Two-thousand and twenty: the year we all learned to wash our hands properly.
Parish offices across the Diocese have received a number of telephone calls concerning the coronavirus and public worship. A memorandum from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Diocese of Cleveland have issued statements regarding liturgical celebrations and public health concerns in light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). As of 28 February 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 61 total cases of COVID-19 in the United States; none are in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Health and CDC both report that “the disease is not spreading in the community in the U.S. at this time, and the CDC currently considers risk to the general public to be low.” It is important to take this public health situation seriously. It is also important to avoid inciting panic in our parishes.
The Ohio Department of Health has developed a helpful infographic outlining precautionary measures that people should take. These precautions are the same commonsense hygiene precautions one would take to prevent the flu, including:
- Avoid close contact with sick persons
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue/sleeve when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth after touching objects
- Practice good health habits (clean home, adequate sleep, healthy stress management)
The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Office for Worship, in consultation with the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship and CDC recommendations, suggests the following measures be taken in the celebration of the liturgy:
- Priests, Deacons, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should be especially reminded of the need to practice good hygiene. Ministers of Holy Communion should be encouraged to wash their hands before Mass begins, and/or use an alcohol-based antibacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion.
- Liturgical ministers should not serve if they are sick. This includes both clergy and lay ministers.
- Parishioners who are sick should stay home. Missing Mass is not a sin if you are sick, or need to take care of someone who is sick, and you cannot be relived: i.e., young children, elderly parents, etc.
- Encourage parishioners to wash their hands frequently.
- Encourage parishioners to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after shaking hands with others. If you have been coughing or sneezing at Mass, or become concerned with those around you who are, at the time of the Sign of Peace, a peace sign “in-the-air,” is a polite-enough gesture.
- Parishioners who have sick family members should exercise good judgment and protect others by abstaining from receiving the Precious Body on the tongue, and by abstaining from receiving the Precious Blood from the chalice. It is forbidden to practice “intinction,” the dipping of the Bread or Host into the Chalice.
- Ministers of the Cup are reminded to wipe the inner and outer rim of the cup and rotate the cup one-quarter-of-a-turn before presenting it to the next communicant. A different place on the purificator is to be used after every instance.
Should the threat from COVID-19 become dire, further measures to safeguard the faithful will be announced. Please monitor the Ohio Department of Health and the CDC websites, as well as official communications from the diocese, for accurate information in this developing public health situation.
Lastly, at the recommendation of the USCCB, all parishes are asked to offer at least once during the season of Lent, one of the three formularies for Masses for Various Needs and Occasions #48: For Any Need, specifically for those suffering from infectious disease. This Mass may be celebrated on any day except solemnities or the Sundays of Lent. I plan to celebrate this Mass on Monday, March 23, at 8:30 am, as the Gospel reading prescribed for the day, from John, recounts the healing of the royal official’s son who was ill in Capernaum.
Let us remember in prayer, as well, our Diocesan Administrator, Father Donald P. Oleksiak, as Pope Francis continues to discern a Bishop for Cleveland.
NO ST. NOEL VBS IN SUMMER 2020 – Because of the major roof project this summer, Vacation Bible School will not be offered at St. Noel in 2020.
ADORATION TIME CHANGE – Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will end at 8:00 p.m. Monday, March 9th.
FORMED – During this Lenten Season, the Diocese of Cleveland recommends the FORMED program, Forgiven: The Transformative Power of Confession. Forgiven is a video-based study on formed.org, which beautifully explores the transforming power of Confession through narratives and teachings by prominent Catholic evangelists and catechists. Pope Francis writes, “Forgiveness is the most visible sign of the Father’s love…” As faithful sojourners, let us encounter that love and mercy!
FISH FRY VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – Please support our Lenten Fish Fries. You can sign up on the kiosk to help.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS – will be held every Friday during Lent at 7:30 p.m. This Friday, March 13th, will be led by families of the parish.
