Letter from Fr. Whittington
My dear friends in Christ,
It is with great joy that I can now present to you the initial plan for reopening our
churches and the resuming of the public celebration of the sacraments! Today,
Archbishop Thompson released a three-phase plan for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. This plan is a framework for local parishes and organizations to adapt to the circumstances of the local and county communities and their unique circumstances regarding the current COVID-19 situation.
Each parish community in our Archdiocese will be using the same framework for the
phasing back in of ministry and sacraments; however, each of the phases has a standard decision-making tool to determine if the parish is ready for the next step. Because of that, you might notice that the start date for individual parishes for each phase could be a little different. I am very grateful that the Archbishop has provided both a standard decision-making tool as well as a master framework for the Archdiocese while allowing appropriate latitude for local circumstances. The entire document is available on the website of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
Due to the nature of multiple phases, I would like to address only “Phase I: Reopening Churches for private prayer, devotions and the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance.” This is permitted in the Archdiocese on or after Wednesday, May 13, 2020 depending on local restrictions and positive results of the decision-making tool.
With that in mind, I am pleased to announce that we will be able to open both
churches for personal prayer on Wednesday, May 13. On that day St. Anthony will
be open during day-time hours as normal. On the same day, St. Nicholas will be
restarting 24-hour Eucharistic Adoration in the main body of the church beginning at
9am. The following notes are important:
• If you are high risk (65 years old and older and/or serious health conditions)
the governor is still asking you to remain home
• If you are symptomatic or not fully released from your doctor from +COVID-19
diagnosis, you should not come to church
• You are asked to maintain safe social distancing at all times (6 foot space when
longer than momentary proximity)
• You are asked not to gather for social interaction with those outside your
household while on campus
• There should be no common books or devotionals left in church
• You are asked to sanitize the touchpoints of the door and then your hands upon
entry (will be provided at entry of church)
• Should you cough or sneeze with an uncovered mouth, you are asked to sanitize
the surfaces around you before leaving (sanitizer will be provided in church)
• You are recommended to wear a homemade mask or surgical mask while inside,
while we are working on securing some to provide, we don’t yet have any
• Public restrooms are not available at St Anthony. You are asked to sanitize the
bathroom at St Nicholas when you are finished. Sanitizer will be provided in the
Regarding the Sacrament of Penance, the practical details are not yet worked out. Having said that, the initial plan is to provide a few hours of confessions outside each day, weather permitting, at both parishes. Because of the requirements of social distancing and ventilation, I need everyone’s patience as we continue to work out the details. More information will be communicated about this in the coming days. Available times and locations will be sent by FlockNote text message when they are scheduled.
Phase II is about the resuming of daily mass (on or after May 19th) and Phase III is about resuming Sunday mass (on or after May 23rd). Each of those phases also needs to be determined using the decision-making tool provided by the Archdiocese. We are already at work assessing our options and making plans and hope to bring be ready at the earliest possible permitted date. Your continued patience and understanding is appreciated.
This has been a challenging time for all of us. Many have experienced feelings of loneliness, frustration, or even anger. Everyone’s patience has been tried at times and sometimes moments of despair have crept in. There have also been times of self-less love and care for others. We all share a common memory of an event that changed the world, but we also don’t yet know the ways in which our own lives and the lives of others have been changed. I am sure that each of us have moments of the past weeks that we are proud of and moments of the past weeks that we are not so proud of. All our lives are different because of this, and some lives in this world have ended during or because of this. Many things are different now, but one remains the same: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever; He
is calling you to be a Saint! Let us continue to lift each other up in prayer.
Yours in the Risen Christ,
Fr. Shaun P. Whittington
on Friday, May 8 at 3:42PM