St. Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Church : COVID-19 Response Updates
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I write to assure you of my prayers during this distressing time and as promised wants to give you few updates. We must be prudent as the virus spreads. Let us rely on the good judgement of health care officials and government leaders. We are following the guidance of county, state, and federal government and health officials. Based on President Trump’s guidance on not having a meeting/gathering with not more than 10 people and based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, effective immediately, I am suspending Holy Qurbana for public at our church.
I will be celebrating Holy Qurbana daily privately and that Holy Qurbana will be live streamed for you based on the weekly schedule. You may watch the Holy Qurbana at: http://stalphonsachurch.org/live/. For those who want to receive Holy Communion, they may come to church anytime between 5 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily (Monday- Saturday) – either myself or Deacon Melvin will give you the Holy Communion. You may receive the Holy Communion and leave immediately – as I don’t want more than 10 people in the premises. I will update you about Sunday schedule and Sunday Holy Communion services by Saturday. If anyone wish to have the Sacrament of Confession, please call me and I will make myself available.
As mentioned before, Bishop Jacob Angadiath, by the authority vested in him, dispensed all of us from attending Sunday Holy Qurbana during this crisis. So you are not obligated to attend Holy Qurbana on Sundays as required by the precepts of the Church. As people of God, we must be united in prayer and united in hope. I invite you to pray for health care workers, first responders, and all who are and will offer compassionate service and healing in the days to come.
2 Chronicles 7: 13-14 says, “If I close heaven so that there is no rain, if I command the locust to devour the land, if I send pestilence among my people, if then my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and heal their land”. Let us pray fervently to God Almighty for His Mercy. Above all, let us pray for those who are ill with the Coronavirus, for their healing and comfort, and strength and peace for their families. Let us also pray for those who have died because of the virus. People of prayer are never helpless – never hopeless.
The wise advice of one’s physician is a gift from the Lord not to be ignored: “From God the doctor has wisdom” (Sirach 38:2). You are excused from your Sunday Holy Qurbana obligation in situations where there is a physical or moral impossibility. Nevertheless, the precept remains of keeping the Lord’s Day holy, which requires that we refrain from servile work on Sunday and increase our love of the Lord and charity to others through prayer and service. Where possible, participation in a broadcast (EWTN or Shalom) of the Sunday Holy Qurbana and Spiritual Holy Communion (If you are not able to come to Church receive the Body of Christ) are advised.
The Sacred Scripture also admonishes us: “When you are ill, do not delay, but pray to God for it is he who heals” (Sirach 38:9). It is particularly important to heed this counsel in this sacred season. During these days of Great Lent, as we reflect daily on Christ’s passion, in our prayers we recognize that He is journeying with us during this time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. This truly is a Lent like no other. Let us entrust ourselves to Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Health (Vailankanni Matha), patron for those who suffer illness. Through her intercession, may God grant healing and protection to the people of our Parish and beyond. And let us, by the courageous hope with which we face the challenge of the virus’ spread, give witness to our confidence in the good news of the Lord’s victory over suffering and death.