Update From St. Mary’s – Fr. Brian McGrath – March 19th, 2020
Mar 19, 2020
I wanted to get a simple update up on our website and FaceBookpage. This evening we had a special meeting of the Berkshire Deanery. It has been so encouraging to see the faithfulness of our people. Tonight I got to see the pastoral concern and huge efforts of the priests and deacons throughout the Deanery.
Here at St. Mary’s I know of no-one from the parish who has been diagnosed or confirmed to have COVID19. I have heard of several people who are self-quarantined as well as people who know relatives or friends who have been confirmed to have COVID19. Each and all are in my prayers every day … many times during the day.
One of our priests is the chaplain at BMC. I am sure everyone knows that all hospitals have made serious restrictions on visitors as have all nursing homes. I won’t be going to the hospital or nursing home unless a family member specifically requests it. The chaplain at BMC, Fr. Naranjo, has offered to do all anointings until further notice.
We are starting a live broadcast of the Sunday Mass (11 am 3/22/20) on CTSB (channel 1301 on Spectrum or live streamed on CTSBtv.org). I am looking at continuing live Sunday Mass broadcast and encourage people to watch the Mass online or on TV and continue to make a spiritual communion. I saw a funny meme that gave four good reasons to watch online: 1) No parking 2) Refill your coffee anytime 3) Relax in your pajamas 4) Mute the pastor. It made me laugh. But seriously, let’s continue to pray for each other.
Holy Week will be here before we know it. It looks like the church and all public Masses we will be closed through Palm Sunday. For Palm Sunday we are contemplating a “Drive Through Palm Pick-up.” Holy Week Services are yet to be cancelled but what shape they will take will be determined. It may be Outdoor Mass (maybe like the old fashioned drive-ins but up at the school or on blankets far enough apart) but we simply don’t know right now. A lot can change in the weeks ahead.
One new thing is that I plan on being at the at the grotto behind St. Mary’s this Saturday from 3:00 to 4:00 pm for Confessions. Fr. Duy and I have been available for confession by appointment, simply call so we can find a time. But this way people can stop by for the sacrament. With social distancing, you may want to wait in your car until the previous person finishes. I plan on putting the chairs 8 feet apart and having some music playing so we get privacy.
If you know of anyone who needs assistance, please give us a call. We will do our best. For sure we have lots of parishioners who have offered to help pick up prescriptions or make a food run, etc. This will be done with social distancing and good health hygiene.
The school and offices are closed until further notice. Fr. Duyand myself are answering phones and the doors. I have hand sanitizer and wipes by the entrance. People have been amazingly sensitive and cooperative.
This is a difficult time fiscally. The Church’s primary cost is our staff. We will continue to pay our staff both at the school and rectory. There are some ways I can cut costs (turning down the heat and minimizing lighting, not ordering Easter flowers, etc.). The diocese may be able to help out if our financial situation gets worse. But I am sure our people will respond with generosity. We are all simply stewards of the great treasures God has given us. Thanks in advance for your goodness.
Finally. Know of my prayers. As a Deanery, our priests and deacons have agreed to praying each day at 3:00 pm for an end to this pandemic and for the good of all. I am praying constantly, saying the Liturgy of the Hours and saying Mass each day for the intentions of our people and the needs of our world.