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COVID-19 Update

Update May 24th, Dear Parishioner…Around & About Ste. Rose


Seventh Sunday Mass Available online – Click here to Watch

Sunday Sacrificial Giving

The collection for Sunday, May 17, 2020 was $6,215.00. Thank you for your generosity during these difficult times of “sheltering in place” during the COVID 19 pandemic. Sacrificial Giving has been hand-delivered, sent via USPS, or sent from banking institutions. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Memorial Day Mass

Mass will be celebrated at Ste. Rose Cemetery on Monday, May 25th at 9:00 AM. Please remember to bring your chairs and to be socially distant to other families. Everyone must wear a mask even though the Mass will be outdoors. Your mask must remain on your face except for the reception of Holy Communion. Instructions for the reception of the Eucharist are detailed later in this letter. But remember, COVID 19 is spread most efficiently through “droplets;” therefore, reception of communion will be “in the hand only!” NO EXCEPTIONS!

When will Ste Rose de Lima Parish “re-open?”

The Baker Administration authorized the re-opening of “places of worship” effective Monday, May 18, 2020. Quite honestly, the placement of churches on the first phase of re-opening caught most church officials off guard. Most were expecting either a phase 3 or phase 4 schedule. With this short notice, Ste. Rose de Lima Parish will re-open for weekday Mass in the church on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. The full schedule of Sunday Masses will resume May 30-31, 2020 – Pentecost Sunday.

Who ought to refrain from attending Mass?

The most vulnerable to catch COVID 19 ought to stay home – period. All persons over the age of 60 are most at risk. Bishop Rozanski has extended the dispensation to EVERYONE to facilitate being safe: please stay home. If you are ill in any way with any underlying health conditions: please stay home. If you have the need to use the bathroom often: please stay home. The most effective way to curb COVID 19 is to “shelter in place.” Should the number of COVID 19 cases increase with a “second surge” closures will resume and will be enforced much longer. In the next section you will learn how few can attend Mass with the 6ft distancing guideline. Celebrating Mass in a “new normal” way! While the 40% capacity number has been offered as a standard for the re-opening, that number cannot be achieved with the guideline of a 6ft social distancing. The 6-foot guideline means that every other pew may be used, and that each person must be 6 feet away from each other while attending Mass. In practical numbers it comes to a total of 3 persons in each pew. Each side of the church has 36 pews. Of the 36 pews only 18 can be used on either side. The total # of persons able to attend Mass would be 108 persons. However, we can increase the number if we designate one side of the church for “families” and the other side for individuals. It is permissible that families who “live in common” to sit together without social distancing. Therefore, the LEFT SIDE of the church will be for families. Two families may sit in the same pew with a 6-foot distance. The RIGHT SIDE will be for individuals ONLY! Blue tape on each of the pews indicates a seat for the individual. The LEFT SIDE has blue tape as well, assisting families to know how far apart six feet is. Two families could be in the same pew while maintaining 6ft between each other.

Requirements for entrance to the church

1 EXCEPT for the use of the elevator all persons are asked to enter the church through the TWO FRONT DOORS on Grattan Street. There is to be no “socializing” in either the foyer or inside the church. Persons must go directly to a “blue taped” spot to sit. Remember there are only 3 places to sit in each pew on the RIGHT SIDE.

2 All persons must wear a MASK! No mask means no entrance into the church. It must remain on until the reception of Holy Communion and then replaced immediately.

3 Until the stationary hand-sanitizers are in place bring your own hand sanitizer.

4 BATHROOMS WILL BE CLOSED including the church hall! Each time a person uses the bathroom it MUST be re-sanitized. Only in an absolute EMERGENCY can the bathrooms be used.

5 Respect the 6-foot markings of “blue tape” on the floor for distancing especially for the reception of the Eucharist.

6 No hymnals/missals or bulletins to be used/distributed. Please read the “online” bulletin every week.

7 Reception of the Eucharist will be as follows:

  • Four communion stations in the front of the church only
  • Beginning with the first set of pews, persons will need to keep 6ft distance, following a “row by row” method.
  • Wear mask up the aisle.
  • Form a “cupped” palm to receive communion.
  • Remove one side of the mask.
  • Place the host in your mouth
  • Re-cover your face with the mask.
  • Ministers of Communion including the deacon and priest will sanitize hands just prior to distributing communion. While distributing communion all ministers, deacon, and priest will wear a mask.

8 EXITING the church must be in keeping with the 6ft distancing guidelines. All doors may be used to exit the church. That will assist with social distancing. There are to be no social gatherings after Mass. Please walk to your cars immediately after Mass while wearing your mask.

9 Upon the conclusion of Mass every person must exit the church. The church will need to be re-sanitized after each Mass.

10 The parish is collecting a list of names of persons who would be willing to assist in the cleanup of the church after the Mass they normally attend. The parish has all the needed supplies to re-sanitize church as well as the recommended PPE to ensure a safe process. Instructions will be given. If you are interested, you can email Deacon Mike.

Diocese of Springfield – Message from Bishop Rozanski

Mass Intentions

Since the cessation of public Mass, the individual Mass Intentions have been suspended. All “unsaid intentions” will eventually be offered as they will be rescheduled. Please check the on-line bulletin and the parish schedule on the website. Due to the COVID 19 the parish may not be able to accommodate all requests for rescheduling for a specific date.

