Welcome to the Nativity Update Center, a dedicated space on our website designed to keep parents, staff, and the entire Nativity community informed about the effect of the Coronavirus on our community.
This Update Center serves as an ongoing reliable resource for the entire Nativity community, demonstrating proactive and transparent access to critical information. We will continue to update this with news and information as it becomes available. It is our mission to keep you informed on how we are preparing to cope with Coronavirus and any other potential health-related or time-critical topics. We hope you’ll find it useful.
Dear Nativity Community –
As we enter this most holy of weeks, I hope you are doing well and continue to practice social distancing and are staying at home. Based on the data it looks like Ohio has been doing a good job overall of flattening the curve. As you are home it is important to take care of yourself and your family. We have posted several resources on the website to help you and your family cope during this challenging time. I encourage everyone to take time for themselves and to check on others in our community. Starting this week we have also included in this newsletter our prayer list to make it easier for everyone to access and pray for those in our community in need of prayer.
We will be posting information you can use at home for Holy Week on our website at www.nativity-cincinnati.org/updates/holy-week. Information will include suggested liturgies for home, as well as information about live streams that you and your family can watch. I hope these resources will help you and your family participate in Holy Week since we are unable to be together. I also encourage you to post pictures of your family celebrating these holy days on our new Nativity Parish Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/856207348200007
The Church is open Monday – Friday from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm as well as 9:00 am until noon on Sunday. Should you visit for prayer please make sure you are practicing proper social distancing, so that we can continue to keep the church open. We have provided candles in the back of church for you to take home for use in your Easter prayers.
We are continuing to post updates about Nativity’s response to the Coronavirus in the Update Center on our website at www.nativity-cincinnati.org/updates you can also contact Rudy Gruenke, Director of Systems & Special Projects at (513) 531-3164 or email@example.com if you have any questions.
Please continue to pray for all those afflicted by illness and those who are working to prevent the spread. This won’t last forever; we will get through this.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On April 1, 2020 I went to Church. I had not been in the building since we closed everything down. I was first struck by my love for the place. I missed being there. I was struck by how much I missed you. I love when we are all together there. I missed the Mass. I love the Eucharist and want never to live without it.
All this said I became aware that I was not in an empty room. In this building the portal or doorway to Heaven, I could hear 50 years of faithful voices singing out; 50 years of prayer and faithful worship. I heard your voices and saw your faces.
We are the body of Christ, present in Word, Sacrament and the Baptized.
Each year on Palm Sunday our immersion into the Mysteries of this most Holy Week begin. We gather outside the doors of Church; Bells ringing, Hosanas sung. When all are in place, a moment of quiet occurs and the priest invites the faithful to participate actively and consciously in the celebration.
Dear brothers and sisters,
since the beginning of Lent until now
we have prepared our hearts
by penance and charitable works.
Today we gather together to herald with the whole Church
the beginning of the celebration
of our Lord’s Paschal Mystery,
that is to say, of his Passion and Resurrection.
For it was to accomplish this mystery
that he entered his own city of Jerusalem.
Therefore, with all faith and devotion,
let us commemorate
the Lord’s entry into the city for our salvation,
following in his footsteps,
so that, being made by his grace partakers of the Cross,
we may have a share also
in his Resurrection and in his life.
Often the season of Lent and Holy Week is more an idea than a lived experience or reality. The Coronavirus has changed this habit. We know firsthand that sacrifice is required of each one of us for the good of all. Penances we have chosen are increased by the presence of illness, confusion, loneliness, fear and the unknown. Charitable works are essential, especially in our home where we are learning how to be family in unusual circumstances. Charity calls us to be for others, even as we stay at home, to care for the lonely, hurting, poor, and the sick. This Palm Sunday we are given the gifts of the passion that lead to resurrection.
Through God’s grace we are made partakers of the cross. May we have a share also of his Resurrection and in his life.
Fr. Paul DeLuca, Pastor
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today (April 2, 2020) Governor Mike DeWine extended the executive “Stay at Home Order” to continue to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in the State of Ohio. Out of deep concern for the common good, as well as the physical and spiritual well-being of all the people of Ohio, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio have agreed once again to cooperate with the governor’s direction.
