March 31, 2020
In my daily prayers, I am reflecting both spiritually and practically on the current challenges we are facing in the world. The reality of the spread of COVID-19 has been made more real to us by its entrance into our own Back Mountain community, as seen by the closing of the Trucksville Sheetz due to one of their staff members contracting the virus. We are not immune and must do all we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Yesterday, Bishop Bambera gave all Pastors of the Diocese of Scranton the responsibility to decide whether or not to open their individual churches for private prayer opportunities. It is very important that we provide a place for individual prayer for our two churches. However, we are at a disadvantage in the physical plans of our two church buildings. Neither Gate of Heaven Church nor Our Lady of Victory Church is a stand-alone building. Both Churches are attached to office and operational areas that are critical to the function of the parishes. If an infected person came in to pray, the safety of my staff would be jeopardized, and the operation of that the Church would have to shut down for a significant period of time.
With that in mind, I have made the decision to temporarily stop private prayer hours at Gate of Heaven Church. Due to the design of GOH, all entrances into the Church proper pass through staff and operational areas. I have identified a specific entrance and space within Our Lady of Victory for private prayer for anyone that would like to still come to pray. Please review our new private prayer hours at Our Lady of Victory listed below.
Please know that it is with a very heavy heart that I have made this decision. Keep praying for me and the decisions that I must make at this unprecedented time. Decisions like these will always be questioned, but I must do what is best and safest for those who wish to still pray in church, my staff and our parish families. Please forgive me if this upsets you. I am upset over it too.
I pray for you at the Mass always.
Father Daniel Toomey
Pastor, Gate of Heaven & Our Lady of Victory Churches
Regular Private Prayer Hours at Our Lady of Victory
Monday and Thursday from 12 noon until 2 pm
Tuesday and Friday from 9 am 10 am
Wednesday Evening from 5 pm to 7 pm
Sunday from 12:00 to 2:00 pm
This is for individual prayer. No group prayer and group devotions are permitted, in order to follow the directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. OLV church will be sanitized appropriately after these timeframes.