Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saints Peter & Paul Parish:
The following are appropriate excerpts for your information, from a Letter received this evening, March 17, 2020, from our Cardinal Tobin, to our Archdiocesan Bishops, Priests, and Deacons:
“Our Eucharistic fast continues, and we pray for its quick end. Please be assured of my continued prayers for you and for the communities we serve. During this challenging time in the life and mission of the Archdiocese of Newark, I ask for your cooperation and leadership as together we mobilize the resources and support needed to care for the faithful. Please continue to visit our COVID-19 resources page at https://www.rcan.org/covid19 for the most up-to-date information.
I write with updated guidance for conducting your ministry considering the rapidly changing landscape of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which the Archdiocesan Coronavirus Task Force carefully assesses each day. The Task Force is comprised of clergy, religious, lay leaders, and medical professionals and partners with state and local officials to determine the most appropriate course of action in maintaining safe and healthy environments. The justification for these decisions is a deep concern for the well-being of the faithful and wider community, especially those most at risk of serious illness or death.
Protective Quarantine and Isolation
Please visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for a comprehensive guide to isolation and quarantine protocols along with resources and additional information at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. ...
Beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and until further notice, public celebration of both Sunday Mass and daily Mass is suspended. This decision comes after exhaustive discussion and with an especially heavy heart. It is crucial that you comply with this directive to protect the faithful as well as you own health. Public celebration of the Sacraments and other public forms of worship are suspended until further notice. This includes, but is not limited to, previously scheduled Confirmations, celebrations of First Communion, penitential services, Communion services, and Liturgies of the Word. The following exceptions are permitted:
- Funerals, burial services, and previously scheduled weddings are permitted, however, attendance must be limited to a maximum of 10 participants, including the celebrant. The celebrant should consider carefully with the next of kin or wedding couple who will attend. Celebrants should also remind families that the same limitations are being applied across all relevant Archdiocesan institutions, including Catholic cemeteries.
- The Anointing of the Sick and Reconciliation will remain available, as needed. The celebrant should take every prudent precaution where indicated, such as use of gown, masks, and gloves. ...
Parishes are encouraged to expose the Blessed Sacrament for the faithful. Clergy should continue to remind the faithful to maintain a prudent distance from one another.
...You are reminded
- Holy water should be removed from all fonts
- Churches are to remain open for individual prayer, however, the faithful should be encouraged to maintain a prudent distance from one another
- Any physical contact (e.g., shaking hands) must be avoided.
Schools and other youth ministries
The State of New Jersey has mandated that all schools, including public, private, and parochial, will remain closed until it is deemed safe for students to return. All Catechetical education and events sponsored by the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) are suspended and will resume with the reopening of schools as directed by the State of NJ.
Chancery and parish operations
The Chancery is closed to all employees beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, until further notice. Regular updates will be provided. Our staff will be working remotely and can provide seamless support to you and the communities we serve. ...
I strongly advise that parishes suspend all office activity for a period of at least two weeks. Pastors may consult local officials to determine the most appropriate course of action. Parish employees who provide essential services are permitted to carry out their duties according to the determination of the Pastor. ... .
Sincerely yours in Christ the Redeemer,
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R.
Archbishop of Newark”
As was already communicated, the Parish Office will be operating in an extremely limited capacity and staff, designed only to support emergency response, facilities maintenance, urgent updates, and the provision of our live-streamed private Sunday Mass without a Congregation, for as long as we are able. During this unprecedented time of crisis, your primary method of communication should be via telephone or email.
Thanks for your understanding and support.
Again, let us continue to pray for all affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and a quick and complete end to it.
God Bless you,