To that end, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio extend the temporary suspension of all publicly celebrated Masses/liturgies at least through and including Sunday May 3rd. The Bishops of Ohio dispense the Catholic faithful who reside in their respective dioceses and all other Catholics currently in Ohio from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass during this time period.
This decision has not been taken lightly and, as your bishops, together with you, we recognize the sacrifice we are called to make by being physically distanced from the Holy Eucharist and from one another.
Trusting in the graces flowing from the celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord, we remain mindful of the hope that does not disappoint. As your bishops, we continue to encourage you to keep holy the Lord’s Day by participating in Sunday Mass by way of televised, live-streamed, or radio broadcast options and making a spiritual communion. Keeping in mind the gift of plenary indulgences offered to us by the Church, we encourage all the faithful to turn to the Church’s treasury of prayer, praying as a family or individually the rosary, divine mercy chaplet, the Liturgy of the Hours and Stations of the Cross, etc.
Please join us in praying for all who are suffering from the Coronavirus, for all health care workers and first responders, and for an easing of the anxiety and tension caused by this pandemic. Relying on the Motherly care of Our Lady, Health of the Sick, we unite our sufferings to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and we trust in the glorious hope of His resurrection.
Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati
Most Rev. Joseph R. Binzer
Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati
Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan
Bishop of Columbus
Most Rev. Jeffrey M. Monforton
Bishop of Steubenville
Most Rev. George V. Murry, S.J.
Bishop of Youngstown
Rev. Donald P. Oleksiak
Diocesan Administrator of Cleveland
Most Rev. Daniel E. Thomas
Bishop of Toledo
Most Rev. J. Michael Botean
Romanian Eparchy of Canton
Most Rev. Bohdan J. Danylo
Ukrainian Eparchy of St. Josaphat
Most Rev. Milan Lach, SJ
Byzantine Eparchy of Parma
For all who have contracted coronavirus,
We pray for care and healing.
For those who are particularly vulnerable,
We pray for safety and protection.
For all who experience fear or anxiety,
We pray for peace of mind and spirit.
For affected families who are facing difficult decisions between food on the table or public safety,
We pray for policies that recognize their plight.
For those who do not have adequate health insurance,
We pray that no family will face financial burdens alone.
For those who are afraid to access care due to immigration status,
We pray for recognition of the God-given dignity of all.
For our brothers and sisters around the world,
We pray for shared solidarity.
For public officials and decisionmakers,
We pray for wisdom and guidance.
Father, during this time may your Church be a sign of hope, comfort and love to all.
Be with us, Lord.
This letter appeared in the weekly Nativity Newsletter. If you did not receive it you can sign up for it here.
Dear Nativity Community,
Yesterday, it was announced that Mr. Dave Arbogast will be the new principal of Nativity School. Dave has been a part of the Nativity staff for 30 years, giving him a unique insight into where Nativity has been and where we will need to be. Dave has been an instrumental part of the Administrative Team the last few years and has a great knowledge of Nativity. I am confident that Dave will help lead us strongly into the second century of our school.
I have heard great things about online learning that has been going on the past week. Our teachers and staff have done an amazing job preparing for this and adjusting the curriculum to meet this unique and historic event. As you may have heard, Governor DeWine has extended online learning until May 1; at this time we will plan to return to school on May 4th but will continue to monitor and update you should that change.
As this virus spreads through Ohio, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org should you or someone in your family test positive for COVID-19. This information will be kept confidential unless you ask us to share it. By letting us know this information, we can monitor the spread within our community and pray for those in our community inflicted with this virus.
Our reserves will help our parish weather this situation, but we still have our regular expenses of salaries and benefits, maintaining the buildings, increased technology needs, and utilities. We ask that you please continue to give to the parish. You can mail your check to the parish office or give online by going to www.nativity-cincinnati.org/giving.
The SVDP Society of Nativity parish continues to serve our neighbors in need through this unprecedented time. Your donations through the twice-monthly second collections make our work possible. We expect an increase in need in the coming months as our community is affected by job layoffs due to the coronavirus. We ask, if your circumstances allow, that you continue supporting the work of our SVDP conference by mailing your donation to the Parish Office addressed to SVDP or give online at https://nativity-cincinnati.weshareonline.org/St.VincentDePaulSociety. We thank you for your continued support and prayers.
For additional updates about Nativity’s response to the Coronavirus please visit the Update Center on our website at www.nativity-cincinnati.org/updates or contact Rudy Gruenke, Director of Systems & Special Projects at (513) 531-3164 or email@example.com.
