Using technology to stay connected to the faithful during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Ronald Gainer will celebrate the Diocese’s first ever digital Holy Week and Easter. The difficult decision to extend the suspension of Masses through Easter was made after careful consideration of the decree (In time of Covid-19 (II)) issued by Pope Francis, and in following the recommendations of state and local governments and, most especially, out of continued concern for the health and wellbeing of the faithful.
“Our Diocese, our nation and our world are experiencing the unthinkable with the coronavirus. With this global pandemic in mind, the Holy See, Pope Francis, has decreed that all Holy Week and Easter Masses will be celebrated, but that countries impacted by coronavirus and in cases where restrictions regarding the assembly and movement of people are in place, the bishop and priests may celebrate without the presence of the faithful.
“With the restrictions and recommendations from our state government, and in consideration of the highly contagious nature of this virus, it would be irresponsible of me to open our parishes while still in the midst of this pandemic,” said Bishop Gainer. “Please know the impact of this decision is not lost on me. I too am deeply hurting by not being able to gather with the faithful for the celebration of Mass. Although we cannot come together for public Masses during this holiest time of year, our priests will celebrate Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Masses. Many of our parishes are live streaming these Masses and I encourage the faithful to participate in Mass through these online means.”
The digital Holy Week and Easter Masses will be celebrated with the faithful, who are asked to join remotely. All live streams of Holy Week and Easter Masses will be recorded and available for view after the scheduled Mass.
As of press time, the digital Holy Week and Easter celebration includes the following celebrated by Bishop Gainer. Visit https://www.hbgdiocese.org/digital-holy-week/ for streaming information.
- Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord – April 5 at 9:30 a.m.
- Thursday of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday) – April 9 at 5:30 p.m.
- Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday) – April 10 at noon
- Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord – April 12 at 9:30 a.m.
Parishioners should be receiving Holy Week and Easter liturgical guides from their parishes, so they may following along with the Masses from home. The Diocesan website also includes a number of additional resources for the faithful, including information on making a Spiritual Communion and a listing of more than 20 parishes live streaming Masses, the Stations of the Cross and other prayer services and devotions.
In addition, the faithful are encouraged to continue to financially support their parish during these times. The parishes work hard to be financially sound during typical times, but many do not have the deep cash-reserves needed to absorb the economic impacts of the once-in-a lifetime event of COVID-19. Without your support, your parish will struggle to continue its most basic functions and may be unable to continue its charitable works in your community.
Gifts can be made by mailing your check to your parish office, using your Parish’s online giving system or through using the Diocesan online system at https://www.hbgdiocese.org/parishgive. Please note that all gifts made to parishes using this system will be credited to the parish. No funds will be kept for the Diocese.
For additional information on the Diocesan response to the COVID-19 situation and additional resources, please visit www.hbgdiocese.org/coronavirus.