Update Regarding the Suspension of Public Masses – 29 April 2020
Dear Faithful of St. Gertrude Parish
You may have already heard the sad news that Archbishop Schnurr, in union with the bishops of Ohio, has continued the suspension of public Masses through to May 29th. (The announcement of the Catholic Conference.) They chose that date to leave open the hope that the Church in Ohio might be able to come together again on Pentecost, which this year is May 31st.
I join with the disappointment that many of you have expressed. Each time that we have received this news, the end date seemed far enough in the future that things would be clearer then. Yet, here we are. What the future holds remains marked with uncertainty.
I trust the judgment of the bishops and their counselors and I encourage you to do the same. They derive no joy from empty churches and missed sacraments. Concern for the common good is a part of their office, and a burden that I do not envy. The weight of these decisions must be quite a heavy burden.
This separation from public worship in the Mass, however, does not constrain God’s graces nor does it prevent us from bringing you and your intentions to the altar each day as we continue the Sacrifice of the Mass at St. Gertrude. Jesus dwells in you as He does in all believers throughout the ages.
We will continue to have the Church open for private prayer from 12 N to 4 PM on Weekdays, and offer two daily confession times at 4 PM and again at 7:30 PM. Please pay attention to the messages on Flocknote, on the website, and on Closing the Social Distance as the situation develops further.
The latest extension means that now First Communion joins the list of Sacraments delayed by the pandemic along with RCIA and Confirmation. I wish I could offer a concrete date as to when those sacred events will be held. Unfortunately, that much remains unclear. However, I can assure you that we have not forgotten you and these liturgies will happen.
Finally, the present uncertainty has forced us to cancel the annual St. Gertrude Festival. We would have been forced to make guarantees and put up deposits this week, and with the overwhelming uncertainty surrounding this summer, we could not do that responsibly. We are not giving up entirely. Some elements of the festival will go on—the dinner, the auction, and some of the special events—though it may need to be later in the summer. We will share more details as they become available.
Fr. Clement Dickie, O.P.