The Celebration of Baptism and the Liturgy of Christian Burial

With the “limited” reopening of the Church, the sacrament of baptism will be celebrated; however, the actual baptism will need to be scheduled through the Pastoral Center. For the foreseeable future baptism will be celebrated with individual families. Due to restrictions of large gatherings there will be no baptismal classes. Instruction will be given during the Rite of Baptism. The Liturgy of Christian Burial will once again be celebrated. Again, with all the guidelines of face masks and social distancing being observed, the funeral Mass will be offered. The recommendations of individual funeral home directors will be closely followed. More information will be given in future bulletins concerning “how to implement” a safe environment for the celebration of the Rite of Christian Burial. And finally,

The Pastoral Center will re-open Tuesday, May 26.

Please be sure to wear a mask when entering the building and maintain the social distancing requirement. Please remember that the COVID 19 pandemic is not over. There will be no real “return to normal” until a vaccine is available, and everyone has been vaccinated. Massachusetts has the third highest rate of contraction of the virus in the nation. Unfortunately, people are dying every day from the effects of the virus. Please use caution as the State begins to open slowly. Like you, I am eagerly awaiting the socialization that we are accustomed to return. Each of us needs to remain vigilant to the guidelines given to us from the State. As the warmer weather is now returning to our “neck of the woods,” enjoy the beauty of our part of the world. Be smart! Be safe! Love & Peace, Fr. Bill

Update May 17th, Dear Parishioner…Around & About Ste. Rose,

Sacrificial Giving for Sunday, May 10th

From the USPS delivery, drop-off at the Pastoral Center, and monthly contributors through banking institutions, Ste. Rose deposited a total of $8,505.95. Offertory: $8,221.95, Easter $85.00, and Ascension $199.00. Thank you for the support you continue to display during this COVID 19 pandemic.

2020 Annual Catholic Appeal

As of May 7th, the members of Ste Rose have contributed $37,182.00 to this year’s campaign. In the name of Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, I thank you for supporting the ACA.

Staffing at the Pastoral Center

The staff of Ste. Rose de Lima parish are continuing to come to work on an “as needed” basis. The business side of the parish needs to be addressed weekly. With “social distancing” and the wearing of masks, the work is getting accomplished. The parish is keeping up with all invoices from our loyal vendors. The parish continues to pay all employees because “The Church” does not qualify for unemployment benefits. However, the Diocese did apply for the Federal Program called “PPP” and qualified to receive Federal funds to maintain our current payroll through June 30, 2020. If the parish continues to maintain its present payroll, the “PPP” (Payroll Protection Program) loan is considered “forgivable.” Utilities also qualify in the PPP. Ste. Rose is complying with the guidelines of the Federal Program; therefore, the parish will be absolved from re-payment. When the amount of the “forgivable loan” is made known, the on-line bulletin will publish the amount.

Working during the pandemic

The new church custodian, Mark, as well as the staff at the Pastoral Center are working “as needed.” This is because they either work alone or they meet the requirements of social distancing and the wearing of a mask. The “parish” would never put any of its employees at risk. With that said, the Pastoral Center is still closed to the public until we receive notifications through the Office of the Governor that we can “re-open.’ The rectory staff has not been working, thereby keeping the rectory an isolated and safe environment for the priest’s residence.

And finally,

I, very much like yourselves, am anxiously awaiting the May 18th date set by Governor Baker to announce his decision as to when and how he plans to re-open The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In preparation for a “gradual” re-opening of the State, the Diocese of Springfield has been communicating with the Deans and Vicars as to how to possibly prepare for an eventual re-opening of public Mass. The following are recommendations to keep our worship space safe:

1. Eliminate all printed materials for the short-term. That would include the bulletin, children’s bulletin, and hymnals/missals. The hymns at Mass will be limited to the hymns that are more commonly known.

2. All members of the congregation will need to wear a mask until further notice. Each person must bring their own – no mask means no entry into the church.

3. Until the parish can purchase a commercial application of hand-sanitizers at the entrances of the church (they have been ordered) everyone must bring their own hand sanitizer.

4. Families who “live in common” may sit together in the pews. Otherwise, for individuals, social distancing will be required.

5. There will be the continued ban on “holy water” at the fonts.

6. The Sign of Peace will be eliminated.

7. The USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) is mandating that the reception of Holy Communion will be limited to “the hand.” As the COVID 19 virus is spread through droplets, Communion on the tongue will not be allowed. Communicants will be asked “to cup” their hands thereby allowing the Priest, Deacon or the Eucharistic Minister to distribute Holy Communion with no hand to hand contact. Those distributing Holy Communion will sanitize their hands just prior to the distribution while wearing a mask to avoid breathing over the open communion vessel.

8. The dismissal at Mass must occur in an orderly manner allowing the persons in the front of the church to leave first with social distancing – as would take place while deplaning from an aircraft. There is to be no hand shaking after Mass.

9. Upon the conclusion of Mass all persons must leave the building. The building will need to be sanitized in preparation for the following Mass. Ste. Rose de Lima will be seeking “volunteers” to assist with sanitizing the church after each Mass. The parish will supply gloves, masks, and a virus killing product.

