Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

Dear Parishioners of Immaculate Conception:

Certainly we are all concerned about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), especially in that we have many parishioners who are in populations that are considered to be in high-risk categories. First, and foremost, we must commend this matter to prayer; we must ask Almighty God to avert this pandemic from us, and to bless and protect all healthcare professionals on the front lines of fighting this virus.

Second, Bishop Jugis has asked us to make greater efforts to reduce person-to-person contact and large gatherings in compliance with government-issued mandates, in an effort to reduce exposure to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

To that end, I am taking the following actions:

• ALL PUBLIC MASSES ARE CANCELLED at Immaculate Conception. Our Diocese has directed that Masses must be offered consistent with CDC guidelines which, as of today, limits gatherings to less than ten (10) people. Therefore, offering public Mass is not practicable at IC.

o The Priests of IC are still offering daily private Mass for the spiritual benefit of our Parish and parishioners.

o The norms of Mass intentions, and their offerings, are being observed.

• PLEASE CONTINUE YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF OUR PARISH: I humbly ask the faithful of our Parish to continue your stewardship of treasure by continuing your weekly offertory gifts to the parish through the mail or electronic giving.

o We have no other source of income, other than what you give us, and we want to be able to continue to pay our employees and pay our bills; we also anticipate charitable needs to increase during this pandemic.

o Offertory Mailing Address: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 611 N. Church St., Ste. 101, Hendersonville, NC 28792–3623.

• All functions and activities at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, and Immaculata Catholic School, are cancelled indefinitely. The Diocese will reevaluate the situation regularly, as this very fluid situation continues to develop.

• Lay Extraordinary Ministers shall not be taking Communion to the homebound, retirement/rest homes, or hospitals, until further notice.

• Until further notice, all non-liturgical functions at the Church, St. Joseph Center, and school are cancelled, including, for example, faith formation, youth groups, prayer groups, and choir practices. Please consider distance learning and conference calls for functions like RCIA, and various board/council meetings (e.g., St Gerard Board, Finance Council, etc., who meet in the SJC/meeting rooms).

• Any room reservations for groups, meetings, etc., are hereby cancelled; you are not to meet at the SJC, the Cenacle, or in the church or school, and will have to make other arrangements during this period. Consider meeting in homes, or alternative places, if you so choose; Base Communities must make their own decisions as to whether to continue to meet during this pandemic.

• The Church building will remain locked, and off limits to the public so that our maintenance staff can conduct sanitizing and cleaning activities, according to CDC guidelines. We hope to be able to open the Chapel, in some limited capacity, soon.

o IF YOU HAVE A KEY to the church, DO NOT ENTER without authorization from the Pastor, Fr. Cook.

o We are working hard to be able to re-open our Chapel, so please be patient.

• Beginning Friday, March 20th, the Parish office will be closed to the public to reduce human interaction, and to increase personal distancing.

o Office personnel have been offered the option of working from home, to create distancing, as instructed by the CDC, the State of North Carolina, and our Diocese.

o You may interact with Parish Office via telephone and email, if needed. Please be patient, as we try to continue to serve you in these unorthodox times.

Let us all join in prayer, as we entrust all things to God. We will make it through this, with the help of God, and by making well-informed decisions about our public interactions.

In Christ,
Rev. W. Christian Cook
Pastor, Immaculate Conception