Parishioners: You Are Important to Us

OLPH Response & Communications

MARCH 30, 2020, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

“I command you: be firm and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.”

– Joshua 1:90

My dear OLPH parish family,

Though we perhaps all had anticipated Governor Hogan’s most recent Executive Order issued today, March 30th, I still pause as I write these words, considering how quickly our local and national landscape has shifted since Maryland’s first reported case of COVID-19. The spread of this virus and the resulting disease has touched everyone in the most practical and profound ways. With each new challenge, I have witnessed great resolve, resilience, and kindness among our Parish family. And like any healthy family that becomes separated from one another, each member is missed, loved, and valued.

With those sentiments in mind, along with the clear and strong leadership demonstrated by our Governor and Archbishop Lori, we will be closing OLPH’s physical campus effective 8:00 PM this evening to ensure the utmost safety of our beloved family members. On a human level, my heart is heavy in sharing this news. However, I trust and believe God is with us always. He is with us, as together we learn new and virtual ways to stay connected, worship and continue to encounter His Love. He is with us as we discover opportunities for gratitude in areas of our lives that we might have previously taken for granted. Most importantly, He is with us as we patiently wait and weather this storm with faith and trust together.

Though our physical campus may be closed for the near future, our virtual Church and channels of communication remain OPEN. We are committed to nurturing you in love of God, love of neighbor and as a disciple of Christ.

In the Lord, 

Fr. Mike Triplett

Our Lady of Perpetual Help…Pray for us

Jesus in our Hearts….forever

 

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MARCH 29, 2020, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him,
and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son,
embraced him
and kissed him.

-Luke 15:20

Mercy.  The Lord is full of mercy.  Jesus is the face of the Father; if we know Jesus, we know the Father.  The Holy Spirit connects us to this great mystery, bringing us into an encounter with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

In the Parable of the Merciful Father (often called the Prodigal Son), the Father shows his eagerness to bestow mercy in an extravagant way.  Not once, but twice. After having left behind his family with the inheritance that he had demanded, the first son rehearses his contrition, his plea for mercy.  His expectations, or hope, rests that his Father might treat him as one of the hired hands, or servants. He has no expectation of being restored as a Son, an heir once more, for he knows that he is undeserving.  Yet the Father barely lets him get off a word, and practicality ignores his request for forgiveness, as he forgives in such complete and total way – beyond our human understanding.

Of course, the elder son, who felt superior to his brother as he had remained by his father’s side, refusing to come into the celebration for his brother’s return.  In fact, he refers to his brother as “your son”, refusing to restore him as a brother.  His coldness and lack of forgiveness prevented him from entering into a more intimate relationship with the Father.  Once again, the Father in a grand gesture humbles himself and humbly meets his child where he is, imploring him to understand and experience the abundance of mercy.

The Church desires to continue this great work of mercy, eager to offer God’s grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  In line with the Universal Church and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Fr. Rob and I are eager to share this encounter between you and Jesus, the face of the Merciful Father.  In our humanity, God gave us this sacrament because he knew we needed to hear these words, “I absolve you from your sins…”  We long for the embrace, captured beautifully by Rembrandt in his painting of the Prodigal Son.  In light of that teaching, the Church has reaffirmed that we cannot experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation remotely, or digitally.

In addressing the Sacrament of Reconciliation, realizing there are places where it is not possible to receive this the sacrament at this time, Pope Francis encouraged all faithful to examine their consciences (Check out olphparish.org/our-parish-life/sacraments/reconciliation/ for one example of a good examination and how-to guide).  If the Sacrament is not available or you do not feel safe going at this time, pray to our Heavenly Father, who hears and answers us.  First, offer an Act of Contrition. Second, make it your intention to go to confession, as soon as it is available or safe.

Join Us for “In & Out Confessions

As a region (most of Howard and Carroll County), we are committed to offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Monday, March 30 and Monday, April 6, from 10 am to 12 Noon, 2 pm to 4 pm, and 5 pm to 7 pm.  If you prefer to experience the sacrament with another priest, we encourage you to confirm times with the parish website or by reaching out to that parish in advance.

