IMPORTANT UPDATE: COVID-19 03/23/2020 @10:45
Our community has now arrived at a time where critical intervention is required to reduce harm from further spread of the Coronavirus. Several jurisdictions have provided “stay at home” orders for their communities throughout the United States, and this is also true now in Louisiana. While not total isolation or full quarantine, the faithful are encouraged to minimize contact with outside individuals aside from family in the household by only participating in essential activities such as visiting the doctor, grocery shopping, or purchasing prescriptions and other medical supplies.
It is the Church’s desire that the faithful continue to receive the sacraments as necessary, but it is also in the interest of public health and good social order that our ministry and work interface with the recommendations of our government.
Here are some updates for you and how this affects Holy Ghost:
1. Fr. Robert and Fr. Cayet will continue to offer the sacraments as was outlined in previous posts on Facebook and our website and in accord with the directives of Bishop Duca from 17 March 2020. Some of these sacraments are surely essential (viaticum and Anointing in danger of death; abbreviated graveside funeral services). Even with these opportunities, everyone is reminded to practice proper social distancing, promote practices of good hygiene especially handwashing, and to be prudent and limited in interactions with each other and with clergy.
2. All non-sacramental events at Holy Ghost continue to be postponed or cancelled until further notice.
3. The Parish Office will close for all outside business beginning on Monday, 23 March 2020 until further notice. Parishioners are encouraged to do business and interface with Holy Ghost by means of electronic media (Facebook and the Website), by email, or by traditional mail. You are especially encouraged to continue your generous financial stewardship by using the “Online Giving” button on the Holy Ghost website or by mailing your contribution.
Holy Ghost’s employees will continue to work according to a modified schedule and usually off campus. Some employees are designated as “essential” for our operations, and Fr. Robert has ensured all employees that they will continue to be compensated for their work as long as Holy Ghost’s financial predicament allows us to do so. Fr. Robert and the staff will follow the stay at home order from Governor Edwards, federal guidelines, and any future directives from our Bishop.
I will continue to monitor the situation and make further determinations about extending or retracting any of these provisions based upon the current situation in our community with the Coronavirus.
While our situation is not optimal given the incarnational nature of our Church, I remain excited with the creative ways that our Parish is beginning to reach out to you despite the many obstacles provided by the Coronavirus. Be smart! Follow Governor Edwards’ order! Be safe and help slow the spread of this pandemic; know that I am thinking of you and praying for everyone in our community of faith!
~ Fr. Robert
Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Update
posted 18 March 2020 @14:30
More aggressive measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus continue to be announced by government leaders. These include limiting the size of public gatherings and closing venues such as restaurants and theaters to significantly expand mitigation efforts to slow the progress of further community spread.
The Church is not immune to the immediate actions that must be taken now in order to protect our communities. Today, Bishop Duca issued a set of provisions that will be in effect in the Diocese of Baton Rouge beginning Wednesday, 18 March 2020.
How do these provisions affect Holy Ghost?
1. All public Masses are suspended effective Tuesday, 17 March 2020. This includes all Masses at Holy Ghost. The Bishop is allowing priests to celebrate Mass privately. Rest assured that our Dominican Fathers will be offering Mass for you and the people of our community daily. In the meantime, there are multiple options to watch live masses such as: St. Albert’s Facebook page, and EWTN to name a few.
2. At the Bishop’s request, Eucharistic Adoration will be discontinued on First Fridays for the reminder of Lent, and indefinitely on First Fridays. The same is true of our communal Lenten practice of praying collectively the Stations of the Cross.
3. As was previous announced, Parish gatherings are cancelled through April 13. Based upon the Bishop’s directive, these unnecessary gathering will be cancelled throughout the entirety of the month of April through the 30th:
All of the Lenten Opportunities are canceled—Vespers, Stations of the Cross, Lenten Longings, Reconciliation Services, and Lenten Dinners.
