Given at the 9:00 AM Mass on Saturday, March 14
Last night I was with a priest friend from another diocese who is in charge of making decisions for all the parishes there. Throughout the evening he was speaking with his state’s governor, head of state police, bishops…you get the picture. Things were changing every five minutes.
That’s how it feels for us. I would offer two things that can help us right now: prudence and hope. Prudent measures, even sacrificial ones, are to protect the health and well-being of all our brothers and sisters. And hope in the Lord, who uses the good and the bad to make Himself known in ways that we could never have anticipated or expected.
On the practical front, I want to remind everyone that every Mass, parish event and gathering is suspended. I encourage you to watch Mass every day on CatholicTV and to share in spiritual communion – a very intentional uniting of heart and mind both to the Body and Blood of Christ made real for us at Mass, and to all His people. It is an age-old practice in the Church, and one that sustains millions of our home-bound sisters and brothers every day. Please know that we priests will be celebrating a private Mass each day for the intentions listed in the bulletin, as well as for the parish, the choir school, and the Harvard Catholic Center. In a special way we remember those who are ill and those who care for them.
The present plan is to keep the church open from approximately 8:00am until 6:00pm each day. This would be unless concerns about contamination of space becomes a concern. (At some point in the future, depending how things progress, we may offer a time of Eucharistic Adoration that we will publicize as we are able.)
We will not have scheduled times for Confession as we cannot ensure the cleanliness of the confessional for both the penitent and the priest. That said: you can reach out to a priest by email and he will be happy to arrange a time for confession.
Visits to nursing homes and the home-bound are suspended, but we encourage you to call or write to those you may visit or know in that situation. In fact, we are all encouraged to reach out to one another regularly by phone or email or text. Calling each other and reaching out would be good for all of us. Many people may well be feeling isolated. Talk to others, and especially if you need something, contact someone or the parish.
The parish office will have irregular hours, so emailing anyone on the staff will be the best way to reach us.
The weekly Saturday Parish Food Pantry, at the request of Cardinal Sean and with the full support of our team, will continue. We will make adjustments to the process and some of the practices and will continue to evaluate as time goes on.
It’s a little helpful that this is Lent. This allows for a kind of retreat. Use the time to pray, to offer up these sacrifices and inconveniences, fears and anxieties. Be prudent in interactions but bold in prayer.
Our hope is in Jesus Christ, now and forever.
God bless you.