During these past weeks, you have been able to read the scriptures yourselves and to watch Mass on television or on your electronic devices, but that has not been the same as when we gather to celebrate the Eucharist together – when the Father calls us around the table of his Beloved Son, and as the Eucharistic prayers remind us, “when as Christ did for his disciples, he now does for us, as he opens the scriptures and breaks the bread.”
It is, after all, more than just receiving Holy Communion – it is the gathering of the Father as we hear the word and break bread together. It is about our presence – our part in the everlasting sacrifice that we learn more about and experience the true presence – the remarkable presence in the Risen Lord – the fullness of the Eucharistic presence of Christ. It brings alive the fullness of the meaning of “do this in memory of me.”
Some of the greatest fruits of the Second Vatican Council, over six decades ago, were the changes that enabled us to hear the word and celebrate the Eucharist together – the fullness of what God wishes to reveal to us now. As you yearn for the Eucharist, you should also be yearning for what else has been lost over these past weeks – fellowship with one another.
I am pleased to report to you that the Diocese has established guidelines for resuming public Masses. I have met with members of my parish leadership team to determine how best to accommodate as many parishioners as possible while staying within the physical distancing recommendations of the local and state government. Please read carefully what follows as these will be our “new normal” for the coming weeks.
It will be such a pleasure to see you all again – in a different setting and under unique circumstances – back together as the people of God’s Church.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Fr. Michael R. Houle, Pastor
THESE GUIDELINES PROVIDE DIRECTION FOR OUR PARISH. THEY REFLECT THE MOST RECENT GUIDANCE FROM CIVIL AND HEALTH AUTHORITIES. THEY WILL BE UPDATED AS NEEDED DEPENDING ON THEIR SUCCESS AND THE EVER-CHANGING NEEDS OF THE PARISH.
BISHOP ESTEVEZ HAS INDEFINITELY DISPENSED THE FAITHFUL FROM THE OBLIGATION TO ATTEND WEEKEND MASS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS SHOULD REMAIN SHELTERED IN PLACE. THEY SHOULD NOT RETURN TO MASS UNTIL PHYSICAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES ARE RESCINDED. THEY ARE ENCOURAGED TO KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH BY PARTICIPATING IN LIVE-STREAMED OR RECORDED MASSES. ST. PAUL’S WILL BE RECORDING THE 4:00 MASS ON SATURDAY AND WILL MAKE IT AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE ON SUNDAY MORNING.
1.CELEBRATION OF MASS
All Masses will be celebrated in the gymnasium at St. Paul’s. There will be no Masses at St. Peter’s.
Weekend Masses will include the Saturday Vigils at noon, 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00 PM. (There will not be a daily 9:00 AM Mass on Saturdays).
Sunday Masses will be held at 8:00 and 10:00 AM, as well as 12:00, 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00 PM. (There will be no Children’s Liturgy at the 10:00 AM Mass).
Daily Mass will resume on Monday, May 18th, at 8:00 AM. There will not be a 5:30 daily Mass.
Entry will begin 30 minutes before Mass through the main doors facing 5th Street.
Face masks or other face covering of the nose and mouth are required for all over age 10. They must be worn to be admitted, and to participate in the Mass. St. Paul’s will not be providing face masks – please bring your own.
You will also need to bring your own chair or blanket for seating – NO seating will be provided. This is to avoid the extensive sanitizing of all surfaces between each Mass. Please be respectful of our new Gym floor when choosing your chair.
Physical distancing will be strictly followed. (Members of single households may be seated together).
Gym capacity will be limited by the physical distancing requirement. When it is reached, we will close the gym with no admittance until the next Mass. Please consider trying one of the new Mass times to avoid the crowds. After the first weekend, we will post Mass attendance on the website and on MyParishApp to let you know which Masses exceeded capacity and which Masses have room for more. Hopefully, this will help you plan accordingly.
There will be no altar servers, cantor or choir.
Handholding is not permitted during the Lord’s Prayer.
The Sign of Peace can be observed with a simple bow, a wave, or just a smile.
The parish will not be providing hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes for personal use. Bring your own.
Holy Communion will be distributed in the form of the Precious Body only. You will receive in your hand, pull your mask down to consume it, and return your mask to cover your mouth and nose.
Ushers will assist and direct movement in the communion line to assure appropriate physical separation between lines and individuals.
Baskets for offertory will be located at the doorways. Please consider helping us recover from the past weeks’ absence. If you regularly attend St. Peter’s Mission, please write St. Peter’s on your envelope.
All three exits will be used for dismissal. Please make an orderly exit via the closest door and do not gather in groups after Mass. Physical distancing must also be observed in the parking areas.
Even with the best practices, anyone who enters a public space, including Mass, should be aware of the risk of contracting COVID-19. The pandemic continues. Nothing has changed with regard to the contagiousness of this coronavirus or it’s existence in society. We should assume this will be our new norm for the weeks to come. Let us seek progress and not perfection as we practice love of neighbor in seeking not to contaminate those around us. If you are sick, please stay home!
Confessions will be heard by our three parish priests in the gym on Saturday mornings from 9:00 – 10:00 AM, and in the Church on Wednesday evenings from 5:00 – 6:00.
A member of the parish staff will be at the main door to monitor admittance.
You will be asked to wait outside until the next priest is available. Remember physical distancing.
It will be necessary for you to wear a mask to be admitted and while talking with the priest.
IT IS NOT REQUIRED THAT YOU RECEIVE THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION BEFORE RETURNING TO MASS. SIMPLY MAKE A PERFECT ACT OF CONTRITION AND GO TO CONFESSION AT A LATER TIME. THE PRIESTS WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE EVERYONE ON MAY 16TH.
There will be no Thursday adoration until further notice.
The church will remain open Monday thru Friday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM for individual prayer if there are no more than 10 people at a time and physical distancing is maintained.
Please note that the back of the church remains closed to the public.
BAPTISMS, WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS
Continue to schedule through Angela in the parish office.
Guests in attendance are limited through at least the end of June.
ANOINTING OF THE SICK
The priests will be following the protocols of the hospitals, assisted living and nursing facilities, and hospice centers.
The priests will not be making home visits until further notice.