In an eagerness to offer the Sacrament, in the safest way possible, Fr. Rob and I will be rotating, hearing confessions “In & Out”.  While one is hearing confessions in the Church in the Reconciliation rooms, the other will be outside for confession.  We understand that many people are not comfortable entering the Church at this time, even when there are less than 10 people (which we are absolutely holding too!).  For outdoor confessions, we encourage you to enter our campus from the School-side (closer to Landing Road).  Drive past the playground, where there will be a welcome sign along with these basic instructions.  As your car enters the “queue”; we hope the lines will not be too long, but ask for your patience, as you begin the line at the designated sign.  This will allow adequate distance so that the privacy of the confession can be maintained.  When it is your turn, please drive up to the designated spot.  Park your car, roll down the window and turn off the car.  The priest will be seated 8 feet away, but close enough to celebrate the sacrament properly.  If the lines are long, we will ask you to make your Act of Contrition afterward, as you likewise complete your penance.  We also ask that you be mindful of others; if there are long lines, realize we will not have time for extended counsel or advice.

What do I do if I come to confession with my family?  

This is a great question.  We will have a designated area for cars with groups or families. When your car has come beside the priest, for the family to exit the car, stand farther away (again, for privacy), and one by one sit in a chair, also 8 feet from the priest.

When you’ve finished your confession and received absolution, or when your entire family is complete, simply drive off around the side of the Church.  If you’d like to stop for prayer, you are welcome to drive around the circle of the Church and pray.  From the circle, you can often see the Tabernacle, or during periods of Adoration, the Blessed Sacrament on the altar.  Even if you are not coming for Reconciliation, you are welcome at any time to stop and pray from the safety of your car; please be mindful of keeping the prayer short if a line develops in the circle.

Thank you for your patience and flexibility. We know you are eager to encounter the Lord in these unprecedented times and we are thankful to still be able to offer this sacrament of mercy.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

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MARCH 25, 2020, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Be still
Be

-Cf. Psalm 46

Stillness.

In this unprecedented time, stillness is probably not been part of your reality.  As families, children are running about, trying to adapt to a new routine, and learning by means of the latest technology – which admittedly those with good tech skills are having to navigate.  College students have returned home, in order to complete courses online. Adults are working remotely, trying to figure out new technology or apps also, while trying to keep up with their children and help them to learn.

We are witnessing though a beautiful outpouring of faith and prayer through digital platforms.  People are gathering to pray rosaries, divine chaplets, and novenas. People are participating in web meetings, video conferencing or teleconferencing, to stay connected and engaged.  I have seen wonderful glimpses for acts of charity, in creative (and safe) ways.

Sadly, I have also recently noticed an increase in “dangerous messages”.  Some clips are claiming a simple prevention to the coronavirus even described with religious language.  Other messages preach the latest version of the “prosperity gospel,” which will often point to calamities as signs of God’s wrath at the sinfulness of our culture and the beginning of the end times.  The prosperity gospel claims that God protects the devout from any harm or illness, and you can tell when you are truly faithful because God will provide all that you need. Riches and resources are seen as a sign of God’s blessing.  But we know God allows the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. We should not take anyone sick with the coronavirus or any other illness as a sign that they lack faith. Miracles are real; miracles are not from our efforts. And a lack of a physical miracle does not mean that God is not miraculously present and involved.

We need stillness.  Stillness is a gift from God.  Stillness does not mean that the environment is quiet (though that can help, it’s not necessary).  I encourage everyone to take time for stillness each day, in quiet prayer that asks the Holy Spirit to help us put aside worry, curiosity, and the noises of our life.  Let us simply be in God’s presence for a few minutes a day (and grow that to 24 hours a day!).

With the latest directives from the State and the guidance from the Archdiocese, we understand that we may maintain the Church being open for prayer, adoration from Wednesday to Saturday, and offering the sacrament of reconciliation.  From this point forward though, our office building will be closed; yet, our staff is hard at work continuing the mission. As we continue work from homes, we still receive voice messages from the office line (410-474-4334) as well as e-mail addresses.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Please also view video below:

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MARCH 18, 2020, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

COMMUNICATION UPDATE

Brothers and Sisters, though our current landscape may seem foreign, remember that we belong to the Body of Christ and nothing can separate us from the love of God [Romans 8:38]!

