Dear Parish Family ~

At long last we are beginning to see the dawn of better days after this protracted and difficult fourteen month odyssey.  Coinciding with the Easter Season, life has begun to resume some of its familiar routines and pleasures… and many folks have commented how they can “feel that things are getting better.”  For this we say, thanks be to God!

Among the changes we’re experiencing is the easing of Covid Restrictions in varied sectors of public life… restaurants, sporting and entertainment venues, travel… AND, I’m excited to say… IN CHURCH!

Beginning May 19th, we are able to gather for Mass at 100% capacity of both our church and Msgr. Purick Hall!  Hallelujah!  This is a moment that we’ve been waiting for with both faith and hope.

So, what will things look like when you come to Mass on Sunday, May 23rd?

General Provisions

  • The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation Masses remains in effect.  If you are not yet comfortable returning “in person” you can continue to      remain at home and join us via the Live-Stream.  However, we want to earnestly encourage you to join us “in person” as soon as possible. Perhaps you might consider setting a “special date” for your return… many folks did so for Mothers Day.  The 23rd of May is Pentecost Sunday and a PERFECT day to reunite with the Parish Family at Sunday Mass.  If you’re joining us, wear something RED which is the “color of the day!”
  • Masks must continue to be worn, except by children under 2 years of age and those individuals with breathing difficulties.
  • Seating in Purick Hall will look different than it has since we reopened last June. Since we are allowed a greater capacity of worshipers, there will be more seats available. Naturally, people from the same household/family can sit together. Please be considerate when choosing a seat.  Not everyone will be comfortable with having other people seated too close to them.  There will be plenty of seats and those seats will be arranged with social distancing still in mind.  Be respectful of another person’s “space.”
  • The Celebration of Mass will continue in the same manner that we’ve experienced since last June. In the near future I will update you on how we will reintegrate our Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist (EM’s) and our Altar Servers.  The same will be true with regards to our Music Ministry ~ particularly, our choirs.  As you know, Lectors have already resumed their ministry.
  • The Offertory Procession (bringing up the Bread and Wine) will continue to be omitted, however the collection will now be taken up by the ushers using long-handled collection baskets.
  • The Sign of Peace – If you would like to do so, please exchange the Sign of Peace with the members of your family/household ONLY. Again, as with seating, we want to be considerate of others who are not yet comfortable with that level of physical contact. A simple wave or nod of the head will convey your intentions in a safe manner.
  • For the time being, Holy Communion will continue to be distributed in the same manner. With the eventual reintegration of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, the Communion Rite will be shorter… until then, we will strive to have two ministers (priest/deacon) distributing Communion at Sunday Masses.
  • As has been the practice since last June… if you choose to receive Holy Communion on the tongue: Please wait until all those receiving in the hand have gone first and then come forward for reception of Holy Communion. Thank you for your patience and understanding with this request.
  • The Precious Blood will not be distributed until further notice.
  • Holy Water fonts will continue to remain empty. However, Holy Water is available in the cistern which is located in the church lobby. If you bring an appropriate container, you are welcome to take some home for your personal use.
  • During this long trial, we (clergy) were discouraged from being outside after Masses and greeting parishioners in order to maintain social distancing and not causing crowds to form. I’m really looking forward to ending that practice and catching up with you after Masses!

In the coming weeks I’ll be writing to update you on our progress with all of the above items.  I’m sure as we go forward there will be some “hiccups” and we’ll make adjustments accordingly.  What’s important to remember is that we’re moving in the right direction… prudently and with the common good in mind… and that we’ve done this together.  As I’ve said to you before:  “We’re all in the same boat… but we’re not alone.  Jesus is with us.”

There’s no way that I could adequately thank all of you for the cooperation, consideration, generosity, and prayerful support that you’ve demonstrated during this ordeal.  We’ve come through an extraordinary, “once-in-a-lifetime” experience… and there was no Instruction Manual on how to navigate through this event.  We had to learn a lot in “the heat of the battle.”   I’m sure there were times when the things being asked of all of us didn’t make sense… were aggravating… were discouraging… and disheartening.   However, the spirit of cooperation and the cheerfulness you exhibited helped to make managing this storm much easier.

So, simply and sincerely…. thank you for “Keeping Calm and Carrying On.”

Let that be our motto and mantra in these next several weeks as we increasingly “open up” and bring our parish back to life as we knew it… Our best years are still ahead of us!

From the Corner of Clinton and Main,
Fr Seán