All of these ministries are suspended from meeting on/off campus through April 30th: Bible Study, Small Christian Community, Marian Servants, Spiritual Direction, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters, Rosary Altar Society, St. Vincent de Paul Society, RCIA/RCIC, Youth Ministry, Children’s Church, Parish Council, Finance Council
4. There will be no regularly scheduled or advertised times of reconciliation until the viral threat has subsided.
5. All Holy Water fonts at Holy Ghost have been drained until further notice.
6. All baptisms at Holy Ghost are postponed indefinitely except danger of death situations. Individual circumstances will be considered on a case by case basis.
7. Funerals at Holy Ghost will be celebrated only with immediate family (parents, spouses, siblings, children, and grandchildren), clergy and funeral staff present. Funeral Masses and services in the Church are not allowed. Funerals will be celebrated graveside or at the funeral home according to pastoral need. There will be no wake services in the Church or Parish Hall, and the services of the Holy Ghost Bereavement committee have been postponed. This is in effect until 30 April 2020, at minimum.
8. Weddings at Holy Ghost will to be celebrated only with the bride, groom, celebrant, two witness and immediate family (parents, siblings, and children) present. Mass will not be celebrated. This is in effect until 30 April 2020, at minimum.
9. Delivery of communion to those at home, in nursing homes or in other healthcare facilities on a regular basis by the Holy Ghost Homebound Ministry is discontinued indefinitely; this does not apply in danger of death or when a person is in need of viaticum. Fr. Robert and Fr. Cayet may encounter situations where they are denied access to patients for the Anointing of the Sick. In such situations, we will attempt to call the individual and pray with them by phone. Please be aware that because of regulations by nursing facilities and hospitals, and to protect the health of our clergy, Holy Ghost priests may not in all circumstances be able to anoint a patient, even in danger of death.
10. The Holy Ghost office will retain its current office hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00AM until 3:00PM). The lay faithful are encouraged to conduct as much Parish business as possible either by phone or email. This provision remains subject to change by Fr. Robert. Also, access to other parochial buildings is strictly prohibited (The Parish Hall and Annex, Saxon Youth House)
I understand that much of this is unwelcome news! At Holy Ghost, we are working to continue communication and support through various social media. Please refer to our church website and Holy Ghost Facebook page for updates. I remain with you in prayer ~ Fr. Robert
Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Holy Ghost Update 3/16/20 @ 20:30
As communicated earlier, we will continue to update you on our Church website and Facebook page with any changes. Now our current threat level has arisen to Level III – Endemic/Critical Health Situation. Respecting the directives of Governor Edwards and other public health officials, Bishop Michael Duca has announced the suspension of public celebrations of Sunday and daily Masses in all parishes and Catholic institutions in the diocese effective tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. In addition to masses being suspended, we will not have Stations of the Cross, nor First Friday Adoration.
The suspension is in effect until further notice.
The Bishop said, "Let us pray that the Holy Spirit gives us a spirit of Hope in the Lord, who will sustain us even in these unprecedented times."
I remain with you in prayer, Fr. Robert
Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Holy Ghost Update 3/14/20 @ 13:04
As communicated earlier, we will continue to update you on our Church website and Facebook page with any changes. Now our current threat level has arisen to Level II – a State of Emergency declared by a heightened health situation. It is Holy Ghost's intention to cooperate with the order to preserve people’s health and well-being. Bishop Duca has also issued a decree regarding temporary changes to life and ministry in the Diocese of Baton Rouge. His letter will also be posted on our website and social media platform.
What does this mean for Holy Ghost and our parishioners?
1. Per the Bishop’s directive, the faithful are dispended from the obligation to attend Mass beginning March 14/15 until at least April 13, 2020. We continue to encourage the vulnerable and those who are ill to NOT attend Masses during this emergency. However, Holy Ghost WILL continue to have Mass at the normally scheduled times both on weekdays and weekends at the present. We will also continue Adoration on First Fridays and will pray the Stations of the Cross on Fridays in common.
2. Holy Ghost will discontinue all unnecessary contact between individuals and groups. Practically, our clergy will not physically greet any parishioners after Mass, and non-essential ministry gatherings will be canceled. These include the following:
Small Christian Community
Knights of Columbus
Rosary Altar Society
St. Vincent de Paul Society, not SVDP Pharmacy
RCIA/RCIC-dismissal & catechesis, not Mass rituals/rites
Staff members and ministry leaders will be in contact with those who are affected by these cancellations as soon as possible.
