Bishop Gainer Joins Fellow Pennsylvania Bishops in Suspending Daily and Sunday Mass

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Today and effective immediately until further notice, Bishop Ronald W. Gainer, out of great concern for the health of the faithful and in union with the Bishops of Pennsylvania, has temporarily suspended all daily and weekend Masses in the Diocese of Harrisburg. Additionally, Bishop Gainer has suspended all public liturgies and devotions, and has asked that all churches and chapels be closed, including all perpetual adoration chapels.

Bishop Gainer made this decision after careful consideration of the recommendations from public health officials, and out of great concern for the health and well-being of the faithful, our clergy and parish staffs, given the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“For Catholics, the Eucharist is the source and summit of our life in Christ, strengthening us to remain firm in our faith as we journey through this life. Making this difficult decision to temporarily suspend Masses and close our churches was not made lightly,” said Bishop Gainer. “Rather, this decision has been made after careful discussions and considerable reflection on the advice being provided from healthcare professionals. I deeply care for all those members of my flock. As chief shepherd, it is my duty to see to their spiritual health, and now in these challenging times, also to their physical welfare. I continue to pray for all those impacted by this virus, for our medical professionals caring for the ill and for all people facing these uncertain times. I also pray for the intercession of our Blessed Mother, Mary, health of the sick.”

A listing of live broadcasting and/or recordings of Masses from parishes throughout the Diocese is available on the Health Alerts page of the Diocesan website. Daily and Sunday Masses are also available from EWTN on Comcast channel 291 in the Harrisburg area, or online at

Additional resources for parishes and the faithful will be available, also on the Diocesan website, in the coming days. These resources will include ways the faithful can continue to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

Please visit the Health Alerts page of the Diocesan website for the most up-to-date information regarding the Diocese’s response to COVID-19, including a listing of Diocesan event cancellations and postponements, as well as additional COVID-19 prevention measures and recommendations.


A Prayer for Peace of Mind

Throughout history the Catholic Church has faced persecutions, epidemics and even worse. Even so, as Jesus promised, the Church has survived.  Today we are faced with a world wide pandemic. For our own safety and peace of mind, we must remember that we are in Jesus’ loving hands holding us closed to His most Sacred Heart.  We place our hope and trust in Him.  Let us, therefore, pray a prayer to His Sacred Heart for peace of mind in this time of trial (Prayer from the Sacred Heart Southern Missions):


Sacred Heart of Jesus,

I place all my trust in you 

knowing that you love me, 

care for me,

and will never abandon me. 


I want to be like Mary,

who, in spite of her sorrows and great pain, 

was able to enjoy peace of mind

in the midst of her suffering,

confident that God was at her side

to give her courage. 


Help me to know

that my suffering and pain too will pass, 

as you guide me along the right path 

and that only goodness and kindness 

will follow me all the days of my life. 


Jesus, heal my heart

and grant me peace of mind. 



Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

St. Joseph our protector, pray for us. 

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us.



  • Daily and Sunday Mass are available from EWTN right here on WHYF Radio at 8 AM and 1 PM, Comcast channel 291 in the Harrisburg area, and on-line at  Traditional Latin Mass is available on  And, Check with your parish too as they may have resources to stay connected.


  • The Diocesan website, , will have resources by which the faithful can continue to keep holy the Lord’s Day, a Health Alerts page for the most up-to-date information regarding the Diocese’s response to COVID-19, including a listing of Diocesan event cancellations and postponements, and additional COVID-19 prevention measures and recommendations.


  • A number of Catholic schools are already accepting pre-kindergarten registrations for the 2020/2021 school year among them are:
    • Resurrection Catholic School, Lancaster: Enroll by calling 717- 392-3083.
    • Sacred Heart School, Lancaster:  To tour the school or to register call 717-606-2670.
    • Saint Joan of Arc School, Hershey: To enroll call 717-533-2854


  • The Harrisburg Council of Catholic Women presents the following:
    • 10th Annual Weekend Retreat: June 12th to the 14th, Mount Saint Mary, Emmitsburg: Retreat Master, Father Chris Alar, from the The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  Father Alar is an Apologist, Author, speaker on Divine Mercy, and the Director of the Association of Marian Helpers.
    • 95th Annual Convention: April 25th, Diocesan Center, Harrisburg, Keynote Speaker: Sarah Christmyer, Catholic author, Bible teacher, and speaker with a special love for lectio divina and journaling as ways to draw close to Christ.


