On the Feast of St. Patrick, March 17th, pastors and parishioners received an email with a letter from Bishop Hanefeldt (attached below) concerning precautions regarding the COVID-19 virus. The Diocese is setting forth these precautions with the understanding that in communities that have taken greater precautions, the impact of the virus has been less than those who did not take such precautions.
In agreement with the guidance we have received, our precautions at St. Agnes begin today with the suspension of all public services. Moving forward, per the recommendation of the Bishop, all parish events are suspended until further notice. This includes prayer groups, bible studies, religious education, youth ministry and other parish sponsored meetings. These groups are being notified as well. The upcoming Fish Frys are also cancelled.
Bishop Hanefeldt has issued a decree cancelling all liturgies for an undetermined amount of time. Furthermore, he has issued a dispensation from the obligation of Mass attendance on Sundays and Holydays for all the faithful in the diocese and travelers present in the diocese. Those encouraged to take advantage of this dispensation are encouraged to pray at home and/or view a televised Mass if possible.
These measures are being put into place not to frighten, but to protect. Life will certainly be different for a while, but this does not mean that we need be afraid. As we suspend some things, our faith lives do not have to be suspended as well. This is a perfect opportunity to spend more time with the faith (formed.org) and with your family all while in conversation with God through prayer. Please do let us continue our prayers for our brothers and sisters who are sick, their loved one, health care providers, public health officials, all community leaders and for one another.