March 20, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Just a quick note, if you haven’t heard already, Bishop Malloy has now suspended all Masses until further notice; this includes all Palm Sunday Masses, the Triduum services, as well as all Easter Masses. Pastors are able to celebrate all Masses, but WITHOUT the faithful present. I am deeply sorry for that, but we are now living in different times. I will continue to celebrate private Masses in my house chapel, offering up the weekday Mass intentions that have already been in place. On Sundays, of course, I will offer a Mass for all of you. However, and this is where it gets a little tricky, when it comes to multiple Mass intentions, there’s a limit as to how many I can offer up in a day. Therefore, we may have to reschedule some Sunday Mass intentions for a later date. I am in no mood right now to explain Canon Law to you; I got headaches in Canon Law class in seminary, and I really don’t need one now! Suffice it to say, those Masses for your loved ones will be celebrated, just at a later date. We will contact you, if your intention is the one to be rescheduled.

As far as the church building is concerned, I will have to implement a smaller schedule for having it open, with the availability for prayer and confessions. The reason being is that the Bishop, although he is still allowing the churches to be open for the faithful to pray, the pastors will now have to monitor, at ALL times, the number of people in there at a given time—which is now down to 10 (ten) only, according to Illinois health officials. Therefore, I could use your help. If anyone would be interested in helping me with this, I would greatly appreciate it. I will keep the church open every day, but with limited hours. Therefore, the church will be open every day, Monday thru Sunday, for personal prayer thusly: 5:45am – 6:45am; 1:30pm – 2:30pm; and 7:00pm – 8:00pm. In addition, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I will also be hearing confessions, during these time slots, in the sacristy, keeping a six foot distance, as required by health officials. If anyone is willing to volunteer their time to help me monitor people flow—especially while I am cleaning souls—I would greatly appreciate it. We have to limit the church occupancy to 10 (ten) people at any given time.

If you would like to volunteer in this capacity, you can either email me at pgillmeyer@rockforddiocese.org, or call the parish office, my extension is 204. If you don’t get me—I’ll be on the phone a lot—leave a message, and I’ll call you back. If I remember, through all of this, I will be posting my homilies on our website and Facebook page. Plus, for your added enjoyment, a video or two, of myself, checking in with you. I was hesitant, tentative, and reticent, at first, about doing that, but then it hit me…you guys have been seeing my ugly mug every Sunday for ten years, you can handle a couple of videos of me. However, please be aware, I might be wearing my Phillies’ shirts!

Also, I will attempt to record my Masses for you, and post them on our website and Facebook pages, so that we can celebrate together, cyberly, at least.

Finally, with regards to Communion for the homebound, the Bishop has informed us that only the pastor can take Communion to the homebound, and it has to be only during an extreme emergency. I am sorry, but we have to do this, given the Bishop’s directive, and the current health crisis that we face. Please reach out to me at the parish, if such an emergency arises. I will, of course, still be available for emergency annointings. Also, please call me if you just need to talk. Remember, if I don’t answer right away, leave a message.

Thank you all for you cooperation in this current crisis.

In the meantime, be not afraid, we can get through this.

WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS!

Father Patrick