Dispensation from Sunday Obligation
At this point, Bishop Boyea has dispensed the faithful from their Sunday obligation to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass until the end of the liturgical year, November 28, 2020.
Children at Mass
Bishop Boyea's recommended guidelines discourages families from bringing young children (those who are not able to receive the Blessed Sacrament), but I am not inclined to ask that of families. I think it is important for families to be mindful of their children and to ensure that they are not "roaming free in the vestibule" where they could potentially expose or be exposed, while at Mass. This may be hard for families, but I trust your judgment about how well your child(ren) will manage with these expectations. NB: no one under two is advised to wear a mask, so parents will need to ensure that they are "social distancing."
Special Mass for those "at-risk"
Saturday 5:00 p.m. Mass will be reserved for those 60ish and over and/or for who have underlying health issues. (Please note that those 60ish and over are not required to attend this reserved Mass.) Others can attend this Mass, but they are asked to sit in Mercy Hall.
Details/Plans for Masses
Arrival: Please plan to come a bit early to Mass so that we don't have a flurry of people arriving at the same time. We will have the two handicap doors open for your use so that you won't need to pull doors open. We will put doorstops at the other doors to keep them open, for the same reason.
Hand Sanitizer and Masks: Please use hand sanitizer on your way in and out (wash-in/wash-out), and please wear masks out of respect and care for others. (NB: Children under two should not wear masks.)
Seating: We will block off some pews to ensure safe "distancing" between pews. Families can obviously sit close to one another, but individuals and families should be separated by at least six feet. (See more instructions below about where you should sit each week, based on your last name.) We have demarcated pews in the church by orange and green sticky notes. Each day, you will find instructions as to which pews to sit in for that Mass.
Offertory: Thank you to all those who are giving "online" or are mailing in your checks. For those who prefer to bring envelopes, we will have a "drop-box" available near the northeast door and vestibule for you to drop your envelope. Please do that prior to Mass, if possible.
Communion: I will distribute communion to everyone who attends Mass in the church. I will move through the empty pews as I distribute communion, as if the kneelers were a communion rail. This will allow us to avoid having to worry about social distancing in communion lines. We will have an altar and tabernacle set up in Mercy Hall, from which the EMHC will distribute communion to those in the hall. If the EMHC who distributes communion in the hall informs me that there are people there who wish to receive from me, I will go over after the conclusion of Mass to distribute communion to them. (I ask those who wish to receive from me to please remain in Mercy Hall.)
Dating/Engaged Individuals: If you are in a committed relationship with someone, e.g., are seriously dating or are engaged, feel free to attend Mass together, but please use the same last name each week to determine where you will sit, so you don't get an unfair advantage for your preferred seating.
Special Note for Typical 9:00 a.m. Mass Attendees: The 9:00 a.m. Mass is the most-heavily attended, and we won't be able to accommodate all of you even in the two locations. So, if you normally attend the 9:00 a.m. Mass, please consider attending one of the other Masses to help us avoid needing to turn people away. If we cooperate in this, we can avoid requiring people to "sign-up" for Masses.
Departure: When Mass is over, whether you are in the church or the hall, please allow the people closest to the exits to depart first. Please use all exits on your way out, to avoid congestion as much as possible.