We have been instructed to plan for the resuming of Masses when it takes place. The churches will need to be cleaned and disinfected after each Mass. Other precautions will be implemented to help limited the possibility of spreading the virus.
Bishop Matano in a memorandum to the priests stated:
“It must be noted that even with all precautions taken, there still will be a risk for anyone who attends a public gathering to contract the coronavirus. Anyone who is sick should stay home, as should anyone who fears contracting a disease by attending Mass. Parishes should communicate clearly to parishioners who are vulnerable that they should remain at home in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). For this reason, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will remain suspended for all Catholics in the Diocese of Rochester until further notice. Priests themselves must be aware of their own vulnerabilities. They must be aware of the possibility of becoming infected themselves or infecting others. They are obliged to exercise caution and prudence. Age and health may impose further restrictions and modifications at the parish level.”
As we go forward I am counting on everyone to work together to provide as safe an environment as possible when we resume public Masses. Our practice might be different as we resume Mass but the Real Presence of our Lord will be the same and will give all the opportunity of receiving the Lord in the Eucharist.
While the Easter Season is ending, the next two Sundays we celebrate major Feast Days. Next Sunday is the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity followed by the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Linked with Pentecost I have always viewed these three great feasts as strongly connected. They teach us about the nature of God as Trinity and the mystery of how God has called us to live in that divine Triune community of love. Through the Paschal Mystery Jesus opened for us the pathway to eternal life with God. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has enabled us to be new creations in His love, and through the Holy Spirit he continues to teach us and guide us. Also, through the power of the Holy Spirit he has left us the gift of His Body and Blood to infuse us with his presence, that we as Church, as the living Body of Christ in the world, may grow in holiness and be drawn into the oneness of God. We may never experience that oneness completely until we rest in the divine presence of God in heaven, but as we journey together as church may we strive to be one with the mind and heart of Christ in service to one another and all our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
Our life in the Spirit does not come to a close with the end of the Easter season but continues throughout the year; our need for the help of the Holy Spirit never ends. When we received Confirmation we were prayed over by the bishop that we would receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. May we remember to seek and pray for these gifts in our daily lives. Below is a prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
God’s blessings and peace, Father Bill