Please see the following opportunities to experience community, healing, and hope at OLPH Parish.  With deep caring, we remind Parishioners who are unwell for any reason to remain at home.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRAYER IN THE CHURCH

Please know the Church building will remain open for prayer.

HOURS:
Monday thru Saturday – 7 am-8 pm (VizPin users will be able to access the church between 8 pm-7 am)
Sunday – 10:30 am – 8 pm

Please be encouraged to take home a copy of our TeDeum Weekly Lenten Reflections as well as a copy of the Way of the Cross booklet which includes images of OLPH’s own Station of the Cross bronze installations. 

CONFESSIONS

In order to comply with the latest CDC Guidelines issued March 14, 2020, please take note of the directional signage located in the Nave detailing visitor-flow and how to maintain a head-count under ten persons. THANK YOU!

We are pleased to offer the Sacrament of Confession at the following times. 

Hours for Confessions:
Wednesdays 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Fridays 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Saturdays 3:00 pm  – 4:15 pm

STATIONS OF THE CROSS

Our traditional praying of the Stations of the Cross will be made available for video viewing via our Facebook Page and website homepage on Friday, March 20th, 2020.  It is our goal to have this media posted by 2:30 PM, but this time may vary.

ADORATION

For our visitor’s wellbeing and to best comply with the new recommended guidelines for proper social distancing, Adoration will be held in the main Nave of the Church to allow for ample distance among Adorers.  Please do not share a pew with other visitors. Our Lord will be exposed in the monstrance and positioned on the altar. Adorers that must leave prior to the next scheduled Adorer’s arrival, may reverently cover the monstrance using the cloth available on the table just adjacent to the monstrance. Upon arrival, if the monstrance is covered,  please gently remove the cloth, fold it, and place it on the small table next to the monstrance. 

Hours of the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament:
9:00 am Wednesday through 8:00 am Saturday

THE MASS

Our Sunday, March 20th, 9 am Mass will be live-streamed:

To take part in the mass remotely and in real-time, please visit the OLPH Parish Facebook Page [https://www.facebook.com/olphchurch/] to view via Facebook Live. Once completed the recording will be uploaded and made available via our website here, https://olphparish.org/live-mass.  The latter option should accommodate those without Facebook or who may not be available at 9:00 am to view the live recording. Remember, there will be an opportunity during mass to take part in a Spiritual Communion  If you prefer a prewritten prayer, there are a number of options available, such as this prayer taught by a Priest to St. Josemaría Escrivá, “I wish, my Lord, to receive you, with the purity, humility, and devotion with which your most Holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervor of the saints.”  St. Alphonsus Liguori is the author of yet another option: “My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.” These prayers mentioned may also be accessed HERE and at simplycatholic.com/spiritual-communion/ and www.ourcatholicprayers.com/spiritual-communion.html.

OFFICE HOURS

Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 2 pm
Staff is receiving and monitoring voice messages at other hours.

Please know that each Parishioner of OLPH remains on our hearts and in our constant prayers.

OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP,  PRAY FOR US!

In the Lord,
Fr. Mike Triplett

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MARCH 14, 2020, 9:00PM 

** IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT **
-TOMORROW’S COMMUNION DISTRIBUTION CANCELED-

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Jesus is the living water filling us with life. With the woman at the well, we are eagerly asking, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
As a parish staff, we know that you thirst for Christ. We appreciate the communications, and we eagerly sought a means to safely offer the Body of Christ to our flock. The Archbishop this evening has provided further direction, with the remarks, “My highest priority is the safety and welfare of the people of God of this Archdiocese. I take this step with great sadness, but also with a wholehearted determination that we continue to provide for the spiritual well-being of the faithful at a time when their faith is most needed.”

With new directives from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, all public masses including daily masses are hereby canceled. In accordance with those directives, our plans to distribute Communion this Sunday are canceled. Yet, even in our inability to gather for Mass or offer Communion, Christ’s gift of Himself is freely offered to each of us. We encourage you to participate with our live-streamed Mass at 9:00am,(via Facebook and later posted on our website https://olphparish.org/live-mass/) with the Archbishop’s live-streamed Mass at 11:00am from the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen (www.archbalt.org/online-mass/), or another Mass via the television, radio, or internet. Please offer a Spiritual Communion, inviting the Lord into your homes and your hearts.

