Yesterday morning, as I stood outside the Church informing people that the Archbishop had suspended the public celebration of Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, and other group services, Bible studies, and activities, I couldn’t help asking myself if this was really necessary. Afterall, the state of Missouri has less then 20 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, no one in our parish seems to be affected, and I feel completely healthy. As I wrestled with that question in my mind as a priest, bioethicist, and human person, I was brought back to the day of my ordination to the priesthood, when I made a promise of respect and obedience to the Archbishop and felt relieved that this promise of obedience freed me from having to make those difficult decisions.
In that spirit of obedience and in accordance with the mandate from the Archbishop, I will continue to offer Holy Mass daily. The Church will remain open for your private prayer, but all communal celebrations will be stopped with the hope of resuming April 6th (pending future evaluation).
For those of us who cling to our faith, especially in times of difficulty, words cannot adequately describe how hard it is to not be able to attend Mass during these uncertain times. I encourage you to take the opportunity for personal prayer, meditation on the daily scripture readings and when possible watch Holy Mass on television or watch it live streamed from the Cathedral at http://cathedralstl.org/live/ . I will continue to offer the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick for those who are seriously ill or near death and funeral Masses will be permitted, but we will do our best to limit the number of people in attendance.
I respectfully remind you that even though we cannot gather for Holy Mass on Sunday we are still to keep Sunday as the Lord’s Day. I encourage you to spend time in prayer as a family on Sunday. This may include watching Mass, prayerfully praying with the readings for the day which can be found at http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032220.cfm , and offering other devotional prayers. It is my prayer that this forced separation from receiving the Eucharist will only deepen our love and appreciation for Our Lord who offers Himself to us in the Eucharist.
Even with much of our parish shut down our parish staff remains committed to serving you. Should you need any assistance our office will continue to operate so please do not hesitate to ask. While our office staff will remain onsite many members of our staff, including our teachers, will be working from home. Additionally, other members of our staff will not be working, but I have assured them that they will continue to be paid during this difficult time.
Our Sunday offertory is the largest source of income for the parish. Even though we cannot gather for Holy Mass, our parish is still facing our usual expenses and we will need your continued support and so I am asking you to continue supporting our parish financially even while we are away from Mass. As always you can make your weekly contribution online at https://www.osvonlinegiving.com/1602 , you can mail your contribution or drop it off at the parish office.
Please know of my daily prayers for your family. The staff and I will continue to work here at the parish and I’m always available to minister to you should you need anything. I anxiously await the moment when we will gather together again as a parish family.
Fr. Peter Fonseca