Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you have heard, earlier this week Bishop Caggiano announced a phased plan for resuming public celebrations of the Mass. The first phase is optional for each parish, and allows for Mass to be celebrated outdoors. A later phase, the feasibility of which depends on what the coronavirus decides to do next, will see Mass moved into the church with a congregation limited to 50 attendees. Each parish will have to determine how to implement these phases. I would like to address a few points that we all need to keep in mind as we resume public Masses.
- The Sunday obligation to attend Mass remains suspended. Due to the limited number of people we are allowed to have congregate, it will not be possible for everyone to attend as they would in ordinary circumstances.
- We are currently working on our plan and preparing for outdoor Mass. At this time, I cannot give further details on how many Masses we will be able to offer, or the times of those Masses. Most likely, we will begin with one Mass outdoors so that we can verify our procedures and plans. Based on that experience, we will move forward, fine-tuning as we go. In advance, I thank you for your patience.
- We will continue to live-stream Mass for the foreseeable future. In fact, live-streaming Mass seems to be a necessary part of the service we try to provide as a parish. You can find our livestream on Facebook and on our parish YouTube channel.
- Everything we do going forward depends on the following
- Availability of necessary equipment
- Availability of volunteers.
- Continued good news on the coronavirus front
- State directives and policies
- Diocesan guidelines
- Attendance at Mass, when it becomes possible, will almost certainly require advance registration, meaning you will only be able to get in if you are “on the list.” Please understand that this is a safety measure and a necessary organizational step so that we can abide by the regulations set forth and observe all necessary safety protocols. In no way do we want to exclude anyone. We will work out a way for people to sign up and will do our best to keep it equitable. In the meantime, please be understanding and considerate of your fellow parishioners.
I am excited about the resumption of public Masses! At the same time, this undertaking is quite large and must be handled with utmost care. Your willingness to assist as volunteers, your patient understanding as we work through challenges, and most of all your prayerful support, will allow us to resume our communal worship in a way that both keeps our community safe and gives glory to almighty God.