Public Masses Suspended: Coronavirus Crisis Hits Brooklyn Diocese

Tags: Currents, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Catholic Church, Coronavirus, Diocese of Brooklyn, Mass and Liturgy, Queens, NY, Relics

By Tim Harfmann

March 15 marked the last Sunday with public Masses.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio suspended weekday and weekend Masses in Brooklyn and Queens until further notice.

“That’s actually very disheartening because this is something that I look forward to every Sunday,” said Maria-Elena Zegna, a parishioner at Holy Family Church. “This is undescribable.”

Bishop DiMarzio also lifted the obligation for Catholics to attend Sunday Mass.

At Holy Family Church in Fresh Meadows, Queens, nearly 70 parishioners worshiped at the March 15 noon Mass, which is about half the normal attendance.

The Catholics were blessed with the relic of Saint Rosalie, who is credited with interceding for the citizens of Palermo, Italy in 1624. Many of them were dying from the black plague.

“The bishop at that time took the relic of St. Rosalie and, in procession, went around the entire diocese and blessed all the people. That plague quickly dissipated,” said Father Sean Suckiel, pastor of the Queens church.

He said with the coronavirus crisis growing in New York and around the country, now is a good time to turn to St. Rosalie once again.

“Just to bring hope and healing to uncertainty for our people. There’s a high level of anxiety and a fear of uncertainty about what’s going to happen next,” he added.

Students at the parish’s Catholic academy can’t go to school right now, but they know what they can do.

“You can still go home and pray to God and worship Him, like you do at Mass,” said sixth grader Erin Villacrucis.

“What we do know is that hope doesn’t disappoint, that God is with us, and He’s going to sustain us,” added Father Suckiel.

So that Catholics can pray to the Lord for strength, Father Suckiel is keeping Holy Family open every day.