After consultation and considerable prayer, it has been decided – out of an abundance of caution and with devotion to the common good – to take steps aimed at slowing down the spread of the coronavirus, to flatten the curve, as they say, so as not to overburden the healthcare system.
Therefore, beginning on 19 March 2020 and until further notice, the following provisions have been taken:
- All public celebrations of Holy Mass are cancelled. All Catholics in the Archdiocese of Dubuque are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
- The Chrism Mass will be celebrated, but with only the liturgical ministers present. The oils will be blessed, bottled, and distributed in some way to the parishes.
- During this time, the Archbishop will live stream a celebration of Holy Mass each Sunday, as well as the Chrism Mass (and the Triduum, if the situation has not changed by then), and will lead the Rosary each week on Thursday. Visit www.DBQArch.orgfor more information about these live streamed events.
- The existing schedule for Confirmation is cancelled (the Archbishop’s office will contact the parishes to reschedule).
- Funerals, Weddings and Baptisms may be held, but limited to the immediate family, or at least no more than 50 people present, according to the current CDC guidelines.
- Communal penance services should not be held. The present circumstances do not constitute the grave necessity required for use of general absolution. Private, one-on-one confession can be scheduled by appointment.
- All archdiocesan-sponsored events where 50+ people are gathered are cancelled.
Pray to God for speedy deliverance from the evil of the coronavirus, for those who are sick or who live in fear of infection, for those who care for the sick and elderly, for those whose lives and livelihood are adversely affected by the spread of the virus, and that we might all remain calm and confident in God’s wisdom, power, and goodness.
Conscious of our great need, and confident of God’s loving care, with the above intentions in mind, all the faithful of the Archdiocese of Dubuque are invited to join in a day of fast, abstinence, and prayer on Wednesday, 25 March 2020; this is voluntary, not obligatory.
On that day, people ordinarily bound on Ash Wednesday to fast (only one full meal, taking less at the other meals) and abstain from meat are invited to make those same sacrifices. And as far as prayer is concerned, the Rosary is recommended as a powerful prayer, prayed alone or with others.
God, come to our assistance. Lord, make haste to help us. Mary, health of the sick, pray for us. St. Raphael, patron of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, and patron of healing, pray for us.