At this time, the Church and Good Shepherd Chapel will remain open for prayer during the day. May the Lord of all grace strengthen us for the difficult road that likely lies ahead.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

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MARCH 14, 2020, 5:00PM 

** IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT **
– COMMUNION DISTRIBUTION DUE TO COVID-19 – CANCELED AS OF 9PM MARCH 14, 2020

Brothers and Sisters, may our Lord Jesus Christ draw you ever closer to him and to one another,

In ongoing discernment on how best to feed our parishioners spiritually, we are pleased to offer an option to physically receive Communion this Sunday, March 15th. 

THE MASS

It is expected that you and your family will participate in the Celebration of the Eucharist this weekend in one of several ways prior to coming to OLPH to receive Communion physically:

  1. View the OLPH Parish Facebook Live Stream of our 9:00am Mass. Fr Mike and Fr Rob will solely be in the Nave of our Church celebrating Mass at 9:00am.  You are welcome to view via Facebook Live. Once completed the recording will be uploaded and made available via our website here, https://olphparish.org/live-mass.  The latter option should accommodate those without Facebook or who may not be available at 9:00am to view the live recording. 
  2. Via other online sources. Please visit www.archbalt.org/online-mass/ for online Mass time and options.

ARRIVAL & COMMUNION DISTRIBUTION

Outdoor Communion distribution will be available on Sunday, March 15th from 10:30am to 12:30pm and again from 5:00pm until 6:30pm. Please arrive during either time frame!

When you arrive on campus, please park your car and then process to the front of the church.  At that time, visitors will be greeted and offered directions. Then, Fr. Mike and Fr Rob will offer a short prayer and small groups will be invited to receive the Eucharist from our priests outdoors.  We ask that you be patient with us and practice proper social distancing strategies as we ALL strive to offer Communion in a safe and responsible manner. Please, there is no need to arrive prior to 10:30am, the Nave of the church which will only be accessed by OLPH Staff and will not be open prior to 10:00am. We would also kindly ask that parents keep their families together and for their safety, please do not allow young children to stray.

SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

All parishioners are encouraged to offer a “spiritual communion” this weekend [March 14-15]. 

Spiritual communion is a personal prayer by which you invite Jesus into your lives.  If you prefer a prewritten prayer, there are a number of options available, such as this prayer taught by a Priest to St. Josemaría Escrivá, “I wish, my Lord, to receive you, with the purity, humility, and devotion with which your most Holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervor of the saints.”  St. Alphonsus Liguori is the author of yet another option: “My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.”
These prayers mentioned may also be accessed at simplycatholic.com/spiritual-communion/ and www.ourcatholicprayers.com/spiritual-communion.html.

Please know the Church building will remain open for prayer and reflection during this coming week.  We encourage all OLPH visitors to follow the suggested best-practices for maintaining proper social distancing and if you are unwell for any reason please remain at home. As difficult as these past days have been, coupled with the uncertainty of what is yet to come, please know that the spiritual and physical wellbeing of all our Parishioners is paramount to each decision we have made and those moving forward.

 

In the Lord,
Fr. Mike Triplett

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MARCH 13, 2020, 6:23PM 

** IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT **
– SCHEDULE UPDATES DUE TO COVID-19 –

Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ, who unites us as one in his Body and by his Spirit.  St. Paul often invoked greetings in the Lord to those communities that he had founded or encouraged during his missionary journeys.  He had often spent time with them and had a strong bond of friendship as Christians, seeking to follow Jesus. Yet, he wrote as a means to maintain the connection with those communities to which he was no longer physically present and inspire them in their discipleship.  In these coming days, we may not be physically present, and our time together may be limited but our hope is that we will maintain our unity as the Body of Christ, praying and growing together this Lent.  

