As you may know, Holy Family Church re-opens for Masses tomorrow, Memorial Day, May 25. Mass for Memorial Day is at 9:00 a.m. Other Masses this week are on MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY at 7:00 a.m. All Masses will be in the Church, not the Fr. Conley Chapel.
As Church “re-opens” and Masses resume next weekend on Saturday at 4:00 and Sunday at 8:00, 10:00 and 12 Noon, it is important to understand and accept some changes. I have tried to summarize these necessary changes for social distancing in Church, providing a safe environment and safe reception for Holy Communion. Here are some general principals from Fr. Balash, the Director of Worship at the Diocese of Youngstown and adapted by me for Holy Family.
Six points: (one for each foot) get it?
1. Don’t come to Church if . . . . .
2. Safe Environment.
3. Social Distancing.
4. MASKS A MUST.
5. Communion Time.
6. GO IN PEACE!
1. DON’T COME TO CHURCH IF . . .
The dispensation from Sunday Mass continues for all of us. This dispensation is from Bishop Murry until further notice. You do not have to come to Church. If you are sick, vulnerable, or up in years -STAY HOME for your own safety and for the congregation’s sake. If you are uneasy or uncomfortable about putting yourself in a crowd of people under one roof for an hour, STAY HOME. STAY SAFE. Our Sunday Mass-es will continue to be available on the parish website and on YouTube.
2. SAFE ENVIRONMENT.
Cleaning the pews, seats and kneelers before and after Mass is essential. Hymnals will be re-moved from the Church. Pews and seating area will be disinfected. Restrooms and doors handles will be disinfected. The Bride’s Room will be locked. The Fr. Conley Chapel will be opened for general seating.
3. SOCIAL DISTANCING.
Social distancing is essential. We are only allowed to have 50% of our latest capacity at each Mass. Our total capacity is about 600. To observe social distancing that leaves 300 or less after we observe the 6 FEET rule in a pew for families, singles and same households -6 FEET apart every direction using every other pew.
4. MASKS A MUST.
Masks must be worn by everyone coming here for Mass. Children age 2 and up. Disposable masks will be available in the Gathering Area as you enter Church if you forget yours or don’t have one. Masks are essential for protecting one another from this the CORONAVIRUS. When I wear one, I am protecting you from me. Anyone could be sick without symptoms. We need to keep at 6 feet distance entering and leaving Church as well as during Communion.
5. COMMUNION TIME.
The priests, deacons and Ministers of Holy Communion will wash their hands with hot water and soap before Mass and will sanitize their hands before distribution of communion at the Credence table. We will put on gloves for the giving of Holy Communion to you. Communion will be distributed to you at five (5) stations across the front of the Church -first:aisles 1, 3, 5 / then 2 & 4. Only three (3) host distributors. It is important to stay 6 FEET behind the person receiving in front of you. When you come up to receive communion, lower your mask, please extend your arms as far as possible with one hand over the other, saying “Amen”, put the host in your mouth, walk away and replace your mask. This is the only way communion will be distributed. There are no other options (as of now, no communion on the tongue). This will take some getting use to on your part and ours, especially for me, since this will slow me down considerably!!
6. GO IN PEACE!
At the end of Mass, I will stay at the altar and sit in my chair. If you need to talk to me, keep your distance! Please leave Church slowly and safely. Unfortunately, no gathering in groups in the Gathering Area or on the Esplanade. Social distance (6 FEET) is the order of the day. Keep moving to your car. Church has to be cleaned for the next Mass.WOW, glad this letter is over!!!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU,THANK YOU!
P.S. NO COLLECTION will be taken with baskets and no offertory procession with the gifts. One big collection basket is in the empty baptismal font for your envelopes and donations. Thank you!
I cannot express my gratitude enough to you for your abiding, generous support of the parish we love in these challenging times for all of us.
God bless us one and all, and God help us!