These are several of the recommendations that are presently under consideration. There will be more recommendations to consider as we move closer to a re-opening. Ste. Rose de Lima will be ready “when” we are given the okay to re-open. Reopening in a safe manner will require the 100% cooperation of every member of the parish. So, please follow the guidelines set by Governor Baker. The more we stay at home and maintain social distancing, the sooner we can return to a “new normal” not only in our Church but in society as well. Persevere! Remember, it’s a short-term hardship for a long-term benefit of good health not only for ourselves but for the benefit of one another. Peace & Love, Fr. Bill

Update May 10th, Dear Parishioner…Around & About Ste. Rose,

The Sunday Offering for May 3, 2020

The Sunday Offering: $11,613.00, Easter: $161.00, and Ascension: $199.00 for a total of $11,973.00. Thank you so much for your generosity during this COVID 19 pandemic. Some parishioners have used the www.diospringfield.org for their weekly/monthly parish support. The parish did receive from the diocese a report of each contributor; however, the diocese is charging a “service fee” as was reported on the first report. I encourage those who have used the diocesan website to send their contributions directly to the parish through either the USPS or by hand delivery to the Pastoral Center and inserting the envelope(s) through the letter slot in the door. Again, thank you all for your financial support of your parish during these extraordinary days of COVID 19 isolation.

Fr. Shannon Scholarship Application date extended

Due to COVID 19 the Fr. Shannon Scholarship application deadline is now June 30, 2020. With the closure of all school systems throughout the Commonwealth, acquiring transcripts may prove to be more time consuming. Hopefully, the committee will be able to meet in July and award scholarships to worthy applicants.

Staffing During COVID 19

The Pastoral Center continues to be “officially” closed to the public. However, the staff arrives at the center on an “as needed” basis. Should you have a need to telephone the P.C, please leave a voice mail to whomever you wish to speak, and a response will be made. Emails are also being reviewed. We are making every effort, with reduced staffing, to keep up with requests while staying safe at the same time.

Mass Intentions

Since the cessation of public Mass, Mass intentions have not been fulfilled. All Mass Intentions will be rescheduled upon the resumption of public Mass. Only once these Mass Intentions are rescheduled will the parish resume scheduling Mass Intentions for future requests. The primary reason for not fulfilling these intentions is because family members often prefer to be present at Mass for the intention of their beloved dead.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Diocese of Springfield continues to abide by the guidelines from Governor Baker. By following these guidelines “we” intend to assist in our responsibility to ensure the good health and well-being of each another. Please stay home as much as is possible. Wear “a mask” when in public especially when social distancing is not an option. These days of isolation are becoming wearisome; however, in those States where there is a “re-opening” the COVID 19 virus is once again spreading. The City of Worcester, Massachusetts appears to be the new “hot spot” for the spread of COVID 19. Though we are all tiring of the “stay home” guideline it is so important to follow. While there are some clergy and deacons who wish to perform more pastoral ministry, it is the recommendation of Bishop Rozanski to maintain a reasonable approach to the ministries of the Church during these days of pandemic. The reality of this is simple: COVID 19 is still being studied as to its genetic makeup, how this virus truly spreads, and what length of time the virus will be present. There are more theories than scientific facts concerning this virus. As most of the clergy in our diocese are over the age of 65, the risk of contracting COVID 19 is real for the clergy as well – including myself as I am now 66 years old! Together we will get through this! Let us pray for each other that we may persevere!

Mother’s Day 2020

Mother’s Day 2020 is going to be the most difficult Mother’s Day that we have ever experienced. For those who are so fortunate to have their mothers still present in their lives, we know what a blessing they are in our lives. Mother’s Day celebrations during this pandemic will be subdued at best. With social distancing and home isolation many personal visits or dinners will not take place this year. Perhaps Mother’s Day celebrations may be through the technology of either “facetime” or “Facebook!” Our top priority this year ought to be “to keep you, our mothers, safe!” For those younger families who are living with their mothers today during this time of staying at home – how blessed you are! For those older families, whose mother is isolated – we your children hold you dear in our hearts and long to be in your presence once again. For those families, whose mother has entered into eternal – we thank you for your life filled with love and enduring memories. With that said, I wish all Mothers a very happy Mother’s Day today! Though many of us cannot be together as we would prefer, you will be in all our thoughts and prayers! We, your children, thank you for the miracle of life and of love you have bestowed upon us. May you, our Mothers, take consolation as did Mary when she was separated from her Son. Happy Mother’s Day! Fr. Bill

Update: May 3, 2020 Dear Parishioner… Around & About Ste. Rose,

2020 Annual Catholic Appeal

During this COVID 19 pandemic the 2020 Annual Catholic Campaign is in progress. As of April 27, 2020, the ACA has received $35,867 from the parishioners of Ste. Rose de Lima Parish. As you can imagine, as this COVID 19 pandemic continues, there will be many families seeking additional assistance from “The Church” due to unemployment and other financial hardships. If you can afford to contribute this year, your contribution will assist the ACA to respond to individuals as well as human service agencies. To make a contribution please either use the campaign materials that were sent to you via USPS or logging onto: www.diospringfield.org and clicking on the 150th Anniversary icon. If using the website, please be sure to indicate your parish in order to have your contribution added to the totals of the parish. Thank You!

Sunday Offering for April 26th

The parish deposited a little more than $7,400.00! Thank you for your generosity during this pandemic. This amount includes contributions made to Ste. Rose de Lima Parish through the diocesan website as a check was mailed to the parish. Nearly $800.00 was contributed to the parish through this process. Thank You!

