Letters from the Diocese
We have two letters to share with you today from Bishop Brennan. The first is from all of the Ohio Bishops, extending the suspension of public Masses through May 29. (Click on the image to expand)
We are all longing for the day when we can gather together once again and physically receive the Lord through the sacraments. During this time we join together with each other in solidarity, offering our heart’s desire for all of the sacraments as an offering of love and obedience.
The second letter is from Bishop Brennan to the faithful of the Diocese of Columbus, and it brings great news! Beginning May 1, Confessions will be resuming in the Diocese.
We are still working out the details and logistics for confessions at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, but we are excited about this first step in returning to the sacraments. Note that there will be many guidelines and restrictions around who will be eligible for confession and how we will go about it.
Read Bishop Brennan’s full letter below:
Letter to the Faithful from Bishop Brennan
The Lord is Risen – Happy Easter!
The Ohio Bishops met yesterday. After consultation and a close examination of the facts determined that while it is not yet possible to begin the public celebration of Mass, we are looking at a target date of May 30/31 – Pentecost Sunday hopefully to resume our celebrations. Each of us continues to dispense all Catholics from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and I also dispense from the canonical obligation of Easter Duty. During his press conference yesterday, Governor DeWine indicated that through increased and widespread testing and other means, much knowledge will emerge to allow for safer conditions for the assemblies of people. In the meantime we will begin the gradual process in various ways.
This week many of our priests will begin setting aside dedicated time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a wide basis by appointment and in places deemed to provide for safety and hygiene. These locations will include spaces free of the need to touch surfaces such as doors or furniture, providing appropriate social distancing and privacy and limiting the number of people gathered at any one time to a bare minimum. The locations and contact numbers for appointments will be posted on our Diocesan Website (www.columbuscatholic.org) beginning Wednesday, April 29 so that appointments for confessions may be scheduled, and hearing confessions can begin Friday, May 1. We will be working to make it possible in at least some of our churches for people to visit and pray during certain hours in the coming weeks. Again, care for the continued health and safety of those who visit is paramount.
The process of preparing for Mass will encompass many considerations. We will work to be ensure that the Churches are clean and safe. We are working to have plans in place to manage seating and movement, allowing for safe social distancing; this may perhaps limit the number of people in the Church or any other spaces at any given time. We will follow the guidelines for assemblies regarding face-coverings and other protective measures. It may be necessary to adjust schedules to allow for priests to help each other beyond parish boundaries. In recent weeks there has been a task force looking at the many opportunities for evangelization here in the diocese. Their work will turn to provide recommendations on how we as a diocese and as parishes use this time for pastoral and interior preparation.
Looking ahead with hope and anticipation I ask your prayers. Looking back, I can only do so with deep gratitude for your continued goodness, your sacrifices, your patience and understanding. I am convinced that the measures we have taken together with the rest of our community have made a significant difference. Let’s pray for those who have suffered deeply, especially those who have died and those who mourn. And let’s never forget the sacrifices and hard work that so many people heroically make for us and our well-being.
In the peace of our Risen Lord,
Note that you can also find both of these letters, as well as other information, on the Diocese’s COVID-19 page.
Father Jim’s Video Message
Father Jim has a video message for us today, regarding all of these new announcements from the Diocese:
Confession Details: What we know so far
Confession will be available by appointment only. We will let you know when we will start to accept calls to schedule appointments.
Bishop Brennan does want to remind the faithful that what the Vatican had clarified remains in effect: if you are not able to go to confession, you can still receive the forgiveness of your sins by repenting, making an act of Love for God above all things, and making a resolve to go to confession once you are able to again.
Bishop Brennan also wants this clear: certain people will fall into a category of being unable to confess at this time, even when we begin accepting appointments. Those still unable to confess at this time includes:
- Anyone who is in the at-risk category due to previous health conditions or being older in age
- Anyone who has a cough or a fever
- Anyone who is worried about possibly being a carrier
If you fall into any of those categories above, or if you are afraid to come to confession for fear of contracting COVID-19, you are still able to receive forgiveness of your sins by following the above guidelines from the Vatican. We will release more details including the number to call to schedule confession as soon as we can! In the meantime, God bless you.