Do not be afraid … Be careful.

May 15, 2020
Memorial of Saint Isidore

Dear Friends,

I hope and pray that you are continuing to enjoy the blessings of this Easter Season with its enduring promise of hope.

Now that we have entered into a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic we are able to begin opening our Church for participation in the public celebration of the Sacraments. We will not be going back to the manner in which we gathered prior to the cancellation of public Masses and Liturgies.  But we will be returning in a manner that respects the safety concerns of the faithful yet allows for us to enter into the mysteries that we celebrate.

On Memorial Day [25 May] Mass will be celebrated at 9:15 a.m. and then beginning on Tuesday [26 May] Mass will be celebrated in the Church at 6:45 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Our weekend celebration of the Sacrament of Penance and Lord’s Day Eucharist will resume our standard schedule [Saturday Penance at 3 p.m. with Mass at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday Masses at 7:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 noon and 5 p.m.]. We will continue to make available live streamed or on-demand Mass everyday along with our other moments of prayer throughout the day.

The faithful of the Diocese continue to be dispensed from their Sunday obligation until further notice. While understanding the desire of so many people to return to the Sacraments, it remains important for those who are at greater risk [the elderly, sick, those with pre-existing conditions] to refrain from returning to public liturgies until such time as they feel comfortable and confident to do so.

While we will offer directions for the changes in procedures in Church before May 25, here are some changes you can expect when you come to celebrate the Eucharist:

  • All Masses will be celebrated in the Main Church;
  • The Holy Family Chapel is now serving as the Chapel for the Blessed Sacrament;
  • Baptisms, Eucharistic Adoration and private prayer will be in the Holy Family Chapel;
  • Half of the pews will be closed to seating so that we can remain appropriately distant from each other;
  • Facial masks are strongly encouraged to be worn while in Church except during the reception of Holy Communion;
  • Once we have reached the maximum number of people permitted in the Church [no more than 50% of capacity], an over-flow site will be opened in the west campus gym where Mass can be viewed, and the distribution of Holy Communion will take place;
  • The holy water fonts and baptismal font will be empty;
  • No processions: opening, offertory or closing;
  • No exchange of the sign of peace;
  • A new traffic pattern for the reception of Holy Communion;
  • Only the distribution of the Body of Christ received while keeping six feet distance from others;
  • Collection baskets will be stationary in the Church and not passed through the pews for you to make your gifts to the parish;
  • A limited number of volunteer ministers will be engaged to assist in the celebration of Mass;
  • No social gathering before or after Mass, so that the building can be completely sanitized between every gathering.

I am very excited to welcome you back to the public celebration of Mass and pray that we can all be careful and cautious while we gain the spiritual benefits of celebrating the Eucharist together again.

In the Spirit of Saint Joseph,

Rev. Msgr. Michael R. Billian