Welcome to Saints Peter and Paul Parish!


MASS SCHEDULE

Sunday:
8:00 AM
10:00 AM

Saturday Vigil:
4:00 PM
Weekdays:
8:00 AM Monday, Tuesday, Friday

6:00 PM Thursday

8:00 AM Wednesday - Communion Service

Holy Days:
As scheduled

Confessions:
Thursdays at 5:00 PM
Saturdays at 3:00PM

400 South 4th Street
Philipsburg, PA 16866
(814) 342-1700

Fr. John Gibbons Administrator
Deacon Jerry Nevling
Jerry CravenDirector of Religious Education
Mary TocimakAssistant Director of Religious Education
Laurie WasilkoOffice Manager
George Wasilko, Director of Maintenance






ONGOING MEASURES TO ENSURE YOUR SAFETY
WHEN OUR CHURCH OPENS ON JUNE 13

 
As we prepare for the opening of our church for masses starting Saturday, June 13 at 4PM. I want to ensure you that the parish staff and I have taken many steps to ensure your health and safety.  Here are the steps we have taken: 

1.     No obligation to attend mass on Sundays is still in effect.
2.     Holy water removed from all the fonts in the church.
3.     There will not be a collection taken during mass.  Offertory baskets are placed in the front and back of Church for you to place your offering.  Again, I truly appreciate all the support you have provided to our parish during his most difficult time.
4.     There will not be the presentation of the gifts.
5.     Alternate pews are roped off for social distancing.  Related persons residing in the same house may be seated together without physical distancing.  Please do not remove or alter the roped off pews. If your normal pew is roped off, you will get a different view of the mass!!
6.     No sign of peace.  We will say some prayers in lieu of the sign of peace.  These prayers will be said for the end of this virus.
7.     All persons entering the church must wear a mask. Fr. will wear a mask during the distribution of communion.
8.     Please receive Holy Communion in the hand.
9.     Missalettes have been removed and a handout for the Order of Worship will be available when you enter the Church.  It will also be the weekly bulletin. Please take these with you when you leave the Church or place them in the trash baskets at the end of mass.
10.  Hand sanitizers have been placed at the entrances to the Church for all to use when entering and leaving the Church.  Fr. will use hand sanitizer throughout the mass, especially before the distribution of communion.
11.  Pews and door bars are sanitized as often as possible.
12.  Only one family per mass permitted to use the Cry Room.
13.  Fr. John and Deacon Jerry will have their temperature taken on a regular basis to ensure they are healthy before conducting mass or communion services.
 
I know these are difficult times for all of us and that these changes are for your safety.  If there is anything else you feel should be done in addition to these, please email me your suggestions. I also realize that regardless of the steps we have taken, some of you will still be uncomfortable coming to mass.  I understand and respect your decision. Please continue to watch mass at home
and when you do feel comfortable, we look forward to seeing you.

Fr. John

FAITH OVER FEAR


Covid-19. Coronavirus. These are terms with which we have all become familiar in the last few months, in the last few weeks.  Covid-19 strikes fear in our hearts and in our minds. We have learned new terms such as social distancing. We find ourselves going back to the basics, learning how to entertain ourselves in our own homes without the normal entertainment opportunities. 

 

Theories about this virus abound. Is it something that was destined to happen at some time similar to the great plagues of the past? Is it a conspiracy to take out the United States, to make us dependent upon our government so they can take over our healthcare system, our lives? Is the government truly working for our good? Is the media fueling the chaos with its reporting? Is it truly as bad as they lead us to believe?  So many questions and so few answers. But there is one common theme amongst us:  FEAR. 

 

I don’t know what will happen. I hold out hope that our government will pass the stimulus bill that will provide funds for small business to continue to pay employees but they can’t seem to get past their partisan politics and come together for the good of the country 

 

Fear.  It is alive and well in my heart, in my home. Yet, I hear God say “Faith over fear. Oh, those sweet words whispered by my Father! Yes, our faith must be strong enough to carry us through this pandemic, through the chaos that swirls around us. Our faith must carry us through the unknown as we navigate these waters. We must again learn to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) 

 

So, how do we walk by faith and not fear in this new world? 

 

He has been so incredibly faithful. Never once have we had a need He didn’t meet. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). He was faithful yesterday and He will be faithful today.

 

I will choose to remember His faithfulness, His character that promises to always care for the needs of His children.

Focus our minds on the truths of God’s Word. So often, I find my mind wandering, focusing on the circumstances around me. That’s when my heart gets anxious, when I allow fear to overtake faith.


