Friday, March 13, 2020
RE: ST. GABRIEL AND ST. BRIDGET PARISHES IN LIGHT OF COVID-19
Dear parishioners and parents,
I have been following with great interest the information that continues to come to us about COVID-19, which is commonly known as the Corona Virus. Like many of you, I have struggled to discern what exactly is happening as the situation is fluid and the information given can even seem to contradict other information given. What remains clear is that precaution is warranted and acting for the wellbeing of the most vulnerable is necessary and responsible. Therefore, as of 5 PM FRIDAY, MARCH 13, ALL ACTIVITIES AT ST. GABRIEL AND ST. BRIDGET PARISHES ARE SUSPENDED, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF HOLY MASS, CONFESSION, EVENING STATIONS OF THE CROSS, ADORATION AND ST. BRIDGET’S THURSDAY MORNING PRAYER GROUP. It is my plan for St. Gabriel church to be open for people to come and pray from 7:30 am to 2 pm each day. Of course, the Church being open is dependent on the wishes of the Archbishop and may have to change in this fluid situation.
Included with this letter are policies guiding particular areas of our parish life. As of this writing, ST. GABRIEL SCHOOL REMAINS OPEN. That could change soon, as our school community is following the lead of the Fayette County School Corporation. If the school closes, please look to communications from our school’s principal, Ms. Barth.
We are closing our parishes’ office. I will keep my currently scheduled appointments, however, the Parish Staff has been instructed to work from home as best as they can. The earliest our parish office will re-open is Monday, March 30th. We will continue to evaluate as we get closer to that date. If you need to contact a staff member, please call the parish office (765-825-8578) and leave a message with the staff member. They will return your call as they will check their messages M-F.
Within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Archbishop Thompson has lifted the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice, which is to say that no one is required to come to Mass for the time being. This has been done to strongly encourage vulnerable adults and children, including those with weakened or compromised immune systems, to stay home from Mass. If you are sick or are showing symptoms of being sick, please stay home as an act of charity and duty toward our fellow parishioners. For those who do attend Mass, please maintain distance and spread out in Church. There is further notice about the suspension of particular aspects to our liturgical practices included.
For continued updates on parish life and/or how COVID-19 will continue or not continue impacting our parishes, I will do my normal announcements pre-Mass and again at the beginning of my homily. Those announcements and homily will be recorded and posted to our YouTube Channel by the following Tuesday. In order to access our parishes’ YouTube channel please follow this link, access from our website: stgabrielconnersville.org, or google the following phrase: St Gabriel Connersville YouTube. The first option listed should be our parishes’ channel. Then simply click on the video button to see the list of homilies posted.
I realize that these actions may seem extreme and will cause hardship, but I assure you that they are not taken lightly and have been done after much consultation with the state, local authorities, and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. I have no doubt that our community will come through this global pandemic and we will do so by looking out for and taking care of one another. May the wider community know St. Gabriel and St. Bridget for the love and care we demonstrate. If someone is in need of the Anointing of the Sick or Last Rites please contact the Sacramental Emergency line at 765-825-8578 ext 4.
Know of my most heartfelt prayers for our parishes, parishioners, and all peoples impacted by the COVID-19 virus. May God grant deep faith in this time and heal all the sick!
Fr. Dustin Boehm
Temporary Policies Guiding Parishes’ activities
St. Gabriel & St. Bridget
Effective as of Friday, March 13, 2020
All dates listing the expiration of suspension are subject to extension, which will be evaluated based on Archdiocesan, local health department, and school corporation recommendations.
St. Bridget and St. Gabriel Ministry/Committee:
- Nursing Home & Compassionate Visitors: Masses and all visits (for any reason) are suspended until the particular nursing home allows for visitors. In cases of emergency, please utilize the emergency line or contact Fr. Dustin directly.
- Communion to the sick and homebound: Suspended
- Bridget: Can resume once Whitewater Nursing Home permits visitors.
- Gabriel: Can resume once Heritage House permits visitors.
- CCD, Confirmation, Youth Group, and Sacramental Preparation: Suspended until Monday, April 6. However, if the local school corporation closes, these will be suspended until the local corporation re-opens the schools.
- RCIA Classes, Adult Faith Formation, Bible Studies, Consoling the Heart of Jesus: Suspended until Monday, April 6.
- All Committees & Friends of St. B.: Suspended from meeting until Monday, April 6
- Gabriel Auction: Not suspended, but parish youth are not to work concessions
- Bridget Fish Fry: Cancelled
- Choir: Suspended until April 6
- Bereavement Committee/Meals: Suspended until April 6
St. Gabriel and St. Bridget Campus Buildings:
- All St. Gabriel School Buildings (1926, 1957, and 2001 buildings): For as long as school is open, they are accessible only to school & parish staff, students, and parents/guardians of students. No one else, unless authorized by the Pastor or Principal, is permitted to enter the building. If school is closed, only parish and school staff may enter who have been authorized by the Pastor and/or Principal. In either scenario, all groups scheduled to use these buildings (including the gym) are unable to do so until further notice.
- Parishes’ Office: Closed (Staff will work from home as best as they are able and will remotely check voicemails/emails daily)
- The soonest the office would re-open is Monday, March 30.
- Anthony Center/Parish Rectory: Closed to all parishioners until Monday, April 6. If you need access, please seek permission by calling/texting Fr. Dustin: 317-679-0904
- Current rentals will be honored as best as possible, but there will be a suspension of new rentals until Monday, April 6
Mass Practices until Monday, May 25, 2020
- Suspension of The Sign of Peace, hand holding during the Our Father, distribution of the Precious Blood (Chalices).
- If you are currently scheduled to distribute Communion from the Chalice, you will not need to come forward as you normally would.
- Ministers of the Bowl/Paten should bring their paten to the main altar and hand it to the priest-celebrant. They can return to their seats at that time, as the priest will purify the paten and the altar servers will place them on the table.
- While the option remains to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, please reconsider for the time being. You can certainly continue to kneel, but can and should receive on the hand.
- The Holy Water fonts will remain empty.