While we all pray for an end to this emergency and for healing and comfort for those who are afflicted with the Coronavirus, we are sharing some answers to some of the questions people have had.
Are palms still being distributed on Palm Sunday
Yes. While there will be no public celebration of the Mass, we will be having a “Palms Drive-through” at Saint Mary Church, 1600 Main St, Coventry at Noon on Palm Sunday (April 5). Palms will be handed to you by gloved volunteers while you remain in your car.
What about Masses?
All public Masses have been suspended until further notice. The Diocese of Norwich is maintaining a webpage at https://www.norwichdiocese.org/coronavirus with details.
We have worked diligently to install the infrastructure to live-stream Masses at Our Lady Queen of Peace for the short and long term.
We are livestreaming the Mass from Saint Thomas Aquinas Chapel on our OLQOP parish website:
- Saturday, 4pm
- Sunday, 9am
- Monday, 9am
- Tuesday, 9am
- Friday, 9am
We are also planning to livestream Holy Week services
You can visit our parish website to participate in the Mass in the livestreams and to see archives of past streams. The archive is at https://stmary-stthomas.community/Resources/Video
How do we keep Sunday Holy & participate in Virtual Mass?
As we are all adapting to this new temporary "lifestyle", here are some suggestions on how to keep Sunday Holy and how to participate in Virtual Mass:
Watch a recording or livestream of the Mass
Gather as a family, with a small group of friends or neighbors or by yourself, and watch the Mass.
Visit our parish website at http://olqop.com/ or https://stmary-stthomas.community/ to watch a livestream or a recording of the Mass celebrated by our pastor, or see one of the TV Masses.
We can make an offering in our heart to be united spiritually to this offering.
We should silence our phones, eliminate (as best we can!) distractions in our home, and try to give all of our attention to what is happening at the Mass so we can fully participate in this remote way, just as we would in person.
Make a Spiritual Communion
While we are temporarily unable to receive the Eucharist at Mass, the Church encourages us to make an act of “spiritual communion,” where we unite ourselves to God through prayer. It is a beautiful way to express to God our desire to be united with him when we are unable to complete that union in the reception of Holy Communion.
“My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.”
– Spiritual Communion Prayer of Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Read the Sunday readings individually or as a family
Reading Scripture individually or together with others — especially in our families — is an excellent spiritual practice.
By thinking about the readings, asking questions, and listening to how God might respond in your heart, the Sunday readings can provide spiritual nourishment to you and your loved ones.
During this time of “social distancing,” you could also reach out to a friend from church to have this conversation together.
The daily readings are always available at www.usccb.org/bible/readings. (Remember that the normal Saturday 4pm Mass uses the Sunday readings. The Easter Vigil Mass has its own special set of readings.)
Check in on those around you
It is a great act of charity to reach out to these brothers and sisters in our faith communities to check in on them.
The elderly person you may sit near at Mass each weekend may be home alone and lonely. If you have a way of reaching out to them, please do so.
Pray a family Rosary
Praying the Rosary as a family is a way to be united to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of the Church. She is the perfect model of a disciple and our great intercessor.
Is the Adoration Chapel open?
No. the Adoration Chapel is closed, however both churches are open during the day so you can still go there and pray before the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the Tabernacle.
Will there be Confessions offered?
Confessions are offered at the usual times – Saturday 3pm at Saint Mary Church, and Sunday 8am at Saint Thomas Aquinas Chapel. Adaptations must be made to keep you and the priest apart for your mutual protection. There is no communal reconciliation celebration scheduled at this time because of the ban on public gatherings.
What about receiving the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick?
Anointing of the Sick will be strictly for those in danger of death. The emergency number for anointing of the sick and dying is 860-336-9179.
What about baptisms?
Baptisms are still possible based on pastoral urgency
What about funerals?
Please call one of the local funeral homes who will then get in contact with our staff. The Funeral Mass will not be open to the public at this time, but there are several options.
What about ministry to the sick and homebound?
Ordinary in-person visits to the sick and homebound have stopped for the duration of this emergency.
If you know of someone who is alone or does not have access to internet and would benefit from a personal "checking-in" phone call from the parish, please call or email the parish and provide us with their contact information and we will do our best to reach out to them
Are ministries and organizations still holding meetings?
No. All parish meetings have been canceled. The Red Cross Blood Drives are still being held and some AA meetings might still be held.
Are Faith Formation sessions being held?
No. All Faith Formation sessions are suspended.
Are the Parish Offices open?
Yes and No. The Parish Offices are currently closed to the public. You may always contact us via email or phone. Phone messages will be checked periodically. The parish staff is currently working regular hours from home whenever possible and meeting regularly via videoconference. There is much work that still needs to be done.
How can I continue to support our Parish Offertory if all our Masses are being cancelled?
We know that many of our parish families may be struggling financially right now due to the current situation, so supporting your family takes priority. However, if you are able to help to financially support our parish, we would be grateful. The parish expenses have not stopped accruing and we are still doing our best to meet the needs of our parish community. Here are some ways you can contribute to the parish:
· OPTION 1: Mail-in your weekly offertory to: Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, 46 N Eagleville Rd, Storrs, CT 06268
· OPTION 2: Contribute electronically via your computer at https://stmarystthomascommunity.weshareonline.org
Are we still collecting food for the needy?
Yes. The collection boxes are still located in our churches, and the churches are open during the day.
How is the parish staying in touch with its parishioners?
We will continue to update our website with the most current information
We are sending out parish wide emails.
I received an email that Father John needs my help.
Unfortunately, scammers are also still at work during this time of emergency. Father John has not and will not contact you needing you to purchase gift cards or transfer money to him in any way. If you receive an email of this type, please report it to the parish and to the sender's email provider.
I have a question.
Contact the Parish and we will be happy to help you.
How do I contact the Parish?
At Saint Thomas Aquinas – 860-429-6436
Father John Antonelle - Pastor
At Saint Mary – 860-742-0681
Kathleen D’Amelio DRE
You are not alone. Stay safe, everyone, and keep the faith.