Covid-19 News and Updates

*******EXCITING NEWS********





Page no longer to be updated...


More announcements to come regarding the gradual re-opening....



For Masses, Services, and Livestream announcements:

*Be aware... There are TWO YouTube channels set up as OUR LADY OF MERCY - LEROY... Once was set up a few years ago by someone no longer assigned to the parish. None of us can access it. So please... CLICK ON THE LINK HERE TO GET TO THE RIGHT ONE!!! Also... a difference:

The "good" channel has a "R" in LeRoy! The unusable channel does not! If you watch the recording of the Mass, be aware that there is about 10 minutes on the video before Mass begins. The livestream goes out about 10 minutes before the Mass with a white screen and the Mercedarian Shield. A few minutes before Mass, we transition to a black screen with a "stand-by" graphic. Watch the clock on the screen. You can watch the onscreen clock to set the Mass to the beginning. We try to start at the exact time of the scheduled Mass.


Mass and Stations of the Cross Recordings [****Note**** All Masses and archived videos are recordings of the livestream. The clock inset is there for you benefit so you can forward to the beginning of the Mass or service.]


June 8, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

As many of you know, on Saturday, June 6 we were notified in a press release that Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, our Apostolic Administrator, announced that any parish in the Diocese of Buffalo that is prepared to offer public liturgies while maintaining the safety protocols due to the ongoing COVID-19 threat may do so.

According to the press release, the decision to reopen is solely at the discretion of the pastor,  taking into account the health conditions and concerns of the individual pastors. Because of health concerns and the limited space available, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in place.  All who are especially vulnerable or simply uncomfortable attending a public liturgy are encouraged to remain at home and view Mass via livestreams, which will continue in local parishes.

We continue working on our plans to ensure we can meet safety standards that will keep the six-foot social distancing requirement. In addition, we were given other protocols to meet for reopening.

According to the guidelines: On your part, you as parishioners should bring and be prepared to wear [your] own masks and, if possible, a bottle of hand sanitizer for use upon entering, before receiving Communion, after receiving Communion, and after exiting the church. Catholics should plan on restricted seating, a change in the reception of Communion in order to ensure social distancing, and other appropriate measures upon entering and exiting churches. 

As your pastor, to expedite our process of offering limited access public Masses, I have had to make some executive decisions without consultation with the pastoral councils. Waiting for such consultation would have meant another week of delay. Therefore, for Masses for of the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ on June 14th, Masses will be celebrated and attended as such:

Saturday, June 13th, 4:30pm – Our Lady of Mercy (Vigil Mass) - Streamed Live on Facebook and YouTube from the Friary/Rectory Chapel with Communion in Church (See instructions below)

Sunday, June 14th, 7:15am – Our Lady of Mercy - Streamed Live on Facebook and YouTube from the Friary/Rectory Chapel with Communion in Church (See instructions below)

Sunday, June 14th, 9:00am – Saint Brigid, Bergen – At Church, 25% Capacity Limited Attendance by Reservation

Sunday, June 14th, 10:45am – Our Lady of Mercy – At Church, 25% Limited Capacity Attendance  by Reservation, Streamed Live on Facebook and YouTube with Communion in Church for online attendees (See instructions below)

Sunday, June 14th, 5:30pm – Our Lady of Mercy – Streamed Live on Facebook and YouTube from the Friary/Rectory Chapel with Communion in Church (See instructions below)

The choice of Masses to celebrate in church this week should in no way be seen as the pastor favoring one Mass time or any group within the parish. There is one Mass at each parish in order to work out the unexpected obstacles or challenges. The 10:45am Mass at Our Lady of Mercy is the last Sunday morning Mass, and thus gives us more time to plan, prepare, and practice if necessary. My intention is to then have the Saturday Vigil Mass (4:30pm) and the 7:15am Mass in the Church with limited capacity seating on Father’s Day weekend (Sunday, June 21) as well as the 9:00am at St. Brigid, with the remaining Masses streamed from the Friary/Rectory Chapel. The 5:30pm Mass will not resume in the Church until such time we have completed all of the phases of re-opening, however, it will be offered STREAMED LIVE from the rectory chapel.

