Information regarding COVID-19 

 

March 31, 2020: No Distribution of Palms

Due to the ongoing and growing threat of the novel coronavirus throughout Western New York, there will be no distribution of palms during Palm Sunday weekend or in the days following.  We sincerely regret this development.  However, due to the inability to ensure the safe handling of palms, and in order to prevent risk to those most vulnerable to the coronavirus, this additional precaution has been required.  

We thank you for your understanding and continue to encourage all of the Diocese of Buffalo to stay united in prayer for those who have succumbed or are afflicted due to the virus, as well as their loved ones. We especially ask your prayers for our devoted medical professionals who continue to demonstrate heroic and selfless service to so many, even while risking their own well-being, during this unprecedented time.

 

March 20, 2020: Video Message from Bishop Scharfenberger

  • There are NOT to be any public celebrations. even outside including live Stations of the Cross.
  • No public celebrations of Mass or Communion Services.
  • The Celebration of Reconciliation (Confession) is allowed ONLY in grave situations as well as Anointing of the Sick.
  • There is no distribution of Palms for Palm Sunday (Addition on March 31, 2020)

March 15, 2020: Public Masses Cancelled
Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger announces that
there will be no regularly scheduled public Masses in the Diocese of Buffalo until further notice due to an abundance of caution and growing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus. Churches may remain open, as locally feasible, and the faithful are encouraged to continue to visit and pray while maintaining a prudent distance from one another. In addition, all other parish events and large gatherings are to be postponed, including Confirmations. Funerals will continue to be conducted, though with only immediate family present until further notice.

  • 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.
  • Reconciliation: NO communal reconciliation services.
  • Funerals may be attended only by close family and in accordance with social distancing and capacity requirements. Please note that gatherings should not be more than 10 people in total.
  • Weddings: It is recommended to consider postponing weddings given the many preparations involved and required of parish staff. 
  • Baptisms celebrations should be limited to immediate family only if they cannot be postponed.
  • Holy Week: All Masses during Holy Week will be live streamed and the schedule can be found here.

March 15, 2020: All Catholic schools are closed
All Catholic elementary schools in Western New York are closed today, Monday, March 16, 2020 due to emergency declarations by the Governor of New York and area county governments.  Starting Tuesday, March 17th, all schools will remain closed for various lengths of time.  Schools in the City of Buffalo and in Erie County are closed until Monday, April 20th.  Niagara, Genesee, Chautauqua and Allegany Counties have closed schools until further notice.  Cattaraugus County has closed their schools until Monday, April 13th Additional information about schools and home study instruction is available HERE.
 

As we face these circumstances together, let’s make the most of the additional time it provides us to reflect, recharge and renew our energies, our resolve and ultimately our Faith. In many ways, we’re experiencing very much what the early Christians experienced in facing persecution for their faith. They were prohibited from congregating and celebrating their faith publicly. They remained in homes and gathered as families and small groups to speak about their faith, to pray and to remember Jesus who called them to be His disciples.  And their faith grew, became stronger, and ultimately their faith became ours.

Together we will move forward stronger, healthier and holier, let us as family, pray our way through this, share what we are learning and experience and listen to the Holy Spirit, who teaches and reminds all to look at Christ crucified and to claim the mercy that flows from his side. Let us continue to pray for all those affected by COVID-19, including those caring for the sick and for one another.

We thank you for your understanding and continue to encourage all of the Diocese of Buffalo to stay united in prayer for those who have succumbed or are afflicted due to the virus, as well as their loved ones. We especially ask your prayers for our devoted medical professionals who continue to demonstrate heroic and selfless service to so many, even while risking their own well-being, during this unprecedented time.

 

"As the faith community of Western New York, we have an important part to play in protecting those most vulnerable and those with underlying medical issues during this period of extreme concern over the spread of the coronavirus," said Bishop Scharfenberger. "I realize how deeply disappointing it is during our season of Lent to refrain from gathering at public Masses and participating together in our liturgical life, but we must avoid the risk of wider infection. I encourage the faithful, nonetheless, to pray fervently during this time when we must be apart and to continue their Lenten journey within families and in the quiet of their own prayerful reflection, knowing that Christ abides with us always and in every place."

 

 Further guidance will be provided regarding April and May as developments become clear.