Diocesan Coronavirus updates

03/24 Update…

 

Dear Parishioners:

 

I continue to hope and pray that you are all doing well!

            Below my comments, I have attached the latest update from Bishop Duca regarding diocesan policies and procedures in light of Governor Edwards’ "shelter at home” directive given to our state on March 22nd.  

            As for our parish office:

1.    As requested, we have closed the office to all "outside” business beginning today.  However, we do plan to have one person in the office each day during normal operating hours to take care of "regular business” (bills, payroll, etc.), as well as answer phone calls and questions as necessary.  

2.    Parishioners are still encouraged to do business and interface with Mount Carmel by means of electronic media (website, Facebook), by email, or by traditional mail.  Although not physically present in the office every day, our staff will each continue to check their individual voicemails and emails several times each day so as to attend to your needs.  You are especially encouraged to continue your generous financial stewardship by mailing in your contribution or using "WeShare” on our parish website.  We hope to have a dropbox installed soon at the parish office if you’d prefer/need to physically bring something by the office.

3.    All employees will continue to be compensated for their work as long as our financial situation allows us to do so. 

4.    Because of its importance, our church will remain open (as usual) for private visitations and prayer.  Please practice wise and proper "social distancing” and limited interaction.  We will be sanitizing the church (knobs, pews, etc.) daily, but would also appreciate your help in practicing wise and prudent personal hygiene.

5.    Our parish Facebook page is up and running.  Thanks to our staff member, Sarah Bergeron, for maintaining the site.

6.    We’ll continue to look for better ways to communicate with you all!... I continue to offer my daily Mass for your intentions… let’s continue to keep each other in prayer!...

 

God bless,  Fr. Cary 

 

 

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Update from Bishop Duca on Shelter in Place Directive -- 23 March 2020 

 

To the Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Baton Rouge 

Yesterday Governor Edwards enacted a "shelter at home” directive for the whole state of Louisiana.  While not total isolation or full quarantine, the faithful are encouraged to minimize contact with outside individuals aside from family in the household by only participating in essential activities such as visiting the doctor, grocery shopping, or purchasing prescriptions and other medical supplies.  Mindful of these further developments, the following will be in effect in the Diocese of Baton Rouge beginning today, Monday, 23 March 2020: 

 

1.     Clergy should continue to offer the sacraments according to the directives set forth in my communication to them dated 17 March 2020.  They are reminded to practice proper social distancing, promote practices of good hygiene especially handwashing, and to be prudent and limited in their interactions with parishioners.   

 

2.     All non-sacramental events at parishes should continue to be suspended postponed or cancelled until further notice.  No firm commitments should be made for any new or rescheduled events until further notice from me.

 

3.     All Diocesan office buildings at the Catholic Life Center will close to the public effective today, 23 March 2020.  Although the buildings are closed we remain open to help you during this difficult time. The Catholic Life Center (225-387-0561) and Catholic Charities (225-3368700) employees will work remotely during this period; you may continue to call or email for assistance. 

 

4.     Parishes should follow a similar approach, closing parish offices to the public, designating essential personnel along with appropriate time schedules. 

 

After Easter or when necessary as the circumstances change, I will make a further determination regarding extending or retracting any of the above provisions based upon the current need in our community to slow and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.   

 

Continue to do what is safe to slow the spread of this pandemic; know that I am concerned and praying for Divine Assistance!  

 

In Christ our Hope, 

 

 

Most Reverend Michael Gerard Duca 

Bishop of Baton Rouge 

 

Given at the Chancery of Baton Rouge 

23 March 2020 


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3/21… Saturday afternoon

 

 

Dear parishioners:

 

I pray that you are all doing well!

 

This weekend we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Lent.  It is also known as Laetare Sunday.  Laetare means rejoice, and this Sunday is supposed to be marked by a relaxation of the penitential character of the Lenten season, and is meant to give us hope and encouragement as we slowly progress towards the Paschal Feast.  

