INSTRUCTIONS FOR PUBLIC MASS
Beginning Tuesday, May 5th, 2020, public Masses will once again be celebrated at St. Patrick Catholic Church.
However, several things will be markedly different than before COVID-19. Many of these differences will be noted below, they relate especially to social distancing and maintaining distances while moving into and out of church, pew space, and at communion time. We do not intend to or foresee the need to change the Mass schedule at this time. We do depend upon your patience, generosity, and flexibility. Together we can do this and the Good Lord will provide for us.
Bishop McKnight has dispensed everyone from the obligation to attend/participate at Mass until the end of June and has encouraged those over 60, those with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions to stay at home and be safe. The faithful can take Bishop McKnight up on this offer (dispensation) without guilt or remorse. We all need to wash hands and practice social distancing in addition. The stay at home ordinances are set to end on Tuesday, May 5th at 8:00 a.m. So starting May 5th we will begin having public Masses again; however, significant social distancing and sanitizing requirements will be in place for everyone’s peace, health, and safety. Our parish will continue to make every effort to live-streamed the Masses. Tuesday, May 5th, Mases will be at 8:15 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The Tuesday Masses starting next week will go back to the usual time of 6:00 p.m. Our parish will make every effort to keep you updated about any additional social distancing or occupancy limits requirements and restrictions. This is a work in progress.
To protect the safety and health of the faithful and those attending Mass and to abide by guidelines issued by our state and local government and the Diocese of Jefferson City, the following will remain in effect until further notice, and will need to be respectfully, but firmly, enforced.
DISPENSATION FROM SUNDAY OBLIGATION – (bears repeating) All the faithful are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass through June 30, 2020. Those who at risk because of a health condition or who are over 60, are strongly encouraged, for their own health and peace, to not attend public Mass for the time being.
HEALTH – Those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to another with the virus within fourteen days are not permitted to enter the church. Thus, if you have had a fever of 100.4°, cough, etc in the last week, (whether COVID-19 related or not) you are asked not to attend Mass. All attendees are asked to check their temperature at home before coming to church
MASK – Everyone must wear a mask when entering and exiting church and throughout the celebration of Mass, with the exception of the brief time of when you are receiving Holy Communion. You must bring a personal mask with you. A homemade mask, a bandana, or a scarf wrapped and tied to serve as a mask will serve the purpose very well. The parish is not able to provide masks for all. We may soon have a very limited supply, but just that very limited. Paper masked are in very short supply, and our parish is simply unable to supply them.
DISTANCE – Everyone must maintain a distance of six feet from family groups and/or individuals. This includes while entering, exiting, and during communion especially. Please follow the directions of ushers and any tapped or labeled signs or markings on the floor, pews, and aisles.
HYMNALS — All hymnals have been removed from the pews, as directed by Bishop McKnight’s decree for the duration of the pandemic. If this is helpful for you, bring your own printed materials, smartphone, or another device to access prayers, readings, songs, etc. These are available through various websites and apps.
MISSALETTES — During the first two weeks of May, you are encouraged to pick up a missalette and take it home with you. If you pick it up, please take it with you—it’s now yours. We are asked not to redistribute or pass printed material onto others. Missalettes will not be available in church until at least July.
HOLY WATER FONTS at the entrances of the church will continue to remain empty. You may fill a holy water bottle for your personal or family use at home from the stainless steel large font in church.
COLLECTION BASKETS—two stationary collection baskets will be placed at the entrances for your contributions to support the parish and will be monitored by ushers
CAPACITY – In order to maintain safe spacing for all, attendance at each Mass will be limited. These limits will be based on the social distancing requirements described above. An updated occupancy limit may be established later on, but for now too many variables need to be worked out before we can establish such a limit. On weekend, please arrive early and wait at the front door of church so that our ushers can direct you to your pew/seats. Please follow their directions so that as many as possible can be safely seated.
DOORS – When Mass begins at the stated time, no one else will be admitted so that we can maintain the safe capacity and distancing for all. In other words, don’t arrive late for Mass and expect to find a seat.
HOLY COMMUNION – Please follow the directions of the ushers and any signs or floor markings to form single-file Communion lines. Ushers may assist in maintaining the six-foot distance between individuals in the line. During this time, Communion will only be distributed in the hand in keeping with the advice of health officials.
Reception of the Body of Christ will be administered only in the hand. When approaching the minister of communion, the following is prescribed:
The communion minister will say, “the Body of Christ.”
The communicant says, “Amen”—WITH MASK ON
The communion minister will place Holy Communion on the communicants hand—one hand resting on the palm of the other hand.
The communicant steps to one side—then pulls down their mask below their chin/mouth, receives communion and then replaces the mask to regular position and returns to their pew.
Reception of the Precious Blood has been suspended
Communion ministers are to wear masks during the distribution of Communion and sanitize their hands before and after the distribution of Holy Communion
Ushers will dismiss everyone pew by pew in order to alleviate crowding.
Ushers will direct processions at Communion. Communion lines will be single-file — think MODOT zipper merge — two sides merging into one single-file line, all spaced at least 6 feet apart between individuals. There will be floor marking to designate where to stand.
TITHING – Thank you for your continuing generosity in this challenging time. Please continue to make use of automatic bank drafts, credit card offerings, mailed contributions, or placing envelopes in the slot on the rectory porch. The basket will not be passed during Mass.
LIVE STREAMING--Masses will continue to be live streamed, as possible
ENTERING & EXITING CHURCH—entry and exit doors will be propped opened before and after Masses. Ushers, staff, and volunteers will assist in directing people to pews. To allow for social distancing, certain pews will be cordoned off so that at least a six foot separation exists in front, behind, and to each side of families and individuals attending. Please abide by these restrictions.
Ushers (masked and gloved) will be present at the entrances to assist
No holding of hands remains during the Lord’s Prayer and a bow is encouraged at the Sign of Peace.
Pews and high traffic areas will be wiped down and sanitized and trash and other items will be removed from pews
With the return of public Masses and celebrations in the parish, we all need to do what we can to be considerate of the needs of others. Many of us may want to go “full speed ahead” or to “get back to usual” again. However, expecting to go back to the way things used to be may be unrealistic. We may be in a pattern of a “new normal.” We must be careful and concerned about the needs of others and the weak. It’s quite possible that there may be a second wave or subsequent waves of the virus. Social distancing and being careful and washing our hands a lot are ways of showing love for our neighbor, respect for others, and community pride. So let’s be careful and cautious and take it slow and steady. Pope Francis recently share these words of encouragement to the world: “In these days in which we are starting to have regulations coming out of quarantine, let us pray to the Lord that He gives His people, all of us, the grace of prudence and obedience to the regulations so that the pandemic does not return.”
These past days and weeks have taken a toll on many community members—a toll spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. May these coming days instill in us all a sense of hope and peace. Let us not be reckless, but rather, thankful that by God’s grace we have been spared, have survived this time of trial, and been given a new outlook of thankfulness and a renewed joy and hope.
Thank you for your patience, flexibility, good cheer, and faith. May God bless you and your families, friends, and neighbors.