From Our Pastor
May 18, 2020
Our parish staff and leadership team along with our parish pastoral council have been meeting to plan how to reopen our parish public worship times and parish ministries in as safe a way as possible. Our main concern is to maintain a safe atmosphere for everyone as we slowly implement our coming back to church. I know that we would all like to get out a bit more and resume our normal activities. However, with the nature of this virus, we have to be very cautious. We will be concerned with proper social (physical) distancing, proper hand hygiene, sanitizing the church before and after each Mass as well as the bathrooms, wearing of masks, etc..
We will begin our public worship on the weekend of May 30-31, the Feast of Pentecost. I believe that we need to come back in stages and not all at once. So for right now, we will have the regular 4:00 P.M. Vigil Mass on Saturdays and one Sunday Mass at 10:00 A.M.. The Sunday 10:00 A.M. Mass will continue to be live streamed.
Both Masses will also be able to be viewed in the classrooms on television if the church becomes full. Since we will not be able to have as many people in church as we have been used to, we have the classrooms for possible overflow. If you are in a classroom, you will be able to come into church to receive communion or a Eucharistic minister will come to the classroom. On Sunday, you will also have the option to remain in your car to watch Mass live streamed and then come into church for communion. Daily Mass will resume on Monday, May 25th. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings, Mass will be at 8:00 A.M. On Wednesday, Mass will be at 6:30 P.M.
I will be available for confessions on Saturdays at 2:00 P.M. or anytime by appointment.
You are asked to sanitize your hands before entering Church. We will have sanitizer available in the vestibule. We are asking that you wear a mask, realizing that some people may not be able to because of a health condition, as well as small children. We will also have some masks available. Ushers wearing mask and gloves will take you to your seat. We ask that everyone receiving communion receive in their hand, we will not be distributing the precious blood from the chalice at this time. Back in the 5th century, Saint Augustine, when he was Bishop, instructed his people when receiving communion: "When you receive the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings in Holy Communion, make a throne for him with your hands." We will not be exchanging the sign of peace at this time during Mass. Because of my pre existing health issues, I will not be distributing communion at this time. I am asking our Eucharistic ministers to do so. If the Eucharistic minister touches your hand, he or she will sanitize their hands before distributing to the next person. If someone insists on receiving communion on the tongue, the minister will again sanitize his or her hands before distributing to the next person. You are asked after Mass to not congregate in the church building but to go back to your cars. You can visit outside, but please keep proper social distancing in mind.
In order to help us to anticipate how many people to expect for each Mass, a postcard is enclosed for you to respond to us in regards to which Mass you would prefer to attend. If you have access to a computer or smart phone, you may indicate your preferences in regard to attending mass through SignUpGenius.com instead of mailing the postcard back. Simply type https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B094FABA82FA7FA7-pentecost into your browser bar and follow the enclosed instructions. If you do not already have a Sign Up Genius account, you may create one for free. If your plans change, please edit or delete your entry on Sign Up Genius to allow us to keep an accurate indication of attendance.
It may be that seating could be at full capacity for a particular Mass. If so, we will do our best to inform you ahead of time. We will hopefully be able to seat everyone. I know this is different for all of us. I ask that we practice the virtues of patience and charity as we all work our way through this. Our situation is new to all of us. This virus has turned life as we knew it, upside down. Let's work together as we try to come back as a parish family in a safe manner. Things will not be back to normal for quite a while. We will work toward resuming our normal weekend Mass schedule in time. However, as I stated above, I think it best that we do it in stages.
Bishop Brennan has issued a letter to the Faithful which we will forward through email and Facebook. He is granting an extension to all Catholics of the dispensation from attending Mass through September 13, 2020. In fact, if you are in a more vulnerable population category, such as being over 60 years of age and or having underlying health issues, I would recommend that you would continue to stay at home. You may also wish to consider attending a daily Mass so that you can receive communion with fewer folks in attendance. We will be trying to resume home communion calls as soon as possible.
As we slowly return to our weekend celebration of Mass, and as we keep trying to figure out the best ways to keep people safe, let us remember those virtues of patience and charity. As your pastor I have the responsibility to provide as safe an environment as I can for all of us. I am very grateful to all those in the parish who are helping me to do this. Let us remember that God is good all the time; all the time God is good. He has not abandoned us. How appropriate that we come back on the Feast of Pentecost, the feast of the breathing of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, the birthday of the Church. May this weekend we return be a rebirth for us as a parish; "Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth."
May God's gracious gift of peace be with you all!
Fr. Mark Ghiloni