UPDATED POST (March 23, 2020): Bishop Fabbro has asked parishes, who have not been doing so before, to refrain from uploading Masses online
The Holy Family Parish COVID-19 Survival Kit is a collection of resources to help you and your loved ones feel the peace and love of God during these difficult times. Download the survival kit by clicking here.
My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
I am pleased to be able to connect with you following this past weekend of Sunday mass and building closure. I missed you and your encouraging presence. These past few days, our Chief Shepherd, Bishop Fabbro, in consultation with his senior advisors and with local health authorities, has issued very challenging directives for us to follow up until April 30, if not beyond. We will not be able to gather for Sunday celebrations, including the great feast of Easter. We will not be able to gather for weddings, funerals, baptisms and for all of the many processes that have enriched our lives so much. They include, Alpha, Bible studies, Connect groups, prayer groups, social events, devotional prayer, faith formation, disciple-making processes, and just the simple pleasure of greeting one another as friends in the Lord. We are even locked out of senior residences and nursing homes, the people we have grown to love and to support. These are terrible losses for all of us.
It is reported that Pope Francis this past Sunday, as he was walking through the deserted streets of Rome, prayed this, “I asked the Lord to stop the epidemic… Lord, stop it with your hand.” And while he invited us to pray this prayer with him, he also encouraged the world, now in lockdown and isolated, “not to waste these difficult days, instead ‘rediscover’ the importance of small, concrete gestures expressing closeness to us, a caress for our grandparents, a kiss for our children, for the people we love.” All of this is challenging indeed. And as followers of the God, Jesus, who overcame death and offers us abundant life right where we are, we know that even during these times of self-isolation, the Lord of Life walks with us, and is within us! We do not have to despair or give in to the cloud of anxiety which swirls around us, encouraged on by each piece of bad news and forecasts of doom that we hear.
This is truly a time for us to trust in the Lord’s promise to always be with us, especially as we hear in the words of the 23rd Psalm, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me (vs.4)”. The Lord does not promise to remove us from the ‘darkest valley’ but he does assure us that he will be right there next to us in that place, on our journey. The Spirit of God dwells in us. Count on his inspiration and consolation and courage in the days and weeks to come.
I am pleased to share with you that the staff of Holy Family Parish will be working full time to serve you, whether in the parish office (now closed to the public) or at home in self-isolation. We will soon be offering mass online to our parishioners, so that we can be present to one another in the Eucharist. I invite you to consider joining your hearts with us at mass united in a ‘spiritual Communion’, a communion of prayer in which hearts are bound together intimately by Christ, who unites us all. Here is the prayer that St. Alphonsus Liguori prayed in such situations: “My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire you with all my heart. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already in my heart and unite myself to you completely. Please do not let me be ever separated from you. Amen.”
Beginning next week, we will be offering ministry and support online. Please stay tuned as we open up our hearts to each other more than through electronic means. Our common prayer in spirit will carry us through this COVID-19 desert of isolation and pain, to the dawning of new life in abundance when we will once again join together at the Eucharistic Table of the Lord, face to face, heart to heart.
Devotedly yours in Christ,
Fr. Bob Remark,
“Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages ‘curing every disease and illness.’ At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.”
In response to the rapidly evolving progression of COVID-19 in Canada, all our weekday and weekend masses are cancelled until further notice. All events, like Alpha and the Knights of Columbus Fish Fry, are also cancelled.
Effective immediately, all outreach programs, including quilters, knitters and card players, are being cancelled until further notice for the protection of all those who are involved in these programs. If you have any questions, feel free to call Tim Firth (ext’n # 224) or Kelly Wilson (ext’n # 201).
In response to the rapidly evolving progression of COVID-19 in Canada, all weekday and weekend masses are cancelled until further notice.
Some Medical Officers of Health across the region are banning gatherings of 250 people or more. In light of this and the continuing concern for the health and safety of our parishioners, Bishop Fabbro announced at 2:30 p.m. today that all Masses shall be cancelled for this weekend. We will continue to monitor the situation and consult with public health officials to determine the course of action for next weekend and any subsequent weekend. For this weekend and as long as necessary, Bishop Fabbro grants the faithful dispensation from their Sunday obligation. Churches should remain open for private prayer and Eucharistic Adoration. Daily Mass will continue during the week. All other directions given yesterday by Bishop Fabbro remain in effect at weekday Masses, with the additional direction to ensure proper “social distancing,” maintaining a 2 metre distance from others as a precaution. For more details, please see this link https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/mass-gatherings-risk-assesment.html
As many of you are aware, parish leadership is taking the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation seriously and is continuously monitoring Health Canada and Middlesex-London Health Unit for further updates on the progression of the virus in our country and local community. These updates allow parish leadership to thoughtfully discern the processes needed to protect our staff and parishioners.
Based on current information regarding COVID-19, Fr. Bob has decided to cancel all events with 50+ participants, except Mass, at the parish until further notice.
Starting next week, the following programs are cancelled:
The current Alpha session
No Greater Love Bible Study
Additional cancellations may follow in the next few weeks. We kindly request that if you or a loved one have recently travelled outside of the country and are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., cough and fever) to please stay home from Mass. Together, we can help prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Dear Holy Family Parishioners,
It’s likely you’ve recently had a conversation or heard news about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation here in London, across the country and around the world.
We wanted to check-in and provide an update about what this means for Holy Family Parish.
The health of our parishioners and staff is a top priority, and we’ve taken precautionary steps to lessen the currently low Canadian public risk associated with COVID-19.
- Enhancing our cleaning processes.
- Removing the holy water from the font in the nave to avoid cross contamination.
- Promoting everyday preventive behaviors with our Ministries and teams.
- Encouraging parishioners to stay at home if they are sick.
- Asking parishioners to nod their heads instead of shaking hands during the Sign of Peace.
- Adhering to risk-informed decision-making regarding Parish events as advised by the Government of Canada and the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) https://www.healthunit.com/news/novel-coronavirus . This means that some parish events may be postponed or cancelled. Parish leadership will inform group leaders a couple days in advance of an event cancellation.
We will continue to keep you up to date with any related changes at Holy Family Parish that may affect you. We encourage parishioners and staff to learn more using the information available through Government of Canada Public Health Services: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html.
We are a diverse parish and have loved ones all over the world, including places that are more widely affected than London and Canada. We commit to moving forward with thoughtful consideration given towards our communities, parishioners and staff.