IMPORTANT MESSAGE REGARDING WEEKEND MASSES

Mar 13, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

The Coronavirus and the resulting COVID-19 disease are challenging our society and our daily lives in ways we have never experienced before.  Steps are being taken in our own country to prevent the kind of crisis that has afflicted Italy.  “Social distancing” is being used to delay the spread of the virus and hopefully avoid healthcare systems from being overwhelmed.

To this end, schools in Maryland have been closed for the next two weeks, many people are being urged to work from home if possible, and Governor Larry Hogan has prohibited gatherings of more than 250 people.  Archbishop Lori has dispensed all members of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Baltimore from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.  He has also given pastors permission to cancel Masses that regularly have more than 250 people attending.  This is the case for all three of our weekend Masses.

Therefore, for the next two weekends, the Saint Katharine Drexel faith community will do its part in reducing the spread of the virus by cancelling all weekend Masses.  We have reached this decision in consultation with other Frederick County parishes who are taking the same steps in caring for their people  TGIF is also cancelled this Sunday evening, and our upcoming Lenten Parish Mission is being postponed.  As with the closing of schools, an evaluation concerning future parish responses to the pandemic will be made at the end of this two week period.

This message is addressing the larger gatherings that occur, but there are many other activities at our parish throughout the week.  Please consult the calendar on our website for information indicating which activities are “CANCELLED”.  The impact of the spread of the virus will no doubt cause a continually developing response, and so we will use the calendar on our website to share with you the latest information about activities.

We hope to provide you with a resource to use at home, where individuals or families can gather in prayer over the weekend to read the assigned scripture readings and reflect on the homily (continuing our Lenten focus on “Calling all Sinners.”) This will also be available on the website.  In addition, the Archdiocese of Baltimore provides a list of parishes live-streaming weekend Masses, as well as those broadcast on radio and TV, and this list can be found on their website:  https://www.archbalt.org/online-mass/

Our nation and our world are being strained in so many different ways by this pandemic.  We are called to pray for all those affected by this virus, especially looking out for the elderly and those who health is compromised.  As a community of faith, even though we are not able to unite physically in community at weekend Mass, we can still be united as the Body of Christ in prayer.  Let us pray for one another.

Sincerely,

Fr. Keith

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