 

But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re probably not feeling very "rejoiceful” or "hopeful” at the moment.  Instead, we are probably experiencing episodes of anxiety, worry, or even fear.  We might even be wondering if God has abandoned us (as did the Israelites in last week’s first reading)… PLEASE don’t fall into that kind of thinking!  God IS with us… He’s with us in our rejoicing AS WELL AS in our times of sorrow… and HE WILL take care of us!

 

As I write this, I would normally be celebrating the 4:30 pm Mass with members of our parish community.  Sadly, this isn’t possible at this time.  However, in this age of technology, there ARE many opportunities for you and your family to view both daily and Sunday Masses online.  On our parish website, I have placed the links to some of my recommended sites – I particularly like Bishop Robert Barron’s site (https://www.wordonfire.org/daily-mass).  PLEASE KNOW THAT I AM PRAYNG A PRIVATE MASS EACH DAY for the general intention of all of our parishioners.  

 

LET ME ENCOURAGE YOU TO VIEW one of these online Sunday Masses with members of your family!  In the absence of being physically present to receive Christ in Holy Communion, a Spiritual Communion is vitally important to one’s soul!  To aid in your participation, I am including a link to some materials for preparation in the praying of the Mass together (including the Order of the Mass as well as a Prayer during the Communion Rite), as well as my homily for this weekend.  Each link will direct you to our website where these materials can be printed for your reflection.

 

In other "news”:

 

·      To aid in our parish-wide "communications”: We are in the process of setting up a parish Facebook page… please "follow” or "like” it when you see it!  Also, we will be implementing a piece of software called Flocknote, which will help us more effectively TEXT or EMAIL our parishioners with "breaking news” whenever necessary.

 

·      And finally…: even though you cannot physically attend Mass at this time, I ask that you please consider remembering your financial stewardship to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  Please consider mailing your contributions weekly (PO Box 1249, Saint Francisville, LA 70775) or make a regular online contribution through our website (www.felicianacatholic.org).  These weeks will be difficult for us all, but as we have in other times of adversity, we will get through together with God's help and your generous spirit! 

 

Links:     

 

·      Preparation for praying of Mass togetherhttp://felicianacatholic.org/PageDisplay.asp?p1=10016

 

·      Father Cary’s homily for Fourth Sunday of Lent: http://felicianacatholic.org/PageDisplay.asp?p1=10017

 

 

God bless, Fr. Cary


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UPDATE Tuesday, March 17 @ 6:00 pm:


We have received further information from our Bishop Michael Duca...

To the Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Baton Rouge

As is already clear from the continued closings throughout our country and state, the Coronavirus continues to spread rapidly throughout many of our communities. Several bishops in the United States and in the Province of New Orleans have taken the difficult step with me to offer the faithful a dispensation from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

Local leaders, including Governor Edwards, continue to announce aggressive measures to prevent the spread of the virus. These include limiting the size of public gatherings and closing venues such as restaurants and theaters to significantly expand mitigation efforts to slow the progress of further community spread. Action must be taken now in order to protect our communities.

Mindful of these further developments while concomitantly considering the desire of the faithful to receive the sacraments, the following provisions will be in effect in the Diocese of Baton Rouge beginning Wednesday, 18 March 2020:

1. The Sunday Mass obligation continues to be dispensed for all Catholics as long as this threat persists. Further, as was previously announced, public Masses are to be suspended beginning Tuesday, 17 March 2020. Priests may celebrate Mass privately.

2. Whenever possible, and at the Pastor’s discretion, the Parish Church is allowed to remain open for some time during daylight hours for prayer until further notice. If opened, times will be advertised by the Pastor. All adoration chapels should be closed until further directed. Appropriate social distancing should be practiced by any visitor to the Parish Church.

3. Pastors are to cancel all unnecessary gatherings of parishioners for the months of March and April. These include large social events like parish festivals, seated meals, processions and indeed any parish function where more than 10 people would be required to gather in a confined space.

4. All communal penance services are cancelled. The Sacrament of Reconciliation should only be offered at the request and need of an individual penitent. Regularly scheduled and advertised times of reconciliation should be suspended until further notice.

