My Holy Rosary Family,
Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!
Recently we received guidance from Bishop Talley that we may once again publicly celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass beginning May 16th with our 4:30pm Mass. This is a joy for us as it means we may once again gather together around the altar of the Lord to give him thanks and praise, moreover and most importantly, we once again receive together the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion. As we revel in our joy, we also want to state that the safety of our parishioners and visitors will continue to be a top priority for Holy Rosary. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we all need to be mindful of one another and to be prepared to follow the recommended guidelines (spacing, masks, liturgical practices, and number of parishioners allowed at a given time). The cooperation of parishioners and visitors will be encouraged and expected.
Before going through the process of entering, exiting, and celebrating Mass, I would like to address a few additional points:
- The bishop is continuing to dispense the faithful from the obligation of attending Holy Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation through June 30th. He reminds us that “those who are sick, have a fever or cough should not attend Mass. Also, those who are over 65, those with respiratory illness or heart disease, compromised immune systems and other especially vulnerable persons and their caregivers to avoid returning to Mass at this time.”
- All Masses will be celebrated at the normal times.
- For the duration of the pandemic and to encourage those who need to stay home we will continue to livestream our 4:30pm and 10:30am Masses on our YouTube channel found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ2NJGAljITJydcbqIeZg0g
- Rather than hymnals and missalettes, paper worship aids will be used. We ask that you please take the worship aid with you and not leave it at the church.
- The Sacrament of Penance will continue to be “drive through” on Saturdays from 2:00pm-4:00pm. Due to time constraints and the ability to adequately clean after each penitent we will not be able to use the confessionals immediately before each Mass for the time being.
- Eucharistic Adoration will continue on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 1:00pm-5:00pm.
As we begin offering the Mass publicly again, we will be opening the church at 50% capacity. In order to accomplish this, we will be spreading people out by restricting certain pews. We ask that those families who live under one roof sit together, and maintain a six-foot separation between households. Because of spatial constraints, we kindly ask that if you are attending Mass individually, or if you live in a smaller household, please fill up the shorter side pews first before sitting in the longer pews that can accommodate larger family groups. If we begin to approach 50% capacity, parishioners will be directed to the Parish Life Center where either Fr. Michael or I will celebrate a simultaneous Mass at the normal time. The nursery and the Children’s Liturgy of the Word will be discontinued for the time being.
As you enter the Church, please note that the bishop has asked all of us to wear masks during the celebration of the Mass. We ask that you please bring your own mask to wear. After entering, hand sanitizer will continue to be available at all the doors of the church. We ask that you sanitize your hands. (Please only use the recommended dime-sized amount.)
During Mass holding hands during the Our Father is discouraged. Also we will not be using the option to offer the sign of peace to one another. The priest will say, “The peace of the Lord be with you always“. The people will respond, “And with your spirit” and then we’ll move directly to the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).
During the distribution of Holy Communion, we will commune in a way similar to that before the cessation of public Masses. This means that there will not be distribution of the precious blood from the chalice. Also, Bishop Talley is asking, with gentleness and sensitivity, that those receiving Holy Communion to please do so, for the time being, in the hand. While this is not mandated, he is asking this of the faithful out of an abundance of caution and concern for one another. Those who receive in the hand are strongly encouraged to have their hands flat to reduce the possibility of hand to hand contact. If anyone is wearing gloves the need to be removed prior to receiving Holy Communion. Those who receive on the tongue are asked to come to the priest for communion. As always, those who come forward to receive the Eucharist should be in a state of grace having gone to sacramental confession before approaching the altar of the Lord.
Following the Dismissal Rite, the doors will be opened for you, so that all may depart safely and orderly. Please keep in mind that we have to clean the parish church after each Mass. All conversations and greetings to others should happen outside so that all can depart safely and we can begin preparing for the next Mass. For those who would like to pray for a few minutes after Mass please do so. If you leave immediately following Mass, we ask that you please be mindful of spacing in the aisle as you exit. Please leave row by row, if someone is praying in the row ahead of you, do not wait for them to exit.
As we go forward, obviously our ushers will need to play a larger role in helping us clean the church between Masses and in seating individuals and ensuring proper distancing between individuals and families. If you are willing to help us in this role please contact us at the church office.
My brothers and sisters, I am both grateful and excited to be able to come together once again as a parish family. Let us lift one another in prayer and look out for one another as we adjust to these new procedures. May our patroness, Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary continue to ask her Divine Son to bless us as we prepare to gather again in worship.
Yours in the Risen Christ,
Fr. Patrick Gallagher