March 13, 2020 Dear Friends in Christ, The Bible says 365 times “Be not afraid.” One of the worst things we can do is become fearful. Yes there are many closings and cancellations due to the threat of the Coronavirus. During these times, we need to be cautious and trust in God. We have to do all we can to stay healthy, keep others healthy and ask God to come to our aid. We will continue to celebrate all Masses scheduled with a few changes. With the hope of easing any concerns and making you aware, here are some of the precautions we are taking to ensure all of us stay healthy. There will be no Holy Water in fonts by the doors until Easter. We will not hold hands during the Our Father, or shake hands at the sign of peace. There will be no Precious Blood at communion time (a practice we have been instituting every year during flu season anyway) and you are strongly encouraged to receive communion in the hand as germs are more easily transmitted by receiving in the mouth. We will be sanitizing the door handles after each mass and there is hand sanitizer available in each of the vestibules for your use. Below you will find the official statement from Bishop Scharfenberger concerning changes for the month of March that contains important information including lifting the obligation to attend Mass. We will revisit the situation in April and update accordingly. May the Divine Physician come to our aid and the aid of all those in need.
Diocese of Buffalo Office of Communications FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 13, 2020 BISHOP SCHARFENBERGER DISPENSES CATHOLICS OF DIOCESE OF BUFFALO FROM SUNDAY AND HOLY DAY MASS OBLIGATION DUE TO CORONAVIRUS THREAT Gatherings not to exceed 250 in compliance with Erie County Department of Health Guidelines (Buffalo, NY) - In light of the serious health risks to vulnerable populations posed by the novel coronavirus, and to prevent widespread infection, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger temporarily dispenses the Catholic faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days during the coronavirus threat. Until further notice, Catholics of the Diocese of Buffalo should use their prudent judgment as to whether or not to attend Mass. Older adults, people with underlying medical conditions, and family members of such individuals should take special care in discerning the best course of action to avoid exposure to large groups of people. At this time, Mass will continue to be offered publicly as announced or scheduled, contingent on emergency governmental restrictions regarding larger gatherings. All other parish events and larger celebrations, including Confirmations and Lenten penance services, must be postponed until the end of March out of an abundance of caution. Further guidance will be provided regarding April and May as developments become clear. Those who wish to continue to attend Mass on weekdays and weekends are encouraged to seek smaller gatherings in order to adhere to emergency provisions issued by the County Executive and the Commissioner of Health of Erie County, NY that restrict assemblies to less than 250 persons. Based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the Erie County Department of Health has issued the following guidelines: • STRONGLY recommends cancelling all events with 250 or more people in attendance. • Recommends that people seriously consider avoid attending any event or location with 50 or more, especially if it involves individuals from outside of Erie County and we • STRONGLY recommend that all people over the age of 60 and those with chronic medical conditions do not attend such events. • Length: for the next 2 weeks; reevaluate as needed. For more information, please contact Gregory W. Tucker, Interim Director of Communications email@example.com Diocese of Buffalo Office of Communications A number of parishes of the Diocese offer live-stream liturgies on the internet. The following is a list of those parishes and Mass times: Our Lady of Czestochowa Church Livestream feed: https://nt-olc.org/live-stream/ Saturday: 4:00 pm Sunday: 8:30 am and 10:30 am Monday-Friday: 8 am St. Amelia Church Livestream feed: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7BoUV_yBmmwLSYf17nSMBQ Sunday: 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am Sat: 4:30 pm St. Leo the Great Livestream link: https://stleothegreatamherst.com/about-st-leo-the-great/live-feed/ Saturday: 4:30 pm Sunday: 8:00 am, 9:30 am and 11:00 am St. Gregory the Great Livestream link: http://www.stgregs.org/live-stream Daily: 7:00 am, 8:00 am and Noon Saturday: 4:00 pm and 5:30 pm Sunday: 8:00 am, 9:30 am, 11:30 am, 4:30 pm St. Martha Parish Livestream link: http://www.stmarthadepew.org/About-Us/Livestream Daily: 8:15 am Saturday: 8:15 am and 4:30 pm Sunday: 9:00 am, 11:30 am and 7:00 pm Our Lady of Pompeii Livestream link: https://www.olpparish.com/live-streaming-massevent-videos.html Saturday: 4:30 pm Sunday: 8:30 am, 10:00 am and 11:30 am SS. Columba Brigid Livestream link: https://livestream.com/accounts/2315534 Sunday: 11:00 am Bishop Scharfenberger encourages all to pray regularly for the health, care and safety of New Yorkers, residents of the United States and those internationally who have fallen victim to the severe effects of the coronavirus. Further updates will be provided at the earliest opportunity as available. For more information, please contact Gregory W. Tucker, Interim Director of Communications firstname.lastname@example.org