Letters from Bishop Brennan and the Bishops of Ohio

Submitted by cooladmin — Tue, 04/28/2020 - 7:46 PM — Last Updated: Tue, 04/28/2020 - 7:55 PM

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April 28, 2020


Letter to the Faithful from Bishop Brennan

The Lord is Risen – Happy Easter!

The Ohio Bishops met yesterday.  After consultation and a close examination of the facts determined that while it is not yet possible to begin the public celebration of Mass, we are looking at a target date of May 30/31 – Pentecost Sunday hopefully to resume our celebrations.  Each of us continues to dispense all Catholics from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and I also dispense from the canonical obligation of Easter Duty.  During his press conference yesterday, Governor DeWine indicated that through increased and widespread testing and other means, much knowledge will emerge to allow for safer conditions for the assemblies of people.  In the meantime we will begin the gradual process in various ways.  

This week many of our priests will begin setting aside dedicated time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a wide basis by appointment and in places deemed to provide for safety and hygiene.  These locations will include spaces free of the need to touch surfaces such as doors or furniture, providing appropriate social distancing and privacy and limiting the number of people gathered at any one time to a bare minimum.  The locations and contact numbers for appointments will be posted on our Diocesan Website (https://columbuscatholic.org ) beginning Wednesday, April 29 so that appointments for confessions may be scheduled, and hearing confessions can begin Friday, May 1.  We will be working to make it possible in at least some of our churches for people to visit and pray during certain hours in the coming weeks.  Again, care for the continued health and safety of those who visit is paramount.   

The process of preparing for Mass will encompass many considerations.  We will work to be ensure that the Churches are clean and safe.  We are working to have plans in place to manage seating and movement, allowing for safe social distancing; this may perhaps limit the number of people in the Church or any other spaces at any given time.  We will follow the guidelines for assemblies regarding face-coverings and other protective measures.  It may be necessary to adjust schedules to allow for priests to help each other beyond parish boundaries.  In recent weeks there has been a task force looking at the many opportunities for evangelization here in the diocese.  Their work will turn to provide recommendations on how we as a diocese and as parishes use this time for pastoral and interior preparation. 

Looking ahead with hope and anticipation I ask your prayers.  Looking back, I can only do so with deep gratitude for your continued goodness, your sacrifices, your patience and understanding.  I am convinced that the measures we have taken together with the rest of our community have made a significant difference.  Let’s pray for those who have suffered deeply, especially those who have died and those who mourn.  And let’s never forget the sacrifices and hard work that so many people heroically make for us and our well-being. 

In the peace of our Risen Lord,

+Bishop Brennan


April 28, 2020

Catholic Bishops of Ohio Extend Suspension of All Publicly Celebrated Masses/Liturgies Through May 29, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Yesterday, 27 April 2020, Governor Mike DeWine presented a strategy to begin a multi-phased plan, even while the executive “Stay at Home Order” remains in place. His plan begins a process for Ohioans gradually to return to work and daily activity and provides hope and evidence that our cooperation with the governor’s orders has significantly curbed the spread of the virus.  We thank you for and admire the patience, cooperation and understanding you have already shown during this COVID-19 pandemic.  We realize the frustration, sadness, and loss the faithful felt not to be able to gather personally to celebrate the Paschal Mysteries during the Sacred Triduum and each Sunday.  During this time of sacrifice and longing, we have joined our prayers and hearts to yours, trusting that God will see us through this pandemic and reunite us at the Eucharistic Feast.  Out of deep concern for the common good as well as the physical and spiritual well-being of all the people of Ohio, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio have agreed once again to cooperate with the governor, and to support and abide by the multi-phased approach to returning to work and eventual public gathering in large groups. 
 
To that end, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio extend the temporary suspension of all publicly celebrated Masses/liturgies ending on May 29 th , with the hope of publicly celebrating together the Solemnity of Pentecost on the weekend of May 30/31. Each of the bishops of Ohio, once again, dispense the Catholic faithful who reside in their respective dioceses and all other Catholics currently in their territories from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass during this time.  We ask for the cooperation and adherence of all the faithful to the governor’s directives during this period. 
 
We will be working diligently with our pastoral teams to consider reasonable, gradual and responsible initiatives for welcoming back the faithful in time to Sunday Mass, initiatives which will renew our love for the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and which will help us to restore Catholic life and invite others to share that life after the pandemic. We encourage individual dioceses and their respective pastors and parishioners to begin to work to establish plans which respect social distancing and other requirements for the safety of our people.
 
This decision has not been taken lightly and, as your bishops, together with you, we recognize the sacrifice we are called to make being physically distanced from the Holy Eucharist and from one another.  We remain grateful for your understanding and prayerful support. As your bishops we continue to encourage you to keep holy the Lord’s Day by participating in Sunday Mass by way of radio broadcast or televised or livestreamed options and making a spiritual communion.  Keeping in mind of the gift of plenary indulgences offered to us by the Church, we encourage all the faithful to turn to the Church’s treasury of prayer, praying as a family or individually the Liturgy of the Hours, rosary, divine mercy chaplet, and Stations of the Cross, etc.
 
Together we continue to pray for all who are suffering from Covid19, for all health care workers and first responders, for all the deceased and their families, and for an easing of the anxiety and tension caused by this pandemic.  Relying on the Motherly care of Our Lady, Health of the Sick, we unite our sufferings to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and we trust in the glorious hope of His Resurrection.
 
Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati
 
Most Rev. Joseph R. Binzer
Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati
 
Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan
Bishop of Columbus
 
Most Rev. Jeffrey M. Monforton
Bishop of Steubenville
 
Most Rev. George V. Murry, S.J.
Bishop of Youngstown
 
Rev. Donald P. Oleksiak
Diocesan Administrator of Cleveland
 
Most Rev. Daniel E. Thomas
Bishop of Toledo
 
Most Rev. J. Michael Botean
Romanian Eparchy of Canton
 
Most Rev. Bohdan J. Danylo
Ukrainian Eparchy of St. Josaphat
 
Most Rev. Milan Lach, SJ
Byzantine Eparchy of Parma

Event Date: 
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 7:40 PM
Church Location: 
External