In our parish

The COVID 19 pandemic has affected several members of our parish family as a contributing factor to the passing of family members and friends. Please keep all COVID 19 victims and their grieving families in your thoughts and prayers.

Funerals, Weddings, Baptisms, etc

As the COVID 19 pandemic continues to hold us to limited social gatherings, the following guidelines are in place at least through May 18th (possibly longer):

Funerals: Funeral Home services are allowed with the understanding that the service is private and limited to ten attendees both at the funeral home and the cemetery. When Governor Baker lifts the public ban and unessential services are permitted to return to the “open” status, Ste. Rose de Lima Parish will offer a Memorial Mass for all persons who passed into eternal life during the pandemic. Obviously, the date is still undetermined; however, ample notification of the date will be provided.

Weddings: Many of the Spring weddings have been re-scheduled to late summer and early fall. We hope and pray that these re-scheduled ceremonies will be celebrated with the new dates.

Baptisms: All baptisms have been postponed until further notice. Again, when the ban is lifted families will be notified about the resumption of the Sacrament of Baptism.

The Sacrament of Confirmation: Confirmation will be re-scheduled for either September or October.

First Communion has been re-scheduled for August 29, 2020.

R.C.I.A: The candidates who were preparing for the Easter Sacraments will not need to wait until Easter 2021. The diocese will announce a “special” opportunity for the RCIA candidates to be received into the Church in the fall.

Pastoral Visits to area hospitals and nursing homes will resume only after the ban from these institutions are lifted. Home visitations will return as soon as it is safe to do so.

And finally,

I trust that this week’s letter finds each of us united in our thoughts and prayers during this extended time of social distancing and isolation. Parish life has been affected by COVID 19 in a rather significant way. I sense from your “notes of encouragement” from emails, voice mails, and written notes in your Sunday Offering envelopes, a longing to return to Sunday Mass to celebrate the Eucharist. I share that same sentiment. As you are aware, Governor Baker has extended the stay at home directive until May 18th. While we may feel disappointed about this extension, I believe it is better to extend the social isolation directive rather than return too soon with the potential of greater consequences from this pandemic. The citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have experienced a significant amount of the loss of life from complications of this virus. I encourage all of us to be faithful to this “social isolation.” Please stay home as much as possible. When you need to go out shopping etcetera, be sure to wear a mask in order to protect others. Our Christianity demands that we have a share in promoting the health and well-being of your neighbors. Upon your return home, be sure to wash your hands and to disinfect any purchase(s) that you bring into your home. The COVID 19 virus can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours.

As for myself, I am keeping the social distancing directive. I have been remarkably busy with both funeral home services and graveside services. I continue to monitor all US Mail, email, and voice mail. I am counting and depositing the Sunday Offering every Tuesday. The staff is coming to the Pastoral Center on an “as needed” basis to continue the ongoing business of the parish. If you leave either emails or voice mails for the staff, please be patient as they will respond to you. The parish is keeping up with all invoices for all our vendors. Everyone is being paid on time. Sunday Mass continues to be recorded for your viewing on this website, Facebook, and You Tube (Search for: Ste Rose de Lima.)

When needed, I am going shopping for groceries and other household necessities. While in the stores, though I am wearing a mask and civilian clothing, I am amazed at how many of you recognize me!!! It is wonderful to say hello and have a brief conversation. I continue to cook, vacuum, do laundry, and clean the rectory kitchen and the bathrooms. Being born third of six children, domestic work is nothing new to me – I like it! As we move forward together through this crisis, let us keep each other in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless us throughout this Easter season. Perhaps, with the subsiding of COVID 19, we can celebrate Pentecost Sunday together in our parish church of Ste. Rose de Lima. With pastoral love and peace, Fr. Bill

PARISH STAFF CAN BE REACHED AT:
Rev. William Tourigny, Pastor: frbill@sterose.org
Deacon Michael Trznadel: deaconmike@sterose.org
Peggy Constant, Pastoral Minister: peggy@sterose.org
Cindee Gagnon, DRE: cindee@sterose.org Diane Bissonnette, Parish Secretary: diane@sterose.org

Update: April 26th Dear Parishioner… Around & About Ste. Rose,

40th Anniversary Celebration The 40th Anniversary of Ordination celebration for Fr. Bill has been postponed until May of 2021. With the advent of COVID 19, it is important to be assured of a safe environment free of fear from spreading the virus. It is also more in keeping with the understanding that many may need to re-adjust their financial priorities. With so much uncertainty, it is best to postpone this celebration. More details will be made known in future bulletin announcements.

The 2020 Annual Catholic Appeal Amid this COVID 19 pandemic, the Diocese is sponsoring this annual charitable campaign. As of April 7th, Ste. Rose parishioners have already contributed $30,752. If you are able to respond to this year’s campaign, please log onto www.diospringfield.org and click on the 150th Anniversary “tab” to make your contribution; or you can respond by using the ACA materials which you received through the USPS. Thank you!

Ste Rose Sacrificial Giving for Sunday, April 19th The Sunday Offering totaled $9,353.00. Your continued support of the parish is so appreciated especially during the COVID 19 pandemic when we are still unable to publicly celebrate The Eucharist. Sunday Mass will continue to be recorded from Ste. Rose parish church every week until public Masses are allowed. These recordings can be found on our website: www.steroseorg; our “Friends” on Facebook, and on You Tube by “searching: Ste Rose de Lima.”