For the Masses in the Church: In order to prevent confusion to the best of our ability, the seating will be handled by reservation according to the following procedure:

  • Reservation requests for both parishes will be made using the parish EVENTS cell-phone line or email:
  • CALL OR TEXT (585)709-2764 or email request to events@ourladyofmercyleroy.org. (If you call, please leave a voicemail if the call is not answered.)
  • Please include:
    • Which Mass you wish to attend
    • Household name/ number of adults + adult-sized children, and/or number of child-sized children
    • Special seating needs, such as handicapped seating
    • Special communion needs, such as low gluten hosts / precious blood only
  • You subsequently will be contacted to confirm your reservation, or to inform you that the seating is already full. If there is seating for you, you will be given your seating information upon confirmation. The ushers/greeters will also be given your seating information in order to escort you to your seat upon arrival.
  • Those unable to be seated this week will be given priority for next week’s Masses.

Holy Communion for Masses attended online: Diocesan guidelines state: it is not recommended to separate the reception of the Eucharist from the sacrifice of the Mass and we cannot recommend multiplying Communion Services. As pastor, I affirm that it is important that we follow the “spirit” of this guideline rather than the “exact letter.” In papal Masses and large outdoor Masses that I have attended, the concluding rites have often been celebrated while people are still receiving Holy Communion. Furthermore, at times those assisting in various capacities at Mass are given Holy Communion after the conclusion of Mass. Therefore, it is right and just that Holy Communion be distributed in the Church (respecting the social distancing markings on the floor of the Church) for up to 45 minutes following the streamed Mass (at Our Lady of Mercy only) for those who have participated from home. Please be honest—attend the online Mass before coming to Holy Communion. Dishonesty in this regard and receiving Holy Communion would be a mortal sin of sacrilege.

Christian Charity: In a spirit of Christian charity, please consider that it is important to accommodate, as much as possible, those parishioners who have been unable to be part of our online community during this pandemic, and those parishioners who are unable to arrive at Church to receive Holy Communion within 45 minutes of the end of the LIVESTREAMED MASS. If you are able to attend online, and live close enough to the Church to receive communion within the 45 minutes, let us know when you call. If there is sufficient seating available, we will take care of you in the order of your contact.

Finally, I write this letter on the evening of receiving the shocking news of the unexpected passing of St. Brigid Parishioner and caretaker Barb DeFazio. Please pray for Barb’s soul, her husband Sam, and the entire family. All of us who know Barb will miss her tremendously, and long for the day that we see her again in paradise. She loved her parish and the Church Universal. Barb was invaluable to me personally, to St. Brigid parish, and to the Mercedarians that served St. Brigid before me. At this time, I cannot imagine St. Brigid without Barb’s physical presence, yet faith tells me that she is still present to us, and she will praying for us from the other side. Barb, we love you and miss you already.

Yours in Our Lady of Mercy & St. Brigid,

Fr. Matthew H. Phelan, O. de M.



Here is Saturday's press release from the Diocese of Buffalo.


June 6, 2020

Diocese of Buffalo Welcomes Allowance for Parish Reopenings

Parishes that are prepared to welcome up to 25% of capacity, following Diocesan established protocols may do so as soon as possible

(Buffalo, NY) -  In light of Governor Cuomo’s announcement today that houses of worship may resume public gatherings at 25 percent capacity at the earliest opportunity, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has announced that any parish in the Diocese of Buffalo that is prepared to offer public liturgies while maintaining the safety protocols detailed in the Diocesan guidelines due to the ongoing COVID-19 threat may do so.

Local Catholics are urged to check with their parishes before planning to attend a Mass, as parishes may be at a different stage in their preparations for reopening.  The decision to reopen is solely at the discretion of the pastor.  In addition, because many priests serving in parishes throughout the Diocese are themselves vulnerable, those priests may choose to (and are encouraged to) opt out of presiding if they have concerns about their personal health and safety. In those cases, a local parish may join with another local parish for public liturgies.

