Dear Parish Family….
This coming weekend, we will once again be offering the Livestream Mass live from St. Patrick’s at 9:30 as we always do. For 75% of our the members of our parishes, that will be the way we gather. But we are now thrilled to also welcome parishioners with last names beginning with the letters A-C, to come back to Mass in person!
If you are a St. Mary’s parishioner whose name begins with the letter A-C, you are welcome to come to Mass on Saturday 6/27 at 4:30PM.
If you are a St. Patrick’s parishioner whose name begins with the letter A-C, you are welcome to come to Mass on Sunday 6/28at 9:30AM. (That means that for all who will watch the livestream Mass, you’ll now have a real living, breathing, believing assembly of people there in flesh and blood!)
We decided not to do this as a first-come, first-served process because Jesus said, “The last shall be first” (Matthew 20:16)… so asking people to race to the phone or computer to register ahead of their neighbors, didn’t feel like it would have been the plan Jesus would have designed. That’s why we’re going through the alphabet letters, so everyone gets a fair chance to be at Mass in person and receive the Eucharist regularly,even if it still can’t yet be every week. (We thought about beginning with the letter Z to follow that Scripture about the “last and the first”even more seriously, but we didn’t want to get too confusing.) 🙂
We know many people prefer one of the Mass times over another, but our goal is to make sure that no one gets turned away from Mass. So since we’ve never done this before, in this early stage of returning, until we can get the hang of this, please only go to the parish where you are a member. Our goal is, in time, to add Masses and give you more freedom to attend whichever Mass you wish.
Here are some details to help you to know what to expect when it’s your turn to attend Mass…
As You Arrive
- Please wear your mask as you get out of your car.
- Bring some hand sanitizer with you for communion, and the song sheet you printed at home (if you have a printer).
- Volunteers will greet you and tell you everything you need to know about being seated.
- When it’s your turn, you’ll give your name to the volunteer, confirm the phone number we have for you on file and get your seat assignment.
Getting Your Seat
- A volunteer will seat you in an assigned seat, in order, from front to back.
- Assigned seats are helpful because then if anyone that was at Mass tests positive, it will reduce the number of people who will need to be quarantined to contain the spread. Otherwise, a positive test result would affect everyone.
- Records of Mass attendance will be kept confidential in tamper proof bags; only if there is a case of someone testing positive who was at a Mass will the contact information of those who were sitting in that person’s section be shared with the County Health Department to contain the spread through notification & testing.
- We unfortunately can’t honor seating preferences, for obvious reasons
- Anyone needing to use handicapped side entrance at St. Mary’s will receive assistance after checking in; at St. Patrick’s this shouldn’t be necessary.
- All will remain seated in place in their pew and Fr. Scott will bring communion to you.
- Fr. Scott will drop the host into each parishioner’s flat palm.
- Leave your mask on until Fr. Scott has moved beyond you, then pull your mask down over your chin and receive the Eucharist.
Exiting the Church
- Volunteers will release from pews from back to front.
- If you’re not an e-giver, you can drop your envelope into a Donation Collection station as you pass by.
- Please go directly to your car so all can avoid congregating outside and stay safe.
As you may imagine, having a public Mass during a pandemic with 25% attendance is quite a production. We need volunteers to do the following before during and after each Mass. Are you able to help us put all pieces in place for a safe Mass each weekend?
- Serve on the welcome team that will welcome parishioners outside the church, ensure they have masks and receive sanitizer.
- Serve on the check-in team to give everyone a seat for contact tracing purposes.
- Serve on the team who will seat parishioners based on their seat assignment.
- Serve on the team who will disinfect the church and restroom before & after each Mass.
A lot of the people who would love to volunteer to do these tasks have a condition that puts them in a high-risk group, so they can’t. We know that many hands make light work, so if you feel God calling you to participate in the return to public Masses, give that call some serious consideration. If you’d like to offer some time before or after Mass, please call either parish and leave a message at ext. 2 for the parish office.
It’s been three months since the last time we gathered…it’s hard to even conceive. Until we’re back to four Masses a weekend at 100% capacity, some of the things we’ve always taken for granted (sitting in our “regular” pew… attending any Mass we choose, from an array of times… coming in as big a group as we choose…) will need to be put on hold for a while. But we have seen New York go from being the global epicenter of the virus to one of the places with the lowest transmission rates in the country. Since March, I’ve celebrated eight funerals for people who have died of COVID-19, but the last was now a month ago. Let us give glory to God and maintain our efforts to keep this trend going and keep each other safe.