17 March 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

It seems that the regulations and prohibitions being enacted to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus change daily.  I went to the YMCA to exercise on Sunday afternoon, only to discover that the Governor closed all gyms in the State of Maryland on Monday.  It is taking some time for all of us to adjust to the new “normal,” and the change in daily routines is unsettling for many.  But, as past experience has shown so often, human beings have the ability to unite, and sacrifice, and take care of one another when faced with adversity– and we can get though this together.  It’s important to remember that.

The Archdiocese has issued guidelines for all parishes during this crises.  A brief synopsis follows:

  • The Archbishop of Baltimore has canceled all public Masses until further notice.
  • Weddings and funerals may proceed, but attendance should be limited to immediate family. Compliance with all state and local government-imposed restrictions on the number of people at public gatherings is mandatory, regardless of the type of gathering.
  • There should be no scheduled “services” that would bring people together at a specific time.   
  • People who are ill or vulnerable to illness should be reminded that they should stay home for their safety and for the safety of others. 

Please be aware, then, of the schedule changes here at Saint Katharine Drexel:

  • All weekend and weekday Masses are cancelled.
  • All scheduled times of Eucharistic Exposition are cancelled.
  • Lenten Friday night meal and prayer is cancelled.
  • All Prayer Groups (i.e. Rosary and Centering Prayer) are cancelled.
  • Our Lenten Parish Mission for next week is cancelled.

As you are probably already aware, most (but not all) faith formation programs, social activities, and meetings are also cancelled.  (Our Pastoral Council met last night to continue guiding our parish forward through this challenging time, but we separated all the tables, and made sure we were all sitting at least 6 feet apart.)  Please consult the parish calendar on our website to learn what events are still being held as scheduled.

The CDC has now revised its guidelines to limit gatherings of people to ten (10).  This means that in the cases of funerals and weddings, only ten people can be present for the service (including clergy and musicians.) Already this week I spoke to two families about upcoming funeral Masses that will be scheduled at a later time when more people are able to attend.

Initially, school classes and church services were cancelled for a two week period to slow the spread of the virus, but I suspect this may be extended for the sake of public safety.  At first, I thought we might be able to celebrate the feast of Easter together, but now that seems questionable.  I do know that one day we will all be singing “Alleluia” when the worst is behind us.  Hang in there!

Sincerely,

Fr. Keith

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