COVID-19

Sobering News for Holy Week and Easter

The Vatican and our bishop have just issued various instructions for the Holy Week and Easter Services this year.

I've excerpted them below; the full texts will be published in this weekend's bulletin (available online.)

At the risk of overly simplifying and subject to correction, here are my take-home points:

  • Public liturgies for Holy Week and Easter Sunday are cancelled this year. Many of the liturgies are fixed by calendar year and cannot be postponed, so they will be performed in private by Bishop O'Connell and elsewhere where possible. Live streaming may be done.
  • There can be no outdoor gatherings at/around/near church on the days of the Triduum.
  • Some things can be postponed: distribution of palms and oils, Christian Initiation of Adults, Renewal of Priestly commitments.

Bishop O'Connell's decree:

DECREE

In time of COVID-19

As Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, I promulgate the following decree regarding the liturgies of Palm Sunday and Holy Week throughout the territorial Diocese of Trenton to assist the clergy and the faithful in the spiritual celebration of the Paschal Mysteries.

PALM SUNDAY

No public gatherings (inside or outside Churches, in cars, etc.).

The Mass for Palm Sunday will be celebrated by the Bishop without a congregation, with palms blessed, and broadcast via the live-stream internet on the Diocesan websites at 11 am on Sunday, April 5, 2020.

The Mass for Palm Sunday may be celebrated without a congregation by the pastor/parish priest in parish churches with live-stream capability; pastors should notify the parishioners of the time for the live-steam; pastors should also notify the Diocesan Office of Communications so that a Diocesan calendar/schedule of events might be posted for access by the faithful of the Diocese.

Blessed palms can be made available for distribution at a later date.

CHRISM MASS

The Chrism Mass will be postponed and re-scheduled for another date/time with the renewal of priestly commitment and the blessing/consecration of oils occurring at that time.

Oils/chrism from the current supplies (currently in use) may continue to be used until a new supply is blessed/consecrated and made available.

 PASCHAL TRIDUUM: the following liturgical directives are to be observed in accordance with the “Decree in Time of COVID-19” issued on March 19, 2020 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff for the year 2020 only.

The Paschal Triduum cannot be transferred to another time.

HOLY THURSDAY

No public gatherings (inside or outside Churches, in cars, etc.).

Televised or live-stream broadcasts should be live (not recorded).

The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated by the Bishop without a congregation and broadcast via the live-stream internet on the Diocesan websites at 7 pm on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper may be celebrated without a congregation by the pastor/parish priest in parish churches with live-stream capability; pastors should notify the parishioners of the time for the live-steam; pastors should also notify the Diocesan Office of Communications so that a Diocesan calendar/schedule of events might be posted for access by the faithful of the Diocese.

During the Evening Mass for the Lord’s Supper:

  • The Washing of the Feet, which is already optional, is to be omitted;
  • The usual procession with the Blessed Sacrament to a place of repose is to be omitted and the Blessed Sacrament should be kept in the tabernacle, as usual.

 GOOD FRIDAY

No public gatherings (inside or outside Churches, in cars, etc.).

The Commemoration/Celebration of the Lord’s Passion will be celebrated by the Bishop without a congregation and broadcast via the live-stream internet on the Diocesan websites at 3 pm on Friday, April 10, 2020.

The Commemoration/Celebration of the Lord’s Passion may be celebrated without a congregation by the pastor/parish priest in parish churches with live-stream capability; pastors should notify the parishioners of the time for the live-steam; pastors should also notify the Diocesan Office of Communications so that a Diocesan calendar/schedule of events might be posted for access by the faithful of the Diocese.

A special commemoration in the General Intercessions for the sick, the dead and for those who feel lost or dismayed will be developed by the Office of Worship and sent to the parishes for mandated use.

HOLY SATURDAY

No public gatherings (inside or outside Churches, in cars, etc.).

The Easter Vigil will be celebrated by the Bishop without a congregation and broadcast via the live-stream internet on the Diocesan websites at 7 pm on Saturday, April 11, 2020.

The Easter Vigil may be celebrated without a congregation by the pastor/parish priest in parish churches with live-stream capability; pastors should notify the parishioners of the time for the live-steam; pastors should also notify the Diocesan Office of Communications so that a Diocesan calendar/schedule of events might be posted for access by the faithful of the Diocese.

During the Easter Vigil:

  • The preparation and lighting of the fire is omitted
  • The paschal candle is lit without procession followed by the recited Easter Proclamation
  • The Liturgy of the Word takes place
  • The Baptismal Liturgy is only the renewal of Baptismal Promises; a symbolic (small) of Holy Water may be blessed but holy water fonts should remain empty
  • The Rite of Christian Initiation and/or Reception into Full Communion will be postponed and re-scheduled once restrictions are lifted

 EASTER SUNDAY

No public gatherings (inside or outside Churches, in cars, etc.).

Mass for Easter Sunday will be celebrated by the Bishop without a congregation and broadcast via the live-stream internet on the Diocesan websites at 10 am on Sunday, April 12, 2020.

Mass for Easter Sunday may be celebrated without a congregation by the pastor/parish priest in parish churches with live-stream capability; pastors should notify the parishioners of the time for the live-steam; pastors should also notify the Diocesan Office of Communications so that a Diocesan calendar/schedule of events might be posted for access by the faithful of the Diocese.

