Where We Are Today
As you all know, the coronavirus continues to move quickly throughout the world, and it is now verified to be present in Albemarle County. I have talked with our clergy as well as lay leaders in our parish about the very present danger this virus poses to our parish family at All Saints. I have two major concerns: (1) That we do all we can do to fulfill our mission as the Church of God, the Body of Christ, and (2) that we do all we can do to protect every member of our parish.
The guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health states that once the COVID-19 is detected in your community, gatherings of 50 people or more should be canceled. But such gatherings must exclude older people as well as people who have heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease. In addition, the people must maintain a distance of 6 feet from one another, as well as maintain personal hygiene by frequently washing hands and using hand sanitizer.
Because of the COVID-19 has been verified in our community, I am canceling all Sunday Services, as well as the weekday masses, for the next two weeks – Lent IV (March 22), Passion Sunday (March 29). Additionally, the women’s retreat and confirmations are canceled. We will re-evaluate this April 1. I hope that we can return to our regular worship services by Palm Sunday, but it is far from certain that we will be able to do so.
If any of you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill in any way, please let us know so that we can pray for you and your family as well as provide for your care. We are indeed all members one of another because we are all members of Christ Body.
Worship at Home
What may we do when we cannot receive Holy Communion? On BCP page 323, the rubric at the bottom of the page gives us direction: “But if a man, either by reason of sickness, or for want of warning in due time to the Minister, or by any other just impediment, do not receive the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood, the Minister shall instruct him, that if he do truly repent him of his sins, and steadfastly believe that Jesus Christ hath suffered death upon the Cross for him, and shed his Blood for his redemption, earnestly remembering the benefits he hath thereby, and giving him hearty thanks therefor, he doth eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Savior Christ profitably to his soul’s health, although he do not receive the Sacrament with his mouth.”
Please know then that when we are faced with an impediment to our gathering together such as we now face, by the grace of God we are not then deprived of the grace of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ our God.
We have spent time together in the past going over how to say Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer together as a family. Now is the time when that instruction is crucial. Though it is wonderful to say Morning or Evening Prayer together through the week, I want to encourage all of you to do so over the next two Sunday at 10 a.m. and be sure to include the collect at the top of page 45 of the BCP. Though we are not physically gathered together, we will, as the Body of Christ, as the parish of All Saints, be praying together before the Throne of God’s Grace. In addition to saying Morning Prayer from our homes over the next two Sundays, I am including below a Liturgy for Spiritual Communion to use as the end of Morning Prayer.
If any of you have questions or concerns you may certainly phone, email, or text me or Fr. Sean.
One last thing, if any of you who are quarantining are running out of daily necessities, such as groceries please let us know so we can get them delivered to you.
I will close with the collect I mentioned above:
“O Most mighty and merciful God, in this time of grievous sickness, we flee unto thee for succor. Deliver us, we beseech thee, from our peril; give strength and skill to all those who minister to the sick; prosper the means made use of for their cure; and grant that, perceiving how frail and uncertain our life is, we may apply our hearts unto that heavenly wisdom which leadeth to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
All Lenten Blessing,