March 18, 2020
This is a trying time for ALL of us. I realize how important our faith life is, but also how important our health is (before we can have faith, we have to have life!).
On Monday, March 16, 2020, the Archbishop sent out a letter regarding the situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19). I am summarizing the statements below: (Comments in italics are mine.)
— All public Masses are to cease immediately. There is no exception to this directive. The dispensation which the Archbishop offered to all Catholics in our Archdiocese from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is extended to Palm Sunday, April 5, at the earliest.
— Churches are to remain open for personal prayer, devotions, and confessions. Our church is normally open, on weekdays, from around 6:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. On the weekends, the church opening is a little later and the church is locked after the 5:00 p.m. Massses. Access can always be had through the south entrance of the church into the Cry Room / the “ordinary” Adoration Chapel. Confessions will still be heard at Saint Monica on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament will continue on Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. During this crisis Adoration will be in the main church, rather than the side chapel, so there can be more space between people. There will be no other scheduled services, but, as already mentioned, the Church will be open during its normal hours for private prayer. On Fridays the Stations of the Cross booklets will be available in the main lobby of church for PRIVATE recitation of the Stations during this Lenten Season.
— Holy Communion may still be administered by clergy and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to those who are seriously ill or in danger of death, only.
— All should be alert to follow proper protocols for handwashing and the use of masks or other protective coverings, as necessary. I know many people have suggested “singing” the “happy birthday” song as one washes one’s hands … I would suggest saying the Hail Mary, slowly, as an opportunity to use your twenty seconds for washing your hands.
— All other services, Funerals, Baptisms, and weddings are to be decided on a case by case basis. Regardless attendance MUST be kept to a minimum, as the President suggested on Tuesday, March 17, perhaps no gatherings with more than 10 people. In the case of a funeral, please think about a Catholic Burial Service at the cemetery, having only the immediate family present, with a Memorial Mass following once we can have a regular Mass.
Each parish is encouraged to live-stream Masses celebrated in the parish, if at all possible. We are working on that setup. However, it is not yet setup. So, I would ask that you go to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis website: http://cathedralstl.org/live/. The Cathedral Basilica will be live-streaming the 8 am weekday Mass and the 10 am Sunday Mass.
EWTN cable network has Mass celebrated several times a day. Bishop Robert Barron, the Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, and the founder of “Word on Fire” will be live-streaming the Mass from his private chapel in Santa Barbara, California, each day. The URL is: https://www.wordonfire.org/daily-mass. It is also available on YouTube. While Bishop Barron won’t be the celebrant each day, it will be someone who works with him in the Word on Fire ministry.
A very beautiful tradition, going back centuries, is the “Act of Spiritual Communion.” Since almost everyone receives Holy Communion now, unlike in the “old days,” this has fallen into some disuse.
An Act of Spiritual Communion calls each person to unite himself / herself worthily to our Lord’s true presence in the Most Holy Eucharist through prayer.
Please use the following resource developed by the Office of Sacred Worship, as mentioned below.
Spiritual Communion and Prayer Resources
It is certainly difficult to be unable to celebrate Mass as a parish, there are many other things we can be doing during this time to stay sacramentally connected. Along with the directives and mandates already set forth from the Archbishop, following are several resources that you may find beneficial.
Receiving the Blessed Sacrament in the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith, but during these unprecedented times and to ensure the health and safety of all people, it is not possible to receive the Sacrament during this time. However, there are still opportunities to draw close to Christ and unite with the Church during these difficult times.
“The Church obliges the faithful “to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days” and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season.”
–Catechism of the Catholic Church §1389
While we are unable to receive the Blessed Sacrament during the next several weeks, we can take the opportunity to participate in Mass online, reflect on scripture, and engage in further spiritual reading. One excellent way to receive the blessings bestowed upon us is through a Spiritual Communion. Below is a copy of the prayer that can be used or distributed amongst the faithful.
Prayer used by Saint Alphonsus Liguori for a Spiritual Communion:
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Both MAGNIFICAT and GIVE US THIS DAY publish booklets with the daily readings, lives of the saints, and other prayer resources. BOTH are being offered “free” during this crisis. Here are the links:
— MAGNIFICAT: Their online version is being made temporarily available to everyone for free:
— Free temporary access is also available in Spanish: www.magnificat.com/gratis
— Give Us This Day: https://giveusthisday.org/Free
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also offers the daily readings at www.usccb.org/bible
As long as public Masses cannot be celebrated, it would be a GREAT THING for families to share the prayers and readings from Mass, especially on Sundays. It is quite possible we won’t be able to have Masses on Palm Sunday: what a great day for a family to read and reflect on the Passion.
WWW.EWTN.COM also provides the daily readings for your use.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Office of Sacred Worship will continue to support all of us and that office asks for your continued prayers and support in return.
We currently find ourselves in a challenging and rapidly developing time, through the intercession of Mary, Health of the Sick and our Mother, may the Lord of all love and compassion fill us with His peace.
Please Pray. Please see the blast e-mails sent out previously, as well as on our Parish Website, and on our Parish Facebook Page for a novena prayer composed by Pope Francis and a special prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
We will get through this together. May the Lord watch over and bless us all!
Father Joe Weber
ALONG with the Entire Parish Staff.