The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in place.  All who are especially vulnerable or simply uncomfortable attending a public liturgy are encouraged to remain at home and view Mass via livestreams, which will continue in local parishes. (For livestream information, visit LIVE STREAM MASSES

“On this weekend, as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity and look forward to next weekend’s celebration of Corpus Christi, we are ever more aware of and grateful for the great gift of the Eucharist,” said Bishop Scharfenberger who has kept churches open throughout the pandemic so local Catholics could pray privately.  “The Catholic faithful of our Diocese have made clear their eagerness to return to their parish churches and to resume their sacramental, life with their parish leaders and in communion with their fellow parishioners. While we welcome this latest development, it is imperative that our parish leaders and all who are returning to public Masses observe the guidelines that public health officials have issued, along with the extensive measures that we have defined for our parishes in order to protect the health and safety of parishioners, as well as priests and liturgical ministers.” 

Parishes throughout the Diocese have been working on plans to ensure they can meet safety standards that will keep the six-foot social distancing requirement in place throughout Mass.

In addition, many other protocols must be met in order for parishes to open, as defined by the guidelines referenced above.             

Parishioners should bring and be prepared to wear their own masks and, if possible, a bottle of hand sanitizer for use upon entering, before receiving Communion, after receiving Communion, and after exiting the church. Catholics should plan on restricted seating, a change in the reception of Communion in order to ensure social distancing, and other appropriate measures upon entering and exiting churches. 


I received the following in the late afternoon on Wednesday, June 3rd, after we just finished up cleaning the pews at St. Brigid:

June 1, 2020

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We find ourselves in a challenging time as the Coronavirus threat continues to linger. While I trust that you are all preparing our parishes to welcome our faithful as best we can, I would like to offei clarification regarding Diocesan guidelines for liturgies until phase lV when We can likely open our churches for our celebrations of Mass.

As a reminder, in the Diocese of Buffalo:

1. No regularly scheduled/announced Masses should be celebrated publicly at this time. The diocese will communicate any changes to this in writing as we move through the phases of reopening.

2. While New York State allows gatherings of no more than 10 for worship services, our Diocesan guidelines indicate that we will not be offering any public Masses of any size yet. However, we can allow for smallfunerals or emergency baptisms while adhering to the number of only 10 attendees.

3. Parking lot or outdoor liturgies may be conducted, but proper precautions should be taken, including enforcing policies for physical distancing. lf communion is introduced into these liturgies, it is important to regard the safety of the people and the sanctity of the sacrament.

  • Communion should be distributed in the context of the Mass (not after Mass has ended) at delineated stations, following the guidelines issued by the diocese (see Forward in Faith, pages 8-9).
  • Communion is not to be distributed via drive-thru or other similar means.
  • Priests/deacons/ministers should not go from car to car.

It is encouraging to see that Western New York will be entering phase II on June 2nd, and yet difficult for all of us to have to continue to wait to gather our parishioners around the altar. We look forward to the day when we can celebrate the Eucharist together again. ln the meantime, I ask that you exercise patience and caution as you await further instructions from the diocese before proceeding with any public liturgies.

Yours fraternally in Christ,

Most Reverend Edward B. Scharfenberger Apostolic Administrator


Note: Forgive any typos, I'm working feverishly get info to you on the website. 

Dear Parishioners. 

This will not be the most convenient layout, however it is the fast way to get things to you. I shall place old messages at the bottom of the page. I am also inserting page breaks between messages for printing purposes...

Thank you for all of you help at this time. Please be patient, this is difficult for all of us. This content will change as needed. If necessary, print up this page. Continue to pray for those who are hurting spiritually, physically, emotionally, psychologically, mentally, and financially. Let us also keep track of one another, especially those who live alone. 

Fr. Matthew H. Phelan, O. de M.


HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE FOR OUR LADY OF MERCY & ST. BRIGID - Live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube

Wednesday of Holy Week - Mass - 7:30am

Holy Thursday Morning - Office of Readings and Morning Prayer - 9:00am

Holy Thursday Evening - Mass of the Lord's Supper - 7:00pm

Good Friday Morning - Office of Readings and Morning Prayer (Contemporary Tenebrae) - 9:00am

Good Friday Afternoon - Service of the Lord's Passion - 3:00pm

Holy Saturday Morning - Office of Readings and Morning Prayer (Contemporary Tenebrae) - 9:00am


EASTER SUNDAY - 7:15am, 9:00am, 10:45am



April 4, 2020

Dear Priests, Permanent Deacons, Pastoral Administrators,

Thank you for your attentiveness to Bishop Scharfenberger’s MEMO of 3/31/20 advising us of the non-distribution of Palms this weekend in an effort to curtail the spread of the highly contagious Coronavirus.