Please continue to pray for all those afflicted by illness and those who are working to prevent the spread. This won’t last forever; we will get through this.
Dear Nativity Community:
While we can’t be together for Mass right now, I wanted to share some resources with you so that you can watch Mass from your home. We have also created a new Facebook group where you can share information and check in on each other. You can find the group at (https://www.facebook.com/groups/856207348200007/).
I hope everyone is doing well and continues to follow the social distancing guidelines to help flatten the curve. I look forward to seeing you all again real soon.
This week’s readings http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/
St. Peter in Chains Cathedral – https://www.stpeterinchainscathedral.org/
- Weekdays – 8:00 am
- Saturday: 8:00 am
- Sunday 11:00 am
St. John’s Abby – https://saintjohnsabbey.org/live
- Weekdays – 5:00 pm
- Saturdays – 11:30 am
- Sunday – 10:30 am
All live-streaming Masses will also be available on the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/CatholicCincinnati/
Daily Masses are also available on TV from EWTN. Click here to find the cable channel.
As the angelus rings at 6:00 am, noon, and 6:00 pm, please pray the following prayer
Prayer for a Time of Public Health Concerns
Since the moments of our life unfold, O God,
according to your good pleasure,
receive the prayers and sacrificial offerings
by which we implore your mercy
for our brothers and sisters who are ill,
that, having been anxious for them in their danger,
we may rejoice at their recovery of health.
For scientists, health professionals, public officials,
and all who are serving the common good in this
difficult and uncertain time, may they be
filled with wisdom and understanding.
Pray: Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be
Homilist Fr. John Sandell, preaching on this Sunday’s Gospel (John 11: 1-45), reminds us that just about all the people involved keep telling Jesus he was going about things all wrong. From apostles to friends he was a disappointment.
Martha and Mary send word that Lazarus is sick, come now. He is a no-show. Two days later Jesus says “let us go and visit Lazarus.” The apostles say “No! It’s too dangerous.” Jesus says “Lazarus needs me.” The apostles say “No he doesn’t, he’ll get better on his own.” Jesus tells them “He is already dead, let’s go now.” Strangely enough, Thomas, the Doubter, is the first to tell the others “we will be most likely killed, but let’s go anyway.”
When Jesus arrives at Bethany, Martha is there to let him know that he is too late; he should have come earlier, her brother is dead. They go to the tomb and Mary says “You’re too late. You should have come sooner. If you had done it my way, all would be fine.”
Now at the tomb, Jesus instructed some of the men to move the stone from the tomb. Again, Martha tells him he is doing it wrong. “Four days in the tomb will create quite a stench.”
What was wrong? Was Jesus wrong?
Once they stopped trying to write the script and simply see as God sees, and dare to trust, all they thought was bad becomes good, in a life lived on God’s terms. Their “way of doing things” doesn’t give them the future, it only keeps them bound to the past. The only tragedy here would be for them to hold on to the past, and shut themselves off from eternity.
What Jesus said to Lazarus as he came forth from the tomb, “Untie him,” he says to all of us who feel frightened, oppressed, trapped: “Untie them, let them go free.” Even as we “stay-at-home” and “shelter-in-place” we are free in Christ Jesus, Our Lord.
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, this Fifth Sunday of Lent, is traditionally called Lazarus Sunday. We hear the wondrous story of the Raising of Lazarus from the Dead. It was not resurrection, for Lazarus would die again. It was a return, a restoration if you will, to the life he had been living. The difference for the life he had been living? He returned to it with two profound understandings.
First, he came back to this life, his and ours, having beheld all the dead awaiting the gracious and eternal effect of Christ’s Resurrection. He entered the realm of the dead, and he beheld all those bound by death. In the iconic tradition of the East, Lazarus is never depicted with anything but a solemn face. For he had come face to face with the ultimate brokenness, and in this life, that brokenness is still real. There is no facile, easy, smiling depiction of Lazarus.
Second, as he came forth from the tomb, the first – in truth, the only reality – standing in front of him was Jesus Christ, who had moments before revealed himself to Martha and Mary as The Resurrection and The Life. I often imagine the confusion for Lazarus, not quite knowing what side of the grave he was on. He returned to this broken life, illuminated by the Resurrection.
