Coronavirus Updates

Father Stephen's Statement

Dear Friends,

In response to the presence of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 in Ohio, and to slow the spread of the virus and prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed, the Ohio Department of Health has prohibited gatherings of 100 or more people in a confined space. However, some exemptions to this order have been made, including an exemption for gatherings at houses of worship. Per Bishop Brennan, we will continue offering Masses here and throughout the Diocese of Columbus. However, the Catholic bishops of Ohio have removed the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for the weekends of March 15, 22, and 29. Persons who are experiencing symptoms of illness and persons who have compromised immune systems or health conditions that would make them more vulnerable to this illness are urged to stay home, for their own sake and out of charity for others who may be at risk. According to the CDC, older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Bishop Brennan has also given some directives for our Diocese and our parishes, in a letter released today. 

In light of the above, here are the steps we are taking at St. Patrick to help prevent the spread of this virus and to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our St Patrick community, especially the most vulnerable. Some of these steps involve sacrifice, but even in these sacrifices there are important opportunities to pull together as a parish.

Mass and Confession

Our scheduled weekend and weekday Masses and confessions will continue. As the bishops of Ohio state, "we would like to see parish Mass schedules remain unchanged to allow the faithful to offer worship to almighty God and receive the great grace of the sacraments during this trying time." During this time of heightened concern we can all see the need to pull together and pray as a community of believers.

Here are the changes related to the Masses which will be effective starting this weekend until further notice: 

  • We will suspend the Sign of Peace.
  • The diocese is asking everyone to consider receiving Holy Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue, as a temporary precaution. This is highly suggested, not mandated. If you receive on the tongue, it’s helpful to keep your tongue and head as still as possible; don’t tilt your head forward or move your tongue as the priest gives you the Host.
  • We will remove the holy water from the fonts, but holy water will still be available in the metal dispenser behind the baptismal font in the gallery if you would like to fill up your own container.
  • All parishioners should take proper measures to practice good hygiene which includes hand washing.
  • We are asking for you to use good judgment and concern for others regarding coughing, sneezing, keeping surfaces clean. Remember to sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve.
  • Please remember, if you or a member of your family is ill, experiencing symptoms of illness, or have a compromised immune system, you are not obligated to attend Mass and are encouraged to remain at home.
  • We have increased the cleaning in the Church, paying extra close attention to "touch" surfaces (door handles, pew edges, bathroom counters, light switches, etc.). These surfaces will be cleaned by our professional cleaning crew after every weekend and weekday Mass. 
  • Bathrooms will always be stocked with soap and paper towels for hand washing. 
  • If possible, and as space allows, feel free to spread out throughout the church. 
  • For those not attending Mass, we will have all weekday Masses and two of the weekend Masses (5pm and noon) live-streamed on our parish website.

Parish Events and Meetings

Effective today and until further notice, most non-essential parish events are cancelled. 

Events that will continue include:

  • Our Solemn Vigil Mass of St. Patrick on Monday, March 16, at 6:30pm; however the celebration afterward is cancelled.
  • All scheduled confessions
  • Weddings
  • Funerals
  • Special liturgies of Holy Week and the Triduum.
  • Eucharistic Adoration after Mass on Fridays, after the First Saturday Mass, and during the overnight 3rd and 4th Friday vigils
  • Regarding the Parish Mission with Fr. Emmerich Vogt, O.P., we will certainly still offer extended confession hours, and we are hoping Fr. Emmerich will still be able to preach for us, either in person or remotely through online streaming.

Events that are cancelled include:

  • CCD classes, including Wednesday CGS meetings
  • Youth Ministry events
  • Regular RCIA meetings
  • Sunday coffee and doughnuts
  • Stations of the Cross
  • Friday Fish Fry
  • Soup and Spirit talks
  • Women’s Club Bake Sale
  • Most other group events and meetings

Our parish office will remain open during regular hours, and you can call or stop by for clarification regarding schedules and cancellations. You can also contact your group or ministry leaders for alternative ways to meet or communicate.

The Bright Spots

The strength of the Church often shines out especially in times of adversity. This is an excellent time to reach out to neighbors and fellow parishioners who may need help, especially if they have to stay home for a time. When you are washing your hands for 20 seconds, consider praying an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for those who are ill and those who are under stress. Since your children are home from school, consider how to spend some quality time together as a family. Since you may have to stay home yourself, or have limited activities, consider this a time of retreat, with space for prayer, renewal, spiritual reading, and drawing closer to God.

Please pray for those who are already impacted by this virus; those who may become infected, especially those at most risk; and for the dedication and skill of all of our health professionals working to keep us safe. We will continue to keep you updated as this situation develops. May Our Lady of Lourdes, Health of the Sick and Mother of Mercy, intercede for us, and may the Holy Spirit continue to guide and  protect us all.

Fr. Stephen Alcott, O.P.

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