Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is with joy that I share with you that the celebration of Mass in public will resume on Monday, May 25, 2020 with the celebration of Daily Mass at 8:15am. There will be a Daily Mass at 8:15am each day this week. The usual Weekend Mass Schedule will resume on May 30, 2020 at 5:00pm and May 31, 2020 at 7:30am, 9:30am and Noon. This is Pentecost Weekend, aka the Birthday of the Church.
It is most important, however, that I share several points with you:
1. Those who are high risk because of age, chronic illness, recent illness or exposure to Covid-19 are asked to refrain from coming to Mass. This is also true for those who may not feel ready to return to Mass. We will continue to make a video of a Mass each week. It will be in the style similar to the Public Masses.
2. Bishop Brennan and all the Ohio Bishops have extended the Dispensation from the Sunday (Saturday Vigil) Mass Obligation. Bishop Brennan has shared that some may be more comfortable attending a Daily Mass.
3. Per the Guidelines published by State and Federal Agencies, Social Distancing is to be maintained, including in the church setting. This means that the seating capacity in the church is about 33% of the normal capacity. This means about 135 people. There are designated pews that can be used and can’t be used. Families may sit close together, but all others are asked to maintain the 6′ distance to which we have become accustomed. The Cry Room will not be available for seating. We are planning to use the Gathering Space and perhaps the St. Cecilia Room for overflow if needed
4. Everyone is asked to bring and wear a Mask in church with the exception of when one is receiving Communion. Masks will be available in the Gathering Space for those without one.
5. As was the situation before the suspension of Public Masses, only Hosts will be distributed at Communion and not the Cup. All are to receive in the hand. The Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have been instructed about the sanitary procedures for Distribution.
6. Those who come forward for Communion are asked to do so following the Directions of the Hospitality Ministers at Weekend Masses. We will also be dismissing row by row at the end of Mass as you may have seen at weddings or funerals.
7. Following the Guidelines set by Medical and Health Officials and the Center for Disease Control, you will see and experience differences in the Mass Celebration. The Hymnals/Missalettes have been removed from the church. There will be no singing. The Exchange of the Sign of Peace will not take place. There will not be Altar Servers. There will not be a Procession with the Bread and Wine. The clergy will enter the church on the side.
8. We have very much appreciated those who have continued making Offerings to our parish either by Faith Direct, by sending their offerings in the mail or by dropping them off or by electronic means. These Offerings have been very much needed. Offerings at Masses are very much needed. There will be boxes on tables at the end of each aisle in which Offerings may be placed either when you come into Mass or upon leaving Mass. This is a great time to consider signing up for Faith Direct or even electronic giving through your bank. Your continued generosity is most appreciated. To sign up for Faith Direct, please click here.
9. You may notice Hospitality Ministers wearing gloves. We have asked that they open doors for you when you arrive and depart. We ask that you touch as few surfaces as possible.
10. You will also notice that members of the Facilities Staff will be present at Masses. They will be disinfecting the church between Masses and the Restrooms every few minutes during Mass. Because of the need to disinfect the church between Masses, we ask that you do not arrive too early for Mass. Please arrive 5, but no more than 10 minutes early. We also ask that people leave the building when dismissed so that there is enough time to make sure this is done properly before the next Mass.
While I realize that opinions and thoughts vary on the many aspects of the Covid-19 situation, I respectfully ask that all of us remain centered on two important realities. These are our love and need for the Eucharist, for the Word of God and for one another, as well as remembering that it is better to err on the side of caution for the good and well being of others as well as ourselves. These are the realities on which our bishop and the priests and deacons of our diocese have been focused and remain focused as we look forward to being together with you for prayer, worship and the celebration of the Sacraments.
Father Leo Connolly