Dear Parishioners of St. Patrick and St Joseph,
After much consideration and prayer, and in consult with our Bishop, I have made the difficult decision to suspend all masses at both parishes until further notice. This decision was not made lightly, and my heart is deeply burdened that the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of our christian faith, is made temporarily less available to the peoples of Clark and Montgomery counties. It is however, also a primary concern of a pastor to safeguard the physical health of their flock so as to ensure their continued well-being throughout the christian journey. It is a rare occasion such as this when the spiritual and temporal goods of a community are seemingly in opposition, and as such I feel it important to explain as best I am able why I have come to this decision.
In my own conscience, the thought that I would personally be in any way responsible for the transmission of the COVID virus to our vulnerable parishioners, or would permit an environment that would significantly increase danger to my parish is flatly unacceptable. Given the high rate of infection and fatality this novel strain has with respect to the common cold, coupled with the tremendous burden that will soon be placed on our healthcare system, the chances that the retention of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would affect not only my parishioners but all the people of central Ky becomes too significant to ignore.
Acknowledging the fact there are public cases in Harrison, Fayette, and Montgomery counties, and the fact that our communities commute and interrelate within these counties regularly, our chance of contraction and spread is heightened, which affects all of us.
I urge you in this time of crisis to pray for our nation and world, particularly the sick and their caregivers. Please utilize online and television options for mass and devotions. The rosary and stations of the cross are some wonderful examples of devotions which may be practiced at home. We will be preparing an online program to provide supplemental spiritual resources for you and your family throughout this difficult time.
It is important to note that I will continue to be available for confession and for the anointing of the sick for anyone who would call (859) 967-4404. Please if you suspect you may need these sacraments do not hesitate to call, our physical and spiritual health is of unparalleled importance.
Lastly I urge all people to take this seriously and follow all protocols given by the CDC and local and national authorities, in addition to their own common sense. Caution cannot be over utilized during this time of trial in our world. Please do not dismiss the gravity of the situation, and continue to demonstrate the charity and values that make us such strong communities.
Your servant in Christ,
Fr. Frank Brawner