After patient waiting and careful planning, we are ready to begin public Masses in our parish once again. The official start date will be Monday June 8, while weekend Masses will resume June 13-14, 2020. While we rejoice that we can celebrate the Eucharist together, we also need to be cautious and vigilant. There are many restrictions with which we must comply.
We are not resuming Masses because Covid-19 went away. It is still very much present in our world. But we have learned how to minimize the chances of catching the virus. The two key factors are social distancing and hygiene. As we welcome parishioners to our Masses, I am very conscious of the need to continue to scrupulously follow the procedures with which have become accustomed.
Due to the fact that state directives limit the capacity of our church to only 100 people, we will also offer Mass on the school field (covered court) on weekends. I recommend that those who are “more agile” or perhaps enjoy experiencing Mass outside head directly to the field. We can leave the space in the church for those who may have difficulty on the field. You can bring your lawn chairs and blankets, but chairs will also be set up. Of course, social distancing of at least 6’ will be observed and masks or face coverings must be worn.
We have also expanded our weekday Mass schedule to give people the option of attending Mass on a weekday instead of Sunday.
Most of today’s and subsequent newsletters will carefully explain how we will observe the necessary precautions as we prayerfully celebrate the Eucharist. Some of these policies may not be pleasing to everyone. Frankly, there are some of them that I don’t like. But we all need to recognize the necessity of being extra careful to not only safeguard our own health but also the health of our fellow parishioners.
Our goal as a parish at this point is to provide a place to celebrate the Eucharist that is safe for parishioners and clergy alike. Please read this newsletter carefully. I will repeat some of these things over and over again in the coming weeks.
Let us thank the Lord for the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist together once again.
At this time, our church building is limited to 100 persons at each Mass. Therefore, at the regular Mass times on weekends, we will also offer Mass on the field adjacent to the school (with the covered court). Chairs will be available on the black top, but feel free to bring your lawn chair or blanket to sit on the grass.
4:30 pm (English) in the church and on the field
7:00 pm (Spanish) in the church and on the field
7:00 am (a half hour earlier to give time for cleaning) – in the church and on the field
9:00 am (English) in the church and on the field
11:00 am (English) in the church and on the field
1:00 pm (Spanish) in the church and on the field
5:00 pm (English) in the church and on the field
Expanded Weekday Mass Schedule
Since our capacity for the congregation in the church is limited to 100 persons and since the Bishop has dispensed everyone from their obligation to attend Mass on Sunday, we have added Masses on weekdays. For those who are reluctant to come to a crowded Mass on Sunday, you might consider participating in Mass on another day of the week.
The following is our expanded weekday Mass schedule:
Monday - 7:00 am & 8:00 am (English); 7:00 pm (Spanish)
Tuesday - 7:00 am & 8:00 am (English); 7:00 pm (English)
Wednesday - 7:00 am & 8:00 am (English); 7:00 pm (Spanish)
Thursday - 7:00 am & 8:00 am (English); 7:00 pm (English)
Friday - 7:00 am & 8:00 am (English); 7:00 pm (English)
Saturday - 8:00 am (English)
Cleaning and Sanitizing the Church
We can assure you that our church and other worship areas will be cleaned on a regular basis. At least once every 24 hours, the church will be thoroughly sanitized. In between the weekend Masses, there will be wiping of the surfaces that people have been touching.
The CDC advisory on the transmission of the virus through various surfaces is constantly evolving. You can be sure that our staff will follow whatever is recommended by the government guidelines.
Entering and Exiting the Church
For those who choose to come to church or other locations where Mass will be celebrated, you must put on your mask or face covering before you reach the patio or enter the space. If you forget your mask, one will be provided. No one will be allowed to enter the church or worship space without a mask. It must remain on your face, covering your mouth and nose, for the entire Mass.
You are asked not to gather in groups inside or outside the church. There will be hand sanitizing stations near the entrances, although things will move along more quickly if you bring your own hand sanitizer.
