Article Published



Feature News | Wednesday, April 01, 2020

No palms, no confessions this weekend

Archbishop Wenski calls for two-week halt to 'any activity encouraging people to leave their home'

English Spanish

MIAMI | Archbishop Thomas Wenski has written to archdiocesan priests to ask them to refrain from offering “drive through” palms, confessions or holy Communion or “any similar type of activity” that would encourage people to leave their homes for at least the next two weeks.

The archbishop sent his letter April 1, 2020, the same day that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“These next two weeks, our health professionals tell us will be very critical — with more people becoming infected and more deaths,” Archbishop Wenski wrote. “Because many people who are infected may not have any symptoms, the best way to mitigate risk is to practice social isolation and, if one has symptoms or has possibly been exposed, or has an underlying health problem, to self-quarantine.”

Miami-Dade and Broward counties lead the state in confirmed coronavirus cases, which totaled 6,955 statewide as of April 1, with 890 hospital admissions and 87 deaths. Since March 29, the cases in Florida have grown by over 800 each day. Broward has tallied over 1,200 cases and 12 deaths; Miami-Dade has about 2,200 cases and 7 deaths. Statewide, about 10% of those tested have come back positive for the virus.

“Because of the need for everyone to observe extreme social distance, and to follow civil authorities’ instructions to remain at home as much as possible to mitigate the risks of spreading the virus, it is not prudent for parishes to plan any activity that would encourage people to leave their homes,” the archbishop wrote (emphasis his). “Therefore, parishes are not to offer ‘drive through’ palms, confessions or Holy Communion or any similar type of activity.”

He added that “parishes should still be open to respond to calls from parishioners” and “respond to emergencies,” including visiting the sick in the hospital —if permitted to do so — while taking all needed precautions.

He also urged pastors to continue livestreaming Masses and other liturgical services during Holy Week — as many are already doing — so their parishioners can participate “remotely online or through other social media.”

He also suggested that, on Palm Sunday, parishioners could place a palm frond on their door as “most yards in South Florida have some type of palm in them.”

