SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Church will livestream its 10:00 a.m. Mass on Sunday, March 15, on Facebook. The video will also be posted on the church's website https://ihmparish.net.
Following guidelines established by the Archdiocese of Newark, IHM's 5:00 p.m. Mass on Saturday, March 14, and 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., and 12:00 and Noon Masses on Sunday, March 15 will not be celebrated, and the obligation for Sunday Mass has been dispensed.
"I want to stress that these measures are not to induce anxiety or fear; rather, they are to help us cope with the current situation regarding the Coronavirus," Father Michael Ward wrote in a letter to parishioners. "If you read them objectively, these efforts are to safeguard the wellbeing of our community members and to assist those who are at risk or in need."
Additionally, from Saturday, March 14, through Sunday, April 12, (Easter Sunday) the church is suspending all non-essential parish activities (religious formation gatherings, meetings, Bible studies, prayer groups etc.). Preparation for 1st communion and confirmation celebrations will continue.
Weekday masses and Stations of the Cross will continue as scheduled, and the Adoration Chapel will be open during the church's revised office hours. In the celebration of the Eucharist there should be no physical contact during the sign of peace and reception of communion will be limited to the Body of Christ.
Scheduled sacramental celebrations such as weddings, baptisms, or funerals will be permitted, but attendance should be limited to immediate family members only. Further, the sacraments of the Anointing of the Sick and Reconciliation will remain available, as needed, by the faithful.
The church will remain open for people to come and pray Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Parishioners are asked to please keep a prudent and respectful distance from one another.) The parish office will remain open according to the following schedule:Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Buddy System for Seniors and Health Compromised Neighbors
IHM is establishing a "buddy system" in which parish families will look after seniors -- and others with compromised immune systems -- who might need assistance. Buddies should be willing to pick up groceries and medicines for the seniors who cannot and should not go out and possibly risk exposure to the Coronavirus, which effects older people much more severely than other people. Anyone interested in being a "buddy" for a local senior should email Office@IHMparish.net or call (908) 889-2100.
"We continue to closely monitor this evolving situation and will provide updates and schedule changes as necessary," Father Mike added. "Let us pray for all who are affected by the Coronavirus both directly and indirectly, that we may return to our normal routines as soon as possible."
IHM is receiving input from the Archdiocesan Coronavirus Response Task Force, which comprises clergy, religious, lay leaders, and medical professionals, and meets daily to monitor the situation and to provide Cardinal Tobin with counsel. The task force also partners with state and local officials to maintain safe and healthy environments.
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