While all of the parishes public Masses have been suspended by Bishop Barber we are allowed to keep the church open under limited conditions for other services.
Fr. Thuong has decided that it is necessary to open the church for confessions. The church will be open for confessions at our normal confession time, 4-5 pm on Saturday.
Because of the coronavirus problem we will make some accommodations.
- In the confessional we have eliminated the option for face to face confession. All penitents must be behind the screen. The priest hearing confessions will sit further away from the screen to ensure a 6 foot separation.
- Before the start of confessions, the sacristan will wipe all the door knobs and the confessional screen surfaces with a disinfecting wipe.
We ask all penitents to:
- While waiting in line maintain a 6 foot separation from the person in front of you.
- After confession, pick a spot away for everyone else to say your penance.
- The state of California limits us to 10 people in the church. If you have finished you penance and people come into the church, please leave. If you are just arriving for confession and the are 10 people already in the church, please wait outside and respect your social-distancing outside.
If it has been a while since you have been to confession there is a helpful confession resource on our website here
The Chrism Mass on Thursday April 2 at 7 pm is closed to the public. He has invited us to participate in the Mass on Facebook live. The link to watch is www.facebook.com/ctlcathedral.org
The bishop’s letter below.
Sister Mary Catharine Perry has been practicing social distancing for the past 29 years. She only leaves her home for doctors’ visits or perhaps shopping for a specific item. She doesn’t go to parties or weddings or out to eat with friends. She often goes months without leaving her 8-acre home. Sister Mary Catharine Perry, is a cloistered nun with the Dominican nuns in Summit, New Jersey
She offers advice to us who have been told to shelter in place for at least the next few weeks. One of her points is to have planned time for prayer. Consider planning a time daily to say the rosary Our Blessed Mother, several times when she has appeared to various people, has asked us to do this.
Plan a time when you or when everyone in your home can pray the rosary daily.
Our parish website has a lot of resources to help you pray the rosary. There are printable sheets in multiple languages. There are several videos of people or groups praying the rosary. There are downloadable audio files. See stjohnelcerrito.org/rosary/
Bishop Barber has suspended all public Masses during the current emergency and the current shelter-in-place order. Hence, we have already suspended all public Masses at St. John the Baptist Church until further notice. All church activity, including choir activities and in-person discussion groups or classes, are suspended until further notice.
Our RCIA program is in their final preparation to receive their sacraments at the Easter Vigil and will continue their program online.
Also, given this emergency, the Bishop has removed the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. Our priests will continue to celebrate private Mass on our normal daily and Sunday Mass times. The intentions that have been arranged for these Masses will be offered.
I encourage you to find and participate in daily and Sunday Masses streaming live at various churches. Our parish website has links for this here.
The Divine Mercy Chapel will continue to be open and be a place of prayer and solace for people. Proper hygiene and social distancing will continue to be emphasized.
May God bless you and protect you, and your loved ones, during this time.
Father Thuong Nguyen
Since Contra Costa county has ordered everyone in the county to shelter at home, St. John the Baptist will not have any public Masses until this order is lifted.
Sunday and daily Masses on the internet
A number of groups livestream or podcast Mass either on a regular basis or in response to the coronavirus. Listed below are several sources. You and all those in you house can attend Mass while we are sheltering in place.
Heart of the Nation produces and televises weekly Sunday Mass nationwide, providing compassionate spiritual care for Catholics unable to participate in holy Mass at a parish. www.heartofthenation.org
Join the Dominicans for Mass at St. Albert the Great Priory on Livestream.com. The Western Dominican Province will broadcast the Mass every Sunday from the chapel of St. Albert’s, the Dominican house of studies on the West Coast.
