Resources for Caring for Our Spiritual and Sacramental Lives While Public Gatherings Are Suspended
ENCOUNTER GOD’S MERCY
Read these powerful words from our Holy Father, Pope Francis
“What If Cannot Leave Home…” The Holy Father recognized that before Easter, many faithful go to Confession to meet with God again. “However,” he acknowledged, “many will say to me today: ‘But, Father, where can I find a priest, a confessor, because one can’t leave home? And I want to make peace with the Lord, I want Him to embrace me, that my Papa embrace me . . . What can I do if I can’t find priests?’”
“Do what the Catechism says,” the Jesuit Pope stressed, “it’s very clear: if you don’t find a priest to hear your Confession, talk with God, He is your Father, and tell Him the truth: ‘Lord, I’ve done this, and that, and that . . . I’m sorry,’ and ask Him for forgiveness with all your heart, with the Act of Contrition and promise Him: ‘Afterwards I will go to Confession, but forgive me now.’”
“If you do all this,” Francis said, “you will return to God’s grace immediately. As the Catechism teaches,” he reminded, “you yourself can approach God’s forgiveness without having a priest at hand. Think: ‘it’s the moment!’ And this is the right moment, the opportune moment. An Act of Contrition well made,” Francis said, “will make our soul become white as snow.”
– Pope Francis, Daily Mass Homily, Friday of the Third Week in Lent,” 20 March 2020
Examine your conscience
There are many resources available: apps, websites, etc. Click here for a variety of examinations of conscience:http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and sacramentals/penance/examinations-of-conscience.cfm
Ask God for his mercy
With true sorrow for your sins out of love for God (perfect contrition) and with the resolve to confess them as soon as possible, make a good act of contrition.
Sample prayers can be found here: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/prayers/act-of-contrition.html
Obtain a Plenary Indulgence
An indulgence is yet another way that God extends his mercy to us. It is a sign that God’s mercy is stronger than our sin. More specifically, an indulgence is “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1471).
Therefore, the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See has granted that the following may obtain a Plenary Indulgence, that is, full remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, when they do the following along with the usual conditions for obtaining an indulgence (i.e., sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion, and prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions) as soon as possible:
- The faithful suffering from the Coronavirus, subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they: (a) unite themselves spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, (b) recite the Holy Rosary, (c) engage in the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or some other form of devotion, or, at least, recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and
- “Health care workers, family members, and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer. “No man has greater love than this: to give his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).”
- “Those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic Adoration, or the reading of Sacred Scripture for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and the eternal salvation of those whom the Lord has called to ”
- “The Church prays for those who are unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one of them to Divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, 12).”
– Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary, On the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic situation, 20 March 2020
Reflect on the presence of God and on Spiritual Communion:
For Catholics, the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life. … For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1324). This teaching has received particular emphasis since the Second Vatican Council which proclaimed “that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations” (Sacrosanctum Concilium no. 14). For Catholics, Jesus is really present in the bread and wine of the Mass which becomes His body and blood.
What, then, are Catholics to do at a time when Churches are closing their doors and streaming Mass online? How does one receive the real presence of Christ in these times?
First, it is important to remember that Catholics believe that Christ is really present in the Mass in four ways: one of them is in His body and blood. The other three ways are in the priest, in the readings when they are proclaimed (the Liturgy of the Word), and in the assembly of people who gather for worship (Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 7). So, when one gathers with family or friends to watch Mass on Youtube or other media, Christ is present in their gathering together (“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” [Matthew 18:20]). He is also present in the priest who appears before the altar and in the readings as we hear them. Yet, there remains the importance of receiving Christ in his body and blood. How is this possible when one cannot be present before the altar?