Our parish leadership has made the following decisions, in compliance with the directives of the State of Maryland, Howard County, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

  •  Sunday Mass:
    Archbishop Lori has dispensed all the faithful from the Sunday Mass obligation.
    OLPH in solidarity with the parishes of St. Louis in Clarksville, St. Francis in Fulton, St. John in Columbia, Resurrection & St. Paul in Ellicott City, and St. Alphonsus in Woodstock, have canceled all Sunday Masses (including our Saturday vigil Masses) for both March 14-15 and 21-22 weekends. We do not take this decision lightly and we are heartbroken that we are unable to offer the Eucharist to our Parishioners, however, in an effort to remain united, this coming weekend (3/14-15) our 9am Sunday Mass will be live-streamed and distributed for viewing via our Facebook page. Please also know to help us sanctify our days and to keep us walking in the liturgical rhythm of the Church, we are honored to make the online version of MAGNIFICAT temporarily available to everyone for free. 
  •  Liturgical Gatherings: Daily Mass (Monday through Saturday), Confessions (Wednesday 6-7pm, Friday 4:30-6pm, and Saturday 3-4:15pm), Stations of the Cross (Friday 2:30 and 7pm), and Eucharistic Adoration will continue as planned.  We encourage all parishioners especially those in high-risk populations to use prudence in their decision to participate.
  • Eucharist Adoration will follow our regular schedule from Wednesday 9:00am until Saturday at 8:00am and will be held in the Nave of the Church to allow for additional space for social distancing. Any Adorer not comfortable attending Eucharistic Adoration is lifted from their commitment.
  • Office Hours The parish office will remain open Monday 3/16, Tuesday 3/17 and Wednesday 3/18 from 9am to 4pm.  In the coming days, we will consider a reduced office schedule with the hopes of remaining fully available to our parishioners.
  • Pastoral Care is being evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Pastor and Staff ensuring State directives will be followed. If you are in need of Pastoral Care, please do call the office so that we may attend to your needs.
  • Soup Suppers for Friday, March 13, 20 and 27 are canceled.
  • St. Vincent de Paul’s food pantry will remain available to those in need. We anticipate an increase in usage and would welcome added donations. 
  • All other Parish activities and events, on and off-campus, as well as Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, are hereby canceled through Friday, March 27.
  • OLPH Website and myOLPH calendar have been updated to reflect cancellations and ministry leaders are in the process of communicating with group participants regarding changes.
  • Confirmation scheduled for Saturday, March 28 will be determined, in consultation with Bishop Parker, who is celebrant, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore. 
  • Howard County Lenten Penance Services scheduled for Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31 will likewise be evaluated based on updated directives.
  • Moving forward as a parish, we will strive to continue to offer frequent communications that connect us in prayer and discipleship.

We remain in solidarity with our Lord through prayer and we ask you to do the same.  Keeping with our Lenten theme, “You are God: We Praise You,” we encourage our parishioners to invoke the Lord in praise each day and pray through our parish Lenten reflections found at  olphparish.org/lent-2020. In these concerning times, it is right to naturally move into prayers of petition and intercession, asking the Lord to bring healing to our world and protect our families.  Yet because the Lord is beautiful, kind, and merciful, he is worthy of our acknowledgment of him as the one, true God through praise. With what might be extended time at home, please make use of our online spiritual resource, FORMED, olphparish.formed.org.  FORMED offers excellent content for families or individuals to use such as programs, movies, books and audibles.  Some examples include the latest in the Lectio series of Studies on Salvation or a wonderful series which explores the Sacrament of Reconciliation called Forgiven.  For children, there are some great media choices, including “The Story of Saint Patrick”and some high-quality movies.  

In the midst of this disruption to the normal daily routines, St. Benedict is a source of great wisdom.  In his short Rule directed to monastic communities, Benedict stressed the importance of balance in the rhythm of life.  His community, which has inspired countless other communities, incorporated routine times for prayer, eating, socializing, and working.  While his exact rhythm is not a goal, families should strive for a level of routine, albeit, new and different. Our daily life may include some chores around the house, perhaps some work/homework or the chance to sing and pray together. This unexpected time may also be a blessing to enjoy a good board game, simply just enjoying each other’s company.