While waiting to enter the church or worship area, keep a space of 6 feet between you and others who are not in your family group. Half of the pews (every other row) will be marked to remain empty. Within each pew that is being used, you must observe the proper social distancing. Our ministers of hospitality will assist you in finding a seat. Please be patient.
When the Mass is ended and the priest or deacon dismisses the congregation, you will be asked to be seated. People will be instructed to exit row by row beginning with the back rows. Please do not leave until your row is instructed to do so. Once again, your cooperation will make this go smoothly and with great care for one another.
Please don’t linger or gather in groups on the patio or in the parking lot. We will not have coffee and donuts or any refreshments after Masses.
I would add that if you are not comfortable with these procedures, it may not be time for you to return to a Mass that has a large congregation. You might do better at a weekday Mass or watching our Mass online.
Procedure for Receiving Holy Communion
One of the things that will be different if you come to Mass will be the procedure for receiving Holy Communion. We have to distribute Communion in a way that is reverent and at the same time obviates the transmission of the virus and is safe for all involved.
First of all, Holy Communion will only be distributed in the hand (i.e., no Communion on the tongue).
Secondly, Holy Communion will be distributed only as the consecrated host. Communion from the cup is suspended indefinitely.
Thirdly, Holy Communion will be brought to you in your pew or seat. Row by row, those who wish to receive Communion will stand. The Minister of Communion (wearing a mask) will use the empty pew/space in front of the communicants to pass from person to person in that row. The Minister will place the host in the hand of each person (avoiding touching the hand of the communicant). After everyone in that pew/row receives, they lift their masks, consume the host, put their mask back in place and are seated. This system is repeated row by row until all have received Holy Communion.
We ask that everyone remain in your place. Do not leave the church or worship area until the dismissal at the end of Mass. Once again, your cooperation with this is essential.
This new term has crept into our vocabulary and become so familiar to us. Social distancing is the key ingredient for us as a parish to provide a safe environment in which to celebrate the Eucharist. Simply put, it means keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from other non-related persons. It also means maintaining a “touchless” protection for one another.
Our church is very large, but in order to comply with the state directives we can only accommodate 100 people per Mass. More people can be welcomed to Mass on the field of the school, of course, always observing social distancing.
In order to comply with social distancing, every other pew in the church will be kept vacant. Within the pews that are being used, there is a need to maintain the standard 6 feet distance between individuals or groups.
There will also be markings on the field indicating how social distancing will be observed.
Our ministers of hospitality will assist you to find a seat. Please give them your utmost cooperation. Adjusting to change can be stressful for all of us, but at least we can be kind to one another.
Social distancing also needs to be observed on the patio and the parking lot. Please do not linger or gather in groups. If you are waiting to enter the church or field, please keep the appropriate distance from your neighbors who are also waiting. After leaving Mass, please go directly to your cars or start your walk home.
Catholic Trivia”... not because they are trivial but because these might be things that not everyone knows. Test your knowledge by reading the five questions, remember your answers (or jot them down), then click the link below to find the answers.
What feast day on the Catholic liturgical calendar commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus?
What are some other names for the Holy Spirit?
Which book of the Bible describes the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples?
In that biblical description of the coming of the Holy Spirit, what were the two signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room?
According to our creeds, from whom does the Holy Spirit proceed?
The Holy Spirit descends upon the apostles gathered in Jerusalem.
God’s Spirit renews the earth.
1 Corinthians 12:3b-7,12-13
We are all one in Christ Jesus.
Jesus appears to his disciples and gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Background on the Gospel Reading
The Season of Easter concludes with today’s celebration, the Feast of Pentecost. On Pentecost we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem; this event marks the beginning of the Church. The story of Pentecost is found in the Acts of the Apostles, today’s first reading. The account in today’s Gospel, John 20:19-23, also recounts how Jesus gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples. Yet the event in John’s Gospel takes place on Easter Sunday. There is no need to try to reconcile these two accounts. It is enough that we know that after his death, Jesus fulfilled his promise to send to his disciples a helper, an advocate, who would enable them to be his witnesses throughout the world.
