My Bishop, Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Peroria Diocese, has issued the following letter:
What this means in my parish is that everything other than Masses is cancelled. No Lenten fish fry tonight, a staple of my parish during Fridays in Lent going back as long as I have lived here. No Saint Patrick annual celebration. No CCD. No adult book studies. Nothing. Our confirmation will be a much more subdued affair than the glorious full scale Mass it has been.
Releasing Catholics from the obligation to attend Mass is the most striking feature. I am 63 and I will decline the Bishop’s advice for those over six decades in age not to attend Mass. Bishops have a heavy burden of responsibility before Christ, and I will not second guess him in this exercise of his authority. However, I view this all with grave misgivings. In time of peril we need the Church most. I regard this whole virus hysteria as vastly overblown, but, if I did not, if, instead, as I am sure many are, I was frightened and fearful for the immediate future, I would feel deserted. Fortunately, I am my usual optimistic self, and I view this, hopefully, as an unpleasant emergency blip in the long history of the Church.