Mass Resumption during Covid-19

  • July 3, 2020

    Dear Parishioners,

    Mass resumption and attendance guidelines...
    All weekend and daily Masses have resumed with a few restrictions and strong suggestions.  Dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass will continue until further notice for the elderly, anyone at high risk, or if you don't feel comfortable.  All other parishioners are encouraged to attend following the guidelines below.   

    Restrictions:  

    • 6' Social Distancing
    • If you are sick, do not enter the building
    • Limited seating capacity:  50%

    Suggestion:

    • You are strongly encouraged to receive communion in the hand.
    • Restrooms are only used if absolutely necessary.
    • Wear face mask
    • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer (provided).

    Are you sick or at high risk?
    If you feel sick, do not come to Church.  There is never an obligation to attend Mass when you can get others sick by doing so!  If you are at high risk for sickness, do not come to Church.  There is never an obligation to attend Mass when there is a prudential reason that you could get very sick by doing so.  If you are 65 or older, have diabetes, or breathing problems, you are among the many people who are at high-risk for Coronavirus.  Consult the CDC website for more information.  Daily Masses tend to have very few attendees — consider coming during the week. 

    Spacing people for “social distancing” 
    At Sunday Mass, please allow the ushers to seat you; please do not ask for any particular seat. Families can sit together, but keep six feet of separation between households.  Alternating pews must be empty — please do not take your regular seat if marked “keep empty”.  Holy Cross is limited to 67 parishioners upstairs, 35 downstairs.  St. Luke is limited to 100 in the church, 24 in the overflow room. During this most unusual time, the Eucharist will be distributed at the end of Mass.  Ushers will guide parishioners to leave from back to front.

    Avoiding germs at Church
    Our Holy Water fonts are empty.  Greeters should open the doors for everyone — please enter with only a quick “Good Morning/Afternoon” greeting.  Everyone is encouraged to wear a mask to Church.  I will wear one at Mass when possible.  The church does not have the ability to provide masks.  Please do not come to church planning on using the church’s restrooms — reserve these for emergencies.  Please plan ahead!  If you do expect to have a need for the restroom, please tell the greeter so the usher can seat you toward the back of the church, or use the overflow seating down the hall at St. Luke or the basement of Holy Cross.

    Reception of the Eucharist
    The bishop’s advisors suggest that, during this time, people please receive the Eucharist in the hand.  If you do so, please allow me to remove my hand before closing your hand on mine.  Should you prefer to receive the Eucharist on your tongue — always the right for any Catholic — after saying “Amen” please stick out your tongue and give me a stable target.  If you do not provide me a stable palm, or a stable visible tongue, I will ask you if you are a Catholic.  We all know that such topics are not normally discussed in polite company — but neither are they discussed in impolite company!  This has nothing at all to do with being polite — only with being practical, prudent Catholics!

    Allergies
    I experience, and share, allergic reactions due to pollen, cleaning agents, and assorted perfumes and colognes.  I am sure that many parishioners have seen me sneeze or cough at mass.  I have generally attributed these sneezes to pollen.  I do not do so now.  In the last 8 weeks, since we have not been at Mass together, I have neither sneezed nor coughed during Mass.  Neither the church nor nearby allergens have bothered me — so I now suspect perfumes or colognes.  Please, avoid perfumes and colognes and help all of us participate at Mass without distraction. 

    Non-Mass gatherings?
    Starting May 11, we cannot allow gatherings on Church property for other than Mass, Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals.  Even these must be conducted with “social distance” deliberation.  Let’s pray for an end to this virus!  The only exception to this is Catholic Outreach — which is operating with prudent restrictions to protect parish member-servants as well as all who come requesting assistance with utilities and food.  Let us offer our current sufferings to our Heavenly Father in communion with the suffering of Jesus.  We can, and should, make up in our lives what is lacking in the offering of Jesus.

    Fr James N Dubrouillet
    Pastor, Holy Cross & St. Luke