The Rites of Christian Burial In compliance with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, only private funeral homes services are permitted. A funeral home service may be attended by no more than 10 persons. A graveside service may be attended by no more than 10 persons. Both services must keep “social distancing” as a standard. A “Memorial Service of Remembrance” will be planned by Ste. Rose de Lima Parish for our members who died during this pandemic without the benefit of a Liturgy of Christian Burial when it’s safe to do so.

School closure for the remainder of the school year By now, I am sure that we have all learned of Governor Baker’s decision to close all schools throughout the Commonwealth until a reopening, hopefully, in September. As it was reported it does not mean that the children are going to begin an early vacation. SJA School, like all other schools, will continue to reach out to all students through the end of the academic year. The faculty and staff of SJA have continued to instruct “our” students since the suspension of classes. Instructing children through “whatever means works” places additional responsibility on SJA School to maintain a regular contact with our students. It also places additional responsibilities on parents to create “a home schooling” environment. While classroom experience can never be replicated, through sacrifice and planning, our students will not have had a “lost year.” When go back to work restrictions are lifted, there will be an additional challenge for parents to work and assist in the education, rearing, protection, and supervision of their children. Schools have traditionally provided a full-day of in-school learning thereby enabling parents to work knowing that their children were in a safe environment throughout the school day hours. While these days of isolation are demanding on each of us in ways that were unforeseen, the health and well-being of every person is of paramount importance. Let us pray for each other during these unprecedented days that peace and love will prevail in each of our lives and in our homes.

And finally, Throughout these days of social distancing and isolation, it would not be uncommon for any of us to feel alone, lonely, and somewhat depressed particularly if some already are living by themselves. With the technology that is available we need to keep in touch with those we love. A phone call, perhaps “facetime” emails, texting, and tweeting can be vehicles by which we stay in constant communication with those we love and care deeply about. Offering our services to those who are most vulnerable to COVID 19 by doing some grocery shopping or assisting in other ways, such as making meals for those who are unable to fend for themselves. Individually, there are “quiet times” when prayer can bring solace and peace. There are great opportunities for reading and time for reflection. As the weather improves there will be opportunities to go outside for a walk and other forms of exercise. Make every attempt to avoid the temptation of simply sitting in front of the television for hours on end – such an attractive option with “binge-watching” of your favorite series while snacking on “junk foods.” As for myself, I continue to monitor all telephone calls and emails. I am keeping a regular schedule in order to maintain good health and well-being – including a regular exercise routine in the gym I created in the rectory basement 15 years ago. I am not as busy as “normal” but busy enough that the days go by quickly. I check on my Mother every day and will assist her while maintaining the proper procedures to keep her safe – she is now 89 years old! My Uncle Bob is also in need of assistance. He is 92 years old and living alone. I am cooking, cleaning, shopping, doing laundry and bedding and towels. I am going to the Pastoral Center to keep up with the USPS and finances and communicating with the Business Office of SJA School. I am counting and depositing your very generous contributions to the parish. I have been presiding at funeral home services as well as graveside services for those recent deaths in the parish and our community while maintaining social distancing. With a team of a few parishioners, I am celebrating Sunday Mass on Thursday evenings for recording. I thank you for your thoughts and prayers throughout the years but especially now during these unprecedented times. We will get through this together by praying for each other and practicing the new social guidelines of staying home and not spreading COVID 19. May God bless you and your families and keep us all safe. Fr. Bill

Update: April 19, 2020 Dear Parishioner… Around & About Ste Rose,

Your Financial Support is so edifying As noted in the last bulletin, the parishioners contributed a little over $13,120.00. This past week, combining the Sunday and the Easter Offering the parish deposited $7,807.00. Thank you so much for your spiritual and financial support. In as much as the Pastoral Center is closed because “we” are still in “isolation mode,” I am opening the envelopes weekly. Not only are you very generous, I appreciate the many “personal notes” written by you expressing your concern about my health and well-being. I continue to have great health and positive spirits. I look forward to the day when we can once again celebrate The Eucharist together in our parish church. The bulletin will continue to provide the dollar amounts of The Sunday Offering throughout this pandemic.

Our Parish Website & Facebook Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the parish bulletin and other news will be posted on our website: www.sterose.org as well as a link to Sunday Mass. YouTube has noted that Easter Sunday Mass had over 500 “hits” and is still growing. Throughout this pandemic the parish will attempt to record Sunday Mass on a weekly basis; therefore, Mass will be the appropriate Easter Season Mass – this week will be the Second Sunday of Easter. You may follow the readings by logging on to www.usccb.org. Also, Facebook has a new administrator – Gail Boone – and will continue to update “our page”: Ste Rose de Lima. Attention: this is a new page. Should you get the old page please check for the new one.

Prayer During and Pandemic Lord Jesus, Hear our pleas, our Good Shepherd and Divine Physician. We implore your mercy in the wake of this outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guide our efforts to prevent contagion and prepare to care for those most vulnerable. Assist all professionals and volunteers who work to eradicate the pandemic now spreading. May our actions and efforts be marked by your steadfast love and selfless service and never by fear or panic. Bestow your comfort and healing to the sick, sustain and strengthen them by your grace. May they know your closeness as they carry the cross of illness. And may all who have been called from this life come to worship you eternally with all the saints as you grant consolation and peace to their mourners. Amen. Holy Mary, Health of the Sick, pray for us. St. Joseph, Hope of the Sick, pray for us. St. Rocco, protector against pandemics, pray for us.

