Bishop Walkowiak Invites Catholics Who Are Health and Able to Return to Mass this Lent
Our Bishop Has Also Extended the Dispensation Until Further Notice for Those Who Are Unable to Attend in Person because of Health Reasons Or Other Factors
Public Masses at OLL During the Pandemic
We are grateful that we can hold public liturgies during the pandemic. We pray that our community will draw together to worship our Lord and to protect every member of our parish, especially the most vulnerable. To that end, we are taking a number of precautions based on guidelines from the Diocese of Grand Rapids to ensure the health and safety of everyone who attends Mass. Please read the following guidelines and watch the video below about pandemic Mass procedures. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.
Mass Attendance Guidelines:
- Attendance is limited, and we are practicing social distancing. Individuals who are not part of the same household need to sit at least six feet apart. An usher will help you find seats, so please arrive sufficiently early. Social distancing also applies in other parts of the building.
- Masks are required. Bring your own face covering. This applies to everyone over the age of two. We understand that this may be difficult with children; please do your best.
- Mass looks a bit different. Holy water fonts remain empty. We cannot give physical greetings. Distribution of the Precious Blood remains suspended. Worship aides for Saturday and Sunday Masses are available as you walk in, and after Mass you must dispose of them in the recycling bins or take them with you. You may drop your offering in a collection podium in the narthex before or after Mass, or you can give via the website, text message, or mail.
- Extra sanitization is in place. Staff wipe down frequently touched surfaces between Masses. Parishioners are encouraged to bring their own hand sanitizer, especially for use before Holy Communion.
- Consider attending weekday Masses. This is a good option if you are concerned about higher attendance on Saturday and Sunday. Weekday Masses will take place in the sanctuary. See the calendar for the weekday Mass schedule.
While we always love to see you at Mass, we understand if you need to stay home for health reasons. Accordingly, our bishop has dispensed all Catholics in the diocese from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass through February 17 (Ash Wednesday). We must continue to honor the Lord’s Day, but for now this can be done in other ways, including watching the Mass from OLL at 11 a.m. on Sundays or afterward, or watching the Mass from the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Grand Rapids.
If you have questions or concerns, please call the parish office at 616-399-1062. Thank you for your patience and cooperation! We hope to see you back at Mass soon!
Rev. Michael F. Cilibraise
Livestreamed Mass at OLL
OLL is livestreaming the 11 a.m. Sunday Mass, as well as Mass on holy days. Go to the OLL Facebook page to view the Mass live (you do not need a Facebook account). The recording will also be available afterward on this page and on the OLL YouTube channel.
Parish Office and Chapel
The parish office is open for appointments only on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The chapel is open for private prayer during the same times.
Sacramental Care in Hospitals During COVID-19
Michigan Bishops’ Statement on Ethical Concerns Regarding COVID-19 Vaccines
December 18, 2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Peace be with you!
In these Advent days of preparation for the coming of our Lord, we hope and pray that the Prince of Peace may console you and draw you to himself. Over this past year the struggles with the global COVID-19 pandemic have weighed heavily on our hearts, yet our Lord has been with us to deepen our faith and trust in him. Know of our prayers for you and for all health care workers who are so diligently caring for those who are ill.
As vaccines for COVID-19 are now becoming available, we wish to address the moral questions that have arisen, insofar as some vaccines are developed using cells lines that have originated from the tissue taken from babies who were aborted decades ago.(1) Abortion is a grave evil, and we must avoid complicity in abortion. Let us also pray for God’s peace, healing, and mercy for all those who have had abortions.
At the time of this writing, the Food and Drug Administration has given approval for the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer. Two other vaccines, one developed by Moderna and the other developed by AstraZeneca, might also gain FDA approval.(2)
It is morally permissible to receive the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. Neither of these vaccines have used cell lines originating in tissue taken from aborted babies in their design, development, and production. However, both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine did use such a cell line in the confirmatory testing. This connection to the abortion is very remote, however, and it is important to keep in mind that there are varying levels of responsibility. Greater moral responsibility lies with the researchers than with those who receive the vaccine. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has indicated that it is morally permissible to be vaccinated if there are no alternatives and there are serious health risks.(3) Such serious health risks are present due to the current pandemic.
The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca is more morally problematic, however. It did utilize in the design, production, development, and confirmatory testing a cell line that originated from tissue taken from an aborted baby. This vaccine may be received only if there are no other alternatives. If one does not have a choice of vaccine and a delay in immunization may bring about serious consequences for one’s health and the health of others, it would be permissible to accept the AstraZeneca vaccine. It is somewhat similar in production to the Rubella vaccine, which the Pontifical Academy of Life indicated could be received for grave reasons and if there are no other alternatives.(4)
If one were to choose not to be vaccinated, one would have a moral responsibility to embrace the necessary precautions to avoid spreading the disease to others.
At this same time, we join our voices to call for the development of vaccines that have no connection to abortion. Our consciences must not be dulled, nor may we imply in any way that abortion is acceptable.
Let us implore the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that God may bring an end to the pandemic and that all esteem and respect the dignity of human life.
Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit
Most Rev. Paul J. Bradley, Bishop of Kalamazoo
Most Rev. Earl A. Boyea, Bishop of Lansing
Most Rev. John F. Doerfler, Bishop of Marquette
Most Rev. Robert D. Gruss, Bishop of Saginaw
Most Rev. Walter A. Hurley, Apostolic Administrator, Diocese of Gaylord
Most Rev. David J. Walkowiak, Bishop of Grand Rapids
1 For more on the morality of COVID-19 vaccines, see the joint statement of the chairmen of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and Pro-Life Activities on which our statement is based: moral-considerations-covid-vaccines (usccb.org)
2 For more information about specific vaccines being developed for COVID-19 see this reference chart from the Charlotte Lozier Institute: COVID-19-Vaccine-Candidates-and-Abortion-Derived-Cell-Lines.pdf (lozierinstitute.org)
3 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Certain Bioethical Questions (Dignitas Personae) (2008), nos. 35-36: Instruction Dignitas Personae on Certain Bioethical Questions, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (vatican.va)
4 Pontifical Academy for Life, “”Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Human Foetuses,” (9 June 2005) in National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 6:3 (2006): 541-49