On March 17, Archbishop Nelson Pérez, in response to the growing concern over the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the directives of government and health officials, announced the suspension of all public Masses in the Archdiocese effective Wednesday, March 18 until further notice. Following the guidance of the Archdiocese and the directives of State and local Health Departments, to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus and to protect the health and well-being of our community, all parish activities, meetings, devotions, and office appointments have been suspended. This suspension of activities will last through at least April 6 and be re-evaluated pending future developments. Our Parish Mission with Fr. Richard Veras, originally scheduled for March 22 – 25, will be rescheduled to next Advent or Lent. Though public Mass has been suspended, Sunday remains the Lord’s Day and all are encouraged to read the Word of God, especially the readings for Sunday, to make a Spiritual Communion, and/or pray the Holy Rosary. I will be live-streaming Mass daily every morning from the rectory chapel. It will be recorded and posted through the St. Charles Borromeo Parish Facebook page. Please share this resource with fellow parishioners, friends and family. Please see the parish website for prayer resources and links for access to live-stream coverage or video recordings of Archbishop Pérez’s 11:00 a.m. Sunday Mass. Despite these restrictions, we wish to be attentive as possible to the spiritual, pastoral, and charitable needs of the the faithful. Our parish office will be closed, but our staff will attend to parishioner needs via phone and email as best as possible. We are grateful for your patience and understanding. Please subscribe to our bulletin on-line through the link on the website. A bulletin will be emailed to you weekly.
I will continue to offer Holy Mass on Sunday and weekdays privately and all Mass intentions already in place during this period will be honored. Both an English Mass and a Spanish Mass will be live-streamed on Sunday, the English Mass at 10:00a.m. and the Spanish Mass at noon. Unless state orders dictate otherwise, St. Charles Borromeo Church will remain open only for private prayer following our normal liturgical schedule. (Please see the front of the bulletin or the website for details regarding the schedule). I will be available in church to hear confessions at the posted confession times. A confession station is set up in the sanctuary that allows for the required social distancing. We will still celebrate baptisms, weddings, and funerals, but the limitations regarding the number of participants and appropriate social distancing need to be observed. In conjunction with directives already in force in hospitals and institutions, all visits to the sick and homebound with Holy Communion, including in private homes, by priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are suspended. If someone is in immediate danger of death, please do not hesitate to call the emergency line, 215-638-3650. I will be available to celebrate the Last Sacraments in such instances.
We are taking all the recommended precautions to ensure the safety and health of our community. We are conducting a “deep cleaning” of the church, Adoration Chapel, and the Our Lady of Fatima worship space. The hymnals have been disinfected and removed until concerns regarding the spread of the virus have abated. We know that the implementation of ‘social distancing’ protocols will exacerbate the isolation of many. Due to health or age, many will be confined to their homes. During this time, please pay special attention to those who must stay at home. Visit (if possible), call often, and offer to help with basic needs like shopping. All schools in Pennsylvania will be closed at least through Wednesday, April 6. We know this is a particular hardship for those who lack childcare. Please be attentive and see where you can help your friends and neighbors in need. This moment of national crisis presents a moment for us, as a community of faith, to come together in prayerful solidarity to support one another and lend assistance to the most vulnerable in our midst, deepen our faith in Christ, and witness to his abiding presence through our love for each other and our certain hope in this trial.
In a special way I would like to thank all who generously and continuously have supported St. Charles through the Sunday collection. If you do not already contribute on-line, please now consider using the electronic giving option available for our parish. It is easy to set up following the link and step by step instructions on the parish website. You may also “give on-line” using the Bill Pay feature of your bank. If you pay bills online, please add St. Charles as a vendor and the bank will send your contribution. Just note your envelope number on the payment, and your contribution will be credited as usual. If you do not have internet access, please mail your offertory envelope to the parish or drop the envelope through the mail slot in the front door of the rectory. I am well-aware of the financial impact this pandemic will have on many of our parishioners and those they love. Please be as generous as you can and faithful in maintaining your support of the parish at this time. As always, I am grateful for your generosity, stewardship, and support.
Check the parish website regularly for updates and new prayer resources. Any new directives or guidance coming from the Archdiocese will be posted on the parish website. It has been beautiful and touching to receive texts, calls, and messages of concern and support from many friends who I have not been in touch with for some time. Often situations like this reveal how much we take for granted these relationships in our life. The Lord will reveal to us many other gifts and graces in this trial if we keep our hearts open to Him. Please be assured of my prayers in this challenging time. And please pray for me! I entrust us all to Our Lady, Health of the Sick. St. Charles Borromeo, pray for us!