COVID Update: Masks at Mass

Dear Parish Family, 
We just received the following message from Bishop Brennan. Please read it thoroughly.

Dear friends, 

The recent surge of the delta variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus is showing its effects throughout the twenty three counties of the diocese. I don’t need to recite these effects as they are well reported. The good news is that we have learned how to live with this virus and mitigate its effects. As always I join with the Holy Father in urging all those who are eligible for the vaccine to consult with their physician to consider getting the vaccine.  I also urge anyone not feeling well, even if they are not sure if they actually have the coronavirus, please to stay home until you can be certain that you do not have it. I remind you that while there is no longer a dispensation from the Sunday obligation, anyone not feeling well or concerned about their own health or that of other family or household members is already exempt from that obligation. 

I understand that there are strong feelings, even convictions, about the different protocols for mitigating the virus and frustration about the changing guidance. These feelings often put individuals at odds with one another. Last year Churches were included in a statewide mandate regarding masks. That is not the case this year. What I ask at this point is that we exercise prudence and charity in these weeks in which we are dealing with this surge. In that spirit I am asking that we wear masks at Mass and at indoor parish activities for the time being, continue to practice good measures of hygiene such as the use of hand sanitizers, and that we exercise extra patience with one another during this tense time. The Office of Catholic Schools will continue to work with particular schools to meet the differing needs and regulations in the various communities. The people of this diocese overwhelmingly have been extraordinary in showing that charity and patience – I am proud to be associated with you and deeply grateful for your goodness. 

In the meantime let’s pray for all those suffering with illness of any kind, for those who have died, their families, care takers and all those who serve in healthcare.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop Brennan

We encourage everyone to resume wearing masks at Mass and all indoor activities on our campus, beginning this weekend. While it is not a mandate at this time to wear masks, we encourage all to follow his guidance and do so—especially those who are unvaccinated and those most at risk according to the CDC guidelines. Let us all act with compassion, charity, and patience.

We join our prayers to Bishop Brennan’s, and we also pray for an end to this pandemic. God bless and stay safe!

New Statement from the Ohio Bishops – Obligation to Attend Mass Resumes June 5/6

The Ohio Conference of Catholic Bishops have released a statement reimposing the obligation to attend Sunday Mass beginning the weekend of June 5-6. “Together, the Bishops of Ohio have decided that the general obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (including the Saturday/Vigil Mass) is to be reinstated (CIC, can. 1247). This will take effect in each of the Dioceses of Ohio the weekend of June 5-6, 2021. As has always been the case, those who have a serious reason are exempt from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2181). This includes those who are ill, have significant health risk factors or care for someone who is immuno-compromised or ill, as well as those who have significant fear or anxiety of contracting the coronavirus in a large group of persons.” We encourage everyone to read the entire statement, which is attached to this email.

In addition, the Diocese has requested that we allow all pews in the church to be used in order to accommodate more people as they return to Mass. The ropes currently blocking off every other pew will therefore be removed before this weekend’s Masses. We ask that you still try to maintain at least 3 feet between households if possible. As of right now, the health order in Ohio to wear masks will be in place until June 2, so we will keep our mask requirement in place until then. 

We thank you all for following the guidance of our Bishop throughout this pandemic, and we are excited for another big step in a return to normalcy. We will release any additional information or updates to guidelines from the Diocese as they are made known to us. See you at Mass!

New Letter from Bishop Brennan

Bishop Brennan, along with all the Bishops of Ohio, has published a new letter to all the faithful. Please see below!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Since the onset of the pandemic just a year ago, the Bishops of Ohio have worked together during this unprecedented time with the assistance of government and health professionals to lead and protect all those entrusted to our pastoral care. By the grace of God and the painstaking efforts by so many to follow Covid-19 protocols, coupled with the expanding availability of vaccines, we are making progress in our fight against this deadly scourge. What a blessing it will be for us to be in person in our churches this year to celebrate the Paschal Mystery, culminating in the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. 

In our shared hope of eradicating this virus and encouraging ongoing return of the faithful to Holy Mass and the Sacraments each week, you are invited to continue to follow all the essential protocols of hand sanitizing, wearing masks and social distancing. These efforts are working to the point that we are in a much more hopeful place than we were even a few months ago. 