Our Church and Diocese will do all that we can to cooperate with  directives from authorities in safeguarding lives. I remind you of previous guidelines to be observed in Parishes:

  • There are NOT to be any public celebrations , even outside including live Stations of the Cross
  • Currently there should be no public celebrations of Mass or Communion Services
  • The Celebration of Reconciliation is allowed ONLY in grave situations as well as Anointing of the Sick.

It was asked whether Parishes could consider a “Drive-thru” or “Drive-by” Blessing of Food / Easter Baskets. This practice would be absolutely forbidden. We are not to encourage people in any way  to leave the safety of their homes in this time of high alert emergency.

Fr Walter Szczesny



March 31, 2020

Th​e Catholic Diocese of Buffalo Office of the Apostolic Administrator

“Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread...because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

March 31, 2020

My Dear Brother Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Administrators and Associates,

These unprecedented days that require us to remain apart are, I realize, a difficult burden for our Faithful and for each of us as sacred ministers, particularly during this holy season of Lent. We are understandably “out of sorts” - deprived of the personal connections and the spiritual nourishment that the shared celebration of our sacramental life provides. Still, we have an obligation as ministers of souls - and with the care and concern of those we serve first and foremost - to observe the social distancing requirements that our public health officials have mandated during the ongoing coronavirus threat.

Recognizing that many of our parish communities are especially vulnerable given advanced age and underlying health issues, we must do everything that we can to prevent their exposure to the virus - even though it deprives them and us of the spiritual communion we crave. Particularly at this time, we would do well ​to reference and assert the passage from the Book of Lamentations: ​“‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.”

It is a source of great personal sadness for me that we will not be able to celebrate our Chrism Mass next week given the restrictions on public gatherings. I realize that this is a much anticipated opportunity for all priests to gather together in fraternal love and support for the blessing of holy oils and the enjoyment of the camaraderie that is so vital to our priestly ministry. We will most definitely identify an opportunity at the earliest possible moment to celebrate the Chrism Mass, when it is deemed safe for all and when the threat of the virus has subsided.

This also means, of course, that we will not gather together or celebrate publicly the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter. Similar to dioceses all over the country and world, we will implore the Faithful to unite together in prayer and in a spirit of true Christian solidarity during these most sacred days and to celebrate the Triduum and Easter Mass with us through the benefit of live-streaming technology. I will be presiding at Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil) from the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Albany. I realize that many of our parishes also offer live-streaming capability and I ask you to promote this regularly among your parish families. We have posted a resource page on the Diocesan website at: https://www.buffalodiocese.org/livestreams

The live-streamed liturgies of Holy Week and Easter that I will celebrate will be available on the Diocese of Albany website:​


and on the ​Diocese of Albany Facebook Page​ ​during the following times, with the exception of Easter Sunday:

  • Sunday, April 5, 11 a.m​. - ​Palm Sunday Mass
  • Holy Thursday, April 9, 5:30 p.m​. - ​Mass of the Lord’s Supper
  • Good Friday, April 10, 5:30 p.m​. - ​Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death
  • Holy Saturday, April 11, 8 p.m​. - ​Solemn Vigil of Easter
  • Easter Sunday, April 12, 11 a.m​. -​ Easter Mass,​ Father David R. LeFort, rector of the cathedral, presiding.

A number of you have asked about the distribution of blessed palms, beginning this coming Palm Sunday. Again, we must make every effort to discourage people from congregating - even in small numbers at parishes. There are also risks in making palms available on tables in church vestibules, given the likelihood that they would be handled by many individuals coming and going. ​As such, I ask your cooperation to prevent any risk of this kind and to refrain from distributing palms at this time​. Leaving the distribution of palms to varying discretion is simply not prudent in light of the difficulty of knowing how great the demand will be and how to effectively control the handling and distribution safely.

As we continue our Lenten journey toward the joy of His resurrection, let us unite constantly in prayerful support for one another with the sure knowledge that the Lord in His faithfulness will lead us through these days of uncertainty, calm our every fear and gather us together once again in His abiding love.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

The Most Reverend Edward B. Scharfenberger Apostolic Administrator


We have sent out the following press release:

March 30, 2020



On Sunday, December 8th, 2019, 10:30am the bells at Our Lady of  Mercy rang out for the first time since spring of 2017, after extensive work to replace the mechanisms that ring the bells, including the motors, the striker, and controller. The ceremonial ringing included a blessing of the new system by Fr. Matthew H. Phelan, O. de M., pastor.

