Mass on May 25th – instructions

Dear Friends in Christ, 

Dear Friends in Christ, below is a letter from Bishop Brennan as well as diocesan guidelines to be followed when we resume public Masses on May 25. Please read both documents carefully. Each parish has to work out how to apply these guidelines to its own particular situation. During this week I have met with the parish pastoral council to develop and refine more detailed guidelines that will regulate public worship in our parish. We also discussed that we cannot schedule people in high risk groups, including those over 70 years of age, for certain volunteer activities. At our parish, we need to recruit some new ushers and train them before public Masses resume; we also need a few more volunteers to help with counting the collection after Sunday Mass. The ushers will have some additional duties, including dismissing people by rows to maintain six feet spacing during the Communion procession and helping everyone maintain social distancing inside the church. If you are able and willing to help as an usher and/or collection counter, please contact the parish office. As the Bishop says, our experience of Mass will be different, as we must take certain precautions to protect public health. I will be sharing more about this in the days ahead. 

I would also like to remind everyone that there are still strict rules in place about visiting hospitals and nursing homes. Currently, the priests are not allowed to visit hospital patients and nursing home residents unless someone is approaching the end of their life. If you know of a Catholic who is in this condition and needs to see a priest, please have one of their family members contact one of the priests sooner rather than later, as it can take time to get permission to visit. We do not know how long these rules will be in place. Please pray for people in hospitals and nursing homes who are isolated from their families at this time. 

Possible Return to Mass on Pentecost!

I’d like to share some good news:The Bishops of Ohio have announced plans to resume the public celebration of Masses on Pentecost.

Please see the attachment below.

Please note: Many details still need to be discussed and worked out. There will still be precautions, restrictions, and different ways of doing things. We will be receiving and giving more guidance about that. In the meantime, let’s start preparing ourselves mentally and spiritually for a great celebration. God be praised!


Dear Friends in Christ, 

As previously announced, we plan to resume hearing confessions, by appointment only, on Friday, May 1. Here is the schedule for confessions on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

To schedule your confession at Sacred Hearts, please call Tammy Dieter at 567-231-8067Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday between 9:30 am and 1pm.

To schedule your confession at St. Mary, please call Dolores Zentkovich at 382-0324 Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday between 9:30 am and 1pm.

Appointments will be made by telephone only.

Remember that you will have a maximum of five minutes to enter the confession area, make your confession, and receive penance and absolution. Please read the attached document for further instructions.

Friday, May 1
Sacred Hearts
7pm – 9pm                  Buffer 7-8; Tennant 8-9

Saturday, May 2
St. Mary
11am-1pm                   Tennant 11-noon, Buffer noon-1

 Sacred Hearts
4pm-7pm                     Buffer 4-5:30, Tennant 5:30 – 7

Sunday, May 3
St. Mary
2pm-5pm                     Tennant 2-3:30. Buffer 3:30-5

We will announce more days and times later in the week after we see how many persons have made appointments so far.
Let’s stay united in prayer!Sincerely Yours, in Christ, 
Father Thomas BufferPastor

Confession is coming.

Dear Friends in Christ, 

Today’s email has two parts: first, the schedule for the livestreamed Masses for the next several days. Second, an explanation of how we will soon be starting to hear Confessions once again.

Livestreamed Masses. Masses celebrated at Sacred Hearts will be livestreamed on the Sacred Hearts Facebook page. Masses celebrated at St. Mary will be livestreamed on the St. Mary Facebook page.  

Saturday, April 25. 9am. Sacred Hearts

Sunday, April 26. 9am. Sacred Hearts

Sunday, April 26. 11am. St. Mary

Monday, April 27 through Friday, May 1. 6pm. Sacred Hearts.

Resuming Confessions.

We are planning to resume celebrating the Sacrament of Penance no earlier than May 1.

This past Wednesday, Fr. Tennant and I participated in a conference call with Bishop Brennan and nearly eighty other priests to receive instructions on how we are going to proceed with Confessions during this time. Because we still need to take steps to prevent the spread of a very contagious disease, our procedures will be different; they are designed to protect everyone’s health and to avoid contaminating church facilities.

Here are some of the things that will be different as we begin to hear confessions once more:

Day and Time. We will schedule opportunities for confessions on several days to give everyone an opportunity to receive the sacrament. Confessions will be by appointment only and will be scheduled every five minutes. We expect to begin making appointments early next week. We will let everyone know in a day or two how to make an appointment. Please do not contact us about this yet.

Content. Confessions will have to be kept brief. You will have a maximum of five minutes to enter the area, make your confession, receive an assigned penance and absolution, and leave. If you are looking for counseling, guidance, or direction, that will have to happen at a different time, outside of confession.

Posture. The penitent will remain standing, six feet away from the priest.

Precautions. The priest will wear a mask and gloves. Everyone going to confession should also wear a mask. Take your temperature before coming to confession. If it is higher than 100.4 degrees, stay home.

Location. We need to use an open space that allows for plenty of air circulation and can be disinfected easily. Penitents need to be able to enter and leave the area without touching any doors, door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, furniture, etc. In Marion, we will use the school gymnasium; entrance will be through the exterior door opening on to the South parking lot. That door will be fastened open. At Sacred Hearts, we will use Foeller Hall (the social hall); entrance will be through the double doors facing East; those doors will be propped open.

While this is not what we are used to, I know that we are all looking forward to the opportunity to experience the power of Christ’s Resurrection in the Sacrament of Penance. 

Let’s stay united in prayer!Sincerely Yours, in Christ, 
Father Thomas BufferPastor

New and Old Technology

Dear Friends in Christ, 
As government officials begin to speak of a brighter future, many people have asked me when we will be able to reopen our churches, and under what conditions. I would like to know that too! I promise that as soon as I have something reliable to report, I will pass it on to you without delay. In the meantime, we plan to continue livestreaming the celebration of Holy Mass via Facebook. Here follows the schedule for the next seven days.

Friday, April 17     6pm     Sacred Hearts

Saturday, April 18     9am     St Mary Marion

Sunday, April 19     9am     Sacred Hearts

Sunday, April 19     11am     St Mary Marion

Monday, April 20 – Friday, April 24     6pm     St Mary Marion

Speaking of livestreams: I apologize for the technical problem that ruined the livestream of the Mass on Monday, April 13. Because Fr. Tennant’s IPad was not available, I decided to use my ancient laptop (more than 5 years old!) and the strain was too much for the old girl. After that bad experience I tried my new cell phone, which finds tasks like this to be very easy. It can do all sorts of things; I am still discovering all its features. They say it can also be used to make phone calls but I have not yet confirmed whether this is true. 

I am attaching to this email a document from the Diocese of Columbus that reminds us of church teaching concerning the forgiveness of sins and indulgences. It explains what we can do in an emergency situation when it is not possible to confess our sins to a priest. I think that if you read it carefully, it will answer many common questions and provide spiritual comfort.  

Let’s stay united in prayer!Sincerely Yours, in Christ, 

Father Thomas BufferPastor