Finally, Please stay safe! Please stay home! I am monitoring all phone calls and emails and I will respond to all but in a matter of prioritizing which are most important. May God bless you and your families. Fr. Bill

Update: April 12, 2020 Dear Parishioner… Around & About Ste Rose,

Dear Parishioners, First Some News! Peter Ferland has been the custodian in the parish for nearly 20 twenty years. On April 18th Peter will celebrate his 71st birthday – Congratulations! As Peter turns 71 years old, we announce his retirement. Peter’s last day is April 17th. The parish thanks Peter for his nearly 20 years of service and we wish him a long and happy retirement. Peter’s mom is advanced in years and is in declining health. We pray that time spent with his mother is full of joy and service to her needs. May God bless you Peter! Again, all of us at Ste. Rose de Lima Parish wish you a long and happy retirement!

Mark Morin, who presently serves as the custodian at St. Joan of Arc School will succeed Peter as church custodian. Mark will be in a part-time position as custodian while maintaining his full-time position at SJA School. His position will be effective Monday, April 20, 2020. Welcome aboard!

Easter Sunday Mass was recorded for you to watch from inside our beautiful Ste. Rose de Lima Church! It can be accessed through the parish website, Facebook, and You Tube. I am so grateful to so many who made this “taping” of Easter Sunday Mass possible. You will be able to view the Mass as often as you like with the ability to “fast-forward” the sermon! We are hopeful to tape weekly Sunday Mass from our church until the time of social isolation is ended. You will notice that the church is fully decorated with the “glory of Easter Joy!” How I wish you could have been able to see it for yourselves! To all who have contributed to the Easter Flower Fund – thank you!

Financial News Last week the parish was able to deposit a total of $13,120.00 ~~ thank you so much! Many parishioners have contributed through the USPS, dropping off contributions at the Pastoral Center, and others on-line through the diocesan website. Your continued financial support throughout this pandemic is edifying! Merci Beaucoup!

And finally, Easter 2020 will long be remembered as the Easter of COVID 19. With a global pandemic in full force, we watch the death toll rise daily. The media has kept us informed with the important facts. However, one fact that is mentioned only occasionally, is how many have recovered from the COVID 19 virus. For the recovery of so many – we are grateful. The temptation though, is to become relaxed with the concept of “social distancing.” The primary method of assisting ER personnel and all first responders is to maintain a sense of vigilance with social distancing and isolation. It comes right down to this: the more vigilant we are the sooner the virus will peak and begin to recede thereby saving thousands of lives. Let us do our part of social awareness by only going out for what is truly essential. The Diocese of Springfield has been especially criticized by many “fundamental” Catholics as being too restrictive in its response to COVID 19. Remember that clergy are human too! Many of the clergy in our diocese are over the age of 60. Many clergy have underlying health issues as well. As you may know, 8 priests in the Archdiocese of Boston contracted COVID 19. Directives from the Governor’s Office are in a state of flux. Updates from the Governor’s Office need to be seriously considered in response to what is “safe” to do. I believe that Bishop Rozanski’s leadership has been “on target” no matter what his critics may say. There is a short-term versus long-term strategy: short-term isolation versus long-term good health for all. Which would you prefer? I choose long-term health for everyone. With all of that said, it is Easter and a time to reflect on its meaning: The Spirit of the Risen Christ is upon each of us. Recall the Gospel of St. John:” On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Those first apostles experienced fear for their very lives. Living behind locked doors, the Risen Christ burst through the locked doors of fear and breathed upon them a new hope. I believe, even in our weeks of isolation, fearful for our very lives, the Risen Christ bursts through our “locked doors” and breathes on us Easter Joy and Easter Peace. We are the only ones that can allow fear to dominate our lives. As believers, we choose to trust in the love and mercy of our God – even in this time of pandemic. Even in the present experience of sacrament-less times, is not God’s strength greater than our weakness? Can God redeem us because of God’s great mercy? To my way of thinking the answer is a resounding “YES!” Easter 2020 is a challenging spiritual reality. Remember, it is not so much what we can do for God, it is about what our God can accomplish in us. May Easter 2020 enable each of us to trust in its very message: Christ has died! Christ is Risen! Christ will come again! Alleluia! Alleluia! May you and your family experience a Blessed Easter Season! Perhaps by Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter) we will once again be with each other at the Eucharistic Table! With Easter Love & Peace, Fr. Bill

Update: April 5, 2020 Dear Parishioner…Around & About Ste. Rose,

A Brief Up-Date: No Palm Branch Distribution

Due to the “spike” that is expected with viral infections as a result of COVID 19 in the next two weeks, The Diocese of Springfield has urged all parishes to not distribute palm branches in any manner whatsoever.  There is no way to assure safe palm distribution.  As the “spike” in COVID 19 cases is expected within the next two weeks, the urgent request from the CDC, State, and Federal government is stayhome except for essential services.  We are performing our Christian duty by following these guidelines when, caring for our neighbor, each of us stays home and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.    All medical personnel in Emergency Rooms throughout the USA are pleading with each of us to help them respond to new and existing patients by staying home and employing social distancing.  If each of us stays home, we assist all first responders and medical personnel.  So, let’s all do our part in the battle against COVID 19.  Keep all first responders and medical personnel in our thoughts and prayers as they courageously battle COVID 19 – they are the “front line” in this battle of saving human lives.

