Updates from St. Thomas the Apostle

Please check back regularly for continued updates on how COVID19 impacts our Parish and how to stay involved with our faith remotely…..

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https://www.camdendiocese.org/category/c570-front-page-news-list/

3/23/2020 Covid-19 and the Celebration of Holy Week & Triduum

As Bishop of the Diocese of Camden, in light of further restrictions by Governor Murphy and the Decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments, Bishop Dennis Sullivan promulgates the following regarding the liturgies of Palm Sunday and Holy Week throughout the Diocese of Camden to assist the clergy and the faithful in the spiritual celebration of the Paschal Mysteries.

PALM SUNDAY

On Palm Sunday there is to be NO PUBLIC GATHERING (inside or outside Churches, in cars, etc.).

The Mass for Palm Sunday will be celebrated by the Bishop without a congregation, with palms blessed, and broadcast via the live-stream internet on the Diocesan website/YouTube/Facebook at 10:30 am on Sunday, April 5, 2020.

In parish churches, the Mass for Palm Sunday may be celebrated without a congregation (only one deacon; one person to operate the live streaming equipment if the liturgy is being live streamed; one lector; one cantor and one musician in addition to resident clergy) by the pastor/parish.  Blessed palms can be made available for distribution at a later date – they are NOT TO BE DISTRIBUTED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE at this time.

CHRISM MASS

The Chrism Mass will be postponed and re-scheduled for another date/time with the renewal of priestly commitment and the blessing/consecration of oils occurring at that time.  Oils/chrism from the current supplies (currently in use) may continue to be used until a new supply is blessed/consecrated and made available.

PASCHAL TRIDUUM: the following liturgical directives are to be observed in accordance with the “Decree in Time of COVID-19” issued on March 19, 2020 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff for the year 2020 only. The Paschal Triduum cannot be transferred to another time.

HOLY THURSDAY

No public gatherings (inside or outside Churches, in cars, etc.). Televised or live-stream broadcasts should be live (not recorded).

The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated by the Bishop without a congregation and broadcast via the live-stream internet on the Diocesan website/YouTube/Facebook at 7 pm on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

In parish churches, the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper may be celebrated without a congregation (only one person to operate the live streaming equipment if the liturgy is being live streamed; one lector; one cantor and one musician in addition to resident clergy) by the pastor/parish priest; pastors should notify the parishioners of the time for the live-steam.

During the Evening Mass for the Lord’s Supper:

  1. The Washing of the Feet, which is already optional, is to be omitted;
  2. The usual procession with the Blessed Sacrament to a place of repose is to be omitted and the Blessed Sacrament should be kept in the tabernacle, as usual; please understand that NO PROCESSIONS WITH THE BLESSED SACRAMENT are to take place and ALTARS OF REPOSE are not to be created;
  3. The faithful are to be informed that parish churches will NOT BE OPEN for the usual visitation of churches on Holy Thursday evening. Pastors are NOT PERMITTED to leave their churches open at this time.

Priests who are unable to celebrate Mass should instead pray Vespers of the day from the Liturgy of Hours instead.

GOOD FRIDAY

No public gatherings (inside or outside Churches, in cars, etc.).

The Commemoration/Celebration of the Lord’s Passion will be celebrated by the Bishop without a congregation and broadcast via the live-stream internet on the Diocesan website/YouTube/Facebook at 3 pm on Friday, April 10, 2020.

In parish churches, the Commemoration/Celebration of the Lord’s Passion may be celebrated without a congregation (only one deacon; one person to operate the live streaming equipment if the liturgy is being live streamed; one lector; one cantor and one musician in addition to resident clergy) by the pastor/parish priest; pastors should notify the parishioners of the time for the live-steam.

During the Good Friday Service

  1. Veneration of the Holy Cross takes place by those present with a simple genuflection; the Cross is not to be reverenced with a kiss;
  2. A special commemoration in the General Intercessions for the sick, the dead and for those who feel lost or dismayed will be developed by the Office of Worship and sent to the parishes for mandated use.

Priests who are unable to celebrate this liturgy should instead pray Vespers of the day from the Liturgy of Hours instead.

HOLY SATURDAY

No public gatherings (inside or outside Churches, in cars, etc.).

The Easter Vigil will be celebrated by the Bishop without a congregation and broadcast via the live-stream internet on the Diocesan website/YouTube/Facebook at 7 pm on Saturday, April 11, 2020.

In parish churches, the Easter Vigil may be celebrated without a congregation (only one deacon; one person to operate the live streaming equipment if the liturgy is being live streamed; one lector; one cantor and one musician in addition to resident clergy) by the pastor/parish priest; pastors should notify the parishioners of the time for the live-steam.

During the Easter Vigil:

  1. The preparation and lighting of the fire is omitted;
  2. The paschal candle is lit without procession followed by the recited Easter Proclamation;
  3. The Liturgy of the Word takes place;
  4. The Baptismal Liturgy is only the renewal of Baptismal Promises; a symbolic (small) amount of Holy Water may be blessed but holy water fonts are to remain empty;
  5. The Rite of Christian Initiation and/or Reception into Full Communion will be postponed and re-scheduled once restrictions are lifted – more details will be provided at that time.

Priests who are unable to celebrate the Easter Vigil should instead pray Vespers/Matins/Lauds of the day from the Liturgy of Hours instead.