In absence of receiving the body and blood of Christ, the Church teaches that one may receive the real presence of Christ through what it calls “spiritual communion.” On this topic Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writes, “Even in cases where it is not possible to receive sacramental communion, participation at Mass remains necessary, important, meaningful and fruitful. In such circumstances it is beneficial to cultivate a desire for full union with Christ through the practice of spiritual communion” (Sacramentum Caritatis, No. 55). Consequently, one receives the grace of communion through a genuine and ardent desire to receive Christ in the body and the blood. Thus, St. Thomas Aquinas writes that “the effect of the sacrament can be secured by everyone if they receive it in desire, though not in reality” (Summa theologiae III, q. 80, a. 1). In this way, spiritual communion can be “extremely profitable … for this impresses upon us a deep love of the Lord” (Saint Teresa of Ávila, The Way of Perfection, Chapter 35). In so doing, it is an opportunity for the faithful to remind themselves of “the eucharistic form which their lives are meant to have” so as to continue living “in the awareness of the liberation brought by Christ and making our lives a constant self-offering to God” (Sacramentum Caritatis, No. 72). – Saint Joseph’s College, Maine
Reflect on the Word of God proclaimed
Before participating in the celebration of the Eucharist, take some time to meditate on the scripture readings that will be proclaimed. Visit http://usccb.org/ and click on the calendar of daily readings. Or, use the following free resources, which provide the daily readings, prayers, reflections, and more:
The Word Among Us: https://wau.org/meditations
Give us this Day: https://giveusthisday.org/Digital
Participate in the celebration of the Eucharist
Parishes around the diocese are streaming the celebration of Mass. Check your parish website/social media posts and join your local community.
Mass from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception with Bishop Lucia is livestreamed each day. Click here to join in this celebration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmmi_XzzKVE
Receive the presence of Christ through Spiritual Communion:
As you gather to watch Mass during this challenging time, remember that Christ is really present among you and that the grace of the sacrament is available to you through a genuine desire to receive it. After praying the Our Father, you can also pray the following together:
Jesus, we believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
We love You above all things,
and we desire to receive You into our souls.
Since we cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into our hearts.
We embrace You as if You were already there and unite ourselves wholly to You.
Never permit us to be separated from You.
Join in praying the Liturgy of the Hours
The Liturgy of the Hours or the Divine Office is the public prayer of the Church. Learn more about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5doP7gchgo and
Use the “ibreviary” to pray: http://www.ibreviary.com/m2/breviario.php
Attend lectures on topics of faith by the Thomistic Institute
The “lectures” are theological conversations. They can be accessed here:
Watch a Catholic movie, attend a Bible study, dive deeper into the sacraments, etc. with FORMED
“The digital age demands that we go beyond the brick and mortar approach to reaching souls for Christ. As Pope Saint John Paul II proclaimed, we must expand the “ardor, methods and expression” to effectively spread the Truth of the Gospel. FORMED is your single source for Bible studies, sacramental prep materials, documentaries, and more. Leading Catholic experts help your parishioners grow in their faith and lead them closer to Christ through the Sacraments and the Gospel.”
A free 40-day subscription to multiple resources through FORMED is available here: https://formed.org/faithathome
Engage in family activities centered around faith
Suggested activities for Holy Week and more can be found here: https://wau.org/resources/article/try_this_for_lent/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=PattyEma il&utm_campaign=covid19
Resource prepared by the Diocese of Syracuse Office of Liturgy
Please know that we are streaming daily Mass from St. Thomas Aquinas Monday-Saturday at 10 am.
Sunday Mass will be at the usual time of 11:30am.
Stations of the Cross will be streamed at 11am on Fridays.
All live stream services will be posted for later viewing as well.
or go to: YouTube.com & search St. Thomas Aquinas Binghamton
Please know that while the Divine Mercy 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at St. Patrick’ is temporarily closed we will provide limited Eucharistic Adoration in the Church at St. Patrick’s .
Currently we are offering:
3pm-6pm Monday – Friday & 1
1am – 1pm Saturday and Sunday.
Confession schedule remains:
Saturday’s 11:30 am at St. Patrick’s & 3pm at St. Thomas Aquinas
Please be mindful that as things develop, things change.
