It was announced by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre on March 16 that due to government guidelines regarding the spread of the Corona virus, “all Masses (weekday and weekend), liturgies, devotions, meetings, and non-essential activities in our parishes are suspended or postponed through Tuesday, April 14.
“In my 36 years as a priest and for all my 63 years of life, I cannot recall a time when the church just cancelled everything, including masses, including Holy Week, including Easter,” Father Ralph Sommer, pastor of Saint Bernard’s parish in Levittown, said>
But it has just happened. “Love God with your whole heart…love your neighbor.” This cancelling is the “love your neighbor” part. Since government officials have determined that the Corona Virus is so dangerous that public assembly could be life threatening (as it has been in Italy and other parts of the world), the loving thing to do is to not gather in groups, including churches.
While the formal liturgies will be available from the diocese online, Saint Bernard’s will be open for private prayer each day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. People are welcomed to stop in to pray. The church offices, including the food pantry, will also be open to serve the public.
“Though the church’s public prayer has been suspended, the church still exists as a caring community which is ready and willing to serve the community. We encourage people to give up hoarding for Lent, and instead share generously with those in need. We encourage praying for each other and letting that prayer guide the ways we look after each other in these challenging times,” Father Sommer said.
Ongoing updates are available at the parish website: www.stbernardchurch.org.