Published Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Dear Friends in Christ,
In the very bleak and dark times of ancient Israel, the prophet Isaiah shared with the people: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light! These words from God to a people in exile many millennia ago echo to our reality today. The fears and uncertainties of the current Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic have seem to dive our world today into darkness and despair. Our life has changed quickly these past two weeks, but the assurance of hope in this message from the prophet Isaiah should be our rallying call that we too will get through this crisis. And so we will!
Everywhere we look our regular routines are being impacted by the current pandemic of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, including how we worship. Never in my life would I have ever imagined that my local parish would have to cancel Holy Mass to the public, but here we are. Along with Archbishop Sample and all the priests of the Archdiocese of Portland, it is with a heavy heart to announce that public Masses at St. John the Baptist and at all parishes throughout the Archdiocese will be suspended beginning Tuesday March 17. 2020 through Tuesday April 14, 2020. Archbishop Sample has thereby dispensed all of the faithful of the Archdiocese from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation through Tuesday April 14th.
For all of you, including myself, this is a shock. Yet out of an abundance of caution and the safety of all, this decision was made by Archbishop Sample. Jesus taught us the Golden Rule which is to do unto others has you would have them do unto you. Although these measures would have seemed unthinkable a week ago; today, they are necessary to safeguard the wellness and well-being of everyone today, which is in line with the Golden Rule. Lastly, such an action is also not without precedence in other pandemics from the past.
Here at St. John the Baptist, Fr. Nazario and I will continue to celebrate Holy Mass daily for the people of the parish and the world. The Mass intentions that were made will continued to be honored on the day they were assigned. I am currently working with our AV (audio-visual) vendor to allow us to livestream our daily and Sunday Masses by this coming Sunday to be posted on our Facebook page and parish website. More information to follow.
Fr. Nazario and I will continue to respond to any sacramental emergency calls that come through our emergency line. The Church will not close its doors to anyone to those who most desperately need to encounter Jesus. Although we will not be physically present for the celebration of Holy Mass, we will still be spiritually together whenever the Eucharist is celebrated. I will continue to update you with further information. Please stay tuned to our parish website and social media accounts.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. John Marshall