Even though careful deliberation has gone into all these decisions, please know it brings us deep sadness to not be able to offer Sunday Mass at our parish, especially during the season of Lent. We will continue to monitor the directives and guidance provided by the State, County, and Archdiocese and will adjust accordingly. To quote Fr. Dave Pivonka, “In these difficult days, I am reassured when I remember that God has known of this moment in history from before the beginning of time—and I believe he’s going to amaze us with his loving-kindness and mercy.” Let us echo these words and ask that our Lord Jesus look upon his people with mercy and compassion. We thank you for your patience, and truly appreciate your support as we do our best to serve you in Christ.

Jesus, we trust in you. 

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MARCH 13, 2020, 2:19PM [EDITED 3:26PM]

** IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT **
– SCHEDULE UPDATES DUE TO COVID-19 –

In an effort to collaborate with local parishes, our parish response in regards to weekend Masses is not yet finalized. At this time, Eucharistic Adoration, Stations of the Cross 3/13 at 2:30pm and 7 pm, Friday (4:30-6:00pm) and Saturday (3:00-4:15pm) Confessions, and the short Te Deum talk following Stations this evening will continue as planned. Please note Soup Suppers for Friday (March 13) and Friday (March 20) are canceled. All other forthcoming parish activities and events, with the exception of Pastoral Care, ARE CANCELED. More details regarding how weekend Masses will proceed (3/14-3/15) are to follow. Thank you for your prayers and patience. Thank you for your prayers and patience. Thank you for your prayers and patience. Please visit https://olphparish.org/covid-19-response for continuing updates.

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 March 12, 2020 (6:50PM)

Parishioners and Friends of the Parish:

During these stressful times, please know the safety, physical, and spiritual health of all those who call Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church a spiritual home is at the center of our prayers and parish life. As a faith community, our physical proximity to each other might change in the coming weeks. But as we welcome the third week of Lent, let us come together in spiritual and emotional solidarity and prayer that we can persevere with optimism, love, and great faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

As most of our State, we listened intently to the action plans and Executive Orders delivered by Governor Hogan at 4 pm today. We appreciate our Governor’s leadership, and we are grateful for his proactive approach to this severe public health crisis. With that said, we are considering all that his communication entails as we wait for additional and targeted local guidelines per Howard County Executive, Calvin Ball’s Press Conference scheduled for 11 am, March 13, 2020. 

Over the next several hours, OLPH parish leadership will take seriously the guidance provided by our State and Local elected officials as well as the direction put forth from the Archdiocese of Baltimore. All will be taken into prudent consideration as we plan the best way to support our parishioners within these directives and determine particular activities and events on campus, such as Stations of the Cross, and of course, Mass. We will update the Parish community with definitive decisions and action plans by tomorrow at 2pm (March 13).

Please pray for us as we plan how to foster community and personal connections in these trying times.  Please count on our continued prayers as well.

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 March 12, 2020 (12 Noon)

As of today, information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19)  is changing rapidly, but we would like to proactively share an update of steps we are taking here at OLPH in preparation for Mass this weekend:

  • The parish will not offer communion under the species of the Precious Blood with the exception of those who must receive the Sacrament with no Gluten.
  • During the sign of peace, we will refrain from shaking hands and rather acknowledge each other with words of peace.
  • Offertory baskets will not be passed through the congregation during Mass, rather gifts may be offered on-line HERE or dropped in the basket as you leave Mass.  Baskets will be secured by Ministers of Hospitality at the exits.  We do appreciate and rely on your continued support of the parish found in the generosity of your gift.
  • Holy Water fonts will be removed.  The Holy Water dispenser will remain near the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and you are welcome to bring your own vessel to fill. 
  • Please note: cleaning products used by the parish and school have been registered and approved to successfully disinfect/kill COVID-19. Our facilities team will use this product to clean church/school door handles, restrooms, lunch tables, and key hard surfaces twice daily.
  • And PLEASE, if you present any illness or have been in contact with anyone who is now ill, please stay home and rest.

