Letter from Father Kitsmiller

Saint Joseph Cathedral

212 East Broad Street • Columbus, Ohio 43215-3767
(614) 224-1295 • Fax: (614) 224-117

March 21, 2020


Dear Parishioners of St. Joseph Cathedral,

I write to apprise you of changes regarding access to the Cathedral. Given the stricter measures to combat the COVID-19 virus that are being put in place by the State of Ohio and the federal government and those measures encouraged by Health officials of the State of Ohio, Bishop Brennan has asked that we do not permit access to the Cathedral and other parts of the building. These measure are being done to protect the health of all parishioners, staff and visitors. It has also become more complicated for parishes across the diocese to comply with the recommendations of health officials which ensure that public buildings are safe and sanitary places for people to be in. Thus, Bishop Brennan has put this restriction in place for all Catholic parishes of the diocese. Accordingly, the Cathedral will not be open for visitations, Holy Hours or regularly scheduled confessions until further notice.

It is important that we all act in unison with Bishop Brennan on these measures, so as to set a good example. We, as a Church, must do all that we can to urge people to stay home at least these next few weeks, as this is being done across every fabric of our society at this time.

Bishop Brennan has said how heartbreaking it has been to put these measures in place. He wants everyone to know that the measures are not about closing churches but urging people to remain at home in light of the contagious nature of the virus and our lack of immunity to it.

We, of course, will respond to parishioners who are in need of Last Rites and those who are gravely ill that need the Sacrament of the Sick. We will also do funerals for you and your loved ones but know that the number of people attending may have to be limited. Please continue to contact the parish for this kind of scenario. The celebration of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults will not occur at the Easter Vigil but will be delayed until a future date, hopefully in the near future. Jake Neal, our RCIA director, will be in touch with our candidates and catechumens regarding a new date at a later time. We also will not be performing infant baptisms at this time, except in emergency situations. We have not rescheduled any weddings at this time but are looking into that possibility for those who have weddings in the coming months. Please contact Sarah Wilson, our wedding coordinator and the priest who is performing the wedding. We will reassess this situation after Easter for all of our sacraments and services.

We are encouraging you to listen to the Mass online or through St. Gabriel, 820 AM, Monday through Friday at 12:05 pm, Saturday morning at 8 am and Sunday at 10:30 am.

For those who have scheduled Mass intentions, know that the priests of the Cathedral are continuing to the say those Mass intentions for your loved ones and your own intentions, as they occur on our calendar. Carol Stollenwerk will continue to schedule future Mass intentions

Our Administrative Assistant, Carol Stollenwerk, continues to answer your phone calls and e-mails at cstollenwerk@saintjosephcathedral.org. When we receive the latest information, we have been placing it on our parish website and Facebook page. Know that some of our information in our bulletin may be out of date and no longer apply. For example, in my Rector's column for this coming Sunday, I note new Church hours which no longer apply.

I thank you for your financial support for the Cathedral. We continue to need it to pay salaries, bills and maintain the buildings. Mike Agriesti, our business manager, will continue to answer your inquiries. His e-mail is magriesti@saintjosephcathedral.org.

I ask that you continue to keep up your faith practices, especially on Sundays, We have posted on our website a prayer service for your household that will help you be connected to the liturgy of the Church, albeit in a spiritual way. Let us maintain our faith in Almighty God and let us continue to pray for each other and an end to this pandemic.

Again I thank you for your patience. Know that you are in my prayers every day. Sincerely in Christ,

Very Rev. Robert J. Kitsmiller