EASTER SUNDAY

No public gatherings (inside or outside Churches, in cars, etc.).

Mass for Easter Sunday will be celebrated by the Bishop without a congregation and broadcast via the live-stream internet on the Diocesan website/YouTube/Facebook at 10:30 am on Sunday, April 12, 2020.

In parish churches, Mass for Easter Sunday may be celebrated without a congregation (only one deacon; one person to operate the live streaming equipment if the liturgy is being live streamed; one lector; one cantor and one musician in addition to resident clergy) by the pastor/parish priest; pastors should notify the parishioners of the time for the live-steam.

Priests are otherwise asked to celebrate Easter Sunday Masses without a congregation.

This decree is given by mandate of the Bishop, Most Reverend Dennis J. Sullivan, D.D., March 23, 2020, for the Diocese of Camden.

3/21/2020 Covid-19 Update related to Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 108…The following Memo was distributed to all diocesan pastors and parishes today, in response to Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 108: This morning, Governor Philip Murphy signed an executive order which places further restrictions on residents of New Jersey. These restrictions have further impact on the operation of our parishes…..

This morning, Governor Philip Murphy signed an executive order which places further restrictions on residents of New Jersey.  These restrictions have further impact on the operation of our parishes in the Diocese of Camden.

Reminder about Gatherings – Pastors are reminded that it is not within their discretion to invite parishioners to join them for live-streamed prayers, processions, Stations of the Cross, or Masses.  Given Governor Murphy’s executive order – only the resident clergy and one technician may be present for any live-streamed event or parish celebration of Mass or other service.

Diocesan Operations – the Diocesan Offices will be completely shut down as of 12 Noon on Monday, March 23, 2020.  They will be open only for a period of three-hours on Monday so that employees may obtain critical materials needed for working at home.

Parish and School Operations – all parish and school offices are to be closed and parishioners/parents are to be informed that the office is closed.  Those things that can be handled by phone or email may be handled by the resident clergy or by parish employees working from home.  Phone services can be forwarded to a secretary’s personal phone number if the pastor deems this necessary or appropriate.

Funerals, Weddings and Baptisms – all funerals, weddings, baptisms and other gatherings are now prohibited by the Governor’s executive order.

  • Funerals – while a public memorial can be scheduled for a later date, the burial of the dead may need to occur before that date – our cemeteries will be open, but pastors and funeral directors must limit those in attendance at a burial to 10 persons including the priest or deacon.  The pastor/priest should celebrate a private Mass without a congregation on the day of burial for the deceased and inform the family that he has or will do so.
  • Weddings – all weddings are to be postponed.  Since reception halls are prevented from serving their clientele, most couples will choose to postpone their wedding.  As all municipal buildings are likewise closed, marriage licenses will be difficult to obtain. If a dispensation or permission has been received for a wedding that needs to be postponed, the dispensation or permission will remain in force.  If you would like the letter re-issued with the new date, please return it to the Bishop’s Office with that request.  If you retain the dispensation or permission, please attach a letter on parish stationery explaining that the wedding date was changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Baptisms – all baptisms are to be postponed except in the case of emergency.  A reminder ALL HOLY WATER IS TO BE REMOVED FROM THE CHURCH.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament – the Governor’s executive order extends to 24 hours daily the times when New Jersey residents are to be “off the roads” unless they are conducting essential business (i.e. grocery shopping; banking; or obtaining prescriptions) or traveling to work at essential businesses.  Please be mindful of this order.  Adoration, the recitation of the Rosary or other devotions may be conducted online if possible or parishioners are encouraged to pray at home.  Please do not encourage your parishioners to visit the church or parish chapel.

Charities and nonprofits are on the frontline responding to our neighbors and communities in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, but risk catastrophic damage from evaporating revenue, new and rising demands for assistance, and major disruptions in charitable giving. Congress must act now and provide emergency aid to nonprofit organizations by expanding charitable giving and providing organizations with grants, loans, and tax credits. Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/6Z0LX7RIHyeV1XVb4dS2_g

3/17/2020 Statement of Bishop Dennis Sullivan regarding further COVID-19 restrictions related to the Diocese of Camden spiritual life…..

For all up to date information from Bishop Dennis Sullivan and the Diocese of Camden please go directly to the latest news link below:

https://www.camdendiocese.org/category/c570-front-page-news-list/


FaithFULL Food Drive is cancelled this year

Due to the virus and Governor Murphy’s latest directive, the FaithFULL food drive is cancelled this year. We are asking parishes to store any food they have already collected. You may either keep the food for your own pantries or wait for a future announcement from the Diocese with information about when and how to have the food dropped off/picked up.  

We know that our parishes may be called upon to help people out of work or struggling due to the virus. Please stay in touch so we can collaborate together on this.

Please contact Matt Davis at 856-583-2910 or matthew.davis@camdendiocese.org regarding any problems with food storage or any questions/concerns in general.

Your donations were greatly appreciated as well as your generosity.


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Assumption Regional Catholic School is accepting applications for students in PreK3, PreK4 and Kindergarten – 8th grade. Did you know that ARCS is offering new families who transfer their student(s) to the school in grades 1-7 a transfer grant of $1,500 per student for the first year and $750 per student the second year?  To learn more about this great opportunity or to schedule a tour of ARCS contact (609) 652-7134 or email: cflammer@arcsgalloway.org