Pastor's Letter for the May 17, 2020 bulletin
We’ve been looking forward to the more positive developments within our worldwide situation for a while now. Praise God that we can now review ways to participate in public Masses and liturgies that both keep the guidelines set out for us by state and diocesan level directives and observe the spirit of these “laws” by sincerely caring about each other’s welfare.
Again, we are at the point where we can offer public daily Masses, beginning this upcoming Monday, May 18th. In terms of scheduling, here are the public daily Masses available here in Christ Our Light Parish this week: at St. Benedict Church each day at 8:35 a.m. Monday, May 18th through Saturday, May 23rd and at Sts. Peter & Paul Oratory in Lore City on Tuesday, May 19th at 6:30 p.m., on Thursday, May 21st at 6:30 p.m., and on Saturday, May 23rd at 9:00 a.m.
We can have a maximum of 50% of our standard church capacity participate in these Masses. That means we could have a maximum of ~150 people at St. Benedict and ~75 people at Sts. Peter & Paul, if we maintain the standard 6 ft. distance between household groups. We will be able to gauge our capacities better from our experience of the daily Masses this week. We will plan to tape off or rope off every other row of pews to help maintain the distance.
Here are some hygienic practices for us all to observe at these Masses.
First, at St. Benedict Church, we will try to prop open all five of the doors, so that you would not need to touch door handles. Only the main section of the church will be accessible; the stairs to the social hall and the Marian Room will be locked. Please bring and wear a facial covering while you are in the church. We will try to have some re-washable masks available in a bag on the front pew by the ramp door. There will be another bag there for returning the used mask when leaving. We will also plan to have hand sanitizer containers or wipes available to purify your hands as you enter the churches if you haven’t done so with a personal hand sanitizer in your vehicles before entering.
Similar arrangements will be available at Sts. Peter & Paul in Lore City, but we will maintain two doors open: the main front doors and the door toward the restroom.
We will plan to disinfect the church pews again after each daily Masses.
When approaching for receiving Communion, please maintain the essential 6 ft. distance with one line, alternating sides of the church. You may receive either by hand (extending your hands forward a bit more than usual) or on the tongue (tilting your head back slightly and extending your tongue). We will not have Communion with the chalice at this point, but we will continue to have the low gluten hosts available for those with that need.
At this point, we will not have our daily post-Mass Rosary at St. Benedict Church. Hopefully relatively soon that will be restarted, but for now our time of gathering in the church is to be kept to a minimum timeframe.
Please note that we are planning to have an outdoor Mass at Mt. Calvary Cemetery along U.S. 40 on Memorial Day morning, Monday, May 25th at 9:00 a.m. – weather permitting! Please bring a lawn chair – and, yes, a facial covering! We will plan to spread out a bit more than usual for that Mass, to maintain the 6 ft. distance, and to have our portable parish sound system with wireless microphone and speaker.
Please also note that our first weekend/Sunday Masses will be the last weekend of May, the 30th/31st, Pentecost Sunday weekend.
We will plan to continue live-streaming our daily St. Benedict Church Masses – and maybe soon the Masses at Sts. Peter & Paul – at our Facebook page, including the outdoor Mass at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.
May the Lord keep us protected and healthy and, as always, well prepared for the gift of eternal life!