Please expect frequent and possibly changing updates throughout the day and weeks to follow, as we continue to plan as a parish and school and more information is provided by Archdiocese of Baltimore and local government officials. To ensure the most current information is available from the parish to you; we have designed this dedicated page of our website for COVID-19 communications. These communications will be posted in chronological order dated and time-stamped to ensure you are able to identify the most recent information. Please make note of this page’s address: https://olphparish.org/covid-19-response

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The Archdiocese of Baltimore Response

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Masses Cancelled in Archdiocese of Baltimore
For Immediate Release

After receiving an update from State officials late today on the current impact of the COVID-19 virus and acting on the advice of medical professionals, Archbishop William E Lori has determined that to safeguard the well-being the faithful of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and to prevent further community spread of the virus, all public Masses are canceled until further notice.

Archbishop Lori will celebrate a private Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen at 11 a.m. Sunday. A livestream of the Mass, along with other spiritual resources, will be available through www.archbalt.org.

The faithful are encouraged to remain connected to their parishes and invited to participate in the Mass via broadcast and livestream.

“My highest priority is the safety and welfare of the people of God of this Archdiocese,” Archbishop Lori said. “I take this step with great sadness, but also with wholehearted determination that we continue to provide for the spiritual well-being of the faithful at a time when their faith is most needed.”

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March 3, 2020

The Archdiocese of Baltimore is taking several steps this week to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus as more cases are reported in the United States.

Archbishop William E. Lori on Tuesday ordered the clergy to suspend the sign of peace at Masses and stop offering consecrated wine.

Parishioners should forgo shaking hands during the sign of peace and instead greet their neighbor with a bow and the words “peace be with you.” Priests and ministers will still distribute the host, but parishes will stop offering consecrated wine for the time being.

Parishioners always have the option to receive Communion in their hands, rather than on their tongue and ministers are advised to take care not to touch the tongue or hand of communicants. Ministers of Holy Communion will use hand sanitizer before distributing the Eucharist, Archbishop Lori said.

Archbishop Lori said those who are sick with contagious ailments are encouraged to stay home and not attend church services. Church leaders emphasized that missing Mass because of an illness is not a sin. Recorded services are available via radio, television and online.

Archbishop Lori said holy water fonts may be drained and remain empty at the discretion of each pastor. If the fonts do not remain empty, they should be drained, cleaned and sanitized, and refilled regularly, Archbishop Lori said.

The archdiocese said maintenance workers will step up efforts at parishes to disinfect areas that frequently come into contact with hands, such as tops of pews.

In an earlier letter to priests and deacons, the archbishop also advised clergy to follow general guidelines laid out by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health, including:

– Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
– Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing;
– Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
– If you are sick, stay home from work or school;
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
– Practice good health habits;
– Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
– Get a flu shot. While the influenza vaccine does not protect against coronavirus infection, it can help keep you healthy during the flu season.

Those guidelines are on how to prevent the flu, which has some symptoms and transmission methods similar to COVID-19.

A similar letter was sent to administrators of Archdiocese of Baltimore Catholic schools.

“We are closely monitoring all coronavirus information and recommendations and will modify our response in compliance with the directives provided by the various health authorities and experts, should circumstances warrant it,” Archbishop Lori wrote to the clergy.

No cases of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, have been confirmed in Maryland as of March 3, although several people have been tested.

COVID-19 originated in China late last year and has since spread across the globe. Several countries including Italy, South Korea and Iran are dealing with epidemics. There are about 100 confirmed cases in the U.S. and seven people have died, all in Washington state. On the East Coast, there have been cases reported in New York and Rhode Island.

COVID-19 is respiratory illness and symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure and symptoms can range from mild to severe, complicating health officials’ efforts to contain the disease.

Father Jason C. Worley, the pastor of St. Ursula, Parkville, wrote a letter to his parishioners this week as a precaution about the coronavirus, but he said parishioners are not overly concerned as of yet.

“Absolutely nothing,” he said of the response. “And sadly, that’s the case until something hits home. No one really pays too much attention to it.”

Father Worley said the precautions are wise and won’t adversely affect churchgoers, adding that some parishes have done away with consecrated wine already, unrelated to the concerns about COVID-19.

“People don’t need to receive both the Precious Blood and the Body of Christ. They can receive either or both,” Father Worley said.

The Body and Blood of Christ is fully present in either species. “Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is wholly present under the appearance either of bread or of wine in the Eucharist,” according to a 2001 question-and-answer document on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website.

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