5. All Holy Water fonts should be drained until further notice.

6. All parishes in the Diocese of Baton Rouge are asked to limit baptisms to private and small family celebrations. Fresh water should be used for all baptisms and drained immediately thereafter.

7. Funerals are to be celebrated only with immediate family (parents, spouses, siblings, children, and grandchildren), clergy and funeral staff present. Funeral Masses and services in the Church are not allowed. It is recommended that the Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass and/or the Rite of Committal be celebrated at the graveside or at the funeral home according to pastoral need.

8. Weddings are to be celebrated only with the bride, groom, celebrant, two witness and immediate family (parents, siblings, and children) present. Mass should not be celebrated.

9. Delivery of communion to those at home, in nursing homes or in other healthcare facilities on a regular basis should be discontinued indefinitely; this does not apply in danger of death or when a person is in need of viaticum. Ministers should take proper precautions to protect themselves and those they serve in any of these visits.

10. Catholics believe in the healing power of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Priests should assure that all appropriate hospital protocols are followed, and hospital staff should be consulted before entering a patient’s room. It is crucial that the highest sanitary precautions be considered when visiting the sick!If a priest is to visit someone exhibiting symptoms, he should wear mask and gloves, wash his hands appropriately, not linger, and wear a gown to cover his clothes. If a priest is asked to anoint someone who has been diagnosed with Coronavirus or who has its symptoms, please contact the Chancery. Any minister who has unprotected close contact with someone with the virus must self-quarantine for two weeks minimum.

Ministers may encounter situations where they are denied access to patients. In such situations, it is recommended that the priest call the individual and pray with them by phone. The faithful should be aware that because of regulations by nursing facilities and hospitals, priests may not in all circumstances be able to anoint a patient, even in danger of death.

11. Parish and Diocesan Offices will remain open, though some schedules might be reduced on the parochial level at the discretion of the Pastor. The lay faithful are encouraged to conduct as much Parish or Diocesan business as possible either by phone or email. This provision remains subject to change pending any future directives.

After Easter, I will make a further determination regarding extending or retracting any of the above provisions based upon the current situation in our community with the Coronavirus.

I do not make these decisions lightly.In consultations with leaders in our Diocese, and for the sake of the safety of those to whom we minister, precaution is necessary to slow the spread of this pandemic. Know that I remember all of you in prayer during this difficult time. We join our sacrifices to others throughout our country during these trying times.

In Christ our Hope,

Most Reverend Michael Gerard Duca

Bishop of Baton Rouge

Given at the Chancery of Baton Rouge

17 March 2020

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Dear Parishioners...

I share these directives from our bishop knowing that many will struggle with these precautions yet we all must do our part to protect the common good.  As a church we constantly preach the protection of life, here’s our chance to stand united. 

Please continue to check our website for continued news updates as well as LINKS to MASSES ONLINE and RESOURCES for prayer during this difficult time...

As always, be assured of my prayers,
Fr. Cary

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UPDATE Monday, March 16 @ 6:00 pm:


Bishop Michael Duca of the Diocese of Baton Rouge has announced, beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the suspension of public celebrations of Sunday and daily Masses in all parishes and Catholic institutions in the diocese.  The suspension is in effect until further notice.

There are over seventy church parishes and other Catholic institutions in the 12 civil parishes that comprise the boundaries of the diocese.

Additional details on how this decision will affect the celebrations of sacraments and other aspects of parish life will be fleshed out in the next few days.  As always, priority consideration will be given the directives of Governor Edwards and to public health officials who have our best interests state in mind.

The Bishop said, "Let us pray that the Holy Spirit gives us a spirit of Hope in the Lord, who will sustain us even in these unprecedented times.”

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In the meantime, listed below are links to some websites/resources which would be useful in the absence of Mass:

· A Liturgy of the Word with An Act of Spiritual Communion that can be used if staying home from Mass. (PDF)

· The Readings of the Day from the USCCB

· Magnificat is offering its readings and reflections free for the time being.

As conditions warrant, I will keep you informed of any changes to these diocesan decisions… please return back to our website for any updates.

Let’s continue to keep each other in prayer!... 

God bless, Fr. Cary



   

 

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