Again, the reason for these measures is safety. The Center for Disease Control reminds us that the Coronavirus and Flu are spread through personal, physical contact with someone who is sick (either through inhaling the virus, or through hand-to-mouth transmission with a contaminated surface). The best prevention is good hygiene and self-isolation of people who are sick, to avoid close contact with others, cleaning hands frequently, and covering their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
We do still plan to offer, for now, the sacraments to those who are able and wish to receive and attend! Keep in mind that previously published liturgical guidelines will continue to be observed (communion under the species of bread alone, communion on the hand, no physical sign of peace and omitting the spontaneous gesture of hand-holding during the Our Father, holy water removed from fonts).
I remain with you in prayer, Fr. Robert
Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Holy Ghost Update 3/13/20:
What You Need to Know
Foremost, at this time, it is important to know that there are NO mandatory community-wide quarantines or cancellations of mass gatherings that would affect most ministry at Holy Ghost. The Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Baton Rouge are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass beginning this weekend, March 14/15 until April 13th by Bishop Duca.
The Center for Disease Control reminds us that the Coronavirus and Flu are spread through personal, physical contact with someone who is sick (either through inhaling the virus, or through hand-to-mouth transmission with a contaminated surface). The best prevention is good hygiene and self-isolation of people who are sick, to avoid close contact with others, cleaning hands frequently, and covering their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
At Holy Ghost, we will follow a tiered system (as originally outlined by Fr. Jamin David) based upon the level of health crises extant at a given time, conscious of how this might affect our community using the following protocol:
CURRENT STATUS – Level I (Heightened Awareness and Liturgical Precautions)
Life and ministry at Holy Ghost continues now as is usual except for some reminders that were also reinforced by our Bishop. They include:
1. Encouraging the faithful who are sick to stay at home. It is not sinful for you to miss Sunday Mass if you are contagious or ill!
2. Distribution of Communion under the species of bread alone. We receive the totality of Christ when we receive the sacred host. The distribution of communion from the chalice could be a high risk for contamination, and thus it has been discontinued.
3. The invitation to receive communion on the hand. This measure is to protect ministers and recipients; reception on the tongue could inadvertently contaminate the hands of those distributing communion.
4. Eliminating the exchange of the physical sign of peace and omitting the spontaneous gesture of hand-holding during the Our Father in an effort to minimize physical contact.
In addition to these guidelines from our Diocese, we have also removed water from Holy Water fonts at the entrance to our Churches and effective March 12, for an interim period, our communion ministers will not bring communion to our homebound parishioners or those in the hospital (except in cases of true emergency).
GUIDELINES FOR MINISTRY SHOULD THE DISEASE PROGRESS
Level II (A seriously heightened situation including restrictions imposed by local government, by Louisiana Health Officials, or by our Diocesan Bishop)
If the situation of health further heightens and we are advised by Church and Civil Leaders that more needs to be done to help with containment, Holy Ghost will discontinue all unnecessary contact between individuals or groups (e.g. greeting parishioners after Mass, non-essential ministry gatherings, and other social gatherings, etc.). Should this level be activated, we will also strongly suggest that people with compromised immune systems stay home even on Sundays. **We’re not here yet!**
Level III (Endemic/Critical Health Situations)
Should the disease progress any further, we will follow all CDC regulations for public gatherings and directives from our Bishop which might result in temporary closings. **Again, we’re not here yet!**
While there is alot of information available, there may be information sources that are not accurate and lead to increased fear. Our Website and Facebook posts will help keep you informed of any developments in our parish and keep you informed with critical information.
We hope you will join us this weekend as we come together as a community of faith, celebrating Eucharist and remembering and praying for those who cannot be with us. ~ Fr. Robert
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: Changes to the Liturgy as directed by Bishop Duca
Please read the Directives from Bishop Duca regarding temporary changes to the Liturgy until the threat of the COVID-19 has passed.
We continue to lift in prayer those who have been affected and continue to pray for protection for all.
Holy Ghost Catholic Church
601 N Oak Street
Hammond, LA 70401
Phone: (985) 345-3360
Fax: (985) 542-4191
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