Tuesday, March 17, 2020

As of Tomorrow, Indiana's Catholic Churches and Chapels Are Closed

Earlier today, Bishop Timothy Doherty of the Diocese of Lafayette-In-Indiana, suspended all public celebrations of the Mass and other liturgical services and gatherings of the faithful effective tomorrow until further notice due to the Coronavirus pandemic. You can read his complete statement here.

Bishop Doherty notes: "The following decisions and directives have been formulated with local and statewide consultation. As a bishop, it hurts my heart to limit access to our churches and to the Divine Liturgy. I am in a position to make decisions that others cannot or will not, so I ask your prayers for the yet unforeseen challenges that we face in slowing down the contagion."

Some of the directives for the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana include:
  • Priests are forbidden to celebrate a public Mass.
  • Churches and chapels, including perpetual adoration chapels, should remain closed until further notice.
  • Any scheduled celebrations should be postponed until further notice. This includes the celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Matrimony. There should be no regularly scheduled Confessions at this time.
Read those items again. This is unprecedented in modern times! As one pastor said, "We're in Lent, contemplating the reality that we are dust and to dust we’ll return, and this has been a powerful reminder of that."

The bishop will offer Masses at Church of the Blessed Sacrament on Sunday's at 8am eastern, livestreamed at http://churchoftheblessedsacrament.yourstreamlive.com. During a time of prayer on Sunday, or while viewing the Mass online, the faithful are encouraged to make an act of Spiritual Communion. Below is an example of a prayer for spiritual communion that Bishop Doherty shared:
My Jesus, 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. Amen.
The Catholic church also states that the faithful are encouraged to prayerfully read the readings of Sacred Scripture for the day, or to pray the rosary. During these challenging times, keep in mind the words of Joshua 1:9 -- "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso