Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It was a joy on Monday to resume the public celebration of Mass. Thanks to Greg Moman, Bob Schwab and Rick Burke, we had an excellent and workable plan established to keep safe distances and yet still welcome a limited number to Mass. Note that we cannot welcome more than 100 people to any one Mass.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the protocols we have established at this time. First, please remember that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been lifted until further notice. If you are sick or if you are elderly or have any anxieties about catching the coronavirus it is not a sin to miss Mass. We will continue to provide at home worship resources and encourage you to make use of them until you feel comfortable returning to church.

However, you should not use the exemption from the Mass obligation to just skip Mass. If you can come to church once a week it is a good idea spiritually to do so. If you cannot, please use the at home worship aids provided. If you do come to Mass once a week try to come to a weekday Mass. The Mass times are:

  • Monday – 8:30 am
  • Tuesday – 12:00 noon
  • Wednesday – 6:00 pm
  • Thursday – 10:00 am
  • Friday – 10:00 am

If you attend a weekend Mass the times are as usual: Saturday 5:00 pm; Sunday 10:30 am and 5:00 pm. You must sign up in advance to attend a weekend Mass. Please use the Sign-Up Genius links HERE to do so before noon on the Friday before the weekend you wish to attend Mass. If you come and have not signed up for a weekend Mass, we will ask you to attend a different Mass.

When you come to a weekend Mass please observe these extra protocols:

  • If your last name begins with A-L line up on the sidewalk on the North side of the courtyard (the side by the parking lot).
  • If your last name begins with M-Z line up on the sidewalk on the South side of the courtyard (by the Guadalupe Hall).
  • Enter by the North and South arches into the porch. The ushers will explain the procedure.
  • When you enter the narthex there will be hand sanitizer and a mask if you choose to use one.
  • Wearing a mask is strongly recommended.
  • There are no holy water stoops, no pew missals and there is to be no hand holding during the Our Father or exchange of the peace.
  • Hymns will be printed on the worship aid, but use them to follow the words but not sing.
  • Communion will be brought to you where you kneel in the pew. It is strongly recommended that you receive on the hand.
  • There will be no administration of the precious blood.
  • After Mass wait in your pew to be dismissed by the ushers in an orderly manner according to the regulations.
  • No collection will be taken. Baskets in the narthex are available for you to make your donation as you exit.
  • Please be patient with the regulations as we work them out. There may be difficulties which will take time to resolve.

This has been a challenging time for all of us, but it has been a great encouragement to me to see how well so many of our people have rallied around out of concern for one another. Fr. Richard and I have been keeping in touch with our elderly and housebound by telephone and he has now taken on this ministry from his home. Donna Craft and Beth Jones are working with the members of our local small groups to offer contact and support for all of our parishioners in their own locality.

Mr. Curtin and his wonderful staff at the school are coming in on the home stretch of a most difficult semester teaching our kids at home. Congratulations to them and the parents who have also worked hard with their students at home. Our parish pastoral team has also been steady in their support for our ministries so far.

The members of St. Vincent de Paul Society are exploring ways to re-open the food pantry and I would like to remind you of the website to make donations to the new charity, MercyWorks—which exists to offer help to those who are financially strapped because of the health crisis. We ask you also to let us know of any parishioners you know of who are in special need so we can offer assistance. One of the reasons we are in a position to do so is because so many of you have been faithful in your financial support. Our finance team has been working hard to make sure we stay afloat during these stormy times and I can report that so far, we are doing well.

Thank you all, and I hope to see many of you at Mass as we begin to relax the lockdown.

With prayers,

Your pastor

Fr. Longenecker