Masses Suspended - Mandate from Bishop Serratelli
Earlier this afternoon we received the following mandate from Bishop Serratelli. Below the mandate, I will share what St. Mary's will be doing until further notice from the diocese. I have underlined important elements in the mandate that affect us as a parish.
Health and Safety Measures for Pastoral Life in the Diocese of Paterson
Effective Immediately by Mandate of the Bishop
As the cases of coronavirus increase exponentially, it is a moral imperative for all people to do what is humanly possible to prevent the spread of the illness. Large gatherings of people have rapidly become a grave health risk. Therefore, I am making the following provisions for the Diocese of Paterson, effective immediately.
Suspension of Public Masses
All public Masses are hereby suspended in the Diocese of Paterson until further notice
. Since the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life, all priests of the Diocese of Paterson must celebrate Mass privately for the good of all of the Christian faithful entrusted to their care and for all people during this critical time. Priests should celebrate this private Mass even if another priest or deacon cannot be with them to assist. Priests are reminded of the obligation to offer Mass for the intentions of those who have made an offering for the Mass.
We take to heart the admonition of Saint Paul: “
Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.
” (Romans 12:12).
This would be a time to encourage families to pray the Rosary at home, and to make the grace before meals a time for fathers and mothers, and all families, to center their homes on prayer and reliance upon God’s mercy
Suspension of Welcome Home to Healing Confessions, Lenten Penance Services
Welcome Home to Healing
Monday night confessions is suspended. Any scheduled Penance Services or Penitential Liturgies are suspended
Any gatherings of the faithful for private devotions such as the Stations of the Cross are also suspended
Our churches are to remain open to the faithful for private prayer. Please note that praying in large clusters or groups of people is prohibited. You must observe the government curfews
Adoration and Private Prayer
Parishes are encouraged to expose the Blessed Sacrament for at least three hours each day
so that the faithful may come and pray and unite themselves in spiritual communion with the Lord. The hours for Exposition and Adoration should be posted. Priests should administer the Sacrament of Penance or the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to the Christian faithful who legitimately request those sacraments.
Suspension of the Sacrament of Confirmation
The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation is hereby suspended in the Diocese of Paterson. Confirmation retreats should be deferred. As developments continue to unfold, we will assess the situation. When it is prudent, we will make the necessary arrangements for the celebration of the Sacrament.
First Penance and First Holy Communion
Since the celebrations of First Penance and First Holy Communion bring together large groups of people, both celebrations are to be deferred in all parishes until further notice
Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals
The celebration of baptisms, weddings, and funerals left to the discretion of the local pastor. The pastor must take into account the ongoing guidance from civil authorities regarding the acceptable size of crowds in public spaces
. Every effort to guide couples with pastoral sensitivity must be made. Priests must always be attentive to the grieving and pray for God’s mercy upon the departed. Should questions arise, please contact the Office of the Vicar General.
Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum
Any decision in terms of Holy Week, the Chrism Mass, the Sacred Triduum, and Easter will be made as we monitor the situation. Parishes will be advised in due time.
Thank you for your cooperation and all necessary steps you take in order to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. We pray for the healing gifts of the Holy Spirit to descend upon all people during this critical period. In this time of trial, we depend on the mercy and goodness of God to protect us.
Therefore, I urge all to join in fervent prayer, especially by praying the rosary
. Through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, may the Lord, in his mercy, deliver us from this present danger.
All to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at the Chancery of the Diocese of Paterson, this 16th day of March, 2020.
Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, S.T.D., S.S.L., D.D.
Bishop of Paterson
The items below are particular decisions in the mandate left to the discretion of the pastor. We will be working over the next few days to implement these items at St. Mary's:
1. We will have silent
Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every day in the church from 5:00pm - 8:00pm until further notice
. At a minimum, I am looking for at least 2 "Adorers" for each hour of Eucharistic Adoration. An "Adorer" is one who keeps watch in prayer with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. An Adorer must be at least 18 years old, and must make a serious commitment to be faithfully present for the hour of Adoration he/she has signed up for. We will place and update a weekly signup sheet on a table in the main entryway of the church for people to sign up - please write down the days and hours you commit to so you do not forget.
The Blessed Sacrament, under absolutely no condition, is to be left alone, even for the shortest of moments. If you already know you are available to be one of the two Adorers for a specific day and hour
please email us at
and we will update the signup sheet accordingly.
2. Our normal time for the Sacrament of Confession on Monday and Saturday evenings is suspended. You may always ask a priest for Confession; we are only prohibited from having scheduled hours of Confession.
3. Our Lenten Series on Monday evenings, and the Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings are suspended.
4. The church, as always, will be open from 7am until sunset each day for anyone to walk-in and pray silently. If a curfew is imposed by the State of New Jersey, we will lock the church at that hour.
5. The celebration of First Communions at St. Mary's is a joyful celebration, and one that is still more than a month away. Our current stance must be one of "standby". Let us pray that the scheduled dates and times for First Communions remain in tact. We will notify you if/when something changes. In summary, as soon as the State allows for larger crowds, we will be able to confirm with the scheduled dates and times.
6. Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals will be celebrated as scheduled, however, we must abide by the rulings of civil authorities as to the acceptable size of crowds able to gather. Currently crowds are limited to no more than 50 people. Please know we will remain faithful to that number. If you are scheduled to have a baptism or wedding in the near future, and these norms affect you negatively, please call the main office to discuss other possibilities.
7. Each family is asked to pray together each day, especially the Rosary, but also grace before meals. Having our busy schedules whittled down, allows more time for prayer and family.
Thank you in advance for your understanding, and know of our daily prayers as a staff for all of you.
Be safe and may God bless you and your families,
Fr. Derek Anderson, SOLT
on Monday, March 16 at 8:00PM