Greetings, everyone. I’m Father Don Oleksiak, the administrator of the Diocese of Cleveland.
I think it is deeply fitting that we resume the celebration of public Mass on the great solemnity of Pentecost because Pentecost is really a celebration of the birth of our Church. It is a great day in the Church’s life – a celebration of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church and to each one of us. And as we come together after all these weeks distanced from each other to celebrate the birth of the Church, we also celebrate a “rebirth” of sorts of our faith communities as many of our parishes reopen for public Mass this weekend. Thank you for your patience, understanding, prayers and cooperation during these very difficult days.
When you return to weekend Masses, some things will be different. For example, everyone is being asked to wear a face mask. You might not be able to sit in your favorite pew because some pews may be closed to ensure safe distancing and there may new instructions for the reception of holy Communion. Some parishes have decided to take a little more time and not reopen this weekend. Please check your parish website, parish bulletin or call your parish for the latest information. And most importantly, please use good sense and stay home if you are high risk, elderly or not feeling well. The requirement to attend Sunday Mass remains lifted for the foreseeable future. To reiterate: At this time, there is no requirement to attend Sunday Mass.
We know this has been a difficult time for everyone, especially for those who may have lost their job as a result of the pandemic. I would like to remind parish families that the diocese has set up an emergency fund for parishes to address the immediate needs of families and individuals in their parish communities hurt by the virus pandemic. If you need help paying a bill or making ends meet, call your pastor for information on getting assistance.
My friends, this Sunday the Church celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth. The Holy Spirit, the Advocate, provides us with grace and gives us the strength to endure and persevere, and to live holy lives in the face of any adversity. During these challenging times, it is God’s Holy Spirit who will help us turn panic into peace and fear into faith.
Thank you for your patience and kindness, and for caring for one another.
God bless you.