For a PDF version of this letter, click here.
In accordance with the guidelines and regulations established by the Green Bay Diocese and public health authorities, at St. Jude Parish we are taking the following precautions to help ensure the health and safety of our worship and community environment. Visit stjudeoshkosh.org or facebook.com/ stjudeoshkosh for the most up-to-date information.
On Friday, March 13, Bishop Ricken granted a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass in the Green Bay Diocese due to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This dispensation will cover three weekends, including Masses for Sundays March 15, 22, and 29. As of Friday, March 13, all scheduled Masses at St. Jude’s will go on as normal during these weekends. The dispensation from the Sunday obligation does not dispense the faithful from their obligation under divine law to keep the Lord’s Day holy, which they can do through viewing a televised or streamed Mass from St. Francis Xavier Cathedral or elsewhere, reading and meditating upon the Sunday readings, praying the Rosary as a family, or some other act of devotion.
Whether or not the obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been dispensed from, parishioners with symptoms of illness are urged NOT to attend Mass. The obligation to attend Sunday Mass does not ever apply to those who are ill, especially if they are suffering from a contagious illness. This is an obligation in charity for themselves and others that those with flu-like symptoms remain at home.
The following measures have been put in place at our churches to help ensure a safe and healthy environment for Sunday worship:
- Fr. Louis, Deacon Pat, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion will be taking extra care to practice good hygiene especially with regards to the distribution of holy communion, including the use of hand sanitizer immediately before and after the distribution of communion.
- Pews, doorknobs, and push bars at church entrances will be disinfected after every Mass.
- The Sign of Peace will not be exchanged for the time being.
- The distribution of the Precious Blood from the chalice will be discontinued for the time being.
- Holy Water has been removed from the fonts at the entrances of the churches.
- Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrances to the churches. All are encouraged to use sanitizer or wash their hands with soap and water when entering and leaving the churches.
- Parishioners are urged to adopt social distancing recommendations, including avoiding physical contact such as handshakes and embraces before and after Mass.
Finally, all are urged to pray fervently for healing, hope, and peace for all those affected by this illness. Pope Francis has composed a prayer to Mary which is particularly recommended.
Pope Francis’s Prayer to Our Lady, Health of the Sick
During the Coronavirus Emergency
March 11, 2020
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain,
keeping your faith firm.
You know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God.
Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.
According to tradition, this image was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist on wood from a table made by St. Joseph. Mary herself is said to have posed for the image before moving with St. John from Jerusalem to Ephesus. The image eventually made its way to Rome, where it was given a place of honor in the first western church dedicated to Mary, the Basilica of St. Mary Major. It has been venerated there for more than 1600 years.
This image is associated with a number of miracles. Most famously, it was carried by Pope St. Gregory the Great in procession during the Roman plague of A.D. 591, leading to the end of that plague.
For centuries, Christians have venerated this image as a powerful reminder of God’s loving presence among us, and his mercy in times of trial.
Mary, Health of the Roman People, pray for us!