By Jim Wogan /

The Gospel of Matthew (14:26-33) teaches us that faith in Christ, even when things seem impossible or hopeless, can lead to miraculous moments. It was Peter’s lack of faith that prevented him from walking on water, and it was Jesus who rescued him.

Without question, due to the coronavirus, we are living through unusual circumstances. The lives and health of people have been impacted directly, and many of us are feeling the effects of the pandemic in other ways, whether it’s concern over the economy or something as common as shopping.

In recent weeks, and especially over the last few days, we have been faced with more questions than answers.

To help address some of this, I recently issued a formal decree to our pastors and priests detailing specific actions that will be implemented at all Masses during the coronavirus pandemic. All of these mandates have been formulated after much prayer and reflection, and they are all canonically sound.

At this time, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville has no plans to cancel sacred Masses at any of its 51 parishes and mission churches, including the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. I have offered special dispensations for those who are unable to attend Mass.  All of this is explained in the attached decree, which I encourage you to read.

Additionally, I am asking our pastors and priests to use prudence when scheduling or deciding to cancel non-sacramental parish events like classes or Lenten fish fries.

Finally, for those who are unable to attend Masses, our diocese and the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus will be offering the broadcasts of Saturday and Sunday Mass celebrations on our websites, and

Throughout history, the Catholic Church has stood strong and been a refuge for the world when we have faced struggles. During this time of uncertainty, I ask you to pray for this Intercession of Mary, and also the Memorare.

I also pray that you find peace and comfort in your lives and that you remember the hope that Christ brings to us with his promise of salvation, especially when times are uncertain.