At the same time, you are encouraged to receive a vaccine. To reiterate the teaching of the Church with regard to the vaccine options: if you have the opportunity to choose a vaccine, you should choose Pfizer or Moderna. While the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is made from cell lines originating from an aborted human fetus, it should be taken only if it is the only option available. 

As we move toward herd immunity, notwithstanding a spike in the virus, it is our sincere hope that soon we can return to the regular celebration of Mass with full capacity in our churches, and thus lift the dispensation of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. We are advised that parish festivals likely can take place this summer, preferably outdoors, following the necessary protocols. Nevertheless, we all need to remain vigilant. 

We look forward with eager longing to when we can all be together around the altar of the Lord without any restrictions. In the meantime, let us continue to do all that we need to do to overcome the virus, and rely upon the guidance of government and health officials so that we can return to some sense of normal. 

Have a blessed Holy Week!

Sincerely in Christ,

The Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr
Archdiocese of Cincinnati

The Most Rev. David J. Bonnar
Diocese of Youngstown

The Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan
Diocese of Columbus

The Most Rev. Daniel E. Thomas
Diocese of Toledo

The Most Rev. Bohdan J. Danylo
Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of
St. Josaphat in Parma

The Most Rev. Edward C. Malesic
Diocese of Cleveland

The Most Rev. Jeffrey M. Monforton
Diocese of Steubenville

The Most Rev. John Michael Botean
St. George Byzantine Catholic Diocese

Dispensation Extended

This week, the Diocese released this announcement regarding the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays:

“The dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation has been extended indefinitely. This is in keeping with the rest of the Ohio Catholic Conference. Those who are feeling well and who are not in the high risk categories should be encouraged to come to Mass. Those who are in the high risk categories, or who are not feeling well are encouraged to remain home.”

We pray for those who must continue to stay home to protect themselves or their loved ones. We also would love to have all who are not in the high-risk groups to rejoin us at Mass!

The dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation has been extended indefinitely.

Bishop Brennan, in a message to priests of the Diocese of Columbus

From our leaders on Racism

Many of our Church’s leaders have released statements regarding the recent death of George Floyd, the protests that have followed, and the sin of racism. We thought we would compile some of them for you here.

Statement from Bishop Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Columbus

Pastoral Letter from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Statement from Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

Statement from Pope Francis

Let us pray for an end to systematic racism in our country, for all of our marginalized brothers and sisters, and for peace.

Letter from Bishop Brennan 5.15.20

Bishop Brennan released a new letter today, which you will find here. Please read this letter in full. We are working on everything directed by the diocese and will put out communications about new procedures at Our Lady next week. 

Many parishioners have expressed that they have concerns in regards to opening our church. We have created this form for anyone to submit their feedback. Note that many new procedures are being directed by the diocese, and we don’t always have wiggle room to do things differently. However, we greatly appreciate hearing from our parishioners! Know that anyone is welcome to share any feedback with us anytime via our “contact us” page.  

Note in the letter that although public Masses are resuming, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in place through September 13, 2020. Our Lady will continue to make Mass available online each week for anyone who is unable to come to Mass.

May God bless you all with good health and peace!

Divine Mercy Sunday

This Sunday, April 19, 2020 is Divine Mercy Sunday! We have lots of (virtual) celebrations planned to help you partake in the day from your homes!

First, please read this letter from Bishop Brennan 

If you want to learn more about the history of Divine Mercy Sunday, we suggest checking out this article, as well as this page from the USCCB.

In addition to (virtual) Mass from Our Lady of Perpetual Help this weekend, we encourage you to check out the offerings from The National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. You can tune in from The National Shrine’s Facebook page, or via Saint Gabriel Radio and EWTN.

We will be praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet as a parish, led by the Shappert Family, live on Facebook at 3 pm on Sunday. Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can join us at this link

We can all still celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday and all that it entails from a spiritual perspective, even from our homes! Instead of confession, the faithful can make an act of perfect contrition. And instead of receiving communion, we can make a spiritual communion, which is no less efficacious than a physical communion. In doing this and partaking in celebrations of the day, we may obtain the plenary indulgence associated with the Feast.

Please be sure to check out the following documents provided by Bishop Brennan. (click to view larger)

Public Masses Suspended through May 3.