Comments from readers

Edward Garcia - 04/08/2020 11:25 PM
Archbishop, as one of your parishioners, I humbly beg for your consideration: an offer to your flock, a means of obtaining Absolution without placing anyone in harms way. In these extreme times, there exists a low cost alternative. Establish a Virtual interface Computer where the priest & penitent are connected virtually live with sound. This closely emulates the confessional. The coronavirus spread can be avoided by scheduled online appointments with sinners from the safety of their homes. Priests can rotate thru sessions or arrange hours of availability. Bishop please consider your flock who are not currently living in Grace. Luke 1:68-79 NABRE. Anyone seeking absolution should not be turned away. The means are available please don't turn away your Flock. I work in healthcare & wear a mask. I don't shy away from assisting. We have a body but we are a soul. God determines & allows things to happen to us for our spiritual improvement. We accept all trials & tribulations and live based on Faith in HIM. We all seek Salvation; Father open the Gates and allow the willing to seek absolution. I live not to serve man but to serve the Blessed Virgin Mary. Please, please don't impede your Flock when we seek Our Lord. With respect & reverence may the Lord Bless you and Guide you.
Fernando - 04/03/2020 03:41 PM
Jesus asked Peter 3 times, "Do u love me, he said U know I do, Jesus then responds with, "then FEED MY SHEEP". ARCHBISHOP feed the sheep and have Mass on Easter. The Governor's 2020-91 Order allows church services. Render unto Caesar what is his and unto GOD WHAT IS GOD'S. Faith without works is empty.
Betty rios - 04/03/2020 01:16 PM
Buenas tardes por este medio quiero dar las gracias a Monseñor wensky por dar la orden del cierre de las iglesias por estos días de prueba y emergencia ya que desafortunadamente hay muchas personas inconscientes e imprudentes que quieren ir a la iglesia y a otros lugares que no se debe sabiendo que hay órdenes no solamente dadas por Monseñor sino por las autoridades civiles cuáles son el alcalde y demás doy gracias a dios por este Tiempo de prueba y de recogimiento en casa y siempre en oración por Monseñor Wenski y por todos los sacerdotes del mundo gracias y que dios los bendiga
Donna Malchrist - 04/03/2020 12:01 PM
Dear Archbishop Wenski. I as a devout and pious Catholic girl who already knows .People of all different religious faiths do not need to gather in their respected houses of worship.God is everywhere I want to wish all the priests and deacons of the Archdiocese of Miami a most blessed Palm Sunday Easter Tridum and Easter .May Our Heavenly Father continue to keep them safe and healthy during this Covid 19 pandemic
Milagros Torres-Rodriguez - 04/03/2020 02:04 AM
Archbishop Wenski, not one step back. Yes, we miss congregating, we miss to be in communion with our sisters and brothers, worshiping together. We also need to protect them and our priests. We need them. We cannot follow the non-sense, political agenda of the politicians. Pope Francis gave the benediction to an empty plaza. But, as we say in Spanish, "Queremos ser mas papistas que el Papa." Where is the wisdom, prudence. Thank you for protecting your flock. God bless you!
Yamileth Rivera - 04/02/2020 11:53 PM
Dear Archbishop Wenski, I unite my heart with all my brothers and sisters respectfully asking you to allow us to accompany Our Lord, to be at the foot of the Cross on Good Friday, in our churches adoring the King of Kings, to participate in the Easter services. Perhaps many will not attend out of fear but those of us who desire to be there will take the necessary precautions. We are the Militant Church, and we want to follow the steps of many courageous saints like St JP II who “went out “in dark times of history to be light,,to bring hope and to reassure those in fear Christ is with us, Be not afraid! My prayers are with you.
Kathleen Sells - 04/02/2020 11:24 PM
Thank you for making this wise decision. It is very important that we listen to the medical experts & their recommendations. They are trying to save lives. It would be selfish of us to congregate & expose each other to illness and or death. I feel very blessed to have mass streamed daily by my church, St Maximilian Kolbe, and to have the time to watch & participate in the programs/services offered on EWTN.Holy Weeek will still be very special, it will just be different, just as our lives are very different.
Richard Fernandez - 04/02/2020 11:22 PM
I would like to alert all to the following letter that is being sent to Bishops: The primary goal of our Church is the salvation of souls, we are not to be concerned with our human bodies, we are not of this earth. Gov. DeSantis has also added an exception to the stay at home orders for religious services and gatherings.
Gustavo - 04/02/2020 04:34 PM
These are the exact times when people need to feel a sense of community provided by the Church and the sacraments. It’s the only way of satisfying the spiritual, psychological, and physical needs of the faithful. The longer this goes on, the more you will be counting the number of suicides, families being torn apart, and unemployment, on a full scale. This will account for far more deaths than The Wuhan Virus ever will. I would ask Bishop Wenski to reconsider this decision and allow for Mass and Confessions this coming Sunday and for Easter Sunday. Governor Desantis has permitted for this exemption.
Dr Joan DiGregirio - 04/02/2020 04:30 PM