Since that time, each day, from 8am to 8pm, the bells have tolled in clock tower fashion at the top of the hour with a single toll at the bottom of the hour. In addition, the Angelus bell—a call to prayer for Catholics—has rung at noon and 6 p.m. [The traditional 6am ring is bypassed out of respect for local codes.] On weekends, a call to prayer rings 5 minutes before each Sunday Mass.

This past weekend, a request was made by some neighbors to alter the ringing schedule out of consideration for health care professionals who were working overnight hours due to the COVID-19 crisis. The pastor decided to temporarily silence the bells in order to consult with the pastoral council and weigh the opinions of parishioners and the citizens of LeRoy. After a weekend of consultation, lively discussion through social media, silence, and prayerful consideration, it has been determined that bells shall be programmed according to the following parameters:

While the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) social distancing guidelines are in place for the State of New York:

  • The church bells will continue to ring the Angelus at noon and 6pm.
  • In addition to the Angelus, the bells will ring a traditional “death knell,” or funeral toll at 9am and 3pm to call to mind those who of have died due to this pandemic and as reminder to pray for all those who place their lives in danger for others.

The first day social distancing guidelines are lifted:

  • The bells will ring in celebration at 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • The funeral toll will ring at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • The Angelus will ring at noon and 6 p.m.

Following this day of both celebration and prayer, the bells will return to the previous ringing pattern that followed the repairs.



March 26, 2020


Unfortunately, there will be no Phather Phelan's Phriday Phish Pheast this week, Marcy 27, 2020. Our Phish Pheast operation will be operating as an emergency meal provider for the Village of Bergen this Friday. In cooperation with Bergen Mayor Anna Marie Barklay, and the Village of Bergen, Chef Don Antinore, Deacon Dave, Fr. Matthew, Fr. Ken, and a skeleton crew of volunteers from St. Brigid will be offering a simplified meal to those who depend on programs such as "Meals on Wheels." 

If possible, we will resurrect the Phish Pheast drive through for April 3rd. Stay tuned, and thank you for your understanding.


This week the Sunday online Masses (YouTube and FACEBOOK) will follow the following schedule:

Saturday, 4:30pm (Vigil Mass [Simulcast to the Our Faith, Our Hope, Our Love, Online Catholic Conference]) +Duke Merica


7:15am - +Members of the Lumley Family [LIVE]

9:00am - (Fr. Sasso will celebrate the intention for +Gilbert Andrade privately) Pro Populo [LIVE]

10:45am - +Mary Gattie [LIVE]

5:30pm - [Replay of the 9am Mass]


*********ST. BRIGID PARISHIONERS*********

March 21, 2020 - Afternoon/Evening

Earlier today I met online with those members of the pastoral council (and trustees) who were available. In our discussion, we decided that since there we have the physical distance between the friars (Fr. Matthew, Fr. Ken, and Br. Martin) and Bergen, I have asked the trustees and pastoral council in Bergen to assist in helping me to assist our parishioners in Bergen.

IF ANY PARISHIONER, or any member of the Bergen community, IS IN NEED OF NON-EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE (i.e. groceries, pharmacy pickups, etc.) TO ARRANGE ASSISTANCE DURING THIS TIME, PLEASE CONTACT (call or text):

Bob Bausch (797-9357)


Ted Darocha (737-6245)

In addition, we are in contact with Mayor Anne Barkley as we strive to coordinate with the local civic and faith community.

Also we have determined that it is prudent that St. Brigid Church remain locked for the time being (until restrictions are lifted that permit us to open the church). In addition to the updates here, please call 585-730-9452 or 585-330-6510 if you have questions regarding the church building.

*******LATEST FROM THE DIOCESE OF BUFFALO******* Fr. Matthew's comments in italics.

March 21, 2020 - Morning

[Due to the newest restrictions from the governor] if it is not possible or practical, [we] are not required to keep [our] parish church unlocked and open. 

Our Lady of Mercy, for the time being will be opened at about 6am and locked about 7pm. The front doors on Lake Street will be locked, and the two doors on the parking lot side of the church will be unlocked.

