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The Lord Be With You!
These familiar words will once again be heard in public. With the returning to public Masses, we will once again as a community be able to praise God through his Son, Jesus Christ, and for the salvation He has won for us. As we prepare for this celebration of the Liturgy / Mass, it will look and feel different from when we last gathered eleven weeks ago.
Throughout society, we have been practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and good hygiene. This will also be a part of our gathering with additional protocols that are required for a religious service. These protocols come from the Archdiocese of Detroit as recommended by the CDC.
I ask your cooperation with what we will implement and to please be patient with one another, with yourself, and respectful of the protocols that you are being asked to abide by.
Having said this, I would like to indicate what you will expect and experience when we return for Mass.
It is an act of charity to care for each other in this way. We would not want the beauty and mystery of the Eucharistic liturgy in any way to compromise our health or be the reason our community members should suffer.
We pray through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Lourdes, patroness of health and healing, that God the Father will give us strength to endure, courage to preserve, and hope for the future.
Father Duane R. Novelly
Important Guidelines & Protocol
- Who should attend: Archbishop Vigneron has given a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass until September 6, 2020. It is recommended that if you are sick, stay home, have a chronic health condition or compromised in any way or simply over age 65 and feel you are vulnerable, you may wish to exercise prudent judgment and remain at home to stay safe.
- Mass schedule: We will maintain our Saturday, 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m., Mass schedule. However, I would ask you at this time to rethink the Mass you attend. Typically, on Saturday we have only 40 people in attendance. If you can consider moving from Sunday to Saturday Mass, thus splitting the total number between Saturday and Sunday, it would utilize our space more efficiently. Then we will have no problem with distancing.
- Masks: Masks will be required on parish grounds and must be worn in church during Mass. Again they are required, you must provide your own mask! Gloves are strongly recommended but not required. (Please remember you will have to remove them for Communion.)
- Gathering: Gathering will begin in the parking lot. And so from the time you exist your car, we will need to keep six feet of distance between ourselves. Entering the church, please be patient and maintain your social distancing. If the vestibule gets “crowded,” it would be less safe for us all. Seating in the church must maintain social distancing. Therefore, sit only in those rows which are not blocked by green roping. It is required that there are two rows between people and six feet across the pew. Of course, family units, those who live together can sit next to each other; but, if you are not of that unit, you must space out six feet. Typically, we will be able to accommodate four people to a pew depending on size of a family unit. Ushers will be available to assist especially in the first weeks.
- Holy Water: Please note that there is no holy water in the fonts. When entering the church, make the sign of the cross and remember your Baptism.
- Singing: There is to be no congregational singing. The CDC has indicated that you are more likely to spread the virus through loud talking and singing as you will aerosol through your breath more droplets that may contain the virus. The people’s response will be said, and only the music minister will sing where appropriate. Please note the hymnals are removed as well as worship aids. Shared books, cards, papers can carry the virus.
- Choir: The choir will not be assembled. Pentecost would be their last Sunday anyway. We will re-evaluate their gathering in September.
- Offertory: There will be no Offertory procession. The gifts will be placed in the sanctuary prior to the liturgy.
- Collection: We ask that as you enter the church, you would kindly place your offering in the basket at the front of the church. An usher will direct you. We cannot pass the basket during Mass. If you should arrive late, simply hand your envelope to an usher after Mass.
- Sign of Peace: As a greeting, the Sign of Peace will be eliminated. We can wish each other peace in our hearts or turn to each other with a slight bow of the head. Social distancing is to be maintained at all times.
- Communion Procession: The distribution of Holy Communion will be ministered only by the priest. Unfortunately, at this time, the ministry of Eucharistic Minister is suspended as we will not be using the cups, and distribution is best in a controlled setting. We will need to form a single file Communion line maintaining six feet of distance marked on the floor of the center aisle by red tape. To avoid crowding, ushers will direct each pew, row by row. Center sections going first, and side sections following. Please be patient, we are all in this together!
- Reception of Holy Communion: As the communicant approaches the priest, gloves are to be removed. Do not leave them in your pew! Place them in a pocket or perhaps under your arm so that they may be put on again. Do not dispose of them in the parking lot, take them home for proper disposal. Your mask should remain on until you are ready to consume the Host. At six feet, in front of the priest, a slight head bow may be given; and from that distance, respond “Amen” to the words “The Body of Christ.” Still masked, approach the priest, receive the Host in your hand, and turning away two steps, remove or lift your mask to consume the Host.
I ask you, please, do not receive on the tongue; this makes it difficult for the priest and the people who will follow you. I sincerely ask your cooperation in this matter. In this case, it is prudence over piety. There will be no distribution of the Precious Blood. The communion cup is eliminated for the time being. The fullness of the Eucharist resides in either species and for the safety of all, only the Body of Christ will be distributed. While maintaining your distance, return to your pew. It is highly encouraged that you bring your own hand sanitizer if you wish to sanitize your hands before receiving Communion.
- Dismissal: As the Mass ends with “go in peace” and the recessional music begins, please be patient in exiting the church. We must keep our physical distance of six feet. Exiting the church will go slow, but remember we are all in this together! I know we love, and it is important to greet each other after Mass; however, I would ask you to maintain your social distance and to keep your mask on until you are in your car. We will have parish papers available. Please take one by yourself. I, too, will need to keep a distance. I love to talk to you in the vestibule; but to maintain social distancing, I will return immediately to the sanctuary, and if we can greet each other, masked, and from a distance, we will all remain healthy!
God protect us all!