St. Noel Concert Series: Benefit Concert for Lake County Homeless Shelter – Join us on Sunday, March 8th at 4:00 p.m. at St. Noel Church. The Choir of Hope Concert (Agnieszka Bieniek, director) and the Lithuanian Community Choir Exultate (Rita Cyvas-Kliorys, director), soloists, and an orchestra will present the concert “Gabriel Fauré and Friends.” In part I, you will hear compositions of Gabriel Faure, Ola Gjeilo, and Clause Debussy, and in part II, a beautiful Requiem by Gabriel Fauré. A free will offering will be collected, with 100% of it going to support the Lake County Homeless Shelter – Project Hope for the Homeless. A reception with Lithuanian specialties will be served in the Narthex afterwards. If you can’t attend but still would like to support Project Hope for the Homeless, you can give a monetary donation or any items from the list below each weekend from February 8 to March 8 in the Narthex. Items needed for Project Hope for the Homeless: gift cards to Giant Eagle, Walmart, and gas stations ($5 and $10 value only); large size shampoo, hair conditioner and body wash; bath towels (new or gently used), 1 gallon zip-loc bags; 13 and 30 gallons garbage bags; coffee (regular and decaf); 8-12 oz cold/ hot cups. For more information please contact Agnieszka (Aga) Bieniek at [email protected]. Thank you so much for your support.
CRS RICE BOWL TASTING – Our Catholic Relief Services ambassadors are in the narthex to offer food samples from some of the countries aided by CRS. Following the 9 am and 11 am masses this weekend, sample some of the meatless recipes featured in the Rice Bowl Lenten pamphlet. The tasting is free and voluntary donations for the Rice Bowl campaign will be accepted. Don’t forget to take home your Rice Bowl after Mass.
FOOD PANTRY – So far in 2020, the pantry has served 355 people. Currently, we are in need of peanut butter and tuna.
COMMUNION IN THE HOME – We are in need of commissioned ministers to bring communion to parishioners who are unable to join us at Mass. This need continues to grow. Please contact Anthony if you can help.
LENTEN BAGS & TAGS – We will again be collecting bags of items for Forbes House (the Lake County Women’s Shelter), Project Hope (the Lake County homeless shelter), Birthright, St Augustine Hunger Center, and the St. Noel Food Pantry. Plastic bags, tags with the items needed, and information on the various agencies will be available on the table in the narthex. These works of mercy are a tremendous benefit to the agencies; please consider making the bags a part of your Lenten devotion.
MEET TRINH – Trinh’s family are farmers in Vietnam who have been affected by climate change. What would you do if your source of nutrition was threatened? How can we support those whose livelihoods are vulnerable to weather? Visit crsricebowl.org for more.
VOTE MARCH 17 – please exercise your right to vote on Tuesday, March 17. We have significant decisions both locally and nationally. Unfortunately, less than 40% of eligible voters in our area turned out in November. Inform yourself. Vote. It is our duty as faithful citizens. Reflection material is available in the narthex.
BLOOD DRIVE RESULTS – We had 23 donors present to the drive and were able to collect 23 pints of blood for needed patient care. Thanks to all our donors and thanks to Tom Repko, Wendy Zorman, and the Fullermans for staffing the table! Our next blood drive is Sunday, June 14th.
COMMONWEAL LOCAL COMMUNITY – Monday, March 23rd at 6:30pm in the Resurrection Room. An article from the February issue will be discussed. American Paganism : It’s not what the Religious Right thinks it is. A discussion guide to the February issue is available at the kiosk, and links to the articles at https://clcnetcleveland.blogspot.com E-mail your interest to Jack Rakosky, [email protected] gmail.com to be on our mailing list.
AERC NEWS – Our Adult Education Resource Center had a productive year in 2019 with 267 adult tutoring sessions offered, and one new graduate. See the full report at stnoel.org. Thanks to Debbie Kramer, Annie Zahradnik and all our wonderful tutors who make the AERC possible.
ART SUPPLIES NEEDED – local artist, Guy Vincent, has been teaching art to low-income & homeless adults & children for a number of years. Recently, his projects have included large, public installations in the city of Cleveland. Mr. Vincent’s work has been transformative in the lives of his students, and we have supported him in the past. Currently he is looking for the following: colored sharpies, washable markers, tempera paint sticks, colored pencils / regular pencils, acrylic paint & watercolors, paint brushes, various papers, sketching, canvas boards, canvases, glue sticks, Elmer’s, etc., magazine’s for collages. Any items can be brought to the parish office. You can view Guy’s work at: http://guyvincent.net/ and donations are always welcome.