After an emergency meeting with available members of the Pastoral Council of St. Brigid, we have determined that it is prudent that St. Brigid remain locked for the time being. One consecrated host will be left in the tabernacle, so Jesus wholly present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity will remain present in Bergen. May he have mercy on us all. The thermostat in the church will be set at a temperature to prevent any freezing but keep costs at a minimum. 

... directives for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter will be forthcoming.

Please remember:

  • There are NOT to be any public celebrations, even outside including live Stations of the Cross
  • Currently there should be no public celebrations of Mass or Communion Services.
  • The Celebration of Reconciliation is allowed ONLY in grave situations as well as Anointing of the Sick. A priest may use a cotton-tipped swab or cotton ball as an instrument to anoint the sick person (cf. can. 1000§2). The priest dips the cotton swab in the Oil for the Sick.

This being the case... For RECONCILIATION... If you find yourself in a grave moral situation... call Fr. Ken 1(727) 403-1388 to inquire what you may do. 


We are rapidly working to put our own options in place... That being said...

[This if from Richard Suchan from the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo]

Hopefully you are able to electronically communicate with many if not most of your parishioners, providing them comfort and support during these extremely challenging times. It is likely that many are dealing with high anxiety and uncertainty, including but not limited to financial set-back as 401(k) balances nose-dive and employers curtail hours and payroll as their businesses become financially constrained as well.

As you reach out to provide spiritual comfort and link them to various on-line resources and reference materials, I encourage you to incorporate a gentle reminder that they are not alone in their financial struggles as the parish grapples to make payroll and cover utility costs during this pandemic.  If you have a means to facilitate electronic giving, this would be a good time to encourage its use.  Let them know that the US Mail service is still operating so they can also send their weekend offertory to your business office.  If your parish has not established electronic giving, on-line gifts can be made under the “GIVE TODAY” tab at www.frcdb.org.  In completing their gift, donors should indicate their parish by name so 100% of the proceeds are then sent back to you from the Foundation.

Finally, if you do receive gifts as a result of this outreach, I suggest you immediate acknowledge them via the same method they were received, electronically or through the Mail.     

With prayers for your health and safety,


Richard C. Suchan, CEBS & CWS®

Executive Director

The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo

*********Message from March 19**********

On Tuesday (March 17) , we received updated directives from the diocese. I shall share some of the "highlights" and discuss the impact on us at this time. The text from the Diocese of Buffalo will be in blue, my comments in black italics.

All efforts must be taken to reduce gatherings in order to present the spread of the coronavirus.  Adults over 60 years old with underlying medical conditions are most at risk but in Western New York, a 5 year-old child and adults in their 20’s & 30’s have been tested positive for the virus.  Each individual must do his or her part and be responsible by following the directives given to prevent, as much as possible, the spread of the virus.  We all have a social responsibility.

The Centers for Disease Control have now instructed that people do not gather in groups larger than ten (10) individuals and to follow social distancing instructions.  The places where people gather – restaurants, cafes, bars, gyms are now closed.  Preventing gatherings is the best approach for successful prevention.

Directives and suggestions for Palm Sunday and Holy Week will be forthcoming as soon as possible. This is an indication that this could last past Easter!

The principles underlying the instructions for each sacrament or liturgy as detailed below:

  • Following the advice of entities such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the directives of governmental authorities (For example: limits to gathering size, following other guidelines such as hygiene/sanitizing, social distance etc.)
  • Following Canon Law and General Liturgical norms
  • Balancing an abundance of caution with pastoral and spiritual care. It is obviously the case that the sacraments and other liturgies give the gift of grace, as well as providing spiritual comfort and strength.
  • Especially protecting the elderly and vulnerable, our priests, deacons, and other lay ministers
  • Engaging everyone in fulfilling our common responsibility for self-care and care of neighbor.
  • Checking the Diocesan website for resources for praying at home, examples of ‘spiritual communion’, live-streaming Mass etc.
  • Churches should remain open as much as possible to provide the opportunity for prayer We are doing this at Our Lady of Mercy...
  • These Instructions are subject to change as the situation develops Please do you best to keep checking here. Thing develop so quickly it is difficult to keep up. Please call and share with everyone you know. Do not assume that everyone knows what is going on. And if 30 people call you to see if you have heard the "latest development", be patient with them and thank them.


