From Msgr. Callahan – Public Mass Guidelines
Recently the Archbishop informed us that as of Monday, May 18th, we will be able to celebrate public Masses in the church. As you can imagine, there are numerous directives which must be followed in order to safely celebrate the Mass in public. A thorough explanation will be given on Wednesday, May 20th, at 7:00 p.m. in my weekly live stream of Conversations with the Pastor on the parish face book page on our website.
These are some of the major directives:
- Those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to another with the coronavirus within 14 days are not permitted to enter the church.
- Parishioners who have underlying health issues or who are over 60 years old are strongly encouraged to avoid attending Mass. Everyone is suspended from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further notice. The live streaming of Mass will continue for the foreseeable future.
- All church doors (exterior and interior) will be kept open and hand sanitizers will be available at all the doors of the church.
- Everyone is obliged to wear a face mask as you enter the church and during the celebration of the Mass, except when seated in the pew and for receiving Holy Communion. CDC guidelines state that children under two or anyone unable to remove their own mask should not wear them.
- Every other pew will be cordoned off.
- Families may sit together in a pew. Individuals and couples are requested to keep a distance of 6 feet from the person next to them in the pew.
- In receiving Holy Communion, please keep a distance of 6 feet from the person in front of you (the aisles will be marked to indicate where to stand). Prior to receiving Holy Communion, please remove your face mask and extend your hands to receive the Host.
- Following Mass, each family should depart the church in an organized manner, wearing masks and observing 6 feet distance between other households. After the recessional hymn, everyone is requested to leave the church immediately so the pews can be sanitized for the next Mass.
- There still seems to be some uncertainty regarding the number of people allowed in the church for Mass. We will probably keep attendance below 400 people. When we reach a “full church,” parishioners may go to our Parish Hall where another 100+ people will be accommodated. These figures may be updated. In the parish hall, Mass will be live streamed and Holy Communion will be distributed. The chairs will be 6 feet apart and the directives for the church will also be the directives for the hall.
- Collection baskets will be placed in the aisles of the church and parish hall. Please place your envelope in the basket prior to entering a pew in the church or a row of chairs in the hall.
In the very near future, I hope to schedule Confirmation, First Holy Communions, Baptisms, RCIA Baptisms and Receptions into the faith and 8th grade graduation. You will be informed of those dates as soon as those dates are agreed upon.
Finally, I encourage everyone to be very patient while we try to implement all of these directives. Please follow ALL OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED DIRECTIVES. It will be a lot easier to implement these directives, if everyone can be accommodating.