Your understanding is a blessing. Thank you & God bless.
Please be informed that the regular weekly Sacrament of Reconciliation schedule remains in effect- Saturday’s 11:30am at St. Patrick’s and 3:00pm at St. Thomas Aquinas;
March 20, 2020
Dear Brother Priests, Deacons, and all members of the faithful who are part of our Diocesan Family ,
Peace be with you! This is my second letter to you during this time of national and worldwide emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic. First, allow me to extend to you the powerful words that Jesus spoke to his disciples when they were in the midst of a storm on the water, being tossed about in a boat by the wind and the waves: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (Matt 14: 27). We are, indeed, in turbulent times, being tossed about by the waves of this pandemic. We are hindered, but not prevented, in our ability to be nourished and to respond spiritually. Nevertheless, we should not be afraid. The Lord is with us.
Second, allow me to provide you with the following updates:
Today, the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See has granted the following special indulgences to the faithful. Remember that an indulgence is yet another way that God extends his mercy to us. It is a sign that God’ s mercy is stronger than our sin. More specifically, an indulgence is “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption , dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1471).
The following may obtain a Plenary Indulgence , that is, full remission of the temporal punishment due to sin:
“To the faithful suffering from the Coronavirus, subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin , they unite themselves spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, to the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession , Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s in tentions), as soon as possible.”
“Health care workers, family members, and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer. “No man has greater love than this: to give his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).”
“Those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament , or Eucharistic Adoration, or the reading of Sacred Scripture for at least half an hour , or the recitation of the Holy Rosary , or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and the eternal salvation of those whom the Lord has called to Himself.”
“The Church prays for those who are unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and the Viaticum , entrusting each and every one of them to Divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, n.12). ”
– Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary, On the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic situation, 20 March 2020
Today, the Holy Father has also reminded Bishops that individual confession is the ordinary way of celebrating the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation . Nevertheless, “Where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolu tion, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above all things , expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the penitent is at present able to express) and accompanied by votum confessionis, that is, by the firm resolution to have recourse , as soon as possible , to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 145 2).”
However , in certain situations the sudden need may arise to impart sacramental absolution in a general manner to several faithful gathered together, for example, at the entrance of a hospital or nursing home where those infected are in danger of death. The diocese is monitoring this situation closely and will act according ly, designating certain priests to attend to these and other similar situations. However, the conditions are not present for general absolution of the faithful outside of these certain situations who unfortunately cannot go to confession at this time. If the situation changes , you will be informed as soon as possible. Please keep in mind that necessary precautions will need to be put into place so that priests and penitents can gather safely. Likew is e, necessary instruction will accompany this permission, in particular, that the faithful must be properly disposed (have contrition for their sins) and intend to confess all serious sins individually after the pandemic ends and the situation returns to normal (c. 962).
– Note from the Apostolic Penitentiary, On the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the current pandemic situation, 20 March 2020
Effectively immediately, all Catholics entrusted to my care as well as those who are within the territory of the Diocese of Syracuse are hereby dispensed from the obligation of abstaining from meat on Good Friday as well as on the remaining Fridays during Lent. The purpose of this dispensation is to assist those for whom the practice of abstinence is difficult at this time, for example, because of the current shopping situation. However, those who can abstain from meat are encouraged to do so. Additionally, the law of fasting on Good Friday remains for Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59. It is important that the remaining days of Lent continue to be days of penance and prayer.
At the present moment, all public gatherings for Mass, prayer, Faith Formation and certain parish activities remain cancelled and the faithful remain dispensed from the obligation to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays. In light of what is known about Covid-19 and its duration, the following provisions for Holy Week and Easter must now also be made:
The Light is On campaign is cancelled. General Absolution is not permitted. All public liturgical celebrations and gatherings, specifically, Palm Sunday, The Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday are cancelled. They are to be celebrated by priests in private. Further guidance will be provided in the days ahead by the Office of Liturgy.
