So here lately, the coronavirus has had a major impact on life here in the States and around the world. I initially wasn’t going to post anything about it. But yesterday, the parish priest at my home parish updated us on the mandates that our bishop made this past Friday (03.13.20).*, **
In this mandate, the Bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro made a few statements, some of which were to be expected and some that took me off guard.
Here are some of the mandates he made on Friday:
- Sunday and Holy Day Obligation as been suspended until further notice.
- Temporary suspension of the distribution of the Precious Blood at Communion.
- Temporary suspension of receiving Communion on the tongue.
The parish priest at my home parish also mentioned yesterday that the practice of holding hands during the Our Father, the Sign of Peace, and the use of holy water in the baptismal fonts have also been suspended for the time being.
Also at my home parish, all non-liturgical events/activities have been cancelled until further notice.
When we take a step back, I think all these things are understandable precautions. Any physical contact during moments like the Sign of Peace and the Our Father and at non-liturgical events should be minimized in order to prevent the spread of this virus. And the suspension of the distribution of the Precious Blood is understandable as well due to multiple people drinking from the same sources and the possible distribution of germs.
And I can even understand the suspension of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue. The minister of Holy Communion would have to come into extremely close contact with another human being if the receiver wanted to receive on tongue. And this could cause an issue with the spreading of the germs.
But what caught me off guard was the dispensation of Sunday and Holy Day Obligations. The parish priest at my home parish said that he doesn’t remember this ever happening in his lifetime. And within my almost 24 years of being a Catholic, this has never happened. As long as I can remember, there’s been the obligation to go to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. That alone shows how rare it is for this particular thing to happen.
Last week was when I began to realize how serious this crisis is. Sports events are being cancelled. Schools are cancelling classes or moving classes to an online format. Our government leaders are making statements concerning the virus.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear ha made a few statements concerning the issue, one of which was about churches during this time.***
Regardless of what’s happening in the secular world, I feel that this issue has become even more real and even more serious due to my religion being affected. I know that this is a serious thing when the obligations have been suspended.
I’m wondering how far this thing is going to go. I’m wondering how much else of our life is going to be changed. I’m wondering how much else we’re going to have to give up or compromise in order to slow of the spread of this virus.
I love the Roman Catholic Church and I really hope that she doesn’t have to change too much in the wake of this illness.
All we can do is hope and pray that it doesn’t get too far out of hand before we can catch up with it.
I might post updates as this goes along, which is why I put the date in the title of this post, that way we can track how quickly this thing changes.