Dear Parishioners and Friends,

It has been several weeks since our phased reopening and we want to give an update and provide additional information.

Overall, reopening has gone well as we all adapt to the new safety protocols. The number of people attending Mass has been low, but slowly moving upward. We are still below our capacity for proper social distancing and as much as we look forward to having full pews again, we are happy to have a lower, safer number for now. If attendance continues to rise, we are ready for overflow in the lower church, where we just added two high definition screens back in January. We will also add a Mass signup/registration process if necessary.

We know indoor gatherings have a greater potential for spreading the virus, including at churches. All the studies seem to confirm the most effective approaches to contain the spread of this virus include: social distancing; wearing masks/face coverings; proper sanitization and maintaining proper airflow. How are we doing on these?

Social distancing and airflow: Within the church, pews are roped off and the natural banister dividers in the pews provides the measure for each household to stay apart side-to-side. This seems to be working well. We encourage everyone to be mindful of keeping that 6-feet distance as they enter and exit, and as they go to Communion (more on Communion below). Also, we are keeping the doors open and when there is a breeze, it feels nice and keeps good air flow. However, the challenges are that it is noisy when trucks or motorcycles drive by, and these hot summer days are making for a warmer worship experience.

Masks and face coverings: Admittedly, this can be the least enjoyable part of Mass during a pandemic. We would love to say they are not required, but again, everyone wearing masks is the most effective ways in which we avoid the spread of the virus. Even though we might think “I don’t have the virus,” asymptomatic spread is higher than originally thought and the accumulated benefit of wearing a mask puts everyone at ease. Thank you for your cooperation in wearing a mask.
Sanitization: We are grateful for our maintenance staff who sanitizes the entire church after each Mass. There are also hand sanitizer dispensers at each entrance and our Eucharistic Ministers are using it properly before and during distribution (if necessary).

Communion: We are getting used to Communion after Mass and it seems to be going well. Especially for the weekend Masses, it is easiest if everyone sits down after the final blessing and waits until their pew is dismissed. It doesn’t take long but helps us control the flow. Remember to keep the mask on until after you say, “Amen” and then make a good step to the side and consume before exiting.

Confessions: Confessions have been moved to the lower church and are offered on Wednesdays through Saturday. There is signage to direct individuals. Please note that we are moving the daily confession time back to the regular 11:30-11:50am timeslot. On Saturdays confessions are at 4:00pm.

Bulletins: It is recommended that paper bulletins not be offered at Mass. However, they have returned and are available on the parish website. If you know of someone who does not have access to the internet, please contact the parish office so that one can be mailed.

Online Sunday Mass: Sunday Masses continue online, as does the dispensation to attend Mass as long as we are in the pandemic. We appreciate the communion experienced by those watching the virtual Mass. The Act of Spiritual Communion is available on the website. We can also mail a copy to those who are interested.

Other news: We quickly learned that parish life continues even in a pandemic. We have welcomed adults into the Church, baptisms have restarted, and weddings and funerals are happening. All of these are smaller than usual, and each has additional safety protocols. Since our lower church is set up for overflow seating and because of the risks to volunteers and guests, funeral lunches and all other social gathering remain suspended.

Most of us can agree that we are sick of this pandemic. It is taking its toll in so many ways. We also know that the virus is still spreading, which means we have to remain vigilant. We are trying to adapt along the way, while still providing a positive worship and parish experience.

We are grateful for the cooperation, patience and kindness of everyone. As the saying goes, this too shall pass. Until then, may we seek every blessing and find strength in our resolve, so we remain a strong and vibrant parish community for years to come.

May God bless you and keep you safe.

-Fr. Paul Treacy