The Diocesan Memorandum (formerly the Clergy Memorandum) is a service of the Office of the Chancellor for clergy and lay leadership of the Diocese of Cleveland, providing a summary of relevant and timely information from the Office of the Bishop and other diocesan offices.
The following information regarding the diocesan response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is believed to be correct as of March 30, 2020. However, the situation continues to change rapidly and clergy and the lay faithful should consult the diocesan website at https://www.dioceseofcleveland.org/covid19 for the latest information.
Keeping Churches Open for Personal Devotion
Our churches may remain open only if the parish has taken necessary precautions to perform routine maintenance and have the necessary staff to sanitize all hard surfaces and hymnals in the church, the vestibules, doorknobs, and bathrooms at the end of each day that the church is open. (this applies to Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapels as well). The following are some additional suggestions to keep your church a safe place during this health crisis:
Spiritual Communion and Televised Masses
Livestreaming of Masses may not involve more than four people in the worship space, for example, a celebrant, deacon, cameraperson, and a minister. All present must maintain a minimum distance of six feet from one another at all times.
Regarding the recording, broadcasting or streaming of the Sacred Triduum in particular:
On Thursday, March 19, 2020, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued a Decree (Prot. N. 135/20) “In time of COVID-19”, and an update of March 25, regarding the celebration of the Paschal Triduum during the coronavirus pandemic.
If at at all possible, singing should not be absent at Triduum liturgies which are livestreamed. Melodies familiar to the people are recommended.
Priests may concelebrate Holy Week Masses where multiple priests live together in the rectory making certain that social distancing is maintained at all times.
The Solemn Entrance should not be done. Rather, follow the directives in no. 17, paragraph two, Third Form: The Simple Entrance for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion in the Roman Missal, third edition (pg. 283): “The Priest, as soon as he has arrived at the altar and venerated it, greets the [minister], reads [or sings] the Entrance Antiphon, and continues the Mass in the usual way.”
The Palm Sunday Passion of the Lord may be read chorally, with the priest at the chair or the altar and the minister elsewhere. Palms may be blessed either before or after the Mass. The blessed Palms may be made available to the faithful following the liturgy and over the next few days with the following guidelines:
The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has extended to all priests the exceptional faculty to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper without the people.
The Good Friday Passion of the Lord may be read chorally, with the priest at the chair or the altar and the minister elsewhere.
The Solemn Intercessions should be done by the celebrant and minister in alteration, with the addition an eleventh intercession approved by the diocesan administrator for the sick, dead, and those who feel lost or dismayed.
The Adoration of the Holy Cross should be done according to the First Form, no. 15, pg. 329.
Holy Communion is to be taken from the tabernacle and returned to the tabernacle.
In parishes which have followed the custom, the blessing of Easter food on Holy Saturday is canceled.
Preparation Rites for adults approaching Christian Initiation are to be postponed. Instructions will be forthcoming regarding rescheduling Christian Initiation in the local parish.
The preparation and lighting of the fire is to be omitted. The Paschal candle is lit, the procession is omitted, and the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) follows. While normally sung at the ambo, the Exsultet may be sung by the deacon from his chair (distanced from the priest’s chair) or by a cantor in another location. The Liturgy of the Word then takes place.
Christian Initiation is omitted. The Renewal of Baptismal Promises alone is necessary. The Liturgy of the Eucharist then follows.
Those who have no possibility of uniting themselves to the Paschal Vigil celebrated in a church should pray the Office for Readings for Easter Sunday.
The Renewal of Baptismal Promises should be omitted.
The Apostolic Penitentiary has issued a decree granting plenary indulgences to “the faithful suffering from the Covid-19 virus, commonly known as coronavirus, as well as to healthcare workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.”
All parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland are asked to observe some temporary practical norms concerning the Sacrament of Baptism. At this time, baptisms are still possible based on pastoral urgency. However, in order to limit the potential spread of the virus to a vulnerable population, you may only celebrate small, private family baptisms. There are to be no “immersion” baptisms. Use fresh water that has been blessed for the Baptism and immediately drain the water afterwards. Family members who are especially vulnerable are requested to stay home.
During Lent, the people of God seek the Lord’s mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Every consideration should be given to offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation to individuals who request it. To help minimize the risk of exposure, we ask for the following considerations to be utilized:
All confirmation dates scheduled before Easter Sunday are postponed indefinitely and will be re-scheduled once clearance is given. If the confirmation was to be presided at by the pastor, it can be re-scheduled at the parish. If it was to be celebrated by one of the bishops or by Abbott Hoover, you will need to reschedule it with Ann Marie Perkins in the Diocesan Offices.
Every effort should be made to reschedule weddings during this crisis if possible. If a civil license is available, a wedding can be celebrated with immediate family members only, keeping in mind the maximum number persons in attendance according to government directives.
