the church.
- We will be recycling the worship aides after each Mass rather than re-using them.
Right now, the parish staff and leadership team are working together to determine the course of our large group gatherings. We are checking with reliable sources, such as the Minnesota Department of Health and CDC, as well as local public health experts to make sure we have the best and latest information. We will prayerfully consider that information and together make prudent decisions, and communicate those decisions to you, our parish family.
Please hold all of those impacted by the Coronavirus in your prayers. The impact on the elderly and the underprivileged is extremely devastating. As well as those who depend on their daily work to feed and clothe their families. My heart is with those told to stay home or to "stock up" when that is not an option. Please take a few extra minutes this morning to hold them up and prayer. And I am holding all of you up in prayer as we navigate this as a community and a family.
We thank you for your support and faithfulness to our parish community. We are confident that together, with God’s help and guidance, we will make it through this time of uncertainty.
Father Steve, Staff and Parish Leadership.