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday 2020

For Christians around the globe, Palm Sunday 2020 is an extremely unique experience -no procession with palm as the Church customarily re-enacts Jesus’ triumphant entry into the City of Jerusalem.  From the triumphant entry into Jerusalem to the agony of Jesus’ betrayal and passion, the culmination of his ministry is nearly approaching – The Resurrection! Though we are unable to celebrate the Holy Week services each of us can view these Holy Week services through television.  Easter Sunday 2020 will be unique as well – no Easter Sunday Masses as well as smaller (if any) family gatherings will be able to be celebrated.  It does not mean; however, that there is no Easter!  Easter Sunday is still being celebrated!  The Easter season will still be celebrated!  Hopefully, as we move toward Pentecost Sunday the COVID 19 virus pandemic will be over and celebrate the reception of the Holy Spirit.  The Lenten season, as unique as it continues to be, can assist us in re-examining the ministry of the Church and of its significance in each of our lives.  What all people of faith have taken for granted as Sunday Mass/worship services “always being there” becomes food for thought! Perhaps questions we could ponder: Has Mass-less Sundays affected my life? If so, how?  Has isolation at home had an affect in my life? If so, how?  Will I/we have greater compassion for those members of our communities who are isolated day in and day out?  Remember, ‘Lenten’ is a Latin word meaning springtime or growth.  Will this Lenten season, a time of real deprivation and fear, possibly be a springboard to embracing a more spiritual way of life while recognizing how fragile human life truly is?  Have I/we experienced a sense of vulnerability?  Have I/we even questioned the meaning and purpose of life?  These are but a few questions we may ponder during this pandemic. 

What will our parishes look like post COVID 19

I see two scenarios as possibilities:

  1. A resurgence of faith as was experienced post 9/11
  2. A complete collapse of the Church as we know it today.

This & That

Everyday life has been altered in ways that we could not have imagined.  In my life, I have had to perform ordinary everyday issues: cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, and straightening dresser drawers and closets.  I must admit I don’t mind it at all!  But it reminded me of what all of you do every day.  Then add in your parental responsibilities, I became overwhelmed by what you do!  Now that the children are out of school until at least May, I can only imagine the added stress of assisting your children with pursuing their education.  Having your children home 24/7 must be challenging at best.  Then there are the evenings!  With no parish meetings, I’ve maintained my exercise routines and have watched more series, movies, and television than normal.  Made more popcorn than is usual to go along with the movies, etc.  I am sure it must be the same with you.  A little more time “on-line” is part of the day as well. I have kept up with many emails sent by so many of you who are reaching out to me making sure that I am safe and well – I assure you, I am very well!   It’s a wonder that the internet doesn’t crash with all the extra demand!   I am also grateful to so many of you who have either dropped off your “sacrificial offerings” or sent them in through the USPS – thank you so much.  Last week we deposited $4,995.00.   And of course, keeping up with my Mother every day by telephone and shopping for her essential needs and delivering them to her as they arise.

I have a longing to return to life as we knew it; however, I believe we will experience a “new normal.”  I have no idea what it will be but, together we will continue to walk with each other in this great adventure of life and faith.  May God bless you and your families during these difficult times.  I pray we stay united in prayer during this upcoming Holy Week and Easter season.

With peace and love,

Fr Bill

Update:March 22, 2020 Dear Parishioner…Around & About Ste Rose

The Liturgical calendar is celebrating the 5th Sunday of Lent.  The Gospel of St. John conveys the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  As miraculous as this event was, the pharisees plotted even more intently to do away with Jesus and to rid of Lazarus as well.  Though great deeds were accomplished by Jesus, it was a thirst for power and control over the people of which the pharisees were seeking to maintain.  Ultimately, however, the more the pharisees sought power and control over the people, the more they lost their ill-conceived lust for power.  The people of Jesus’ time were no fools.  In Jesus they found hope and joy. 

As we now prepare for the third “Mass-less Sunday” since the COVID 19 outbreak has occurred; as we find ourselves in our homes “in isolation;” as we find ourselves “making do” with what we have; as we find ourselves living in close proximity with family members; as we find ourselves having more meals in common, we have a profound opportunity to re-discover what really matters in life: faith in God and belonging to a family – as imperfect as our family may be.  I find myself telephoning my mother every day to be sure she has all that she might need.  I find myself telephoning others as well so to stay in touch and be sure all is okay.  Mother Teresa of Calcutta said that “loneliness” was the single greatest cause of death.  It is in a family that we live and move and have our being. 

COVID 19 can teach us a valuable lesson: we are not in control.  We were not in control on the day of our conception and we were not in control when we first fell off our bicycle once the training wheels came off.  We are not even in control of when and where we will breathe our last breath.  COVID 19 is teaching us how we need one another along the journey of life.  We can find hope and joy by the great gift of presence in one another’s lives.  St Paul said to the Corinthians that in the end there are three things that last: faith, hope, and love.  The greatest of these is love. 

