Archbishop William E. Lori addressed the following message to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Baltimore:
March 18, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
As Catholics, we hold the Eucharist to be the very “source and summit” of Christian life. When we receive the Blessed Sacrament, we receive Christ Himself – body, blood, soul and divinity. The Eucharist gives us spiritual nourishment and helps empower us to serve others as Christ served us. It is a precious gift born of our Savior’s love for us.
One of the most painful and difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make as your archbishop was to limit Masses in the Archdiocese of Baltimore to private celebrations without the physical presence of the faithful. I know the profound sense of hurt so many of our people are experiencing without the ability to receive our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
Know that I did not make this decision lightly.
I have been in ongoing contact with state leaders and public health professionals, as well as with the clergy and lay leaders of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Those consultations convinced me that we must do all we can to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus in our community, even if it means we may not be able to receive the Eucharist for what may be a significant period of time. This is for the wellbeing not only of the faithful of our Archdiocese, but for all the people of Maryland.
During this time of uncertainty, I encourage you to remain strong in your faith and stay connected to your parish. Many of the parishes throughout the Archdiocese have been broadcasting Masses and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on social media or through radio or other means. You can find a list of those offerings, which is constantly being updated, by clicking here.
Please look for your parish in the myParish App to receive information about what’s happening in your local faith community. You will receive instant notifications, participate in online Masses, daily Mass readings, archdiocesan and international news, prayers, broadcasts of the Catholic Baltimore radio show and so much more. You may download the App in the Apple App Store here or through Google Play here.
I have been offering daily Lenten reflections as a way of helping us prepare for Easter. Those messages are posted to the archdiocesan YouTube channel as videos here or as audio files on our SoundCloud channel here.
The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen has been livestreaming its 11 a.m. Mass on Sundays, which I have the privilege of celebrating. You may find that live broadcast by visiting www.archbalt.org or by logging onto the archdiocesan Facebook page at 11 a.m. on Sundays. MeTV Baltimore will also air those Masses over the air on Channel 11.2, on Comcast on channel 208 and on FiOS on channel 460. The Masses will will re-air on WCBM AM-680 at 7 p.m. every Sunday.
We have also begun a novena to our Blessed Virgin Mary, asking for her intercession and protection from the coronavirus. If you have already started that nine-day period of prayer, please continue. If not, it’s not too late to begin the novena anytime. For more information, including audio and downloads of the prayer, click here.
I humbly ask you to remember that the needs of our parishes in serving the poor, providing ongoing maintenance, staffing programs and keeping up operations are continuing throughout this crisis. Please continue to provide financial support to your parish by mailing your contribution or checking with your parish about automatic giving opportunities.
I realize that many are experiencing economic hardship with the stresses the pandemic have placed on our national economy. All those who are suffering at this time are not forgotten and remain in my prayers. Visit Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul Baltimore to learn how we are doing our best to serve those in need under difficult circumstances.
I encourage you to visit the archdiocesan coronavirus response page here. All of the resources I described above can be accessed there, in addition to other helpful materials, news articles, commentary and more about the pandemic. I also strongly encourage you to sign up for the Catholic Review’s twice-a-week enewsletter, which provides the latest news coverage. You may sign up here or by texting CRMedia to 84576.
Know that you are constantly in my prayers. It is our shared faith in Jesus Christ and our confidence in Him that will get us through this challenging time.
Archbishop William E. Lori