Mindful of the current circumstances and to continue our efforts to protect the common good, the Diocese of Grand Rapids has extended its suspension of ALL public Masses and other liturgical and devotional services through May 28, 2020. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in place through June 30.
While we are not in the clear yet, we want to begin to consider what reopening our churches for public Masses may look like. The date on which public worship is restored will depend upon developments in public health guidance and our confidence that resuming public Masses will not pose an undue risk. Reopening will proceed carefully and in phases.
A Message from Bishop Walkowiak:
Dear Friends in Christ,
I know how extremely difficult this last month without receiving the Eucharist has been. I thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these uncharted waters. While I wish we could completely reopen and resume our normal lives our Catholic duty is to protect the common good by not spreading a potentially deadly disease.
Following consultation with doctors in West Michigan, the Diocese of Grand Rapids has extended its cancellation of ALL public Masses and all other liturgical and devotional services through May 17, 2020. This order is in harmony with Governor Whitmer’s updated stay-at-home order.
All Catholics within the territory of the Diocese of Grand Rapids are granted a dispensation from their obligation of attending Sunday Mass through June 30. Priests are to continue to celebrate Mass each day without a congregation.
- Read Bishop Walkowiak’s Full Letter to Parishioners
- Diocese of Grand Rapids COVID-19 Response and Recommendations
- Coronavirus FAQ for the Faithful
At Our Lady of the Lake, this means that on May 10 and 17, we will live stream the Sunday Mass online at 11 a.m. Times for private prayer with the Blessed Sacrament, as well as Confession on Saturdays, will continue (see the parish calendar or bulletin). All other parish programs are suspended. The parish office is closed, but staff are available via phone and email. May the joy and peace of Christ be with you during the Easter season, even in these uncertain and difficult times!
The Diocese of Grand Rapids has extended its cancellation of all public Masses and all other liturgical and devotional services, effective immediately, through April 30, 2020. All Catholics are dispensed from the obligation to participate in Sunday Mass during this time, but they should still keep the Lord’s Day holy. Our bishop suggests making an act of spiritual communion while watching the Mass online, and that families make time for prayer together. Please read the letter from Bishop Walkowiak and share it with others. If you have more questions, please visit the FAQ section of the diocesan website.
In light of Governor Whitmer’s executive order requiring Michiganders to stay home, outside of critical functions, Bishop Walkowiak has issued a set of directives for parishes and schools in our diocese. We encourage everyone to read the diocesan announcement in full, plus the updated FAQ page. Here are the latest updates for Our Lady of the Lake Parish:
- The parish office is now closed to visitors and non-essential staff. The front desk phone will be staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for inquiries, assistance, etc. Most parish staff are working from home and can be accessed via email. Please let us know how we can serve you!
- The chapel or the church will be open during regular hours for private prayer in the presence of Christ in the tabernacle. Social distancing practices are required at all times.
- All times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation will proceed as scheduled. Confessions will take place in the church to accommodate social distancing practices.
- All public Masses and all other liturgical and devotional services through Easter Monday, April 13, are canceled. You have been dispensed from your Sunday obligation to attend Mass, but Catholics are still required to honor the Lord’s Day. Suggested practices include watching the Mass on TV or the internet, making a spiritual communion, meditating on Sacred Scripture, and/or praying the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, or Divine Office. Our parish has also put together a list of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving practices for this unusual Lent.
- Further information on the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter will be forthcoming.
- All other parish programs have been temporarily suspended.
God is always with us to comfort, guide, and sustain. Your parish is also here for you and our community during this pandemic. Fr. Mike will be praying for you daily, and he invites you to pray along with him and your fellow parishioners. Please contact the office if you need assistance. There are also ways to get help that you can access online or by phone. If you are able and willing to provide aid to your fellow parishioners, please contact the parish and review this list of ways to help during the pandemic.
Bishop Walkowiak has suspended all public Masses and other liturgical or devotional services through Palm Sunday (April 5). Reconciliation and time for private prayer will continue as scheduled. All other parish programs have been temporarily suspended, including First Friday Adoration and Stations of the Cross.