  • Plan ahead for May 17th: A Day trip to Pittsburgh including The Flight 93 National Memorial, The Church Brew Works, and St. Anthony’s Chapel, home to the largest collection of publicly venerable Christian relics in the world outside of the Vatican. Sponsored by St. Catherine LabourĂ© Parish in Harrisburg.  For all the information, including cost, contact Deb: 717-564- 1321.


  • The Saint Joseph Leisure Club, Mechanicsburg is offering: “A Tour of Biblical Proportions”, June 23rd  through the 26th.  Visit popular Kentucky destinations including the “Creation Museum”, encounter a full size Noah’s Ark, a 19thCentury German neighborhood, and so much more. To find out all the details call 717-737-8600.


  • 15-decade Rosary for Life, every third Saturday of the month following the 9 a.m. Traditional Latin Mass at St. Lawrence Chapel, Harrisburg to pray for an end to abortion. For information, contact Chris, 717-432-5415.


  • Can you spare three hours a month to assist in a prison ministry at Dauphin County, Camp Hill Prison or Keystone Work Release? No experience necessary and orientation will be provided. Call Bob: 717-571-4217.


  • Project Rachael opens the door to compassion and healing to both women and men suffering in the aftermath of an abortion.  No matter what you are feeling you are not alone.  For confidential care after an abortion call 717-857-2282.  Project Rachel: Peace starts here.


  • You can help Catholic Charities' Foster Care Program by donating unused car seats and booster seats (Note: thay must be new).  Better still, consider becoming a foster parent.  To donate or to explore the possibility foster parenting call Nicole or Kathy at 717-564-7115.


  • Parents interested in obtaining home schooling support in the Classic Catholic Tradition through Regina Caeli can contact Candice at 717-476-4054.  The Academy information is at


  • A solemn high Traditional Latin Mass will be celebrated every Sunday at 1:30 PM at St. Joseph’s Parish, Lancaster.  For more information visit


  • All are invited to join St. Joan of Arc’s pro-life committee every 1st Friday 6:00 - 7:00 pm in the St. Lucy Chapel praying for all the innocent unborn children lost to abortion.


  • If you are hurting after abortion, consider attending a weekend Rachel's Vineyard Retreat!!  For information go to  or call 877-HOPE-4-ME (877-467-3463)


  • Are you choosing a school for your child? Consider Catholic Schools. To find out more contact a school near you by using the school finder at  You’ll be happy you did!


  • The Interfaith Shelter for Homeless Families needs fresh fruits and vegetables, cleaning supplies, trash bags, and more. Donate at the Diocesan Center or the shelter, 120 Willow Road, Harrisburg. Call 717-652-8740 before delivering.


  • Mychal’s Message seeks to meet the basic needs of the homeless while restoring dignity with love.  To learn more visit or call Sharon at 717-203-0746.


  • Is there stress in your marriage?  Maybe a program specifically for married couples can help – It’s called Retrouville.  For confidential information call 1-800-470-2230.



Easter: A time to persevere and watch?

(A short lesson from Mary Magdalen)

In my St. Andrew Missal There is a historical note concerning Easter.  It points out that "On the day after the Sabbath, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalen and two of the holy women went to the sepulcher, reaching it about sun rise.  An angel had come and rolled away the great stone which closed the tomb, and the terrified guards had fled.  Mary Magdalen, seeing that the tomb lay open, hastened to Jerusalem to tell Peter and John, while the angel was informing two more of the holy women of our Lord’s rising from the dead.  The two disciples came running to the sepulcher and satisfied themselves that Our Lord was not there.  Mary Magdalen, having returned to the tomb, was the first to see Our Lord after His resurrection.”  Have you ever wondered why it was Mary Magdalen who was the first to see Jesus?

