The Month of May 2020

 

My Friends,

                It is good news that, in light of the guidelines issued by the City and County of St. Louis, Archbishop Carlson has directed that the public celebration of Masses in the Archdiocese of St. Louis can resume.  Thanks be to God!   Your desire for participation in person at Mass again, and to receive Holy Communion again, has been inspiring.  Thank you to all who expressed that to me!

                Masses at the Pro Cathedral of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist will resume on Sunday,May 24th at  10:00 A.M.  For the weekends of May 24th and May 31st, then, there will be one weekend Mass at 10:00 A.M.   At the present time we will defer resuming the 4:30 P.M. Saturday Vigil Mass for Sunday.

                Our gathering for the celebration of Mass will be very different from what, until the pandemic, we have known.  The guidelines for public Masses are detailed and very specific.  The actual implementation of them Archbishop Carlson has left to individual pastors according to the particular circumstances of each parish.  In what follows please see the pertinent guidelines as we will implement them here.  I present them after consulting with a number of pastors so as to identify best and most realistic and compliant practices.  I realize that they might be challenging and even awkward.  I remind myself, and you, that they are made for the health and safety and the good of us all. 

                Given the requirements before and during and following Masses, we need additionalvolunteers to assist.  Specific details will be provided.  For now, I ask that you give consideration to this request for volunteers, and indicate your willingness and availability by email to the parish office, by 10:00 A.M. Wednesday morning of this coming week, May 20th.   The correct email address is: parish154@archstl.org

                The following is the Guidelines Plan as we will implement it here:

                1.             The Archbishop’s dispensation of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass in person is still in effect and will be indefinitely.  Anyone over 60 years of age, or with underlying health complications, is discouraged from attending public Masses, and encouraged participate in Mass via live-stream only.

                2.             If you have been exposed to someone with the virus, or simply are not feeling well, remain at home.  Please take your temperature before leaving home.  Sanitize your hands before leaving home and entering the church.

                3.             Each individual, except children two years of age or younger, must wear a face maskor covering in order to enter the church.  This is mandated by the City of St. Louis and the Archdiocese.  Once in the available pew, it is not necessary to retain the face mask or covering.  It should be worn going to and from Holy Communion, and again when exiting the church after Mass.  For communion, pull the mask down to receive the Body of Christ, then replace it. 

                4.             On arrival at the church, only the center doors of the main entrance from the plaza, will be open.  There will be no access or departure from the north side doors.  It is imperative that allfollow the direction of the parish volunteer to the available pew.  At this time there are no personalpews as we have known them.  Every other pew will be cordoned closed.  No more than six people can occupy the pews on either side of the main aisle.  Except for members of the same household, social distancing must be observed in pews.  The occupancy capacity requirements of the City and Archdiocese permit 75 people in our church for Mass.  Though we do not regularly see that number of people for Sunday Masses, if and as 75 people have entered the church, no further admissions are permitted.

 

Page Two

 
5.             The church will be opened and seating for Sunday Mass will begin one half hour before the start of Mass.  Entrance to the church, again, is through the center main doors from the plaza only.
                                For those with difficulty walking, there will be additional parking spaces reserved at the far west end of our parking lot.

                6.             Offertory collection during Mass is limited to the single stationary basket that will be placed near the head of the main aisle.  When approaching Holy Communion, please place your offering in the basket as you pass it.  It will be removed following Holy Communion.  Thank you for your generous support of our mission and our ministry.

                7.             There can be no offertory procession and no physical offering of the Sign of Peace.
 
                8.             For Holy Communion there will be a single line up the main aisle.  All return to their pews by the side aisles.  The line should form from the first pews, moving back then one pew at a time.  Practice social distancing.  Observe the floor markings.  The Body of Christ only will be distributed.   
                                Holy Communion will be distributed only in the hand.  By Archdiocesan directive, during this time, it cannot be distributed on the tongue. 

                9.             At the conclusion of Mass, exit of the congregation will be directed, from one pew at a time, from the rear of the church to the front.  Please be patient as we, the Body of Christ, leave.  The Celebrant is not permitted to linger at the church entrance and people should not gather to socialize there. 

                10.          The church restroom will not be available, except in an emergency circumstance

                11.          There can be no hymnals or missalettes in the pews.  Parish Bulletins will be available at the main entrance.  

                12.          For those not able to participate in the public celebration of Mass, as permitted by the Archbishop, you may come to the Church after Mass, and until 12:00 noon and receive HolyCommunion.  Enter church, spend a few moments in private prayer, and come to the Altar Rail.

                There is much here to digest.  I trust that, out of concern for one another, out of concern for the Body of Christ we are, we will observe, effectively, these guidelines.  Everything is, as you know, fluid in this pandemic time.  Modification or adjustment is possible as the situation evolves.  If I have erred in our particular implementation, it is out of an abundance of caution and an attempt to realistically comply with the City and Archdiocesan guidelines provided us. 

                I look forward to seeing you all when that will be possible!  Pray for me, please, as I do for you.

Faithfully,
Monsignor Delaney