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Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions from The Diocese

DIOCESE OF SYRACUSE

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC RESPONSE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE PRECAUTIONS IN PLACE, WHAT CAN BE DONE?
The mission of the Church continues! Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, should
also continue and even increase: (1) pray for those who are ill, their loved ones, those who care for
them, and all who are working tirelessly to respond to the coronavirus, (2) offer up whatever you
may have to go without, (3) do what you can to reach out to those who are in need and stay
connected to them.

PUBLIC GATHERINGS FOR MASS ARE SUSPENDED:
HOW CAN I STILL PARTICIPATE IN THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS?

Daily Mass will be live streamed at 12 Noon each day from the Cathedral of the Immaculate
Conception on www.youtube.com/syrdio. Sunday Mass airs each week; times located at syrdio.org.
Make a Spiritual Communion by praying: My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy
Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at
this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as
if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from
You. Amen.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRAYER MAY STILL TAKE PLACE?

Devotions that can be done privately at home or in churches, but not in public gatherings (e.g.,
viewing the celebration of Mass and making a Spiritual Communion, reciting the Rosary, meditating
on the Scriptures, saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, making the Stations of the Cross, adoring the
Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, etc.). For more, stay tuned for Resources for Caring for Our Spiritual and
Sacramental Lives When Public Gatherings Are Suspended.

CAN CHURCHES REMAIN OPEN?

Yes, for the private prayer and devotions of the faithful. A frequent thorough cleaning of the spaces
used is to take place.

WHO MAY ATTEND A PRIEST’S “PRIVATE MASS?

Priest celebrant, concelebrants, deacon, server, lector, parish staff, not to exceed the number of
people recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

WHAT ABOUT MASS INTENTIONS?

If the private Masses of priests do not fulfill all scheduled Mass intentions at the parish, they must
either be rescheduled for a later time or combined into a collective Mass intention. Priests may
celebrate one Mass for the intentions of several donors when: (1) the faithful knowingly and
voluntarily agree to have their intentions combined (i.e., call and ask them), (2) the date, time, and
place of the celebration is publicly announced (e.g. parish website), (3) such celebrations occur no
more than twice a week in any church, and (4) the celebrant retains only one offering (Congregation
for the Clergy, decree Mos iugiter, February 22, 1991: AAS 83 (1991) 443-446; English translation in
Origins 20/43 (April 4, 1991) 705-707).

WHAT ABOUT MASS OFFERINGS?

The faithful are encouraged – as they are able – to continue supporting their parishes financially by
dropping off or mailing their Sunday offering to the parish office, via online giving (if available), by
saving their contributions until the celebration of public Masses resumes.

MAY HOLY COMMUNION BE DISTRIBUTED TO THE FAITHFUL?

Only within the context of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well as visits to the
habitually homebound, sick, and dying. Not within the context of other devotions (e.g. Stations of
the Cross) or indiscriminately (e.g., at the door of the church, rectory, or parish office, in a parking
lot for the faithful to drive through and pick up, etc.). “Christ the Lord ‘is offered in the sacrifice of
the Mass when he becomes present sacramentally as the spiritual food of the faithful under the
appearance of bread and wine’” (Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, 2). “In
receiving the body and blood of Christ, the sick are united sacramentally to the Lord and are
reunited with the eucharistic community from which illness has separated them” (Pastoral Care of the
Sick, 51).

WHAT ABOUT R.C.I.A.?

Formation for the Elect may still take place provided that gatherings are small and social distancing
is observed. The public celebration of the Scrutinies is suspended and the elect are dispensed from
them at this time by Bishop Lucia. However, they may be celebrated privately either within Mass or
within the context of the Liturgy of the Word. Presentations may also take place privately.

WHAT ABOUT WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS?

They are permitted but only in the presence of the ministers of the liturgy and immediate
family/close friends, not to exceed the number of people recommended by the CDC.

WHAT ABOUT HOLY WEEK AND EASTER?

To be determined. Stay tuned.

PUBLIC GATHERINGS FOR PRAYER ARE SUSPENDED:
WHAT ABOUT BAPTISM?

They are permitted but only in the presence of immediate family. Fresh water is to be used and fonts
are to be cleaned before and after every Baptism.

HOW CAN THE FAITHFUL PRAY THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS AT CHURCH?

Privately, with the assistance of devotional materials that are available for individual use only. For
example, devotional booklets may not be reused by other individuals.

 

(1) Leave the church open and allow the faithful to enter and pray before the tabernacle.
(2) Expose the Blessed Sacrament in the church in the ciborium observing the proper norms (by
priest, deacon, acolyte, special minister of communion, member of a religious community or lay
association devoted to eucharistic adoration, using proper vestments, with two lighted candles, and
with at least one person present for the duration of Exposition) (HCWEOM, 82 and ff.).
(3) Expose the Blessed Sacrament in the church in the monstrance observing the proper norms (by
priest, deacon, acolyte, special minister of communion, member of a religious community or lay
association devoted to eucharistic adoration, using proper vestments, with four to six lighted
candles, and incense, and with at least one person present for the duration of Exposition)
(HCWEOM, 82 and ff.).
Note: Benediction is given only by a priest or deacon after a period of adoration, in the presence of
some faithful, and according to the Rite. Otherwise, the Eucharist is simply reposed.

