Mass info during Yellow Phase

frschieleAs you’ve heard on the news, our region will enter the Yellow/Restricted phase of covid-19 response on June 5. Archbishop Perez has announced that the public celebration of Mass can resume on June 6. It will be great to be a more visibly worshiping community as we celebrate the community of love that is the Holy Trinity but there will be some adjustments we need to make to our celebrations. I’m detailing the Sunday Mass stuff in this email and will discuss other sacraments in a future one that will be coming out within the next day or two. So sit back and here we go!
First, some general points…

Number one: The dispensation from attending Mass on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation IS STILL IN FORCE. So if you are uncomfortable with returning to Mass due for any reason, you are not obligated to attend. Indeed, if you are sick or believe that you might make others sick you should not try to attend.

Number two: Churches are limited to 50% of their normal seating capacity. For us, that translates to about 500ish people. We will rope off every other pew to remind you to social distance. I’m also taking the chairs out of the RE room. I know it serves as the “cry room” but if people set up chairs in there to distance, that becomes a problem with foot traffic since those entrances are the most popular access for many older parishioners.

Number three: As you can see below, we’ll continue to livestream the Sunday Mass at 10:00 AM for the benefit of those who are unable to attend physically. This has been well received and if you feel uncomfortable returning to the public celebration at this time, we understand. Do what’s safest for you.

The Schedule
The first public Mass will be the Vigil Mass for the Holy Trinity on Saturday, June 6. The schedule for the duration of the Yellow/Restricted phase will be:

Saturday Vigil at 4:30 PM
Sunday 8:00 AM
Sunday 11:30 AM
Sunday 6:00 PM

Weekday Masses

7:15 am in main church (Monday – Saturday)

8:00 am LIVESTREAM ONLY (Monday – Friday)

As we’ve done up to now, all intentions of the various Masses will continue to be honored.

Coming to Church

Please make sure to wash your hands before coming in. And bring hand sanitizer as well. We have some limited supply but as you know, it’s hard to get.

MASKS are REQUIRED to attend Mass EXCEPT for those under 2 years of age or those who cannot wear one according to CDC guidelines. But please note, those who are ministers will not be wearing their masks while doing their ministry. For priests and deacons, that means we’ll be maskless the whole time.

Per diocesan guidelines, there will be NO missalettes. If you have a personal Sunday Mass Missal or Magnificat or similar publication, you may bring it to follow the Mass/Readings. Readings are also available on the iBreviary app or the Laudate app I mentioned way back when. Also, you can go to (a mouthful lI know!) to get the readings from the USCCB website and then print them to bring along. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING IN THE PEWS WHEN YOU LEAVE. Thank you.

In Church

As stated, we’re roping off every other pew to maintain social distance. While family groups don’t need to distance, please try to keep six feet away within a pew from another group. (One time I WON’T be asking the ushers to tell you to move in from the ends:-)

The Celebration of Mass

Singing will be at a minimum. It will probably be the Psalm and Mass Parts with some instrumental music for other parts. It’s tough to join in without hymnals and I don’t want us to get into a habit of listening to a cantor without joining in.

Given enough ushers, we’ll take the collection up in the usual way. If we’re short at a Mass, we’ll have baskets on the bulletin tables where you can make your donation. There will be NO procession of the gifts. And while we’re taking about this, again, I thank you for your generosity. It has really helped the parish situation. And don’t forget the Electronic Giving option. It’s on the website.

Diocesan guidelines call for no Sign of Peace during the Yellow/Restricted phase. Just before public celebration was suspended, we here were inviting you to offer a non-physical gesture of peace. We’ll probably continue that unless circumstances dictate otherwise.

Receiving Holy Communion

There will be a new communion line. That’s something we’ve been looking at for while and this is the time to do it. There will be signs at the doors to explain but basically the middle aisle and the two far outside aisles will go towards the minister to receive Communion and the inside middle aisles will be the return aisles. And don’t forget social distancing while in procession. Think of bridesmaids going up the aisle at a wedding. Between family groups, leave two or three aisles in between for pictures :-). And for now, keep everything single file.

For the duration of the Yellow/Restricted phase, the diocese directs that Holy Communion be received in the HAND. Please do not put a minister under pressure by not respecting that directive. There will be a video coming out later that will show how to remove your mask for reception.

If anyone is uncomfortable receiving Holy Communion while at Mass, don’t feel pressured to receive. You can make an act of Spiritual Communion just as we have been doing. We won’t pray the prayer during Mass but you’ll be able to pray quietly during the procession.

Heading Home

Again, think weddings or funerals. At those we leave aisle by aisle. Let’s keep to that as best we can and keep social distancing as we leave.

When the printed bulletins come back, they’ll be on the tables. We won’t have greeters distribute them. And the bulletin is also available on the parish website.for a hands free way to get the latest.

Please keep your mask on until back in your car and please don’t linger. That’s almost the hardest thing to say–we want to see each other– but we still need to be considerate of each other and be safe.