Letter from Denver bishops on the resumption of public Masses

Public Masses will resume in a limited way starting May 9

Archdiocese of Denver

To the lay faithful of northern Colorado,

Greetings in the Risen Lord!

On March 13, we joined our brother bishops of Colorado in making the difficult decision to suspend public Mass out of concern for the common good of the people of our parishes and the people of Colorado, i.e., their safety and health amidst the onset of the Coronavirus. At the time, 56 days ago, we did not foresee the suspension lasting as long as it has and have determined that it is now time to resume public celebration of the Mass in a limited and gradual manner.

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We know that this time of fasting from the Eucharist has been a particularly difficult burden on all of you, especially during Holy Week, Easter, and the Easter season. It has truly been a sacrifice, but as is true with any sacrifice, it has not been in vain. Regularly, over 210,000 people attend Mass each weekend in our state. As the Church is one of the largest organizations in Colorado, we have a moral obligation to do our part to protect the health of our members and our fellow citizens. Your sacrifice of not being able to participate in Mass and receive the Eucharist has aided the larger goal of substantially limiting the spread of the virus and its impact on the vulnerable.

In the Archdiocese of Denver, public Mass will resume in a limited way on Saturday, May 9. It is important for everyone to realize that the 149 locations where Mass is typically celebrated across northern Colorado vary in size and capabilities; they are located in various municipalities, and thus, how the public celebration of the Mass resumes will be different at each parish. What we can say is that extreme caution will be used, that strict physical distancing will be observed, and that pastors will consult the guidance issued by state and local health authorities. This, of course, will mean that access to the Masses celebrated over the next few months will be very limited. We will not go back to the way it was in early March when Masses were cancelled. It will be important to check with your parish website if Mass will be offered, when it will be offered and how to attend due to the limitations.

Since the faithful will continue to be dispensed from the obligation to participate in person at a Sunday Mass, those who make an effort to attend limited public Mass should not expect to do so with regularity and should be willing to attend on any day of the week. Important to note too: it is still recommended that those 65 and older and those with certain underlying medical conditions, shelter at home. This means some of our priests who fall into these at-risk categories and do not yet feel comfortable celebrating public Masses may refrain from doing so.

As we approach the Feast of Pentecost, let us all call upon the power of the Holy Spirit to give us the gifts, fruits, and graces we need to meet the challenge of resuming public Masses with great mercy and solidarity.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.L.
Archbishop of Denver

Most Reverend Jorge Rodriguez, S.T.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver

COMING UP: Preparing your Home and Heart for the Advent Season

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The Advent season is a time of preparation for our hearts and minds for the Lord’s birth on Christmas.  It extends over the four Sundays before Christmas.  Try some of these Ideas to celebrate Advent in your home by decorating, cooking, singing, and reading your way to Christmas. Some of the best ideas are the simplest.

Special thanks to Patty Lunder for putting this together!

Advent Crafts

Handprint Advent Wreath for Children 
Bring the meaning of Advent into your home by having your kids make this fun and easy Advent wreath.

Materials
Pink and purple construction paper
– Yellow tissue or construction paper (to make a flame)
– One piece of red construction paper cut into 15 small circles
– Scissors
– Glue
– Two colors of green construction paper
– One paper plate
– 2 empty paper towel tubes

1. Take the two shades of green construction paper and cut out several of your child’s (Children’s) handprints. Glue the handprints to the rim of a paper plate with the center cut out.

2. Roll one of the paper towels tubes in purple construction paper and glue in place.

3. Take the second paper towel and roll half in pink construction paper and half in purple construction and glue in place.

4. Cut the covered paper towel tubes in half.

5. Cut 15 small circles from the red construction paper. Take three circles and glue two next to each other and a third below to make berries. Do this next to each candle until all circles are used.

6. Cut 4 rain drop shapes (to make a flame) from the yellow construction paper. Each week glue the yellow construction paper to the candle to make a flame. On the first week light the purple candle, the second week light the second purple candle, the third week light the pink candle and on the fourth week light the final purple candle.

A Meal to Share during the Advent Season

Slow-Cooker Barley & Bean Soup 

Make Sunday dinner during Advent into a special family gathering with a simple, easy dinner. Growing up in a large family, we knew everyone would be together for a family dinner after Mass on Sunday. Let the smells and aromas of a slow stress-free dinner fill your house and heart during the Advent Season. Choose a member of the family to lead grace and enjoy an evening together. This is the perfect setting to light the candles on your Advent wreath and invite all to join in a special prayer for that week.

Ingredients:
– 1 cup dried multi-bean mix or Great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed
– 1/2 cup pearl barley (Instant works great, I cook separate and add at end when soup is done)
– 3 cloves garlic, smashed
– 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
– 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
– 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
– 1 bay leaf
– Salt to taste
– 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend (basil, oregano)
– Freshly ground black pepper
– One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice
– 3 cups cleaned baby spinach leaves (about 3 ounces)
– 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, extra for garnish

1. Put 6 cups water, the beans, barley, garlic, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaf, 1 tablespoons salt, herb blend, some pepper in a slow cooker. Squeeze the tomatoes through your hands over the pot to break them down and add their juices. Cover and cook on high until the beans are quite tender and the soup is thick, about 8 hours. 

2. Add the spinach and cheese, and stir until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve with a baguette.