PUBLIC GATHERINGS FOR FAITH FORMATION ARE SUSPENDED:
WHAT ABOUT OUR PROGRAMS?

Faith formation classes are cancelled in conjunction with the precautionary measures taken by local
school districts. Pastors and parish catechetical leaders should determine any alternatives (e.g.,
postponing class, sending materials/resources home, etc.) and communicate them to families. It is
strongly recommended that formation take place at home.

WHAT ABOUT FIRST COMMUNION?

As long as public Masses are cancelled, celebrations of First Holy Communion are not able to take
place. Pastors and catechetical leaders may decide to reschedule them for a later date or to allow children to receive their First Communion during regularly scheduled Masses when the public celebration of Mass resumes. Preparation may continue in other ways (e.g., remotely, at home).

WHAT ABOUT CONFIRMATION?

As long as public Masses are cancelled, celebrations of the Sacrament of Confirmation are not able
to take place. Options for rescheduling them will be available at a later time through Bishop Lucia’s
office. Preparation may continue in other ways (e.g., remotely, at home).

WHAT ABOUT MARRIAGE PREP?

Preparation may continue remotely or in ways that are consistent with the CDC’s guidelines for
public gatherings (e.g., a meeting between the individual parties and the priest and/or couple(s)
preparing them).

PUBLIC GATHERINGS FOR CERTAIN PARISH ACTIVITIES ARE SUSPENDED:
WHAT DO THOSE INCLUDE?

Any significant public gathering over the number of people recommended by the CDC. For
example, Lenten activities (e.g., parish missions, bible studies, soup suppers, Penance services),
funeral receptions, etc. Small meetings / gatherings are still permitted at this time. Pastors are to use
their discretion.

ARE LENTEN FISH FRIES PERMITTED?

Only those take-out options are permitted per the State’s closing of public restaurants.

WHAT ABOUT PARISH MINISTRIES?

Certain parish ministries may need to be suspended (e.g., second-hand stores). Others should
continue their outreach, but with necessary precautions in place and/or on a limited basis (e.g., food
pantries). Exercise caution (e.g., the vulnerable should not serve – over 60, underlying medical
conditions) and use creativity (e.g., delivery, pick-up, etc.).

WHAT ABOUT THE PUBLIC USE OF PARISH AND/OR SCHOOL BUILDINGS?

When deciding whether to permit or prohibit facility use, pastors, principals, etc. are to use
discretion and follow the guidelines of the CDC.

PRIESTS ARE ASKED TO REMAIN AVAILABLE FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE
SACRAMENTS:
WHICH SACRAMENTS?

Baptism, Penance and Reconciliation (individual confessions, not general absolution), bringing
Viaticum to the dying, pastoral visits to the sick and habitually homebound (using discretion),
Matrimony, funerals, Sacraments of Initiation in danger of death.

 

Those who are vulnerable to the Coronavirus – over 60, with chronic illness(es), and/or
autoimmune deficiencies.

CAN THEY VISIT HOSPITALS AND NURSING HOMES?

In many cases, no. Hospitals are currently not allowing priests who have not been properly fitted for
protective masks to visit under any circumstances. Provisions are being made for a priest to be
available / on-call to tend to the sick and dying at each hospital.

WHEN SHOULD I ASK THEM FOR ASSISTANCE?

Certainly, in emergency situations and in danger of death. Also, when in need of legitimate pastoral
care. Please be advised that due to the age and condition of many of the priests of the Diocese of
Syracuse, availability may be limited.

CAN THEY IMPART GENERAL ABSOLUTION?

No. The current conditions do not allow for the valid reception of general absolution (c. 961).

SHOULD THEY BRING VIATICUM TO THE DYING?

Yes- taking necessary precautions.

HOW ARE THEY TO DISPOSE OF INSTRUMENTS USED IN THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK?

Cotton swabs used to anoint the sick are to be burned (Pastoral Care of the Sick, 22).

NOTE: These questions and answers are not exhaustive and, therefore, will be updated
regularly. Also, when making decisions at the parish level, pastors and those who
collaborate in their ministry should use discretion, following the mandates or guidelines of
government authorities and the Diocese of Syracuse. Priests, deacons, and lay ministers are
encouraged to be creative in their pastoral efforts. 

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Mass Schedule & Directions

Weekend Mass Schedule

Saturday Vigil: 5:00pm

Sunday: 7:30am, 9:15am, 11:45am

1st & 3rd Sundays (Vietnamese): 4:00pm

Daily Mass Schedule

Monday - Friday: 6:45am

Morning Prayer

Monday - Friday: 7:15am

Reconciliation

Saturdays: 3:45-4:30pm

Holy Hour

1st Monday of the Month: 7:00pm

Holy Day Masses

Day of: 6:30am, 9:00am

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147 Main Street
Johnson City, NY 13790
(607) 729-6147
HOLY HOUR TUESDAY EVENING AT 7:00 IN CHURCH