To All Parishioners, Friends, Benefactors of St. Vitus: Coronavirus and Related Matters
Based upon the current guidelines of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), limit of 50 people in attendance (as of March 18, 2020 with further limitation to 10 people in most settings), guidelines and mandates from the Office of the Governor of the State of Ohio, and the Conference of (Roman) Catholic Bishops State of Ohio the following:
Effective March 16, 2020 there will not be any PUBLIC daily or weekend Masses/liturgies permitted until after Easter (April 12, 2020). This restriction may also be extended. If this date will be further extended you will be notified.
At St. Vitus ALL scheduled Mass intentions will continue as a PRIVATE MASS only. A priest will have the intention(s) as well as the Mass. The general public is not permitted to attend a private Mass. A bulletin with all Masses through Easter as well as Mass intention(s) AND a general letter from the pastor, Reverend Joseph P. Boznar, are being prepared and very soon will be mailed out to all registered parish households as well as placed on the parish website, www.saintvitus.org
Parish activities or events that have been postponed, suspended or rescheduled for a later date include the following:
- Palm Sunday dinner, APRIL 5, 2020. Suspended and to be rescheduled at a later date, more likely than not in fall 2020.
- St Vitus Catholic War Veterans Post 1655 and St Vitus Alumni joint Reverse Raffle for APRIL 14, 2020 has been rescheduled for JUNE 16, 2020 (TUESDAY). To still be held in Slovenian National Home, East 64th Street and St. Clair Avenue.
- Suspension of Mass at Slovene Home For The Aged. NOTE: The respective pastors of St. Vitus and St. Mary (Holmes Avenue) for many decades rotated weekends to have Mass each Saturday at SHFA.
- No visitors at or to St. Vitus Village excluding health care or related health care staff.
Note that the above rescheduled events are tentative with no new mandates communicated by the Office of the Governor of the State of Ohio or federal government.
The parish rectory will be open but not for visitation purposes. The weekly group activities such as AA, etc., are for now suspended until AFTER Easter (April 12, 2020).
We encourage parishioners, friends, and benefactors to continue to pray and also provide your temporal support these coming weeks, especially for Easter either through the USPS, drop-off in the rectory mail box (slot in the front door), etc. Your continued support is greatly appreciated.
We continue to practice good hygiene and other habits as recommended by the CDC: the monthly food bank today distributed 60+ food baskets with these guidelines followed. Thanks to Betty Svekric, Rudy Sterk, Don Kern, Joe Maxse, John V. Srsen and parish staff to meet this corporal work of mercy.
Regarding Roman Catholic parishes in the diocese of Cleveland the following:
Keeping churches open for personal devotion
Churches may remain open ONLY if parishes have taken necessary precautions to perform routine maintenance and have the necessary staff to sanitize all hard surfaces and hymnals in the church, the vestibules, doorknobs and bathrooms at the end of each day that the church is open. These precautions also apply to perpetual Eucharistic adoration chapels (a separate area in or outside a church). Additional suggestions include the following:
- Parishioners should make every effort to observe the highest standards of hygiene, mainly frequent washing of hands. You should NOT touch your face, using a tissue when wiping your nose and coughing into your sleeve while in church. NOTE: Inside of St. Vitus Church is weekly cleaned, including both the church as well as lower church hall, restrooms, etc.
- Items that are in common areas and are regularly touched should be removed.
- Hymnals or music books should be removed from the pews.
- All paper, including comment/registration cards should be removed from pews.
- CDC and other governmental regulations should be followed for cleaning prior to opening the church.
Spiritual communion and televised Masses
Televised or livestreamed online Mass provides a daily opportunity for the faithful to remain connected to the Eucharist during this difficult time. Starting on March 18, 2020, the Diocese of Cleveland will livestream a private Mass at 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. The Mass can be viewed on the diocesan website.
Priests were asked to share with the faithful all opportunities to experience the Mass by way of livestreaming, EWTN, or other opportunities to share in the liturgy online during the next few weeks. These livestreamed or recorded Masses are meant to be private celebrations without a congregation.
All parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland are asked to observe some temporary practical norms concerning the sacrament of baptism. At this time, baptisms are still possible based on pastoral urgency. However, in order to limit the potential spread of the virus to a vulnerable population, parishes may only celebrate small, private family baptisms. There are to be no “immersion” baptisms. Family members who are especially vulnerable are requested to stay home.
During this health crisis, every caution must be exercised using all options to contain the contagion. Therefore, confessions are limited to being in danger of death. The sacrament of reconciliation cannot be provided via technology. Parishioners should call their parish in the case of an emergency and danger of death.
All confirmation dates scheduled before Easter Sunday are postponed indefinitely and will be rescheduled once clearance is given. If the confirmation was to be celebrated by the pastor, it can be rescheduled at the parish.
Every effort should be made to reschedule weddings during this crisis — if possible. If a civil license is available, a wedding can be celebrated with immediate family members only, keeping in mind the maximum number persons in attendance according to government directives. NOTE: Cuyahoga County Probate Court effectively suspended issuance of marriage license, required to be obtained in person for a valid marriage in the state of Ohio until further notice.
If at all possible, it is recommended that a memorial Mass be scheduled at a time when the current restrictions are lifted. The Rite of Committal may be celebrated at the cemetery with immediate family members only, keeping in mind the call for social distancing. If a funeral Mass is celebrated, the attendees are limited to immediate family members only. Families are encouraged to make note in the published obituary that the funeral Mass and burial are private family-only events. Keep in mind the maximum number of persons in attendance according to government directives.
Remember to pray
Catholics have always joined together in prayer during times of crisis throughout the ages. We have ministered to the sick, attended to the dying and buried the dead. May this unprecedented time in our history be a time we remember who we are and whose we are – disciples of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. May we continue to demonstrate love of God and of our neighbor. In addition, may we remember to pray for everyone involved as we weather this storm.
Thank you for your patience, cooperation and understanding on these and related matters. Pray for one another.