Our pastor has issued the following updates based on Bishop Walkowiak’s latest guidelines, which are in harmony with the recent executive order from the Governor of Michigan:
- Weekend Masses have been suspended through March 29, but the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed during the regular Mass times. Parishioners are encouraged to come to the church to make a spiritual communion, pray the Rosary, pray the Stations of the Cross, meditate on the Scripture readings, or to pray in other ways to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Your Sunday obligation to attend Mass has been waived for the duration of this situation, so please stay home if you are sick or if you discern that you are at risk.
- There will be weekday Masses at the following times:
- Mondays: 6:30 p.m.
- Tuesdays: 12 p.m.
- Wednesdays: 6:30 p.m.
- Thursdays: 9 a.m.
- Fridays: 9 a.m.
- Confirmation Masses have been canceled and will be rescheduled.
- All other gatherings at the parish have been temporarily suspended through April 5. This includes (but is not limited to) Friday fish fries, Stations of the Cross, Sunday coffee and donuts, Discipleship Classes for children and youth, LANE classes, the Lenten Retreat, and meetings of guilds and other parish groups.
- All times for Reconciliation (Saturday mornings, March 18, and March 26), and First Friday Adoration (April 3) will go forward as scheduled.
- Parishioners are encouraged to pray (and fast) in their homes and to gather informally in small numbers at the parish to pray during this situation. The chapel will continue to be open during regular hours (8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) on weekdays, as well as from 7-8 p.m. on Fridays, for those who would like to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
- The disruption caused by the coronavirus response will hurt many of our neighbors, fellow parishioners, and people throughout the nation and the world, especially the poor and vulnerable. Parishioners are encouraged to find ways to serve during this time, and our parish will endeavor to provide opportunities and suggestions.
This may not be the Lent that we planned, but it is the Lent that the Lord has given us. We must persevere in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, asking the Lord to have mercy on all those effected by the pandemic. Thank you for your faithfulness during this time of uncertainty.
In accordance with guidelines issued by Bishop Walkowiak, Our Lady of the Lake has issued the following pandemic policies. Implementation of any changes will be announced by our pastor, with the explanation that these changes are for sanitary/health reasons, not for liturgical reasons. Changes will be discontinued at the pastor’s direction in accordance with diocesan guidance and when the all-clear has been given by the Ottawa County Health Department and/or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The following procedures are being implemented immediately:
- If you are sick, your Sunday obligation is waived and you should stay home. Do not attend Mass or other parish functions if you have a fever. Stay home for forty-eight hours after the fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications or other treatments.
- The distribution of the Precious Blood of Christ has been temporarily suspended. Please note that Christ is fully present in either the Host or the Precious Blood, and that it is not necessary that the faithful receive both species during Holy Communion.
- Communicants may continue to decide whether to receive the Host on the tongue or in the hand. The procedure will be explained at Masses. Please note that receiving on the tongue does not increase the risk of spreading infections.
- There will be low-gluten hosts available, as well as a special cup for those who cannot consume any gluten. The procedure will be explained at Masses.
- The Sign of Peace is to be exchanged without physical contact.
- Parishioners should not hold hands during the Our Father. Please note that under any circumstances this gesture is not envisioned by any Church document governing the liturgy.
- Holy Water fonts will be emptied and remain empty for the time being. This is to help prevent the spread of infection, not because of Lent, since emptying fonts (except between Mass on Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil Mass) is not a custom approved by the Church.
- Home, facility, and hospital visitation have been suspended.
- Continue to follow all common-sense guidelines for cold and flu season.
The following procedures may become necessary; we will announce when and if they are implemented:
- Seating in alternate rows of pews, leaving alternate rows empty, may become necessary. Parishioners will be notified when or if this becomes necessary, and then updated regularly.
- OLL may be required to temporarily suspend formal, non-sacramental gatherings. Parishioners will be notified when or if this becomes necessary, and then updated regularly.
- Suspension of all use of the parish facility until an all-clear is called by the Ottawa County Health Department could become necessary. Parishioners will be notified when or if this becomes necessary, and then updated regularly.
- If schools are closed, youth events may be temporarily suspended. Parishioners will be notified when or if this becomes necessary, and then updated regularly.
Please pray for those who are suffering and those who have died from the virus, as well as public officials responsible for the response to the pandemic.