All who came to the empty tomb left.  As the Gospel of John relates only Mary Magdalen stood by the tomb and wept.  She wanted to see Jesus.  In her love and longing for Jesus, she would not leave she persevered. Her tears were her prayers.  

Finally, at the tomb Jesus approached her and addressed her: “Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She thinking it was the gardener, said to him: “Sir if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”  It was then that Jesus said to her: “Mary.”  Calling her by name, she turned towards Jesus and said, “Rabboni (which is to say Master).”

If we reflect on the actions of Mary Magdalen, we can see that prayer and perseverance is necessary if we are to be saved.  Notice at first, she did not see that which she sought. And so, she remained and kept seeking through many tears and even in speaking with angels who addressed her as “Woman”. Mary’s response seems to indicate anxiety as she was anxiously seeking Jesus’ body for a proper burial. She was persevering to do a good deed so much so that when she did see Jesus she thought he was the gardener. She was seeking Jesus as she thought Him to be and not as he was – the Resurrected Lord and Savior of mankind.  It took Jesus to address her by name “Mary” that she realized that He recognized her.  In return, that grace allowed her to recognize Jesus as he was – the risen Lord.

How often do we miss recognizing the Lord Jesus in our lives because we don’t see Him as He is but as we expect Him to be?  He is calling us by name unto Himself so that we can get to know, love and serve Him in this world so we can be happy with Him in the next.  The Good News is, as with Mary Magdalen, if we persevere in prayer, even if they are anxious tears, the Lord will wipe them away and call us by name unto Himself.  “For every one that asks, receives: and he that seeks, finds: and to him that knocks, it shall be opened.”

VOCATIONSQuo Vadis and Fiat Days

Quo Vadis Days is for all young men ages 15 – 25 who may be discerning a vocation to priesthood or religious life.  Quo Vadis Days for 2019 has already taken place. Quo Vadis Days for 2020 will be posted here when the information becomes available.  Of course you can always call the Office of Vocations at 717-657-4804, for information on the priesthood.

Fiat Days is for all young women ages 15 – 25 who may be discerning a vocation to religious life.  Fiat Days for 2019 has already taken place. Fiat Days for 2020 will be posted here when the information becomes available.  Of course you can always call the Office of Vocations at 717-657-4804, for information on Religious Life. 




Donations Needed For Interfaith Shelter

The Interfaith Shelter for Homeless Families (located in Harrisburg) is in need of the following donations: computer/copy paper, pens, Ziplock bags (gallon, quart, and sandwich sizes), napkins, paper towels, toilet tissue, Pine Sol, and bathrooms cleaners. For more information, contact the shelter at 717-652-8740. Thank you for your generosity!


Read The Catholic Witness Online

Now You Can Read The Catholic Witness Online, wherever you go! Through a free e-mail service, you can receive the diocesan newspaper in an electronic format. Sign up for the e-mail service on the diocesan Web site at Follow the News/Events tab to The Catholic Witness page and click on Catholic Witness E-mail Sign Up. Once you complete the form, you will be added to our e-mail list. Each Friday that the newspaper is published, you will receive an e-mail with a direct link to the latest edition. Registration with the e-mail service will not cancel your mailed subscription. If you prefer to receive the online version instead of a copy in the mail, contact Circulation Coordinator, Susan Huntsberger, at


Catholic Charities Specialized Foster Care Training

Does Your Heart Break when the news of the day highlights how the traumatic events in a family affects the lives of their children? Our foster care children are victims of these tragic events. Will you take a stand and help us in providing permanence for them? Please join us for our next Training Series at Catholic Charities Specialized Foster Care with people just like you, who need to know more before they are ready to become a support for these children. Let the children know they are wanted. Please call Jeff at (717) 564-7115 or (800) 777-7003 or email