Priests are otherwise asked to celebrate Easter Sunday without a congregation.

Given by mandate of the Bishop, Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M., J.C.D.,  March 20, 2020, for the Diocese of Trenton.

POST-SCRIPT:

No general absolution is to be given at this time; if that changes, it will be communicated / announced.

Regarding Plenary Indulgence:

The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will* to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father's intentions), as soon as possible.

Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.

This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.

The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).

(*fulfillment of the usual conditions may not be immediately possible; therefore, the will to fulfill them suffices with the intention to fulfill the usual conditions “as soon as possible.”)


Worship at Holy Cross Church - Wednesday 3/18/2020

  • Morning and evening adoration hours seem to be going well. They will continue on weekdays. 
  • Stations of the Cross are cancelled.
  • Mass intentions are being fulfilled. Bishop O'Connell has indicated that he wishes this to continue and given permission for the Sunday intentions to be combined and said at one private mass.
  • Today's hours of  Exposition are the usual for Wednesdays.
  • Bulletin links will be placed on our webpage (as usual) and this blog. Feel free to share them.
  • 24 Hours for the Lord will continue as scheduled. It looks like we have enough adorers for overnight on Friday into Saturday morning. Please feel free to join us.
  • A reminder there is holy water and blessed salt available in the south transept.

Please keep everyone up to date as the situation evolves with social media links and messages to fellow parishioners.


Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers

Basilica-of-the-Fourteen-Holy-Helpers-Bayern-Germany
The Altar of the Fourteen Holy Helpers in Bavaria, Germany. It depicts 14 saints who had become intercessors for pilgrims during the Black Death in Europe. The ornate altar is surrounded by equally opulent rococo style architecture. 

The fourteen saints are:

  • Agathius (or Acacius) (May 8), martyr, invoked against headache
  • Barbara (December 4), virgin and martyr, invoked against fever and sudden death
  • Blaise (also Blase and Blasius) (February 3), bishop and martyr, invoked against illness of the throat
  • Catherine of Alexandria (November 25), virgin and martyr, invoked against sudden death
  • Christopher (Christophorus) (July 25), martyr, invoked against bubonic plague
  • Cyriacus (Cyriac) (August 8), deacon and martyr, invoked against temptation on the death-bed
  • Denis (Dionysius) (October 9), bishop and martyr, invoked against headache
  • Erasmus (Elmo) (June 2), bishop and martyr, invoked against intestinal ailments
  • Eustachius (Eustace, Eustathius) (September 20), martyr, invoked against family discord
  • George (April 23), soldier-martyr, for the health of domestic animals
  • Giles (Aegidius) (September 1), hermit and abbot, invoked against plague, for a good confession
  • Margaret of Antioch (July 20), virgin and martyr, invoked in childbirth
  • Pantaleon (July 27), bishop and martyr, for physicians
  • Vitus (June 15), martyr, invoked against epilepsy

Diocese of Trenton Updates 3/16/2020

Bishop O'Connell had directed the following:

  • All public Masses throughout the Diocese of Trenton will be temporarily suspended through April 3, 2020.  That date is subject to change as the coronavirus pandemic evolves.  
  • Baptism, funerals and weddings may continue based on the judgement of pastors, with the caution that crowds should not exceed 50 persons as mandated by the State of a New Jersey.
  • Social distancing practices (3-6 feet of space between participants) should be observed for any event inside church spaces.
  • Churches should remain open for prayer, private devotion and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  Pastors are asked to consider Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during the day. Praying in large groups, however, should be avoided.
  • Attention should be paid to the cleanliness of our church facilities.
  • Televised or online celebrations of the Mass and other religious programming are available for use of the faithful during this time. 
  • All scheduled Confirmations in the Diocese will be temporarily postponed until after Easter and will be re-scheduled after that time.  
  • The Sacrament of Penance should remain available according to need, but public Penance Services are not to be conducted.  
  • The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick should also remain available for true emergencies. Hospitals and nursing homes may be on lock-down and priests are advised to check on their status beforehand.

Masses at Holy Cross Church Rumson - 3/14/2020

All Masses, Adoration Hours and Confessions will take place as scheduled at Holy Cross Church. Our attendance figures do not approach a threshold of concern except for our Christmas Masses. Hospitality gatherings after Mass are cancelled. The church remains open for prayer. We are exploring some immediate ways to live stream our Masses on Twitch or YouTube. Parish staff are available during office hours as usual.

The downstairs rest rooms in the Church are closed until further notice. The rest room in the south transept remains open.

All Religious Education events (classes, retreats, liturgy practices, etc.) are cancelled whenever Holy Cross Academy is closed (March 14 - March 30).

Small holy water bottles have arrived and are available in the South Transept in which you make take home some holy water. Monday or Tuesday there will be small packets of blessed salt for the same purpose. (We are awaiting the arrival of the small plastic bags and the time to fill them.)

 


Mass and Communion in Trenton Diocese - update 3/13/20

Bishop O'Connell has dispensed the Catholic faithful from the obligation to attend Sunday mass until further notice. He has instructed parishes to offer all masses as scheduled. Communion from the cups and touching at the Sign of Peace remain suspended. All other previous instructions remain in effect. 

Holy Cross Academy will close for a two week break beginning Monday, March 16th and will reopen on March 30th pending further notification.