Celebrate the Catholic Mass live from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame’s campus in South Bend, Indiana. Sundays 7 am PDT. Available as podcast after that. www.catholictv.org/masses/notre-dame-mass
Sunday and daily Mass
EWTN offers the daily readings to enable viewers to accompany the Mass of the day as it is televised. They are also the perfect way to find time in your day for spiritual reflection. Listen, watch, or read from the comfort of your home. www.ewtn.com
Loretto Abbey, Toronto
With Pope Francis in Rome
CatholicTV has several links to daily and Sunday Masses. You can even join in the daily Mass with Pope Francis during the coronavirus pandemic. www.catholictv.org/masses
St Louis Cathedral, New Orleans
You can get the daily Mass from Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans at thedailymass.com/mass/
With Bishop Barron in Santa Barbara
In light of measures being taken to contain the outbreak and avoid further illness, many of us may be hesitant to leave our homes. In many areas, Mass and other church services may not be available.
It is at this exact moment that our faith is most needed.
In an effort to continue the practice of our faith in these trying times, I would like to invite you to join us online for daily Mass.
Beginning today, Tuesday, March 17, Word on Fire will be offering daily Mass for the foreseeable future.
Join Bishop Barron, or Word on Fire CEO Fr. Steve Grunow for Mass
If you want to join Bishop Barber in the 7 pm April 2 Chrism Mass, go to the cathedrals Facebook page facebook.com/ctlcathedral.org at that time.
Bishop Barber has made a number of temporary changes in response to the current corona virus outbreak. You can read all of his guidance on the diocesan website oakdiocese.org. They are near the bottom in the left-hand column. There are several updates because the situation is very dynamic.
In response to the bishop’s direction, we here at St. Johns have done the following.
- We have removed the water from the baptismal font and the holy water fonts at the doors.
- We will not offer communion under both species.
- We are telling people to not hold hands while we pray the Our Father.
- We are telling people to not shake hands during the sign of peace.
- We are encouraging people to receive communion on the hand not on the tongue.
- We have implemented a more rigorous cleansing procedure.
We advise those who are sick to stay home from Mass. We advise those who are medically high-risk to stay home from Mass. The Sunday obligation to attend Mass is not binding for you.
We have a number of ministers of Holy Communion for the home bound. While you and they are not quarantined, they can bring communion to you. Call Larry Mundy 510 301-5027 or the rectory 510 232-5659 to arrange for a visit. As the need for ministers for the home bound will grow, we need some additional parishioner to volunteer for this ministry. Call Larry to help with this vital ministry.
Since the situation continues to change, you can look to see what Bishop Barber has directed or look for updates on our parish website, StJohnElCerrio.org.
In the Gospel at the beginning of Lent, Jesus tells us we should give alms. He mentions this first before prayer and fasting.
Almsgiving is defined as giving to others as an act of virtue. As Catholics the Lenten call to almsgiving means making the needs of other people our own. One of the central lessons of the cross is compassion; the heavy burdens we carry helps us to appreciate the suffering in others. Sharing our material goods is often just the beginning of real Christian giving.
Here at St. John the Baptist Church we have many opportunities to give alms, our St. Vincent de Paul Conference provides you with an opportunity to not only fulfill your Lenten call but to help others all year long. We sponsor a food pantry two times a month. We normally serve 140 families each month with food the conference buys from the local Food Bank or from generous donations. You can help with food donations or monetary donations. If food donations are your almsgiving choice, please refer to the following list of foods we provide each pantry. No glass containers or larger sizes please.
Donations can be brought the Parish office. On the first Sunday of every month there are collection baskets in the church so you can drop your donations off when you attend Mass.
Pantry Food Donations
No glass containers or larger sizes
Canned Tuna 5 oz. can Mac & Cheese 9 oz box
Canned Chicken 5 oz. can Ramen 3 oz. package
Canned Soup 10.5 oz can Pasta 1 pound package
Canned Vegetables 15 oz. can Rice 1 pound bag
Canned Fruit 15 oz. can Dry Beans 1 pound bag
Pasta Sauce 24 oz. can Peanut Butter 12 oz. plastic jar
Dry Cereal 12-18 oz. package