May 27,2020

Dear OLR parishioners,

Bishop Guglielmone has allowed Eucharistic Adoration and private, individual confessions, to resume in June.

CONFESSIONS

Here at Our Lady of the Rosary, the first private confessions to be heard will be on Wednesday, June 3, between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the lower church. The next opportunity after that will be from 9:00 a.m.to 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 7, and these times and this location will be maintained until further notice.

Although confessions will be heard in the lower church, Adoration and all Masses will continue to be celebrated in the upper church until further notice.

Our bishop has given us several guidelines about how to celebrate this sacrament safely. We will incorporate his directions by observing the following safeguards here at OLR:

Confessions will not be heard in the confessional, but rather in the open body of the lower church.

The restrooms will not be available for use in the lower church. If you require a restroom, please use the ones in the upper church.

Entrance into the lower church will be regulated by an usher who will stand outside the entrance to the lower church and will admit only one person at a time. Only the priest and one penitent at a time will be in the lower church so that confidentiality and the sacramental seal can be maintained.

You are encouraged to stay in your automobile until it is your turn to enter the lower church. If you prefer to wait outside, then social distancing must be observed, and at least six feet of space must be kept between you and other people at all times.

It is highly recommended that you wear a face mask before and during your confession, and that you keep it on until you re-enter your automobile. Remember not to touch your face until your hands are washed or sanitized. Hand sanitizer will be available at the church door.

If you need to cough or sneeze do so into your arm. Kleenex will also be available as you enter.

As you enter the lower church, a table, a standing screen, and a kneeler will be in place immediately in front of you. Please kneel, or if you cannot kneel, stand behind this screen in order to make your confession anonymously. In this way, a proper distance is kept between priest and penitent. If you choose to kneel, then please wipe down the top of the kneeler with disinfecting wipes when you are done. These wipes will be provided for you on the table. A waste basket will also be provided to dispose of the wipes and any tissues used.

The priest will be seated further into the body of the lower church in such a way that he will not be able to see you as you stand behind the screen.

Do not whisper, but speak loudly enough so that the priest can hear you, but not so loudly that your confession can be overheard outside.

A chair will be situated to one side of the screen. If you wish to make your confession face-to face, you can sit in this chair where you will be able to directly see the priest, and he you, while still maintaining a safe distance. If you choose this option, you are especially encouraged to wear a face mask the entire time.

Given these extraordinary times, and the numbers of penitents expected, there will only be a few minutes available to have your confession heard. Consequently, you are asked to prepare your confession at home in advance.

Please keep your confession brief. If you need to speak with a priest for counseling on a particular issue in your life, please make an appointment to discuss this with him outside of the confession setting.

Please leave the confessional space immediately after your absolution. You may do any penance at home or at a safe distance in the upper church.

It is recommended that you wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer after your confession.

Confessions must conclude promptly at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. If you do not get a chance to make it to confession, please remember that General Absolution will continue to be given at weekend Masses until June 14, the feast of Corpus Christi, and that the authority of the General Absolution under these emergency conditions is equivalent to that given at individual confession.

EUCHARISTIC ADORATION

Eucharistic Adoration will take place in the Upper Church on Wednesdays, beginning June 3, from 4:00 p.m. To 5:45 p.m. before the 6:00 pm Mass. Adoration will conclude with Benediction at 5:45 p.m.

When you enter the church for Adoration please remember to maintain proper social distancing. Do not sit near others.

The persons scheduled for Eucharistic Adoration will also help to monitor those who are in attendance. It is very unlikely that there will be more than 100 people in the Upper Church for adoration, but just in case, the person scheduled to be present for adoration will also keep an eye on numbers.

As we begin to return to a more normal schedule, please communicate with Tommy Smith about your preferences for longer sessions of Eucharistic Adoration on Wednesday afternoons.

If you have any questions as to how these procedures will work, please call or email our parish secretary Beth Jones in advance. Her contact information is: ejones@charlestondiocese.org or (724) 458- 0196.

We thank you for your patience and cooperation as we take these steps to safely resume hearing individual confessions and beginning Eucharistic Adoration again. May God continue to bless and sustain us all as we move forward in faith, hope, and trust in His Divine Mercy.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker, pastor

Fr. Richard Ballard, parochial vicar