Revised Archdiocesan Covid 19 Pandemic Time Guidelines effective immediately

My Friends,

    It is good news that the Center for Disease Control has issued new guidance for the waning days of this Covid 19 pandemic time.  Hopefully we are on the road to the "new normal" we have so long awaited.

    Throughout these pandemic times, Archbishop Rozanski has issued guidelines for parishes of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  He has revised them when the circumstances necessitated that  His guidelines have been informed by the various city and county norms pertaining to Covid 19 safety.  We have followed closely these Archdiocesan guidelines.

    On Friday evening, 14 May, after the revised St. Louis City and County were made public, the Archbishop communicated the new and revised guidelines to be followed in the ten counties of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  He indicates first that, for now, his general dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass during these pandemic times remains in force.  The Archbishop notes that he will reevaluate this in coming days to determine when the dispensation should be rescinded.

    For the most part, then, so long as policies conform to the CDC and local guidelines, Archbishop Rozanski delegates to each pastor the specific details for his parish.  Accordingly I am happy to offer the following guidance for the St. John, Apostle & Evangelist parish family beginning this Sunday, 16 May 2021, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord:

        1.    For those fully vaccinated, face masks are optional from the time of entry to the church until the time of departure.

               For the time being, entrance to the church will continue to be at the main entrance only.

        2.    For those fully vaccinated, safe distancing requirements are no longer in force.

        3.    On entering and leaving the church, Holy Water will be available for those who wish to bless themselves.

        4.    In coming weeks many of the pew ribbons safe distancing those in the congregation will gradually be removed.

               Some will remain in place for the comfort of those who wish to continue observing this protocol.

        5.    In the coming week the WORSHIP Hymnals will be returned to the either ends of the pews.

        6.    The Offertory Procession will be restored.

        7.    The Collection of Stewardship Offerings by the passing of the collection baskets will be restored.

        8.    The invitation to exchange the Sign of Peace will be extended.  You are welcome to decide in what manner you are comfortable doing so.

               A bow or nod of the head is as acceptable as shaking hands.

        9.    The Communion Procession two by two will be restored, approaching by the main aisle, and returning by the side aisles.

               Those who are not fully vaccinated, following the CDC guidelines, continue to wear a mask except at the moment of receiving Holy Communion.

        10.   At the conclusion of Mass exit can be either at the main entrance or by the side doors to the north church plaza.

    I am grateful for your patience and cooperation these many long pandemic months.  I am grateful especially for your faithful participation in the celebration of Holy Mass either in person or by live stream.  Hopefully in coming weeks it will be possible for more and more of us to be all together again and more and more becoming "one body, one spirit, in Christ."  God continue to keep a careful eye on us all.  Let us pray to the Lord!

Grace & peace,

Monsignor Delaney