All public Masses suspended until April 30th.
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The Coronavirus

Diocesan and Parish Efforts to Combat Its Spread

 

Directives from the Bishop on the Coronavirus

In response to the civil authorities and guidelines to protect ourselves from the spread of the coronavirus, Bishop Joseph Kopacz has issued a new list of directives which we are obligated to follow. 

IF YOU ARE SICK, PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOME. IF YOU ARE ELDERLY OR VULNERABLE, PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOME. YOU ARE DISPENSED FROM MASS OBLIGATIONS. IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF ANY SACRAMENTS, PLEASE CONTACT THE OFFICE VIA PHONE AT 601-636-0140 OR EMAIL AT PASTOR@STPAULVICKSBURG.ORG.

These directives are effective until further notice.  You can find the link posted on our website as it updates.  The link is https://jacksondiocese.org/public-health-concerns/  The following directives relate to our parish life at St. Paul.

  1.  Suspension of all Public Masses
    1. All Masses at St. Paul will be suspended until further notice.  I will continue to say private Mass.
    2. Many places are planning to live stream their Mass.  For several reasons I cannot here, but I would suggest EWTN (https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/daily-readings) or Bishop Robert Barron’s stream (https://www.wordonfire.org/daily-mass/).
    3. Bishop Kopacz suggested he would stream his Masses as well as a source for information about the coronavirus for the diocese.  Please stay posted to https://jacksondiocese.org/ for details.
    4. I will continue to write Sunday Mass homilies and record myself.  You can continue to find these every Monday at https://www.stpaulvicksburg.org/_modules/medialibrary.php?action=displaycollection&collection=1
    5. I will not be bringing Communion to the sick or homebound per diocesan request.
  2. All parish events have been canceled until further notice
    1. Stations of the Cross will be canceled for the remaining Fridays of Lent.  There are many resources you can find online and prayer books that you can do this devotion on your own.
    2. Forgiven series has been canceled for the remainder of the series.  If you would like to finish the series, it can be found at https://formed.org/  It is a great resource for all series including Forgiven.  It works much like Netflix and other streaming services, but all the material is Catholic.  I encourage everyone to take advantage of this service while in social distancing.
    3. Penance Service on March 26 has been canceled.  I can still hear confessions and make arrangements for anyone who needs to go to the sacrament.  Please call the office to schedule.
    4. Mass with Anointing of the Sick is canceled for at least the month of April.  As with the Sacrament of Confession, I can still anoint those who are in need of the sacrament.  Since the threat of coronavirus needs to be taken seriously, I ask to call only if you are in danger of death.  The sacrament requires me to touch the person I anoint, and I need to be prudent not to anoint someone with the virus then anoint someone else to prevent transferring the virus. Per the suggestion of the bishop, I will not be going to hospitals or nursing homes. I also want to note the sacrament is not a preventative sacrament, so I will not anoint someone if they are not sick and just want to be anointed in case they contract the coronavirus.
    5. Adoration will be canceled until further notice.
    6. RCIA will be canceled until further notice.
    7. Funerals will be scheduled through the office. Until further notice, the bishop has recommended that we only do graveside services.
    8. Any other parish event, for the time being, will be canceled. The bishop has asked us to cancel all events up to April 8, which is the Wednesday of Holy Week.  I hope to have another update on that day to give the status of Holy Week activities.

 

  1. Parish Office
    1. The parish office will remain open until March 19th.  At that time, I will close the office since the parish will not have any activities occurring.  I can still be contacted if any sacraments are needed at 601-636-0140 or email at pastor@stpaulvicksburg.org.
  2. Faith Formation
    1. First Communion is currently scheduled for May 3rd.  Without further information, I cannot comment on the status of the event.  If we have to postpone, I will let every parent know.  We will do First Communion as soon as we can after that date if it has to be postponed. 
    2. Confirmation is currently scheduled for May 9th.  The bishop has not stated any change in the schedule, though I would anticipate there will be a change.  As with First Communion, I will let the parents know as soon as I know.
    3. Youth Group will be canceled until further notice. 
    4. Adult and Children Catechesis.  With the recommendation for social distancing, we will not have any events at the parish for either.  No youth group, no adult programs, no children church, etc.  I will again recommend to all parishioners to subscribe to https://formed.org/.  Don’t just watch Netflix or your favorite tv programs.  FORMED has a wide array of resources to take advantage of in Catholic education.  The program allows you to start with a free trial of 7 days followed by a monthly subscription of $9.99.  It includes videos, auto talks and books, electronic books, and so much more for both children and adults.  Please don’t let this time of solitude be away from your faith.
    5. Fr. Rusty’s Corner and website will continue to be updated to keep everyone posted of the status of the Church.  My corner articles will continue to be written every Monday and can be found at https://www.stpaulvicksburg.org/30 and you can find continued updates from me about the coronavirus and St. Paul at https://www.stpaulvicksburg.org/40 on our webpage.  We will be posting something to our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) daily. Please check there each day to help us maintain the spirit of Lent during this time.
  3. Almsgiving
    1. I understand that during this time, we are all facing fear and stress of the unknown. Because of the suspension of Mass, we will not be receiving the weekly collection to support our maintenance. One way that we can continue to practice our Lenten almsgiving while social distancing is to donate to the parish through our online giving platform at https://www.osvhub.com/st-paulscatholic-church/sign_in?redirectUri=%2Fst-paulscatholic-church%2Ffunds. This can be a one-time or recurring gift. I ask you to be generous and understanding during this time.

I want to finish by saying that I will be praying for everyone in the parish during this time.  My Masses will be offered for each of you.  Life as a priest is oriented towards people and service to you, so this time will be of great difficulty not being able to do that in the fullest sense of my vocation.  I hope to see every one of you soon back at St. Paul.  I can still be contacted if any sacraments are needed at 601-636-0140 or email at pastor@stpaulvicksburg.org.

 

Fr. Rusty Vincent