Pastor Fr. Carl Hood asked that the following letter, written by Fr. Patrick Gallgher, Pastor of Holy Rosary Church, be shared with parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi. It offers some thoughts for all Catholics in the Diocese to ponder in light of the dispensation from the obligation to attend Holy Mass. We are praying fervently for the needs and health of all during this difficult time.
My Holy Rosary Family,
As we know, Bishop Talley has reissued a general dispensation for the faithful from the requirement of attending Holy Mass on Sundays, this means that until further notice, one is not obligated to attend Mass due to the Coronavirus. All Masses are still being celebrated at their normal times and if we are able, we should make sure that we are not cut off from the source and summit of our faith, the Holy Eucharist. We should remember that the bishop issued this dispensation to alleviate the consciousness of the faithful. To allow those who are sick, vulnerable, or fearful of the virus to not attend Mass with a clear conscience. This means that if we choose not to participate in Holy Mass while this dispensation is in effect but still decide to go out to other activities such as recreational sports, restaurants, or other activities we would be ignoring the charity of this dispensation. Also, if we decide to stay home from Mass on Sundays, we need to ask ourselves: Are we reading the Sunday readings at home? Are we praying with our family? Are we watching a live-streamed Mass to aid in our prayer? Are we making sure that we are living out our faith on Sunday through devotions, the rosary, or some other pious and prayerful activity? After all, although Bishop Talley has granted this dispensation about Mass attendance, we need to keep in mind that no Bishop has the power to dispense from the Divine Law of the Third Commandment to keep the Lord’s Day Holy.
Fr. Patrick Gallagher
“Be moved to pity, O Lord, at our earnest prayer, and heal our illnesses of body and soul; so that experiencing thy mercy we may ever rejoice in the blessing. We beseech you, O Lord, grant us a hearing as we devoutly raise our petitions to you, and graciously turn away the epidemic which afflicts us; so that all mortal hearts may recognize that you are Lord of Heaven and Earth, and hold us all in your loving hands. Amen” (Adapted from the Roman Ritual)