That’s where we are, brothers and sisters. Each and every day of our lives of faith; more pointedly in this time of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The world is broken. The Resurrection is our light “in hac lacrimarum valle – in this vale of tears” as the Salve Regina prayer says. It is this tension of “already, but not yet.” We are sojourners with a foot in both realities.
+ + + + + + +
We are continually called back to this world in which we had been living, but to return inspired by the Resurrection. What do we bring with us, having passed through these days and weeks and months of Covid-19 (with more certainly to come), to our daily living now? Six thoughts:
First, Lazarus’ own solidarity with all those in the throes of death: those who have died in the pandemic, those who will die, those who are greatly afflicted, those who care for them, those charged with the common good striving to provide – not a facile “let’s get back to work” answer – but a continued vigilance premised on the value of each and every human life, and every reasonable precaution that vigilance demands of us.
Second, an awareness that we have been through this before. I don’t mean this particular pandemic happening to us here and now, but the witness and the testimony of that great “cloud of witnesses” that has come before us. You know, in the Communion of Saints of which we are a part, countless numbers of the Faithful have known war and famine and pestilence and disease and crushing poverty. What was their response? A living faith in Our Lord. A taking up of their crosses, following Him daily, with trust in the Resurrection in which they now rejoice. Their witness? Our present moment doesn’t define us. Christ defines us.
Third, in the words of the homily given at the Grotto of the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth on the very Feast of the Annunciation: “before this we thought ourselves powerful, now we feel powerless; before we trusted only in ourselves, now nothing can be trusted…except the Lord.” It is an opportunity for a complete reordering of life. A life now lived in a true humility that enables us to receive – with arms outstretched as if on the Cross, with hands uplifted as in holy prayer – the gift we cannot take or make for ourselves. The gift? Resurrection, now and eternally.
Fourth, a renewed appreciation for the common good, and an appreciation that such a good doesn’t just happen. It comes through vigilance, selflessness, sacrifice. Through works of justice and mercy, love and peace, we shine the light of the Resurrection in this broken world of ours. It is no false selfishness that asserts one would rather die than destroy the economy, for we are not an aggregate of autonomous individuals. We are in this together, and my bravado comes to stop before it risks harming a single other sacred human life. That’s it: a common good upholding the dignity and the rights of everyone, especially the most vulnerable, from the moment of conception to natural death.
Fifth, a simpler living. I have been struck by the number of walkers in our neighborhoods. I’ve even observed parents walking with their adolescent children. And enjoying the walk and each other. Could it be that with less feverish busy-ness, with a release from having to do five more things ten minutes ago, we can be given back to each other and to ourselves? To borrow imagery from the Hebrew Scriptures, when death’s dark angel “Sheathes his Sword,” could we resolve not to return to the “Slavery of Egypt,” but rest in a “Promised Land” of home and family and community and parish?
Sixth, and finally (because there were those Six Days of Creation), a return to our Sunday Eucharist with a hunger and appreciation for what it is we do there. To guard against ever taking it for granted again. To receive Him who is The Resurrection and The Life, and who nurtures and nourishes us as we “come out of our tombs” and continue our journey to Him.
May God Bless,
Concern or question?
Safety is one of our top priorities at Nativity. If you have a question, concern or comment about any health or safety issue, please contact Rudy Gruenke IV, Director of Systems & Special Projects at (513) 513-3164 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The church building will be open each day for private prayer. Please practice proper social distancing of 6 feet per person in all directions.
- Monday-Friday 7:30 am-2:30 pm
- Sunday 9:00 am to Noon
For the Easter Prayer we have available on tables in back of church, a candle for parishioners to pick up and take home for personal prayer.
- A Therapist's 5 Tips for Prioritizing Your Family's Mental Health During the COVID-19 Quarantine
- Cincinnati Community Resource Guide For COVID-19 [PDF]
- Catholic Bishops of Ohio Extend Suspension of All Publicly Celebrated Masses/Liturgies [PDF]
- Catholic Bishops of Ohio Suspend All Publicly Celebrated Masses/Liturgies [PDF]
- Archbishop Schneer Letter [PDF]
- FAQ for the Faithful [PDF]
- Worship in a Time of Public Health Concern (revised) [PDF]
- Prayer for a Time of Public Health Concern [PDF]