Due to the extension of the Stay at Home order, the bishops of Ohio have also extended the suspension of public Masses through and including Sunday, May 3. You can read the letter from the Catholic Conference of Ohio here:

We will continue to provide online opportunities for prayer, worship, and connection. We encourage all to join us in this prayer from Pope Francis:

O Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

All Campus Buildings Closed

Our Lady Family,

Bishop Brennan sent the following message out earlier today:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I reach out to you once again as part of our best effort to keep you informed regarding changes in our practices as the severity of the Coronavirus pandemic increases in our community.

After further discussions with our pastors, it has become apparent that the most recent restrictions and necessary precautions mandated by the State of Ohio, regarding public spaces makes it impossible for our churches to meet those standards for the safety of others. As much as I am pained by doing so, and as much as we have all tried, we simply cannot allow access to our churches or other parish buildings.

Again, as I’ve mentioned, I ask all the faithful in the Diocese to please make every effort to stay home, especially those among us with any elevated risk of infection. Please continue to practice “social distancing” for the safety of all, and continue to pray for those impacted and those who work and place themselves at risk to help us.

Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan
Bishop of Columbus

For the sake of everyone’s health and well-being, and to do our part to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, all church campus buildings are to be closed immediately. For the next few weeks everyone really needs to stay home as much as possible. The effort only works if we as a society are “all in.”

Stay safe, stay home as much as possible, and may God bless you all.

Bishop Brennan Urges Everyone to Stay Home

We have received another message from Bishop Brennan to the members of our diocese. Please read his important letter below:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I write to you again to speak about the many challenges we all face in light of the growing Coronavirus pandemic, which is so significantly impacting every facet of our daily lives. As you already know, the bishops of Ohio earlier this week decided to suspend the public celebration of Mass in every diocese of the state, and dispensed to the faithful from their obligation to attend Mass at least through Easter Sunday.

I cannot begin to tell you how difficult and painful this decision was, especially during the Lenten season. But, after consultation with our Governor and several health and medical officials, and faced with the stark realities regarding the spread of this virus, it became apparent that this dramatic step was critical to making sure we are doing all we can to help curtail the spread of this virus and keep our communities healthy. This extreme measure is a stark reminder of the necessity for all of us to heed the warnings of health and government officials to stay at home.

As Masses have been halted until after Easter, all other activities and events in our parishes must also be canceled or postponed to restrict contact and exposure. Many have asked about keeping our churches open for prayer, Adoration, and Reconciliation. The real answer is that you should remain home. Please understand that we as priests want to be faithful to our responsibility for the care of souls but in doing so, not to place people in danger. For the moment that means finding other ways to keep our parishioners connected and spiritually fed through the Word of God, and responding to pastoral emergencies. I implore your understanding and our shared cooperation. Trust me, I look forward to being together to celebrate the sacred mysteries of our faith. It is only under the strictest guidelines for hygiene and safety that Churches may be open for prayer and confession. Priests will try to be available or get the necessary assistance for urgent situations.

I want to leave you with this suggestion: if possible, in consideration of not only your health but the health of all those you might come in contact with, please make every effort to stay home and find other means to stay close to the Lord. This is especially true for those of us with the highest risk for complications from infection. Utilize Catholic media, TV, and St. Gabriel Radio to continue to experience the Mass. Take this opportunity to expand your prayer life. You can find links to much of this information on our website, As we move forward, we will continue adding resources to assist you.

Even in these challenging times, as we all continue our faith journey during Lent, all of us can engage in spiritual communion. A spiritual communion acknowledges that deep sense of loss at not being able to share the sacrament but an act of faith in Jesus’ faithful presence among us as we long for the day when we might share anew in the Lord’s most gracious gift.

Let us be united with ever fervent prayer even as we experience physical “social distancing”. Let us beg God’s help and mercy in this trying time. Indeed let us practice “extreme charity” making these sacrifices for the good of those around us and being aware of the each other’s needs. We pray for all those who are afflicted by this virus or any illness, for all of us who have been impacted, and for those who labor to curb and defeat its effects and keep us safe. We offer all of our sufferings and anxiety to Our Lord Jesus, and united in faith, we pray to be refreshed by his boundless love.

Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan
Bishop of Columbus

In light of this message from our bishop, members of the Our Lady staff are beginning to call parishioners, starting with those age 70 and up, to check in and do a needs assessment. Please let us know if any of you have specific needs that we can address, and don’t hesitate to contact us if there is something you need and we haven’t gotten to you yet. We are still answering the phones at 614.875.3322, and will continue to do so throughout this crisis (we can forward the line so that we can work remotely and still answer phones). God bless you all!