            It is for the reason of preventing the spread of the coronavirus that Masses and other gatherings across the Diocese have been cancelled.  While priests are to celebrate Mass daily, those Masses MUST be celebrated WITHOUT a congregation. 

            Parish Churches should be open for the faithful to pray – again following social distancing instructions.  Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, and other devotions should not be communal.

            EASTER DUTY consists of the faithful receiving Communion at least once a year fulfilled during the Easter season.  This obligation may be fulfilled between March 1 (First Sunday of Lent) and June 7 (Trinity Sunday).  Hopefully restrictions will be lifted and the faithful will have the opportunity to fulfill this obligation within the proscribed time. 

            Catholic are also bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.  Many utilize the season of Lent to fulfill this obligation.  Once restrictions are lifted, it may possible to offer Reconciliation Services during the Easter Season. [See below]

The document then gives instructions to the priests and parish leaders. All Masses, Communion Services, and Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest celebrated in public are canceled. All priests are encouraged to celebrate Mass daily WITHOUT a congregation (i.e. not publicly). The also encourage us, if we are celebrating the Mass in the church, to do at different times (i.e. we are not to do it at the same time everyday or according to some recognizable pattern). However, we are celebrating and fulfilling ALL scheduled intentions. We have been encouraged to Livestream Masses online. FR. KEN AND I ARE CELEBRATING ALL OF THE DAILY MASSES AT THE REGULAR SCHEDULED TIMES FROM OUR HOUSE CHAPEL.


Once there, scroll and look for the live streaming video. This is a work in progress, and we are getting better at it day by day. I will ask our webmaster if we can somehow embed the YouTube livefeed.

We have been instructed:

  • Priests should not bring Holy Communion to the faithful outside of church other than viaticum.
  • The Catholic faithful are encouraged to make a ‘spiritual communion’. St. John Paul II writes that “it is good to cultivate in our hearts a constant desire for the sacrament of the Eucharist”. This was the origin of the practice of ‘spiritual communion’, which has happily been established in the Church for centuries and recommended by saints who were masters of the spiritual life. Saint Teresa of Jesus wrote: ‘When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.’” (Ecclesia Eucharistia, no. 34)

Please stop in the church to get a bulletin this weekend. There is a spiritual communion prayer that you can cut out and place in your prayer books. Also, at the daily Mass, we will try to put this prayer on the screen right after the priest receives communion...


  • The strong preference would be to reschedule. Baptisms may be celebrated provided that ALL the principles given above can be strictly adhered to. This would indicate individual baptisms outside of Mass with the immediate family.  We have begun work on guidelines for Holy Week pertaining to those whose baptism is planned for the Easter Vigil.


  • All Confirmations have been postponed until further notice and will be rescheduled.  We have begun work on guidelines for Holy Week pertaining to those whose Confirmation is planned for the Easter Vigil.

This is certainly disappointing, as we were looking forward to the Archbishop of the Military Services visiting us to confirm our candidates. 


  • NO communal reconciliation services.
  • All priests are advised not to conduct one-on-one confessions due to the risks this poses to both the penitent and priest.

This also is extremely painful to all of us, especially in this penitential season of Lent. We are diligently brainstorming and proposing creative methods for hearing confessions. Some of you have forwarded me ideas from priest around the country, and although I love some of these solutions, not every diocese has the same directives and not every parish has the same physical layout. In the mean time, if you are concerned about any serious sin, we will be available at the regular confession times. Canon Law provides for situations such as these, so during the scheduled confession times, this is the process.

  • At Our Lady of Mercy, the priest will be at the entrance to the parish center.
  • At St. Brigid, the priest will be at the entrance to the parish hall.
  • The penitent can approach, maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet. The penitent then asks for absolution.
  • The priest will give a general absolution under the condition that the penitent agrees to CONFESS ANY MORTAL OR GRAVE SINS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN CONFESSED AS SOON AS INDIVIDUAL AURICULAR CONFESSION RESUMES. This is not a "get out of jail free" card, but it is true absolution. If you were to die unexpectedly, you would not die in a state of mortal sin. However, an INTENTIONAL failure to confess the grave sins committed before the genera absolution, when the opportunity arises, is itself a grave sin. Again. I stress INTENTIONAL.