Your Excellency, Please with all due respect, I humbly beg you to reconsider your order to all pastors, priests and Catholics of the ADOM. As other respondents have already cited in their postings to you , Governor De Santis has exempted the stay at home order for essential activities such as groceries, pharmacies , public worship services and medical appointments. We are at the door of Holy Week, Triduum and Easter, Archbishop. Please reconsider and allow some access to Sacraments and Liturgy, beyond streaming —to your flock. Another response posted AB Schneider already, I ask you to consider Pope Francis’ assistant Vicar or Rome , who has been afflicted with COVID- 19, who has reduced the suspension of public and opened public worship and also consider the decision of the Bishop Congress in Poland; more churches open, more services, shorter servicrs,,outdoor services, compliant to medical orders, to allow the faithful to attend these highest of our Faith ‘s Holiest days , with all safety precautions as to hygiene, distancing ,Personal Protective gear , etcetera maintained. K of C , Ushers, local Law Enforcement , lay ministers, volunteers and health care professionals volunteer/ monitor, — spec ppl ok - a disgrace in ADOM now. Excellency - literally hundreds of people are in Walmart, both shopping /working with little to no compliance to medical guidelines. If the government allows this potentially mass contagion environment /our Florida governor has exempted public worship, which can be so much better controlled, I greatly question this decision as being for the good of your flock. I am filled with sorrow and tears. I am so sorry, the weight of these decisions is enormous for you, I can only imagine. I pray for you, please count on this - but I ask you to beg the Lord’s guidance once more - given these scenarios in other dioceses and reconsider for limited, well controlled Palm Sunday, Triduum and Easter public worship. Again, I. most respectfully beg.
Henry Flood - 04/02/2020 04:03 PM
Behind those fancy legal words of protection and distance my message is a simple one: No! NIEN! NYET!
Gustavo - 04/02/2020 02:43 PM
Well, it should be absolutely clear by now to faithful Catholics that are “leaders” have no faith or courage. And don’t let Priest off the hook. According to Bishop Athanasius Schneider, a priest, using discretion and following the necessary health precautions, “has not to obey the directives of his bishop or the government to suspend Mass for the faithful.” He also described the COVID-19 pandemic as a chastisement and a purification. Priests in such a situation have to be extremely creative to provide for the faithful, even for a small group, the celebration of Holy Mass and the reception of the sacraments. Such was the pastoral behavior of all confessor and martyr priests in the time of persecution. Being prohibited by ecclesial authority from visiting the sick and the dying would also be a reason for a priest to disobey, Schneider explained. “Such a prohibition is an abuse of power. Christ did not give a bishop the power to forbid visiting the sick and dying. A true priest will do everything he can to visit a dying person.” Schneider also called out “the prevailing majority of bishops” for having reacted “precipitously and out of panic in prohibiting all public Masses and – what is even more incomprehensible – in closing churches.” “Such bishops,” he said, “reacted more like civil bureaucrats than shepherds. In focusing too exclusively on all the hygienic protective measures, they have lost a supernatural vision and have abandoned the primacy of the eternal good of souls.” “A quasi-pathological fear has overcome common reason and a supernatural vision,” Schneider exclaimed. Source Lifesite News.
Maria N. Hernandez - 04/02/2020 01:47 PM
Thank you to Archbishop Wenski for listening to the scientists about the major risk of gathering at this moment of the Covid-19 pandemia. This is a great teaching to all of us Catholics and Christians. The Lord is with us, anywhere. We are His temples. It is precisely in this time of despair and uncertainty that we must look for the Lord within us. As the Bible teaches us: "But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you" Mathew 6,6. This is a time to be disciplined Catholics, and follow His call to stay with Him wherever we are.
Gina Jeanphilippe - 04/02/2020 01:25 PM
We need to support our Bishop decision it is for the greater good. I understand it is hard for us not being able to participate in Holy Week ceremonies but we must contain this virus. We can support each other by praying at home and participate in the ceremonies from home. God Bless everyone
Margaret Pellegrino - 04/02/2020 12:31 PM
Gov. DeSantis has stated that churches are now exempt from the "stay at home" order. We are exempt to grocery shop, etc. We need to be at Mass, in community prayer, and receiving confession and the Eucharist.
Jena Getchell - 04/02/2020 12:01 PM
Yes, Gov. DeSantis has issued a statewide "stay-at-home" order but he also specifically EXEMPTED houses of worship, i.e. masses. You can find that part of the article on the Miami Herald website. Why is it ok for Catholics to practice prudent, moral and safe social distancing at supermarkets where natural food is obtained but not for them to do so at our Catholic Churches where the King of the Universe Himself comes to us as our supernatural, spiritual sustenance? Are the sheep that irresponsible that they cannot be trusted to follow what even the State of Florida allows? Where is your supernatural faith? And why are you shutting down the very reasonable, creative and safe methods by which the faithful have at least been able to go to confession? Your parish priests are fulfilling their vow of obedience to you Archbishop Wenski and now shutting the doors to the sacraments but what are you doing to THEIR souls? They became priests to minister to us, not to run from the battle. It is no coincidence this is happening at the most sacred time of the year for us as Catholics. The enemy is prowling for the ruin of souls and we are playing right into his hands. May God have mercy on us all!
Pieter - 04/02/2020 03:05 AM
At a time when pastors are needed and the flock needs them the most, the pastors are told to close their doors and abandon them. This is a disgrace! One can still go to a grocery store but can’t go to their parish? This isn’t the Church Militant, it’s the church of deserters.
L. - 04/01/2020 10:56 PM
Since we can't go to confession, what would you suggest we do? Thank you.
Rigoberto Mantecon - 04/01/2020 09:10 PM
I feel that our people need God so much this time. Especially with holy week coming
Ellis B - 04/01/2020 08:59 PM
Praying that our Bishop will take a stand and speak out in favor helping all passengers stranded on cruise ships currently awaiting a place to disembark. Why hasn’t the local Christian community supported these lives? Aren’t we pro-life?

Powered by Parish Mate | E-system

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply