Dear parishioners of Saint Peter's,
Today I traveled to Charleston to concelebrate the Chrism Mass with the Bishop and only seven other priests. This is the Mass in which the Bishop blesses the oils we use in our sacramental ministries and during which the priests of the Diocese renew the promises made at their ordination. Not to have been surrounded by my brothers on such an auspicious day was strange, indeed. Yet, it marks the reality the Church, like everyone, is adjusting to as we anticipate the peaking of Covid-19 cases within the state and the Diocese happening in the next few weeks.
Given Governor McMaster’s Work or Stay Home order for the State of South Carolina, Bishop Guglielmone has left it up to each pastor to determine for his own parish what is possible, what is prudent, and what is pastoral, specifically regarding the availability of churches for personal prayer and reflection.
I believe the most critical work we have during this Holy Week is to prepare for and celebrate, with dignity and reverence, the very important and central liturgies of the Sacred Triduum. Given that some of our staff are working from home at my request and for their safety, and the need for the remaining few to make sure all the arrangements are in place for our celebrations, we won’t have staff available to open, monitor and then clean the Church following any visits. Therefore, we are suspending the availability of the basilica for private prayer until after the Triduum and Easter. In this way, I can assure we provide a safe environment for parishioners and parish staff alike.
While there are some limitations on the work of the parish, much continues and we remain very busy... in some ways, more than ever. We will still be working but all our energies will be focused on making meaningful the most sacred celebrations of the Church and bringing them to you digitally in the safety of your homes. Additionally, our phone will still be staffed as usual with the exception of Easter Monday, which is traditionally a day of rest for our staff.
Thank you for your prayers and support; please be assured of mine as we continue to pray during this most Holy Week.
Fr. Gary S. Linsky
The Very Rev’d Canon Gary S. Linsky, V.F.