A letter from Fr. Joe


March 17, 2020

“Living in the midst of the Coronavirus here in the Parish and Diocese”

Dear Parishioners,


Due to growing concerns and medical advice related to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in social settings, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has announced that:  all regularly scheduled public Masses in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany — except weddings and funerals — will be canceled until further notice.   Churches will, however, remain open for private prayer, pending further regulations.

In addition, all Confirmations have been canceled until further notice and will be rescheduled.     Funerals and weddings may be attended only by close family and in accordance with social distancing and capacity requirements.     Further restrictions may force a change in those guidelines as we go forward.

“Although we know how difficult it is for Catholics to be without the Mass and without the Eucharist, we must do our part to help ‘flatten the curve’ and stop the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect the most vulnerable among us,” Bishop Scharfenberger said when making the announcement. “I encourage the faithful to pray and fast as we continue our journey through this season of Lent. Try to include at least 15 minutes of daily intentional prayer, with family where possible and safe. Use the Bible, say the Rosary, watch Mass on TV, and please remember to pray for those who are suffering from the Coronavirus worldwide and for all those in the medical community who are on the front lines.”

The Diocese of Albany is keeping Catholics apprised of changes, updates and resources on its dedicated web page: rcda.org/coronavirus. In addition, a Faith at Home page includes links to livestreamed Mass, daily Scripture readings, saints of the day, and suggestions for creating a sacred space at home: rcda.org/coronavirus/resources.

Some answers to some questions you may have:

+ Will I be able to go to Mass on Saturday night or Sunday morning?  No, all public Masses (weekend and week day Masses) will not take place in the Parish or the Diocese, until further notice.    However, we will continue to live-stream our 10:30 am Sunday Morning Mass here at St. Mary’s.

+ Will I be able to “watch” the Mass on T.V. or my computer or smartphone?  Yes, here at St. Mary’s Church, Crescent we have and will continue to live-stream our 10:30 am Sunday Mass.

+ How can I watch the live-streamed Sunday Mass from St. Mary’s, Crescent?  Here is how to watch the 10:30 am Mass live on Sunday mornings:

  1. Go to our Parish Website:   stmaryscrescent.org  from your computer, tablet or smartphone.    Scroll to the center of the page and you will see a box that says:  “St Mary’s on You Tube”.
  2. If it is Sunday morning between 10:30 am and 11:30 am and you want to watch Mass live in real time, click on the “Watch Mass Live” button.  If at any other time you want to watch an archived Mass, click on the “Watch Archived Masses” button.

Need help?   Call the Parish Office at 518-371-9632 or email us at smcsec@nycap.rr.com.

+ Does watching Mass via live-streaming fulfill my Sunday obligation?  Yes, since this is an emergency situation, watching Mass via live-streaming does fulfill your obligation to attend Mass.

Can I attend Mass at the Church, if the Mass is being live-streamed?  No, you may not attend.  The Church will not be open.  Live-streamed Masses are being offered to provide this essential part of being Catholic  to everyone, until such time that public Mass resumes, hopefully in the near future.

Will First Communion and Confirmation preparation continue;  will First Communion and Confirmation Masses take place as scheduled?  At the present time, all classes, meetings, etc… are cancelled or postponed, till further notice.  Please Note:  we are working on having an online preparation video process set up First Communion parents and children, as well as, our Confirmation Candidates, Parents & Sponsors.  Please watch for more information coming to you from the Faith Formation Office within the next 10 days.

Will we be able to attend Holy Week and Easter Services/Masses?  At this time, we are unable to answer this question.  We hope so, but as noted already, all regularly scheduled public Masses in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany — except weddings and funerals — will be canceled until further notice.

Will you be live-streaming Holy Week & Easter Services/Masses?  IF Masses continue to be suspended due to the Coronavirus during Holy Week & Easter, YES, we will live-stream these services/Masses as follows:

  • Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 10:30 am – “Live Stream of Mass”
  • Holy Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 5:00 pm – “Live Stream of Mass”
  • Good Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm – “Live Stream of Service”
  • Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 at 10:30 am –“ Live Stream of Mass”

 We hope you and your family with be watching and praying!

How can I continue to financially support the Parish?  Thanks for asking.  As you know personally, our bills at home and in the Parish will continue to come in and others will expect to be paid.    As we know it is with the financial support of all the Parish that we have and are able to continue to meet our many financial obligations and responsibility to continue to serve the people of our St. Mary’s Parish – spiritually, educationally, Sacramentally, and in so many areas of life and Parish life.

Ways to continue to support your Parish now and in the future:

  • Please send in/mail to the Parish your donation, your weekly envelopes.
  • Please consider using electronic giving, to do so by clicking the word GIVING here which will take you to that page of our website. 

Need help or more info on electronic giving (E-giving) please speak with Stephanie Nolet at the Parish Offices at 518-371-9632. 

How can I know what is the latest information on Masses beginning again; on updated First Communion or Confirmation dates;  on getting Parish business done;  on any number of areas of Parish Life, etc…  It is recommended that you call ahead and speak with the appropriate person in the Parish (518-371-9632).     We also recommend that you do this in other areas of life, during these most interesting times.

Also, at this time, we would hope to have the Daily Mass Chapel open for a brief visit/prayer  and the Parish offices open Monday thru Thursday —  8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Will the Parish continue to keep the people of the Parish updated?  Yes.  We will make every effort to keep the Parish updated by way of our Parish website, Parish bulletin (which will be posted on our website under Bulletins, and can be reached by clicking on the word BULLETINS), our Parish app (which we encourage everyone to have on their phone), special messages,  emails; etc…

People are concerned, anxious, even a bit fearful at the moment – what can we do?  A few suggestions that have been shared with us are:

  • Be calm.
  • Pray, pray with your family, (see the prayer in the Weekend Bulletin of March 22, 2020 from the Pope)
  • Watch a movie with your family.
  • Play a game together.     
  • Enjoy your time together as a family over meals together; while watching Mass together on Sunday.     And I am sure you can add to this list.

May God bless you and your family!

Father Joe Cebula, Pastor