It is certainly great news to hear from our Bishop that we will be able to attend Mass (in person!) again. To be able to regularly receive our Lord in the Eucharist and worship as a community will provide much needed spiritual support, especially with all the challenges COVID-19 has brought our way. I am sure, however, that you have some questions on how that is going to work with social distancing expectations. The Diocese has issued detailed guidelines on the celebration of Mass during this time. Our staff has met several times now to discuss how best to implement them for everyone’s protection. First, though, I’d like to share with you our Mass schedule for the next few weeks.
Public Masses will begin at Incarnation on Wednesday, May 20th.
Daily Masses: Monday – Friday; 11am public Mass and 11am live-stream Mass
Saturday: 8:30am public Mass and 4:30pm public Vigil Mass
Sunday: 8am live-stream Mass, 9am and 11am public Mass
A slight wrinkle to these plans is that we are currently refinishing all of our main church doors, which means that for fire safety reasons we cannot gather in the church until at least May 28th. From Wednesday, May 20th – Wednesday, May 27th all Masses will be held in the Finegan Center.
Regarding attendance guidelines, the following is expected of anyone attending Mass:
- Anyone who is sick, experiencing poor health symptoms, or at greater risk of contagion is asked to stay home.
- Please maintain safe social distancing (6 feet) at all times. This includes walking in and out of the church and talking to each other outside (households excepted).
- Everyone is required to wear a mask (masks not provided).
- Wash and/or sanitize your hands before entering the church. Please do not touch your face and use sanitizer as needed.
- Minimize hand contact with all surfaces (especially doors, the backs of chairs, and pews). Please be aware that this is both to protect you from contamination and also to protect our pews. Pew varnish is destroyed by alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- The Diocese has asked Communion to only be given in the hand. Please understand this is for the safety of our ministers and all parishioners.
For our part, we are implementing the following:
- Disinfecting of pews after every Mass. This is done with a non-alcohol base disinfectant to protect our pews.
- Seating only every other pew.
- Eucharistic Ministers will bring Communion directly to the pews (no Communion line).
It is important to note that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is dispensed through Sunday, June 28th.
I know it is a lot but we will do the best we can to adjust to this new reality. I ask in a particular way your patience, understanding, and help in seriously practicing these guidelines. For the safety of all, this needs to be a communal effort to protect ourselves and our neighbors. I am sure there may be more questions on this topic and we will try to address them as they come with further updates on our website.
Thank you and God bless you!
PS: I thought you might enjoy this. So funny and so true!