We have some updates on precautions Bishop Walkoviak is taking within our diocese. In summary this includes the cancelation of Saturday evening and Sunday Masses. Church will remain open for private prayer during the normal Sunday (or Saturday evening) Mass times. Also we are canceling our Reconciliation service on Sunday at 3pm although Father will be available to hear the confessions of anyone then or at the normal times.
Daily Masses will take place according to our normal schedule.

The celebration of the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. We enshrine the divine law to give praise and worship to God on the Lord’s Day by the obligation to participate at Mass. We are, however, now in the midst of a pandemic which calls for extraordinary measures. Promotion of the common good is one of the pillars of Catholic social teaching and Catholic life.

New state guidelines and executive orders issued within the past 24 hours have prompted our new guidelines:
Gov. Whitmer has banned all large gatherings over 250 people until Sunday, April 5 at 5 p.m.
Gov. Whitmer has closed all K-12 schools beginning Monday, March 16 – Sunday, April 5.

Bishop Walkowiak issues the following directives for parishes and schools in the diocese, effective immediately, in harmony with these government guidelines:
Weekend Masses through Sunday, March 29 in the Diocese of Grand Rapids have been canceled. However, the Church’s life of prayer must continue:

Churches should remain open for private prayer during normal weekend Mass times and other times as normally scheduled.

Mass will continue to be livestreamed from the cathedral for those who wish to view it. It can be viewed on FOX 17, on the diocesan website andFacebook page.

Bishop Walkowiak will celebrate the 10 a.m. Mass at the cathedral on Sunday, March 15.
Catholics are encouraged to make a spiritual Communion, pray the rosary, or meditate on Sacred Scripture to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

Daily Masses, where less than 100 people are gathered, should continue in accord with the guidelines from March 11, 2020 in place.

Visits to the sick and homebound should continue. Normal cold/flu season guidelines should be followed.

Funeral Masses may be celebrated.

Confirmation Masses through Wednesday, April 1 have been canceled and will be rescheduled.

All Catholic Schools in the diocese are closed in accordance with the Governor’s order.

Faith Formation classes should be suspended until Monday, April 6 in accordance with the Governor’s order. Plans should be made to deliver religious instruction curriculum to families if possible.

Any event at a parish where more than 100 people are gathered in a single space indoors should be postponed or canceled until further notice.

Schools and parishes may consider drive thru or take-out options for fish fries where less than 100 people are gathered in a single space indoors.

Any event at a parish where less than 100 people are gathered in a single space indoors may continue at this time at the organizer’s/pastor’s discretion.

The March 26th evening of penance, “The Light is ON for You” should take place as scheduled. Any other communal penance services should be modified accordingly.

Meetings for the Our Shepherds – Our Future Capital Campaign will be postponed at this time. Updates will be communicated as we receive them.

If you are sick, please stay home.

These guidelines are in addition to those issued by Bishop Walkowiak on March 11 and March 12, 2020. These measures are intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Diocese of Grand Rapids will continue to be in consultation with the Kent County Health Department and other state and federal health officials. Further guidelines will be issued upon their recommendations.

As people of faith, let us pray for all affected by this virus, especially those who have died and for all health care workers who are working diligently to protect us in this time.

Additional factual information regarding COVID-19 may be found on the following websites:
Kent County Health Department (or your local health department website)
State of Michigan
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).