Urgent Message from Bishop McElroy and Fr Gerard

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

See below for a letter from Bishop McElroy which will be read at all Masses this Saturday evening and Sunday.

Starting Monday, March 16, there will be no public weekday or weekend Masses at St. James or St. Leo until further notice. 

  • Bishop McElroy has dispensed all Catholics from the Sunday Mass obligation during the coming weeks. 
  • There WILL be regular Masses at St. James and St. Leo this weekend, including confession on Saturday at 3:30pm.

Many regular events are cancelled or postponed, so please see the section below called “Questions and Answers.”

The diocese will video-stream Sunday Mass celebrated by priests and bishops of our diocese in English, Spanish and Vietnamese every week. You can access these celebrations on the diocesan website beginning this Sunday, March 15.

  • St. James will be open every day 8am-8pm starting Monday 3/16 for people who wish to come and pray.
  • St. Leo will also have hours that they are open.

See “Question and Answer” section below for details.

I invite all of you to join me in prayer, especially those most significantly impacted and suffering from coronavirus. Below is a prayer from Pope Francis for us to pray.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Gerard

Questions and Answers

Q. What is St. James- St. Leo doing in response to the San Diego County restrictions on public gatherings?  
A. The Bishop has asked us to do the following, starting Monday, 3/16/20:

  1. Suspension of all public Masses, both weekday and weekend, and all Eucharistic Communion services until further notice.
  2. All Catholics in the Diocese of San Diego are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass during the coming weeks.
  3. Suspension of all parish and diocesan schools and religious education programs.
  4. The Diocese will provide video streamed Sunday Masses celebrated by priests and bishops of our diocese in English, Spanish and Vietnamese every week. You can access these celebrations at the diocesan website (sdcatholic.org) starting Sunday.

Q. What are we going to do as a Parish community?

  1. St. James Church will be open from 8am to 8pm Monday through Saturday starting 3/16 for individual prayer and devotions. We have a signup for “Church Stewards” to be sure that there is always someone at church during open hours.
  2. On Sunday, 3/22/20 and all subsequent Sundays during this time, St. James Church will be open from 8am to 8pm for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the main altar. This replaces the regularly scheduled Thursday Exposition in the prayer chapel. The “Church Steward” signup includes Sundays, where someone must always be present during Exposition.
  3. St. Leo church hours are M-F 6-8pm, and Exposition on Sunday 9am-5pm (instead of Monday).

Q. What programs are being cancelled?

  1. Basically, all Parish-sponsored events are cancelled. These include Bible Study, Alpha, Fish Feasts, Faith Formation for Children, Parish Mission, Youth Group, Confirmation Prep and other parish-wide events.
  2. Acceptable gatherings are rosary groups, centering prayer, healing ministry, choir practice, and other small informal groups.

Q. What about marriages, funerals, and baptisms?
A. These are still allowed, within County public event guidelines for numbers of attendees.

Q. What about Penance Services and Reconciliation?
A. Publicly scheduled penance services are cancelled. However, you are welcome to schedule a one-on-one Reconciliation appointment with Fr. Gerard or Fr. Howard at your mutual convenience. Please call the office (858) 755-2545 to make an appointment.

Q. Is the Parish Office open?
A. Yes, the parish office is open as usual. You are welcome to drop off your Sunday envelopes in the office or church during the week, or mail them in. You may also consider online giving. We appreciate your continued support during this challenging time.

A Prayer from Pope Francis
O Mary, Health of the Sick,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you.
You know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide,
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows,
leading us through the crossto the joy of the resurrection.

– Pope Francis, March 2020 (adapted)