Note: The below letter from Fr. Bill was posted on March 13. Since that time, the Diocese of Brooklyn has suspended public Masses. Please refer to the more recent postings for the most up-to-date information on the steps that St. Charles Borromeo is taking to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
Sunday’s Gospel admonishes us to worship in “spirit and truth.” We should also add common sense. With the spread of the coronavirus, common sense will be very important. The parish has implemented the preventative measures recommended by the Diocese. Beyond that, the Church will be thoroughly cleaned again on Saturday by a professional cleaning company. Please note that our church is large enough and our attendance small enough that we should be able to provide the recommended social distance space for everyone.
Common sense however also is necessary to decide if you should attend Mass. Bishop DiMarzio announced today that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is suspended until further notice. People in the at risk groups, senior citizens (parishioners over 70 and certainly those over 80), people with underlying conditions, e.g. diabetes, or less than robust immune systems are encouraged to stay home. This does not mean that you should not worship especially on Sunday but that you should explore other means.
Starting this weekend, the Parish will webcast the Parish Masses. This is not as intimidating as it sounds. If you are not attending Mass, we will help you install the Zoom app on your phone (more details will be available soon). If you are attending Mass this weekend and need technical assistance, we encourage you to bring their your phones, tablets, or laptops to Mass so that we can help you install the app. We do not know what the future will bring for any of us and we want to remain in touch with everyone. Also, there are numerous Masses on TV. I particularly recommend our Diocesan Masses on “Net.tv.” Below is the channel guide for the New York stations:
Spectrum: channel 97
Optimium: channel 30
Verizon Fios: channel 48
Online Live Stream: https://netny.tv/watch-now/
Whether you participate in our Parish Mass remotely or tune into a televised Liturgy, it is customary to make an act of spiritual communion. The most famous is from St. Alphonsus Liguori and may be found below:
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.
It is said when others are receiving communion. The Rosary is also a wonderful and beneficial practice.
We request those who may feel any signs of a cold to participate from home. You are encouraged to do the practices suggested above. Not putting others at risk is an act of charity.
We are monitoring the evolving situation and will seek to provide more means of virtual contact with our parishioners. Until then please know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers, I remain:
Sincerely yours in Christ:
Fr. Bill Smith
Pastor, St. Charles Borromeo