(at Suite 111, Ashland Park Condo #1)
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Regarding actions and precautions being taken by our Mission Parish during this time of tumult and uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus and the associated infection being referred to as COVID-19, the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America has issued the following instructions and guidance:
For St. Sebastian Mission Parish, it is clear that we are to take this VERY seriously. In light of Archbishop Peter’s direction, as stated in the Diocesan announcement provided in the link above, as well as knowledge of directives from the State of Michigan Executive Branch of Government, we will follow the specifics provided below until at least April 12, 2020:
1. All services ARE BEING CANCELLED out through April 12. We await any revised directions to the public from our State of Michigan Executive Branch. For Reader Services on each Sunday, the full service text will be prepared, as usual, and then sent out by email to those on our current email distribution list. In addition, the precautions and safeguards, as previously communicated, will continue, even when services are reinstated, as follows:
2. When coming to the cross after a Divine Liturgy there will not be a veneration of the Cross, but the holy bread will be distributed without the cross. The distribution of the prosphora (holy bread) will occur either by use of tongs, or the use of a sanitary food-serving glove.
3. After the Reader Service each Sunday, the moleben "In Time of Destructive Pestilence & Deadly Plague" will be held until the pandemic has passed.
4. To state the seriousness of the threat: this is a war. We must address this threat “head-on”. Statistics from countries having already experienced large numbers of victims show that the number of confirmed cases of infection from COVID-19 is only a small percentage (14% based on studied numbers) of the total number of the population with the infection, but not yet with symptoms. Thus, the number of un-diagnosed “carriers” is very high compared with those confirmed as infected.
We are citizens of our country and our state. Our national and state (and local) health officials are asking us to do our best not to spread COVID-19 for a very good reason: so that the health system is not overwhelmed at the beginning of the outbreak. In Italy they did not take this seriously enough. Because of that, people have died that could have been saved – if only there had been enough ventilators and ICU beds. But there were not because they thought this was all hysteria. Of course, there is plenty of hysteria around (witness the panic buying of toilet paper and many other common items). But what all are being asked to do is NOT hysteria. It is wise. Let us be wise. Let us pray for wisdom. And for God’s mercy on us all.
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