God’s Word brings peace. When we focus our hearts and minds on the Father, on His words to us, we find His perfect peace floods our hearts and minds (Isaiah 26:3). When we meditate on things that are lovely and noble and true and right and excellent and praiseworthy, His peace that surpasses all understanding overtakes our lives and chases out all fear (Philippians 4:6-8). When we choose to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, we find God’s good and perfect will (Romans 12:2).


What does this look like in a practical way? When I find myself thinking about the circumstances around me, I must repent and turn to God. I can pray and ask Him to renew my mind. I can choose to quote scriptures in my head or say them out loud, scriptures that encourage faith over fear. I can think about God’s past faithfulness in my life and recount the stories of how He has cared for me. I can change the things I think about so that my mind is encouraged in the present.


Maybe we need some notecards with scriptures placed in strategic places. Maybe we need to carry those cards with us so we always have them available. Maybe we need an accountability partner to remind us to think the way He wants us to. Whatever it takes, replace the fear with the truth of God’s Word and His character.


Seek a new perspective. The media would have us believe we are all doomed, life will never be the same. It’s easy to get so bogged down with the news that we are being fed 24/7/365. We hear the media’s perspective, but is it the only perspective?

I’m trying to find the good in this chaos. I’m trying to find ways this sheltering in place can bring good things because we known all things work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).


It gives me time to slow down and focus on God and family. It’s a time where I can learn to put financial security in its proper place rather than making it an idol in my life. It’s a time to focus on my hopes and dreams rather than being consumed with work and the cares of this life.


While this is definitely a time of uncertainty and change, I am firmly convinced my God is still in control. As we navigate these waters of chaos, I encourage you to remember how He has always been faithful. I encourage you to turn your heart and mind toward Him and the promises in His word. I ask you to look for a new perspective, His perspective, in the midst of your circumstances.


We will see His faithfulness again. We will live to see the Promises fulfilled on the other side of the wilderness.


Father God, this is a time of such fear and uncertainty. We know you are not the author of fear but of peace. As we walk through these tumultuous storms that are impacting every part of our lives, help us to remember you are the same forever and always, you never change even when the world crumbles around us. I ask for an extra dose of your perfect peace for every person reading these words. I pray you would show us your perspective in the midst of the storm. Give us the courage to face the storm and walk through it until we see your promises fulfilled on the other side. You are God and you are still in control. And for that, we praise you.


MEMORANDUM


TO: All Clergy

FROM: (Very Rev.) Alan E. Thomas, VG

RE: COVID-19 Restrictions

DATE: March 17, 2020




COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

    In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, Bishop Mark requires that priests and deacons of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese observe the following directives, effective immediately.

Suspension of Public Masses
    Churches and other public places of worship in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese are to remain open for private prayer. However, effective immediately, there will be no public liturgies of any sort. That is, there will be no public daily Masses or weekend Masses, no public novenas, communal stations of the cross, ecumenical services, or other public worship until the current COVID-19 crisis has passed. The purpose of this is to retard the spread of the coronavirus. The Bishop will be reviewing the situation daily and will alert priests and deacons immediately when Masses and other public worship can be resumed.

    The Bishop authorizes and expects priests to celebrate a private Mass each day during this crisis. This should be done in the rectory or at a private chapel. Priests should celebrate a single Mass in place of Saturday evening and Sunday Masses. The Bishop directs that, in light of the unprecedented situation in which we find ourselves, multiple Mass intentions should be coalesced in the one Sunday Mass. Provisions regarding the accounting of Mass stipends continue to pertain. That is, priests may keep the stipend of one Mass intention per day. All other stipends from additional intentions should be forwarded to the Diocese in keeping with canon law and diocesan policy. Coalescing Mass intentions into a single Sunday Mass includes the pastor’s pro populo obligation. The Mass will continue to be broadcast at 11:00am on Sundays. The Bishop will be the presider at this liturgy and these broadcasts will be available on the Diocesan website and social media.

Christian Initiation of Adults
    Because this crisis is coming at the very time when the Christian Initiation of Adults would reach its apex, the rites regarding the reception of adults into the Church will be suspended until after the crisis has passed. These rites may then be celebrated at parish weekend liturgies once weekend Masses have been restored.

Easter Triduum
    Because it seems unlikely that public Masses will be permitted until after Easter, priestsshould begin making arrangements for the private celebration of the liturgies associated with the Easter Triduum. It would be advisable for materials to be placed near the entrances of churches so that the faithful can take these home and participate in some way in these important liturgies.

