Coronavirus (COVID-19) & St. Margaret Update
(13 March 2020)
Dear Parishioners:
In correspondence with you, the Parishioners of St. Margaret yesterday, I mentioned that we would be following a tiered system based upon the level of health crises extant in our community. Today, Governor Edwards issued a proclamation asking people to refrain from large gatherings. Thus, our current threat level has arisen to Level II – a State of Emergency declared by a heightened health situation. It is St. Margaret’s intention to cooperate with the order to preserve people’s health and well-being. Bishop Duca has also issued a decree regarding temporary changes to life and ministry in the Diocese of Baton Rouge. His letter will also be posted on our website and social media platform.
What does this mean for St. Margaret and her parishioners?
1. Per the Bishop’s directive, the faithful are dispended from the obligation to attend Mass beginning March 14/15 until at least April 13, 2020. We continue to encourage the vulnerable and those who are ill to NOT attend Masses during this emergency. However, St. Margaret WILL continue to have Mass at the normally scheduled times both on weekdays and weekends at the present. We will also continue Adoration on Wednesdays and Fridays and will pray the Stations of the Cross on Fridays in common.
2. St. Margaret will discontinue all unnecessary contact between individuals and groups. Practically, our clergy will not physically greet any parishioners after Mass, and non-essential ministry gatherings will be canceled. These include the following:
• Yummy for Your Tummy (14 March)
• Bible Study (Beginning 17 March through 13 April)
• Hungarian Language Classes (Beginning 17 March through 13 April)
• Open Doors/RCIA Classes (Beginning 18 March through Easter; Rituals will continue)
• Youth Nights (Beginning 18 March through 13 April)
• Catholic Daughters Meetings & Off Campus Rosaries (Beginning 18 March through 13 April)
• Artists’ Guild (Beginning 19 March through 13 April)
• Pastoral Council (19 March)
• Young Adult Ministry (Beginning 19 March through 13 April)
• Lenten Meatless Meals (All Remaining Meals)
• PSR (Beginning 22 March through 13 April)
• Theology in a Bottle (22 March)
• Now Go Forth (24 March)
• Margaret’s Men (26 March)
• PSR Core Team (29 March)
• Finance Council (02 April)
• Cemetery Committee (02 April)
• Coffee & Donut Ministry (05 April)
• Knights of Columbus & Ladies Auxiliary (05 April)
• Fourth Degree Knights (06 April)
• St. Vincent de Paul Meeting (09 April)
• Communion to the Homebound (Until further notice, unless in extreme danger)
Staff members and ministry leaders will be in contact with those who are affected by these cancellations as soon as possible.
Again, the reason for these measures is safety. The Center for Disease Control reminds us that the Coronavirus and Flu are spread through personal, physical contact with someone who is sick (either through inhaling the virus, or through hand-to-mouth transmission with a contaminated surface). The best prevention is good hygiene and self-isolation of people who are sick, to avoid close contact with others, cleaning hands frequently, and covering their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
We do still plan to offer, for now, the sacraments to those who are able and wish to receive and attend! Keep in mind that previously published liturgical guidelines will continue to be observed (communion under the species of bread alone, communion on the hand, no physical sign of peace and omitting the spontaneous gesture of hand-holding during the Our Father, holy water removed from fonts).
In the future, Level III (in case of endemic and critical health situations) could be implemented as we follow all CDC regulations for public gatherings and further directives from our Bishop which might result in further, temporary closings. Again, we’re not here yet!
Remember, our Website and Facebook posts will help keep you informed of any developments in our parish and keep you informed with critical information. Be in touch with me if you have any questions! I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, if you are able! We’re here for you, and we love you in this crisis.
~Fr. Jamin