Earlier today Archbishop George released a Pastoral Letter to the faithful of Diocese on the day public acts of worship come to an end for an undefined period of time. The letter was written on the Feast Day of St. Joseph (yesterday), protector of the Church. In reference to the suspension of public worship the Archbishop said:
“As good citizens, it is essential that we heed government and medical advice, whether it be self- isolating or not gathering in big numbers in addition to undertaking the basic hygiene instructions. Working from home where possible, avoiding non-essential travel, limiting social outings. All of these measures have their place in helping to avoid infection as well as the danger of cross contamination. They may also contribute to our Lenten discipline.”
He goes on to say that the Bishops’ decision was not taken lightly recognising that the Mass is the “hallmark of Catholic faith and practice”. The decision also includes a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holydays. Reassuring the faithful the Archbishop assures that churches will remain open for private prayer and devotions wherever possible, but avoiding gatherings.
The letter goes on to advise practical steps for nourishing the spiritual life during this desert period before the Archbishop assures his prayers for everyone.