Transcription of Father Kevin’s Letter:
March 17, 2020
To all Parishioners of the Churches of St. Anthony and the Sacred Heart, my Brothers and Sisters:
A wise old man once told me, “God takes us into the desert sometimes, so we can realize what’s really important.”
With the changes to all our lives in the coming weeks, the need has arisen to address all of you in this way. First and foremost, let us all keep one another in prayer, as we are still One Body in Christ. May we make this journey together.
Currently, there are big changes to our Parishes, which Bishop Zinkula, in cooperation with Gov. Reynolds, the lowa Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control have asked us to carry out. For now, this is what we will be implementing:
- All public Masses, liturgies, meetings, and activities are cancelled until further notice.
- Contact Fr. Kevin about any Baptisms, Weddings or Funerals. First Communion and Confirmation dates are to be determined later (we will keep you informed). All those most vulnerable should stay home, namely:
- Individuals who are sick or are caring for the sick.
- Individuals of 60 years or older.
- Individuals with underlying health conditions.
- All our buildings will be closed until further notice. Someone will be staffing our offices during regular hours to answer your phone calls. Fr. Kevin will continue celebrating Mass privately each day, for the various needs in our Parishes. All of your Mass intentions which were scheduled during this time for your deceased loved ones will be honored at a later time when you can attend that Mass.
Some of these changes will be in effect for the next two weeks; however some may last as long as eight weeks. We are not certain of the timeline, but we will strive to keep you informed.
During this time, our primary communication will be through our websites at http://www.melchersacredheart.com and http://www.knoxvillestanthony.com. If you do not have access to the internet, please let us know by March 24th so we can discuss other ways to keep you informed. If you can think of anyone new in the parishes who we might not have contact information for, please let us know so that we can communicate with them as well.
Our bulletins will be taking on a different form in the coming weeks. The bulletin is available on St. Anthony’s parish website. We will provide you with some prayer resources and updates, and likely some requests for prayers. Remember that your prayers are necessary, more now than in ordinary circumstances, for all our brothers and sisters.
While some of you will face financial hardship during this time, please remember that there are many who depend upon your generosity, our parishes included. Please prayerfully consider what you are able to continue supporting. This includes our parishes, our special collections, and Catholic Relief Services/Rice Bowl. Please mail your donations to the parish offices; St. Anthony parishioners may also donate through our website.
Please do not hesitate to call us with your needs during this time.
For needs of our home-bound and sick, please contact Mary Hanna. For pastoral care needs, contact Fr. Kevin or Dn. Tom. To reach our parish secretaries in case of office closure, contact Martha Reed of Sacred Heart or Amanda Welsh of St. Anthony. To reach Laura Hollinrake (St. Anthony’s DRE), call her home.
Please call Fr. Kevin to inform him of anyone who is sick, or if you or someone you know has returned from abroad recently. We are required to report this type of information to the Diocese.
In all of this, let us truly find purpose in our days. God has brought us into the desert, which will not be as bleak as we fear. It may yet have a profound and unexpected effect, if we let God lead us in this time. May we all allow God to show us the truth more clearly as we begin this journey.
Your servant in Christ,
Fr. Kevin J. Anstey
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Help of the Sick, Comfort of the Afflicted, Pray for us now and always.