March 16, 2020
Dear parishioners,

Please be assured that amid the COVID-19 news, we are acting in a way that best minimizes risk while continuing to meet the needs of the St. John's community (parishioners, school/RE families and employees). With that, we have some updates to share in an effort to be transparent and keep you informed.

We will deliver a daily update, in the late afternoon via eNews. If you know someone who does NOT get the eNews, you can either share this information with them, OR advise them to call the parish office to get on the eNews list by providing their email address.

All updates shared here will immediately be added to the website for your easy reference.
CAMPUS UPDATES
  • Our BAPTISMAL FONT and distribution stations of holy water will be emptied IMMEDIATELY to avoid contamination.
  • With St. John's School being closed, the school building is NOT permitted for meetings open to the public and no one outside of staff will be permitted in the building until further notice.
  • The parish office will remain open during normal business hours (8AM-4:30PM, M-F). Please use your discretion when coming in and make every attempt to comply with the social distancing recommendations put forth by the CDC. Parish staff are urged to work remotely if they can and accommodations are being made for them to do so.
  • After Mass morning gathering is highly discouraged at this time. The kitchen will be closed for contamination reasons as well.
EVENT UPDATES
For precautionary reasons, and with guidance from the CDC regarding social distancing and limiting gatherings of 10+ persons, the following determinations have been made about parish events occurring over the next week:

  • Boy Scouts: CANCELED
  • Working for Our Father (3/16): at 6:30PM-VIRTUAL; participants were emailed
  • Holy Family Prayer Group (3/17): as scheduled
  • TMIY(3/17): CANCELED
  • Pillowcase Dresses (3/18): CANCELED
  • 55+ Music Man (3/18): CANCELED (those involved will be contacted directly)
  • RE (3/18): RE sessions CANCELED
  • Confessions (3/18): as scheduled and anyone is welcome; confessions will be held in two sessions 4:45-6PM; and 6:30-8:30PM; this is an opportunity for individual confessions where people are staggered and stations will be spread apart; confessors should use prudence when deciding whether or not to attend-please do not attend if you feel ill or have cared for someone who is ill
  • Wine & Wisdom (3/19): CANCELED
  • Stations of the Cross & Benediction (3/20): CANCELED
  • Communion Prayer Service (3/21): CANCELED

**Commission, council, and other meetings are not operating onsite and are up to discretion of the leaders/liaisons whether to hold these elsewhere or virtually. Journey of Faith and Friday Faith Study are CANCELED. All liturgies will continue as planned BUT will be assessed daily with direction from the Archdiocese and the CDC.

Please continue to practice good personal hygiene and promote that practice in the workplace and at church. And please continue to pray for all those currently impacted by this virus and those who are working so hard to contain and find treatments. 

Disclaimer: events that remain scheduled for now are conditional upon further instructions/guidance.
HOMEBOUND MINISTRY
As a Catholic community, we take seriously our responsibility to care for the physical and spiritual needs of every member in our parish. This commitment has caused us to consider very carefully how we might best serve our members during this time of state and national emergency related to COVID-19. 

Following guidance from the Center for Disease Control and other health experts across the state and country, we are announcing that effective immediately St. John the Baptist Catholic Church will  suspend all homebound visits (including bringing Eucharist) and BeFriender visits until further notice with the exception of  those who are actively dying. They can and always will receive the last Sacraments . Please contact the parish office or use our after hours number if last Sacraments are needed. Those dedicated members of our Homebound Eucharistic and BeFriender ministries will communicate to those they serve that their visits are suspended. They will also communicate to those they serve when services resume.  Although this may feel like we are abandoning those in need we are in fact showing them mercy by not exposing those at high risk to potential infection.  

We know these are challenging times. The best thing that we as Catholics (who are a communal people) can do to care well for others right now is to heed the advice of experts and be diligent about physically distancing ourselves from others for the time being. We are working on gathering resources for those who may need additional support during this time so please reach out to me if you or others you know are experiencing hardship - - especially in basic necessities (such as food), as we may be able to assist. We are actively learning from many states in the region, along with other Catholic dioceses in the United States, so please check the parish website for the most up to date information as plans continue to evolve with updated guidelines.

Please be assured of our continued prayers and pledge of support for each of our families. Let us continue to pray for each other and all those affected by COVID-19.
A DAY OF FASTING
Don't forget to join together as Archbishop Hebda has asked on Wed., March 18 in a day of fasting. Here is what he asked:

"First, as was done in Rome, I am asking you to join me in a special day of fasting, abstinence, and prayer invoking God’s help in these challenging days for our Archdiocese, our country and the world. This day will occur next Wednesday, March 18, 2020 , between the Feast of St. Patrick (March 17) and the Solemnity of St. Joseph (March 19). On that day, I invite Catholics who are ordinarily bound to observe fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday to prayerfully make this same sacrifice next Wednesday."
COMING SOON
We are working to collect a variety of resources that we can offer to our parishioners. These resources may be ways to give, where to give, how to give, when to give, things to do inside, family activities, podcasts we recommend and more. Stay tuned!