A Recap of Suspensions and Dispensations in Effect in the Diocese of St. Augustine Until Further Notice
March 24, 2020
From the Office of Bishop Felipe Estevez:
All public Masses are suspended in the churches and chapels of the Diocese of St. Augustine (i.e., no weekday or Sunday public Masses, no communion services, or Masses in homes).
Priests will still offer the Sacrifice of the Mass daily (but without participation by the faithful) for the needs of the Church and the world, especially as we face the present realities of the pandemic.
Indefinite dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass for three categories of people for as long as the specific condition below continues:
All who are sick and those who are caring for them
Those who because of age or infirmity are at higher risk for contracting the coronavirus
Those who have been exposed to the coronavirus because of travel or other circumstances
To further protect public health and calm fears, Bishop Estévez has also dispensed all the Catholic faithful from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until the suspension of Mass is rescinded.
By his authority as the diocesan bishop to dispense from universal ecclesiastical laws, Bishop Estévez has also dispensed all Catholics from the prohibition during Lent this year to abstain from meat on Fridays.
When families and individuals take advantage of this dispensation, they are asked to consider other acts of penance or charity that they might carry out in its place.
Spiritual Communion In the absence of Mass and the Eucharist, the faithful are encouraged to make a “Spiritual Communion” through the prayer of the Most Holy Redeemer (Anima Christi), the prayer of Self-Offering (Suscipe), or by praying the prayer below:
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.
It is with an abundance of care and concern regarding the potential spread of the coronavirus that Bishop Estevez wishes to make it clear that until further notice, all public Masses in the Diocese of St. Augustine are suspended. You are reminded that the Bishop has dispensed the faithful from their Sunday Mass obligation. Therefore, all Masses and activities at St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s are also suspended until further notice. St. Paul’s Church will be open for individual prayer from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday and from 8:00 to 10:00am on Saturday with a maximum capacity of 10 parishioners at a time.
We regret that the church will not be open on Sundays.
The rectory will remain open during the week for emergency calls only. These actions are taken as reasonable and responsible measures to support the work of medical authorities and the local government. During this time, we trust in the loving providence of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the intercession of our Blessed Mother. Please continue to unite in prayer for each other as we remain one in mind and heart.