    Priests should retain and make use of the existing paschal candle as well as the oils blessed last year. The Bishop will authorize new Paschal candles to be blessed and holy oils to be distributed once restrictions have been lifted.

Baptisms
    Baptisms of children and adults may be held during the restricted period, but they should be limited to members of the immediate family only.

Confirmations
    All currently scheduled confirmation Masses have been postponed. The Bishop plans to reschedule confirmations after the crisis has passed. These confirmations will most likely occur in a specific location in each of the five deaneries. In order to accommodate the greatest number of people, multiple confirmation liturgies in some deaneries may need to be scheduled.

First Holy Communion
    First communion liturgies should be postponed until after the crisis has ended.

The Sacrament of Penance
    In terms of the celebration of penance, the Bishop requires that all penance services be canceled until after current restrictions on crowd size have been lifted. He encourages priests to offer specific times when the faithful can come for individual confessions. Priests should make use of the confessional barrier between themselves and the penitents, and provide ways for surfaces in the confessional to be disinfected after each penitent, if possible. Should the crisis escalate to the point where there is a grave danger of death for many, the bishop will authorize the use of general absolution. Priests will be made aware of this if the necessity arises. In the meantime, the ordinary form of the sacrament of penance should be observed.

Weddings
    Priests and deacons are encouraged to contact couples who are planning weddings in the next several months to determine if these plans have been altered. It is possible, and even likely, that venue changes and cancelations may already have affected couples with scheduled weddings. Because most weddings are not scheduled earlier than mid-April, it should be possible to give more accurate guidance in the next couple of weeks.

Funerals
    Funerals may continue to be celebrated but only for immediate family members. The time of the Mass should not be published. It is acceptable for families who wish to avoid coming to a parish church to have a funeral liturgy outside of Mass celebrated at the funeral home. Vigils should be conducted at the discretion of the families and funeral directors in keeping with the requirements of public safety.

Pastoral Care of the Sick
    The Bishop directs that priests and deacons follow these protocols with regard to the visitation and pastoral care of the sick. Those who are hospitalized should continue to receive visitation and sacraments as permitted by hospital policy. Thus priests and deacons who serve as hospital chaplains and in emergent coverage should continue these functions. Priests and deacons should visit parishioners in nursing facilities and rehab units only in danger of death. Similarly, priests and deacons should visit parishioners in their private homes only in danger of death.

Pastoral Care in General
    Priests and deacons should continue to meet on a one-to-one basis with parishioners for appointments and pastoral counseling.

    The Diocesan Pastoral Center will be closed for two weeks or until the current situation abates. Email and phone calls will be answered remotely. Similarly, Catholic Charities will be closed but it is possible to leave messages for Catholic Charities staff.

Graduations
    Until the Diocesan Education Office receives instruction from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, all graduations are temporarily postponed.

Fundraisers
    By direct order of the Bishop, all social gatherings are prohibited until further notice. This includes parish gatherings, meetings of parish groups, fish fries, and other fundraisers. These measures are required in order to avoid person-to-person contact and the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, because it is impossible to observe the necessary sterile procedures and because of the possibility of gatherings of people in excess of what is required for public safety, all takeout meals for fundraising must also be suspended immediately.

Financial Considerations and Payroll
    All priests and deacons are encouraged, with the assistance of their finance council members, to consider what are the most essential tasks required in their parishes at present and which employees are necessary for these tasks. In order to deal with the projected shortfall in income which will be occurring in many parishes, it may be necessary to make use of temporary layoffs as a way of dealing with financial obligations. In the case of such layoffs, these employees are eligible to apply for unemployment compensation. Telecommuting (working from home over computer or phone) is recommended as a way to continue to have employees work for the parish. With Matt Stever’s assistance, the Bishop hopes to publish directives about ways in which financially-strained parishes should go about meeting their current financial obligations.

    It is recognized that certain employees are essential to parish functioning at this time and should continue working, if possible. Consult with Lynette McEvoy with any questions about whether an employee should report for work.

    The Catholic Ministries Drive will continue.

    For those parishes which have already established online giving, priests and deacons should encourage parishioners to continue their giving in this way. Effective March 18, 2019, it will be possible for parishes without online giving to receive offertory online through a new Diocesan portal at www.dioceseaj.org/giving. Priests and deacons should inform their parishioners about this way of giving. For parishioners who are not computer-savvy, priests and deacons may want to encourage the use of US Mail as a way of continuing to support their parish.