CHURCHES: NEW MANDATES!
Because of the ongoing danger of groups gathering and the possibility of the virus spreading in this way, we are MANDATING churches to remain closed. Some parishes have already found it necessary to do this and, in light of the proximity of our parishes to each other, it is thought best to have a consistent policy in the entire diocese. THIS IS EFFECTIVE AS OF MARCH 20, 2020 at NOON.
Bishop DiMarzio has granted all the faithful of the Diocese of Brooklyn a dispensation from the law of abstinence for the Fridays of Lent for this year. This is being done to assist people who may have difficulties in shopping for food or other reasons which would make this practice difficult at this time. Please remind parishioners that the Fridays of Lent (and indeed all year) remain days of penance and prayer and that this is needed now more than ever.
DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 3-18-20
As a follow-up to the directive to suspend all Public Masses until further notice, the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, has issued a number of additional guidelines, governing the practice of the faith as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, to all parishes throughout Brooklyn and Queens.
To comply with the government recommendation to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, the following has been implemented in the Diocese of Brooklyn effective immediately:
PALM SUNDAY AND HOLY WEEK SERVICES
- There will be no Masses open to the public on Palm Sunday. Priests throughout Brooklyn and Queens will bless palms and will be asked to leave them on tables in the back of the Church for pickup.
- Reconciliation Monday, a special time devoted to confession at the start of Holy Week, has been canceled. However, Priests will be available for individual confessions throughout the remainder of the Lenten season and during this period of crisis.
- The Chrism Mass will not be celebrated publicly. The Bishop will celebrate the Mass from the Cathedral and the oils will be available for distribution at designated sites around the diocese. Further information will be released at a later date.
- The Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday), the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion (Good Friday) the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday, will not be celebrated publicly. A broadcast schedule of the services with no congregation, to air on NET-TV, the cable channel of the Diocese of Brooklyn, will be announced at a later date.
- All Confirmations and Communions have been postponed until May 15, 2020.
- All intentions will be satisfied in private Masses.
ANOINTING OF THE SICK
- The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick may be administered to individuals as needed, with Priests visiting those with COVID-19 taking extra precautions.
- Priests will try to make Communion calls, adhering to necessary health precautions.
- Parish food pantries may remain open, but those in need are asked to contact their specific parish for schedule and procedural updates.
- Alcoholics Anonymous groups will continue to meet but only with less than 10 people and adhering to the social distancing practice.
- Churches may remain open for silent adoration but in adherence to capacity guidelines.
- All parish meetings and parish events will be canceled.
- Bulletins will be posted on parish websites.
- The Diocese of Brooklyn’s administrative offices will be closed to the public due to the Coronavirus beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, for an undisclosed amount of time. The diocesan staff will be working remotely. You can reach the Diocese by calling 718-965-7300.
“In the days and weeks ahead, let us ask God to watch over the people of our Diocese and all of His people; those who are sick, those who will fall ill, and those who are caring for them,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
The faithful are urged to watch the celebration of the Eucharist on TV, as well.
The celebrations are scheduled as follows:
- Saturday at 6 pm: Vigil pre-recorded from Immaculate Conception in Jamaica (English)
- Sunday at 11 am: Live from St. James Cathedral in Downtown Brooklyn (English)
- Sunday at 1:30 pm: Pre-recorded from Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights (Spanish)
NET-TV can be seen in the New York City area on Spectrum (Channel 97), Optimum (Channel 30) and FIOS (Channel 48). Viewers can also tune in online at www.netny.tv.
In light of the continuing crisis, the situation is being monitored carefully and updates will follow. Let us continue to pray, especially through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for those who are sick, for medical personnel and for all people who confront this challenge.
In an effort to be in compliance with the State’s regulations about large public gatherings; Celebrations such as First Penance, etc. may take place but attendance should be strictly limited, perhaps including only family members. In these extremely difficult and challenging times, our primary duty is to keep the faithful safe and healthy.
When gathering, the faithful are urged to take the necessary precautions including hand washing, remaining at a safe distance from others and other safe practices.
See Article Titled Praying at Mass for cautionary guidelines Praying at Mass
The elementary Catholic Academies and Parish Schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn will close next week, Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20. Monday will be used as a professional day for teachers to develop their distance learning plans. We anticipate that beginning Tuesday, children in the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Academies and Schools will have access to online learning.
In addition, the leadership of all Catholic Academies and Parish Schools are committed to following CDC guidelines regarding deep cleaning and sanitization of buildings.
This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution due to the rapidly changing situation and after consultation with city and state agencies. Please continue to monitor your Catholic Academy and Parish School websites next week for further updates.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMS
All in-person parish religious education classes, all youth ministry classes and group meetings (including all CYO activities) and all adult faith formation sessions (including RENEW and other small faith sharing groups) will be cancelled until further notice. As previously stated, all Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis classes, events, workshops, and other gatherings are also canceled during this period.
The health of all the faithful of the Diocese is of utmost concern, so let us continue to pray to the Lord Who is a healer to protect us and bring about quickly an end to this present crisis.
Office of the Vicar General
Diocese of Brooklyn
310 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn, NY 11215