A memorandum was released from the Diocese, dated: 10 March 2020, stating:
In an effort to safeguard the faithful now that the coronavirus has emerged in Northeast Ohio, the following liturgical changes are to be observed, effective immediately:
1. The distribution of the Precious Blood to liturgical ministers and the faithful is to be suspended. Provisions, however, should be made for Catholics who can only receive the Precious Blood for Communion because of celiac conditions.
2. The invitation to the Sign of Peace, although a regular part of our liturgical practice, has always remained an option. Pastors should consult the local community for how to best observe the Sign of Peace during this period.
- At Saint Noel, it has been determined the extended invitation for the Sign of Peace (until further notice) will be omitted. Music ministry will immediately lead us in the singing of the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei), as the Fraction Rite begins.
- To that end, the holding of hands during the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) during the celebration of Mass is not a practice in which the Church has ever given instruction. This practice arose, largely, from charismatic and Scripture study groups that gathered in small parish meetings or privately in the home, eventually transferring, “out of a sense of the faithful,” to the liturgy. Years before the Third Translation of the Roman Missal (2011) was approved, in advance, several communal gestures or actions were to be catechized and implemented among the faithful. For example:
- The striking of the breast (once suffices) when the Confiteor (Penitential Act A) is chosen, at the words: “…through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”
- The profound bow at the waist during either form of the Creed, when the belief regarding the Incarnation is prayed: (Nicene Creed): “…and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man…” or (Apostles’ Creed): “who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary…” We do not just pray with our words, but our very bodies. When a gesture accompanies our words, it is often a profound belief we are conveying.
- The bow of the head before the reception of Holy Communion.
- The posture to adopt during the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) is either the orans position (a most ancient gesture of prayer) with hands flat out in front of oneself, a posture of surrender; or, hands folded or clasped together. When the last line of the Lord’s Prayer is prayed, “…but deliver us from evil,” the gesture ends. There is no action or gesture to accompany the conclusion of the prayer, when the people acclaim: “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and for ever.”
- Until further notice, the use of hosts will be used for Holy Communion. This will prevent the priest celebrant from personal and excessive handling of the breaking and distribution of the bread into the ciboria (Communion vessels). In addition, it will reduce the amount of time needed to carry out the Fraction Rite, which has become disproportionate to the entirety of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
3. Small holy water fonts and baptismal pools are to be drained.
- The faithful are encouraged to still make the Sign of the Cross upon entrance into a church (as they normally would when signing themselves with holy water) as a reminder of their baptism.
Much of this at once can appear extreme, but in light of the precautions and directives given at this time, an opportunity has presented itself to re-catechize and teach, so that we might better understand why we do what we do. It serves as a reminder, too, that the Mass remains the public prayer of the Church. Our common responses and actions throughout the celebration of the liturgy, are to be a sign of our unity, our oneness, our communion.
The temporary change or omission of a practice of our worship ought to create within us a desire for its return one day!
The memorandum concluded:
Everyone is encouraged both during the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy and at all times to be thoughtful and vigilant in practices that prevent the spread of sickness and disease and protect the good health of one another.
Please continue to 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. I will continue to provide updates on a weekly basis, and more frequently, if necessary.
Please know that you remain in my prayers, and in your charity, kindly remember me in your prayers.
Fraternally yours in Christ Jesus,
Rev. Donald P. Oleksiak
Diocese of Cleveland
Rev. Terrence M. Grachanin
COLLECTION – Ushers will be in the Narthex after all Masses next weekend, March 21st and 22nd, accepting donations for the Catholic Relief Services. Your support is greatly appreciated.
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.
NO CITYMUSIC CLEVELAND CONCERT –March 15th concert at St. Noel has been cancelled. Please go to www.citymusiccleveland.org for further information.
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!
ATTENTION ALL YOUNG PEOPLE IN HIGH SCHOOL AND MIDDLE SCHOOL – On Friday April 3rd, we have the opportunity to volunteer at the Fish Fry between 4:30-7:30pm (you do not need to be there the entire time), lead the Stations of the Cross at 7:30pm, and enjoy some fun at Adrenaline Monkey from 8:30-10:00pm. The cost for Adrenaline Monkey will be determined. Parent drivers are needed. Plans are being made, so please sign up as soon as you can on the kiosk in the narthex for any or all of the activities that interest you. If you have questions, please call or text Kathy Gambino at 216-219-7315.
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 7:30p.m. This Friday, March 20th, will be led by the Music Ministry.
FOOD PANTRY – So far in 2020, the pantry has served 397 people. Currently, we are in need of peanut butter, spaghetti sauce in jars, 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 YVONNE – Meet Yvonne from Kenya. She learned proper nutrition and hygiene practices to help keep her healthy and in school. Yvonne now has a chance to dream and the strength to follow those dreams. How can you ensure that young people in your community receive proper nutrition? Visit crsricebowl.org for more.
EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION – please contact Anthony (946-1128 x122) if you’re interested in offering communion at our weekend Masses or bringing communion to those unable to attend Mass. Training dates for 2020 have been announced by the Diocese.
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.
US CENSUS – Make sure you are counted in the 2020 census that began on March 12th. Data from the census impacts funding for important community programs & projects such as: infrastructure, police/fire, public schools, SNAP, Pell grants, senior centers and more. In 2010, almost 20% of Lake County residents were not counted. Respond to the questionnaire online or on paper.
COMMONWEAL LOCAL COMMUNITY – The discussion on American Paganism originally scheduled for March 23rd has been postponed to our next meeting which will be Monday, June 29th.
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 pads, 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.
CHRIST CHILD SOCIETY NEWS – Please join the Christ Child Society of the Western Reserve chapter for the 27th Annual Red Wagon Luncheon being held at LaMalfa in Mentor. The theme this year is “Bloom Where You Are Planted”. Along with 100 red-bowed baskets there will be a Silent Auction of many wonderful items. A Premier Raffle with cash prizes of $3,000, $1,000 and $500 is an annual favorite (winners need not be present). Tickets are $5 each or 6/$25. Jesi Stracham, Inspirational Speaker, will be the highlight of the event. Luncheon tickets are $50 and can be purchased online at www.christchildwesternreserve.org. FMI contact Elaine Rozic at 440-352-1172 . Limited seating available. RSVP by April 6th.