Below you will find our plan for modified resumption of the celebration of Mass and the Eucharist. It is long and detailed. I ask that you carefully read the entire letter. This is only temporary and allows us to resume our liturgy on Monday, May 25th with a 12:05 pm Mass.
This plan is based on current guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health authorities. These guidelines also integrate the requirements of the Roman Catholic Church for the valid and licit celebration of Mass, in accord with Catholic teaching, and Canon Law. They are formulated with great care to preserve and respect the reverence due to the Holy Eucharist and the powerful liturgical and sacramental symbolism of the rites we celebrate.
The obligation to attend Mass for the faithful of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has been suspended until further notice. Because of social distancing restrictions as described below, I will celebrate an additional mass at St Peter Claver Saturday afternoons beginning at 4:00 pm and Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12:05 pm.
Anyone who is sick should stay home, as should anyone who fears to contract a disease by attending Mass.
Parishioners who are vulnerable should remain at home.
Those who are vulnerable include those who are over the age of sixty-five (65), have existing heart or lung conditions, have diabetes, or are otherwise immuno-compromised.
Such individuals should not volunteer or be asked to volunteer to fulfill liturgical ministries during this crisis.
Online Masses can be viewed on Monsignor Dean Borgmeyer’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dean.borgmeyer.9 or the Diocese of Wheeling Charleston’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/watch/DioceseofWheelingCharleston/
Our goal is minimizing and manage to the best of our ability the risk of people getting sick. Because we cannot, now or ever, eliminate the risk, we do not want to give you, our parishioners the false sense of security that the church is “safe”, i.e. free of risks.
PARTICULAR DIRECTIVES FOR MASS
- There are to be no social gatherings before or after Mass. This includes congregating in the vestibule of the church, on the steps of the church or in the church parking lot.
- During this time of modified operations, please do not bring visitors with you to church.
- If you are unable to get in for mass due to social distancing, please consider attending Mass on another day. Do not try to go to another parish, they have similar rules in place for their congregations.
- Vestibules and pews are to be cleared of all handouts, reading materials, hymnals, missalettes, and other permanent or semi-permanent worship aides.
- The Book of Intercessions will be removed during this time.
- All Holy Water fonts and the baptismal font are to remain empty until further notice.
- A thorough sanitizing of all pews and surfaces will be completed by teams of volunteers and the air within the building will be refreshed through ventilation/circulation.
- All ministers and all members of the assembly are to sanitize their hands with hand sanitizer upon entering the church. Hospitality Ministers will facilitate this.
- Strict social distancing is to be maintained. The faithful are always to maintain a 6-foot distance from each other . The first row (closest to the sanctuary) is to remain empty. Starting with the second pew, seating for the assembly begins. People are seated in every other pew – 6-feet apart from each other. (Closed pews will be blocked by tape). Seating is so arranged that no one is directly behind the person or in front of them. Ushers or hospitality ministers are to help facilitate this.
- Members of a single household do not need to practice physical distancing with each other and so may sit together in the same row.
- Seating will be limited for each Mass based on the size of our church. Our modified total pew capacity is 25. Hospitality Ministers/Ushers will seat people as they enter the church. Once seating capacity has been reached, a sign will be posted that reads – “Sorry, we have reached capacity and by health guidelines are not permitted to allow anyone else into the church.”
- Do not enter/use the parish hall, kitchen, or Nursery/Cry room.
- For the time being the ministries of Altar Servers, Reader and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion are suspended.
- The faithful are asked to wear masks throughout the Mass except, at the moment, they consume the host. The priest does not wear mask while in the sanctuary.
- Fr. Doug will distribute Holy Communion to the homebound on the First Friday (or Thursday of the month).
- Prayer of the Faithful/Universal Prayer should include petitions for those infected by the Coronavirus and those who cannot be present at Mass. They are read by the presider.
- There is no collection taken up. A basket will be placed in the main aisle at the entrance of the first pew on the right, and another basket next to the entrance of the first pew on the left. As people process to Holy Communion, they can deposit their envelopes or cash in the baskets.
- The presentation of gifts by members of the assembly is omitted.
- The presider sanitizes his hands before preparing the altar and gifts.
- The holding of hands during the Lord’s Prayer is strictly forbidden at this time.
- The invitation “Let us offer each other the sign of peace” and the exchange of peace that follows are omitted.
DISTRIBUTION OF COMMUNION:
- The distribution of the Precious Blood to the laity is suspended until further notice.
- Holy Communion may not be distributed with gloves, nor may it be received with gloves.
- As always, Catholics in the state of grace are welcome to receive the Sacrament although no one is obliged to receive it. Those not receiving sacramentally are urged to make a spiritual communion, inviting the Lord into their hearts.
- There will be only one station for distributing Holy Communion under the form of Bread to the congregation. It will be in the center aisle at the foot of the sanctuary.
- To assist safe social distancing, tape will mark where people stand or stop during the reception of Communion. Then going back there should be tape markers every six feet so that communicants can maintain appropriate distancing as they process to receive Communion. There will also be a tape marker about arm’s length from where the priest stands – that will be the marker to stop and receive Communion from the priest.
- Hospitality ministers (ushers) can assist with assuring proper practice.
- When approaching for Communion, form a single line in the middle of the center aisle and remain six feet apart from others, observing the markings on the floor. After the priest says, “The Body of Christ” and you say, “Amen,” and approach the priest, stopping an arm’s length from him. You may receive either in the hand or on the tongue.
- If you receive in the hand, extend your arms, and open your hand up fully, keep your mask on until you step away from the priest, then lower the mask to consume the Host.
- If you receive on the tongue, lower your mask, extend your tongue fully, receive the Host and then move to the side. The priest must sanitize his hands after each person who receives on the tongue; otherwise, the priest only needs to sanitize his hands if he inadvertently touches someone’s hand when Communion is received in that manner. Then return to your pew by the side aisle.
- Mass continues as usual. The Recessional is from the altar directly to the sacristy.
Ushers (hospitality ministers) should dismiss people starting with the back row first. Please wait for the Ushers to dismiss the row you are seated in to allow for proper social distancing.
As noted above the church and bathrooms if used must be thoroughly sanitized after each Mass by our team of trained volunteers.
MASS TIME AND SCHEDULE CHANGES
In order to comply with the Diocesan Guidelines and due to our limited seating capacity we will have a Saturday afternoon anticipatory Mass for Sunday at 4:00 pm. Sunday Mass we will be at 11:00 am. Weekday Mass at St. Peter Claver Monday, Wednesday, Thursday at 12:05
Confession will be 3 pm at St. Peter Claver in the Sacristy of the church. Please. Kneel or sit in front of the Confessional screen.
Thank you in advance for your understanding a cooperation during this time.
Peace be with you all
Rev. Fr. Douglas A. Ondeck