Anointing of The Sick

  • All precautions should be taken when visiting and anointing the sick at home, in nursing homes, and hospitals. Please check with hospital administration about required protocols and visitations. We have been advised that hospitals are restricting access.

If you or loved ones are in need of anointing in a hospital or nursing home, let the nursing home staff know so they can assist us in keeping everyone safe.


  • Weddings that are celebrated may be attended only by close family and in accordance with social distancing and capacity requirements.

Our next wedding is about 5 months or so away, so we pray that this will not still affect us at that time. For wedding preparation, we will have to work out an electronic solution.


  • Funerals may be attended only by close family and in accordance with social distancing and capacity requirements. Preference remains for the Funeral service to be a Mass. Families should be offered the opportunity to celebrate a memorial mass after restrictions have been lifted.  Burial is always appropriate, but must adhere to guidelines limiting attendance.  Please ensure that the Funeral Directors know of these instructions.

Sacramentals & Devotions (Stations of the Cross, Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Communal Adoration, etc.)

  • As with public Masses, it can be very difficult to maintain the principles given above. Until further notice, there should be no COMMUNAL devotions, although individual/private devotions are strongly encouraged, whether in a church or at home. Perpetual Adoration Chapels should remain open where possible, provided that the principles listed above are maintained (numbers, capacity etc.) 
  • Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is an excellent way to connect the faithful to the Eucharist during this trying time. (Emphasis added here.) All liturgical norms should be followed as usual, including someone in constant attendance before the Eucharist.  However, scheduling a specific time or announcing when benediction might occur may become a public health concern, especially as time goes on and more people become aware of the celebration.

We will be planning exposition times. Our parishioners on social media will be in regular contact with me. Please check back on this page for adoration times. This will involve the simple exposition and reposition of the Blessed Sacrament (No hymns, incense, or benediction). Church norms do allow me to permit EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION to expose and repose the Blessed Sacrament in this manner when a cleric is not available. So, if I permit this--especially at St. Brigid--please do not harass the EMHC that I have asked to do this.

Chrism Mass

  • We have already begun the process of exploring how Chrism Mass and the distribution of Holy Oils would be conducted if participants are limited at this Mass. Thank you for your patience; more information will be forthcoming.

Holy Week

  • We have already begun the process of exploring how Holy Week would be conducted if the faithful are not admitted to services or Masses. Thank you for your patience; more information will be forthcoming.

Further Suggestions:

            It is important for parishes to retain contact with parishioners.  Now is an appropriate time to create parish phone trees, collect email address, advertise and utilize parish websites and other social media platforms.

            Consider the following communications as posts or videos (if possible)

                        Live-stream Mass web addresses

                        Spiritual Communion

                        Stations of the Cross

                        Sharing Daily Readings & reflections

                        Stressing Health Best Practices

There are other issues regarding employees that don't need to be shared here. If any of our pastoral council or finance council has any questions or concerns, you may contact me, Fr. Matthew. 

The lack of offertory obviously will have a serious impact on your financial situation.

This is a gross understatement. For those who are able to still make contributions to help us pay the electric, internet, and phone bills there are two "candle contribution" boxes. One is in the back of the church. As you face the altar from the back of the church, one box is to the far right of the handicap pews (across from the Holy Water tank. The other is to the left of the ramp by the confessionals by the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

This week (Friday, March 20) we have adapted our PHATHER PHELAN'S PHRIDAY PHISH PHEAST to a drive through (i.e. extremely limited human contact) format. People have reserved their orders in 5 minute increments beginning at 4:30pm and ending at 7:00pm. Those who have order will enter, by vehicle preferably, the south lot (across from the former St. Joseph Church). Hopefully, within a minute or two of their reservation time, they will approach (by vehicle if that is how they arrived) the first set of doors toward the south end of the parish center. A volunteer will verify their order and receive the donation. They will then pull ahead to the next set of doors (by the parish office) to received their order. If you have ordered, please be on time. Your order will be prepared at the time reserved whether you are there or not. So if you are late, the food will get cold. As of Thursday, March 19th at 7:47 pm, we still have times available, especially between 6 pm and 7 pm. Please call or text 585-709-2764 (preferably before 2 pm, Friday, March 20) to order.