During this time of social isolation/distancing, I pray that each of us re-discover the things that matter most in life: family, faith, and community.  How I long to return to the Eucharistic Table with you gathered as a “community of faith.”  How I long to be reunited in word and deed as people of faith. Perhaps “collectively and individually” we will reconsider that “taking things for granted” will no longer occur. 

Palm Sunday is quickly approaching!  Palm branches were ordered several months ago.  In as much as the likelihood of not celebrating Palm Sunday Mass is becoming more evident, the palm will be blessed and placed in front of the church for your taking.  Please wear “protective gloves” and keep social distancing in mind as you approach the display of palm.  You may take what you need and feel free to take palm branches for those who are unable to leave their homes. 

Holy Week services are also unlikely to be celebrated.  And, I dare say, Easter Masses may not be celebrated either.  These Mass-less days summons each of us to more intense personal prayer.  Pray in your home, pray with your family members.  The following website has all the readings for each day in the liturgical calendar: www.usccb.org  Take advantage of being united with your faith community by reading and reflecting on The Word of God throughout Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter.  There are many opportunities to attend Mass through television: there’s The Chalice of Salvation on Sunday morning at 10:00 AM on Channel 22 (Channel 787 on Spectrum as well as Catholic TV out of the Boston area, and EWTN also on Spectrum.

First Communion & Confirmation are most likely needing to be re-scheduled.  Bishop Rozanski will re-schedule Confirmation to the Fall season.  First Communion will need to be re-scheduled in as much as Governor Baker has extended the school closure to May 4, 2020.   As soon as dates are available, the dates will be posted in the weekly bulletin.

Financially, as you can well-imagine, the parish is in uncharted territory.  This will be the third weekend of no Mass, therefore no collection of the Sunday Offering.  To date the parish has received almost $5,000.00 through either a drop-off at the Pastoral Center or from the USPS.  For those who have made their contribution – thank you.  By this weekend the parish will realize a -$30,000.00 drop in collections – averaging about $10,000.00 per week.  While these are very difficult economic times, please be sure to take care of your own financial responsibilities first.  If you are able contribute to the parish – thank you!

And finally, together we will get through the COVID 19 pandemic. If you recall, in the aftermath of 9/11 there was a resurgence of communities pulling together and to rebuild.  The American spirt of re-building and re-connecting is part of our DNA!!  It is my hope-filled prayer that once the crisis of COVID 19 is over we can embrace that same spirit in our families, faith communities, and civic communities. 

May God Bless you and those you love!  Stay safe – stay smart! 

Fr. Bill

March 20, 2020 Dear Parishioner…Around & About Ste. Rose 

No doubt the coronavirus (COVID 19) has affected every part of our daily lives.  The daily routines have come to a screeching halt; I dare say our lives will never quite be the same.  The effect of COVID 19 has isolated each of us in ways that we could have never anticipated.  The idea of “social distancing” is so foreign to us that making the transition to new models of social behavior are both awkward and unfamiliar. However, if we collectively adopt the guidelines from the CDC (Center of Disease Control) each of us will play a very important role in not spreading the virus.   

As for our “parish life,” every activity has come to a screeching halt:  School is closed, Religious Education is suspended, the Pastoral Center is closed, meetings are cancelled until further notice, and the celebration of The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been suspended until further notice.  The few liturgical celebrations are the Liturgies of Christian Burial.  Gratefully, no one has died from the coronavirus in our parish.  Should a Liturgy of Christian Burial be needed, the attendees are limited to immediate family and very close friends.  All funeral homes are enforcing the guidelines for social distancing that are strongly recommended by State and Federal Governmental agencies.   

Many members of the parish are concerned about the Mass Intentions that were scheduled, in some cases, a year ago.  Please know that all Mass Intentions will be re-scheduled as soon as public Masses are allowed.  Because the Pastoral Center is closed, Mass Intentions will not be scheduled until the P.C. is re-opened.   

As for myself, I am in the rectory answering the telephone as calls come in.  I am available for end of life issues: to anoint members with the Sacrament of the Sick (Last Rites) if needed.  The same is true with Pastoral Care for the dying in either a hospital or nursing home.  The guidelines at all area hospitals and nursing home allow one clergy member to tend to those who may be experiencing “end of life issues.”  

It has been encouraging that more members than normal are using the USPS to send in their contributions to the parish.  Financially, the parish is in unchartered territory.  All expenses will continue to be paid in a timely fashion, including the payment of our salaried personnel.  I am sure that many are experiencing their own financial challenges during this coronavirus outbreak.  Please understand that your own financial well-being is of primary importance.  

And finally, I encourage all of you to watch Mass on Sunday mornings on Channel 22 at 10:00 AM for “The Chalice of Salvation.” Daily Mass can be viewed on The EWTN and Catholic TV networks on our Spectrum cable provider.  We can collectively pray for the safety of all during this time of pandemic. Pray especially for health care workers who are on the front line of combatting the coronavirus as well as for all first responders who also put their lives on the line every day attempting to assist all of us.   

Finally, please stay safe.  Follow all the guidelines/recommendations that have been given so that we can all live through this pandemic and, pray God, we respond to each other’s needs with generosity and compassion. 

May God bless you!  I miss you and long for the day to be reunited at “The Table of the Eucharist.” 

Fr. Bill