Dear St. John Neumann Parishioners,
In addition to the cancellations announced yesterday, Bishop Stika has mandated the cessation of all public Masses to be celebrated in the Diocese of Knoxville effective March 20, 2020. The last public Masses will be celebrated on March 19, 2020, the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Bishop Stika will revisit this on April 1, 2020.
At present, the Blessed Sacrament remains reposed in the tabernacle in the main Church and the Church is open for silent prayer, and after hours the choir loft is still accessible for private prayer and adoration. I will let you know if this changes.
First Communion was scheduled for the afternoon of March 29th, so it will be rescheduled at a later date. Please pray for our young brothers and sisters who have to wait a little longer to receive the Most Holy Eucharist.
I am working on a setup for Confession that would allow for the Sacrament to be celebrated, but in a way that offers both privacy and minimal risk of exposure. Stay tuned!
Fathers Christopher and Mark are working on a way for us to broadcast Holy Mass on Sunday from the Church as well as possibly live streaming private Masses on weekdays from our rectory chapel.
Again, I ask you to pray daily – whether you attend Mass or not in the coming days – especially for those who cannot attend Mass, whether because of illness, the threat of illness, persecution, impairment, alienation or war. These days of Lenten simplicity and fasting even from Communion prepare us not only for the feast when we all together again approach the altar, but also for the heavenly banquet. If you receive Holy Communion in the days ahead, consider doing so for those who can’t. Our citizenship is in heaven [Phil. 3:20] – may that be evident by our charity to our neighbors.
P.S. Please continue to contact the parish office only by phone (865-966-4540) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) as the office will not be open to the public. Our website, Facebook page, and the MyParish app are the best ways to stay connected to the parish during this time.