If at all possible we recommended that you schedule a memorial Mass at a time when the current restrictions are lifted. The Rite of Committal may be celebrated at the cemetery with immediate family members only, keeping in mind the call for social distancing. If a funeral Mass is celebrated, the attendees are limited to immediate family members only. We encourage you to have the family make note in the published obituary that the funeral Mass and burial are private family only events. Please keep in mind the maximum number of persons in attendance according to government directives.
Ministering the Sacraments to a non-coronavirus patient:
Holy Communion to the Sick and Homebound
We urge you to use extreme caution, and only to do so when absolutely necessary (or based on pastoral urgency). If you are a high-risk priest or deacon, you are instructed to refrain from taking communion to the sick. All other clergy should use extreme caution to protect themselves from the contagion. Eucharistic Ministers are not permitted to take Holy Communion to the sick during this health crisis for their good and the good of their families.
If the visit is to someone’s home:
Anointing of the Sick
If the sacrament is celebrated in a health care facility, follow the protocols and protective guidelines of the facility
Ministering the Sacraments to a confirmed COVID-19 patient
Restrictions for who can fulfill this ministry:
Anointing of the Sick
Holy Communion to the Sick and Homebound – non-infected person:
If the visit is to someone’s home:
Regarding Religious Education, RCIA, and All Other Ministry Groups
Regarding Religious Education, RCIA, and All Other Ministry Groups and Parish Organizations. All classes, sessions and meetings are to be cancelled regardless of the number of attendees/participants.
Remember to Pray
Catholics have always joined together in prayer during times of crisis throughout the ages. We have ministered to the sick, attended to the dying and buried the dead. May this unprecedented time in our history be a time we remember who we are and whose we are. May we continue to love God and our neighbor. In addition, may we remember to pray for everyone involved as we weather the storm.
As Pope Francis reminds us, we should be reaching out to our communities and praying in solidarity with the Church around the world. He offered this prayer to Mary, mother of Jesus: O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm. You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need and we are sure you will provide so that, as in Cana of Galilee, we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial. Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father, and to do as we are told by Jesus, who has taken upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows to lead us, through the cross, to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
May 2020 Liturgical Calendar:
The May liturgical calendar is subject to change due to the coronavirus outbreak. Please realize the dates below may change, or the liturgies scheduled may be private, rather than public, celebrations. If you are unable to attend in person, please join us in prayer at those times.
Candidates for ordination to the permanent diaconate, transitional diaconate and priesthood have all been called to orders. The actual date of the ordinations are on hold due to the current health crisis.
In pastoral consideration of the needs of the faithful, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated in the Diocese of Cleveland on Sunday, May 24, 2020, not as a holyday of obligation on “Ascension Thursday.” Scriptures and Orations for all Vigil and Sunday Masses should celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, not the Seventh Sunday of Easter.
Confirmation is scheduled to be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. Please contact the Cathedral Rectory Office for registration information.
The Solemnity of Pentecost is celebrated on Sunday, May 31, 2020. Masses after 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 30th, celebrate the Vigil of Pentecost, either extended form or simple form. The extended form of the Pentecost Vigil resembles the Easter Vigil, in that four Scripture readings, psalms, and corresponding prayers are proclaimed prior to the singing of the Gloria. The Collect follows the Gloria, and the Epistle reading follows the Collect. After this, the extended Vigil Mass proceeds as the simple Pentecost Vigil. Masses on May 31st should celebrate the Pentecost Mass during the Day.
Christian initiations of adults which were postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak might be celebrated in the context of the Extended Pentecost Vigil. In that case, following the Pentecost Vigil homily, the ritual would proceed according to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults nos. 218-243. The Liturgy of the Eucharist would follow the sacraments of initiation as usual.
October 2020 Liturgical Calendar
The diocesan 50th Wedding Anniversary Mass will be celebrated Saturday, October 10th at 10:00 a.m. in the Cathedral. Pre-registration through the Marriage and Family Ministry Department of the Parish Life Secretariat is required.
Mass celebrating the Certification of Lay Ecclesial Ministers is scheduled for Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in the Cathedral. All are welcome.
The diocesan Silent Sorrow Mass for those suffering from Miscarriage and Neo-Natal Death will be celebrated Sunday, October 25th at 5:30 p.m. in the Cathedral. All are welcome.
The major phone and internet providers are all upgrading to 5G technology. While their negotiations with the FCC may have a great benefit for cell phone users, this technology will negatively impact frequencies which are used in many wireless microphones in churches, schools, and theatres. All this will become effective July 13, 2020. The FCC notes that this will especially impact those systems which operate on frequencies 617-652 and 663-698 (churches) and frequencies 617, 653-698 (schools). If you have questions on how to address this, please contact your local microphone technician. Click here for more information.
Helen D. Schubert Concerts Spring 2020 - All concert events are cancelled.