Regarding the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the elect are dispensed from two of the scrutinies and the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation may take place outside of the Easter Vigil, namely, on any Sunday up to and including the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (R.CI.A. no. 34, 2). Further guidance will be provided in the days ahead by the Office of Liturgy and the R.C.I.A.
Celebrations of First Holy Communion and Confirmation are postponed. Further guidance concerning when and how the celebration of these sacraments can take place as well as what is required to prepare those receiving them will be provided in the days ahead by the Offices of Catechesis and Liturgy.
Churches and parish facilities (food pantries, offices, etc.) may remain open with limited personnel following the guidelines of the local government and the Center for Disease Control.
Finally, I am doing everything possible to continue to attend to your spiritual needs. Please stay tuned for media-based opportunities for prayer, reflection, etc. Please also read the diocesan updates that will be available each day at 4:00 PM and continue to visit our website and consult the resources that are posted there, particularly the Frequently Asked Questions. Be assured of my continued prayers and support as we weather this storm together, with our eyes fixed on the Lord, waiting for his mercy. May the intercession of our Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, and all the saints, especially, our own Saint Marianne Cope, bring healing, comfort, strength, and a swift end to this pandemic.
In the Name of Jesus,
Douglas J. Lucia, Bishop Diocese of Syracuse.
The Stations of the Cross is a popular Lenten Devotion that prayerfully recounts the Passion of Christ on Good Friday.
Given restrictions on public gatherings due to current events, we are unable to offer communal stations of the cross.
All are encouraged to take the opportunity for private devotion and reflection on the fourteen stations as a beautiful way to continue your lenten journey and deepen discovery of God’s love for you and all of mankind.
We are also working to stream Stations of the Cross on YouTube.com search St. Thomas Aquinas. This will be availbale starting Friday, March 20th.
“We adore You O Christ and we praise you!
Becaue by Your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!”
Fish Dinners: Fridays of Lent except Good Friday
St. Patrick’s Parish Hall
Come support a good cause while enjoying a delicious Lenten Dinner!
Please note that due to current events we will make the delicious dinners available via take out, we are suspending dine in until further notice.
Take Out — Begins at 3:00pm and goes until 6:30pm
Adults: $10 | Children: $5
Children under 5: Free
Dinners include: Fish, coleslaw, macaroni & cheese, dessert, beverage.
Perogies: $1/ea. | Clam chowder $2/cup
Outreach Ministries. Outreach Ministries support the Showers of Hope and distributes soup, sandwiches, socks, gloves, and other items to those in need.
Save the dates!
Sr. Briege McKenna, OSC
will be here for a joint Parish Mission
April 19th – April 23rd 2020
All are welcome.
Further details to be determined
At St. Patrick’s Daily Mass will be offered Saturday mornings at 8 o’clock. This is in response to the lack of any Saturday morning mass in the Triple Cities. All are welcome to join us to worship our Lord in the Eucharist each Saturday.
Eucharistic Adoration is available 24/7 in the Divine Mercy Chapel at St. Patrick’s. A source of peace, joy, and calm. Come be still and let Him speak to you. “Can you attend one hour with Me, and I with you?” Please call St. Patrick’s office at 722-1060.
Grammar – St. Thomas Aquinas
JV – St. Thomas Aquinas
Varsity – St. Thomas Aquinas
Our hearty congratulations to all the coaches, players and their families as STA CYO sweeps the Championship! We extend our appreciation to our moderators for their time, dedication, and heart for the youth of our community. The coaches and monitors would like to thank Msgr. John Putano for all his support.
Whenever a family member is in any of the area hospitals or nursing homes and would like a visit by a staff member of St. Patrick’s or St. Thomas Aquinas, please be sure to call the office at (607) 722-1060 for St. Patrick’s and (607) 797-4015 for St. Thomas Aquinas and let us know where they are a patient.