MY DEAR BROTHER PRIEST:
I have no need to tell you of the dislocations, legitimate concerns and misplaced fear that are burdening our parishioners and families in these days concerning COVID19. Being on the ground, you know these realities far more deeply and personally than I do.
The public health response in our society is changing daily, and it is essential that the Church move in tandem with prudent efforts to stop the spread of this pandemic.
Both the governor and San Diego County have issued declarations prohibiting meetings of more than two hundred fifty people, and calling for social distancing even within smaller gatherings.
In light of these government actions, and the public health challenge which underlies them, I consulted with the Presbyteral Council yesterday and again today. As a result, I have concluded that the following actions must be implemented in all of the parishes and schools of the Diocese of San Diego:
- Effective Monday morning March 16th, no public daily or weekend Masses will be held. Parishes are encouraged to keep churches open longer hours for personal visitation, intermittent recitations of the Rosary, and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
- All Catholics in the Diocese of San Diego are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass during the coming weeks.
- All parish and diocesan schools and religious education programs will be suspended effective this Monday. The Diocesan School Office is notifying the schools of this suspension; the Office has in prior days sent to the schools substantive materials for long distance learning for use during the suspension.
- We will be providing video streamed Sunday Masses celebrated by priests and bishops of our diocese in English, Spanish and Vietnamese every week. Your parishioners can access these celebrations be linking to the diocesan website at sdcatholic.orgstarting this Sunday
Attached to this memo is a letter that I have written to be read at all of the Masses this Sunday which speaks to the spiritual dimensions of the challenges confronting us in these days. I would also ask you to email this letter to your parishioners if you have the capacity to do so.
It is vital that we proceed with a blend of prudent concern for public health and the spiritual mission that lies at the heart of the Church and is especially vital in these days. I give thanks once again for all of the service which you render to the Church, especially in moments like this.
Sincerely yours in Christ, Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy
Following the prudent indications of our Bishop and wanting to strengthen our faith during times we are experiencing. Beginning this Monday until we have permission to resume Mass celebrations, the church will be open early as normal. At 8 a.m. the priest will be exposing the Blessed Sacrament that will remain in Exposition until 5 p.m.
The parish office will remain open during the normal office hours and please know that your priest will be present more than ever to attend any need that you have.
With all my love , Fr. Gerardo