2020 Catholic Charities Annual Appeal
As we all confront the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, our thoughts and prayers are with all of you and your families. Please know that Catholic Charities is on the frontline continuing to deliver services to those most in need and those needs are growing every day. Donations and pledge payments can be made online. Thank you for your support and with God we will endure this crisis. Contact Karen Joyce, 216-696-6525 x1910 or Sarah Yantek at x1049, with questions or for additional information.
College Scholarships Available
Applications for the Andrew Gregory Rodgers and Pauline Rodgers College Scholarship Fund for students of Sacred Heart Chapel in Lorain are due 15 April. Applications for the Demkee Family Scholarship for students in Wayne and Summit County will be due 1 May. Applications and more information can be found here.
HEALTH CARE OPEN ENROLLMENT
All participating entities should have received a memo dated February 21 with the rate chart for the 2020/2021 plan year. Note that there are only changes to the PPO plan. If you wish to make any changes to your coverage, Health Care Plans - Enrollment/Change forms must be sent to the Health Benefits Office no later than May 15. Any changes will be effective July 1. Forms and information can be found here.
Contact the Employee Benefits Office, at (216) 696-6525, ext. 5040 or email with any questions.
Catholic Commission of Lake and Geauga 30th Annual Peace and Justice Dinner rescheduled
The Annual Peace and Justice Awards Dinner and Silent Auction has been rescheduled for September 18, 2020. If you would like more information, contact Kelly Ann Davis, 440-943-7612.
33rd Annual Pope St. John Paul II Proclaimer of Justice Gala Dinner & Awards
The annual Justice Gala Dinner and Awards for the Catholic Commission of Wayne, Ashland, & Medina is being rescheduled on a date to be announced. For more information, contact Dc. Paul Kipfstuhl, 330-703-7979
Catholic Charities of Summit County
Catholic Charities of Summit County’s 5th annual Derby for Dollars has been rescheduled to Friday, October 9. Father Leo Patalinghug and Catholic Charities’ Angelique Oatman will cook live on stage. Cleveland radio and TV icon Robin Swoboda is scheduled to be there as well. For more details and to purchase tickets, go to www.ccdocle.org/derby4dollars or call 440-843-5562.
Walking with Moms in Need
Join a nationwide effort from March 25, 2020 to March 25, 2021 entitled “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service.” There is a small diocesan committee beginning to work on this initiative. The USCCB has a webpage as well as a parish guide to assist you as you make plans in your parish. Please contact Peggy Gerovac, 216-334-2965 if you need any assistance. Please feel free to use logos and other graphics as you choose. This could be an opportunity for parishioners not already involved with Respect Life.
Resources for Divine Mercy Sunday (April 19)
Use this action guide to share Christ’s message of mercy and healing with those who have participated in abortion. Here are some homily considerations for priests and deacons. Remember our Diocesan Post Abortion Program is Project Rachel at 216-334-2966 or Peggy Gerovac.
Digital Grief Support
The Catholic Cemeteries Association has decided to cancel the April 19th, Sunday Grief Support meetings at all locations. We are still available for families in need and will continue our efforts to serve families before, during, and after the death of a loved one. We understand that as a grieving person, having a sound support network is critical to your health and well-being. We are currently working to provide grief support resources on our website and social media. Digital bereavement resources, which include our blog and podcasts, can be found by visiting the “Media” tab on our website. If you would like to request additional materials please email us or contact Rhonda at 216-930-4866.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Due to the current COVID 19 health crisis, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul May 2nd Kentucky Derby Party fundraiser has been postponed until further notice. Wishing you and your loved ones continued health during this challenging time.
First Friday Club of Cleveland.
The First Friday Club of Cleveland has cancelled the April 2 luncheon with the Very Reverend James Conroy, S.J.. The registration link for the April 2 event has been removed from the FFCC website. Payments for guests who have already registered have not been processed and will not be processed. FFCC will do their best to reschedule Reverend Conroy, S.J. for a later date. FFCC will continue to monitor the situation and will make decisions about subsequent luncheons when appropriate. In the meantime, FFCC welcomes your questions and encourage you to reach out to our administrator, Mary Sawyer, by phone-216-589-9852 or by email.
First Friday Club of Akron. The April 3, 2020 First Friday Club of Greater Akron has been canceled. We will try to see if we can reschedule Bob DiBiasio to speak during our 2021 season. If you have purchased tickets to this event you have three options: 1) Credit it for another luncheon; 2) A refund; or 3) Donate it to the First Friday Club.
For additional information, call 330-535-7668 or click here.
Jesuit Retreat Center Programs, 5629 State Road, Parma, Ohio 44134
Please click here for the latest news & updates on postponed or canceled events.
There are no flyers or Family Perspectives with the April 2020 Diocesan Memorandum.
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