We already heard today’s Gospel proclaimed on the Second Sunday of Easter this year (Lectionary Cycle A). That Gospel passage, however, also included the description of Jesus’ appearance to Thomas. In that context, we were led to reflect on belief and unbelief.
In the context of the Feast of Pentecost, John 20:19-23 reminds us about the integral connection between the gifts of peace and forgiveness and the action of the Holy Spirit. Jesus greets his disciples with the gift of peace. Jesus then commissions his disciples to continue the work that he has begun, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He breathes the Holy Spirit upon the disciples and sends them to continue his work of reconciliation through the forgiveness of sins. Jesus’ act of breathing the Holy Spirit mirrors God’s act of breathing life into Adam at the time of Creation. In fact, both the Greek and Hebrew words for “spirit” can also be translated as “breath.”
This Gospel reminds us that the Church is called to be a reconciling presence in the world. The reconciling presence of Christ is celebrated in the Church’s sacramental life. In the Sacrament of Baptism, we are cleansed of sin and become a new creation in Christ. In the Sacrament of Penance, the Church celebrates the mercy of God through the forgiving of sins. This reconciling presence is also to be a way of life for Christians. In situations of conflict, we are to be agents of peace and harmony among people.
come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.
Creo, Jesús mío,
que estás real
en el Santísimo Sacramento del Altar.
Te amo sobre todas las cosas
y deseo vivamente recibirte
dentro de mi alma,
pero no pudiendo hacerlo
ven al menos
espiritualmente a mi corazón.
Y como si ya te hubiese recibido,
te abrazo y me uno del todo a Ti.
Señor, no permitas que jamás me aparte de Ti. Amen
A Message from Fr. Carlos
Una nueva humanidad inaugurada por Cristo Señor
El conjunto de lecturas del domingo pasado nos invita a ir más allá del evento de Ascensión descrito en términos de espacio-temporales: la "elevación" al cielo del Señor resucitado, los "cuarenta días" después de Pascua, son sólo una forma de indicar la conclusión de una fase de la historia de la salvación y el comienzo de otra. El Jesús con quien los discípulos "comieron y bebieron" continúa su permanencia invisible en la Iglesia. Ella está llamada a continuar la misión y la predicación de Cristo y recibe la tarea de anunciar el Reino y dar testimonio del Señor. Por esta razón, después de la Ascensión del Resucitado, los ángeles invitan a los apóstoles a no quedarse parados mirando al cielo: el acontecimiento que presenciaron no los involucra sólo a ellos; por el contrario, comienza un dinamismo universal, "salvífico" y "misionero" que será animado por el Espíritu Santo.
Por el poder de este Espíritu, el Cristo universal glorificado y constituido Señor, jefe del Cuerpo-Iglesia y del Cuerpo-humanidad, atrae a todos para acceder, con Él y para Él, a la vida con el Padre. De hecho, Él mismo anima a estos hombres en su búsqueda de libertad, dignidad, justicia y responsabilidad. De ahí su deseo de "ser más", su deseo de construir un mundo más justo y más unido. Así, la comunidad de creyentes, conscientes de haber recibido un poder divino, lleno de entusiasmo misionero y alegría pascual, se convierte en testigo en el mundo de la nueva realidad de la vida realizada en Cristo Señor.
Yes, Lord, I Believe
Thank you to Paul Friedman, former St. Pats parent, for putting this video together for Mrs. Kern’s first grade class. Click on this link to watch this adorable video and use the password: StPats1A. It will put a smile on your face for sure.
Adult Catechists Needed for Youth Ministry
Hello St. Pat’s Families,
I continue to pray that your families are doing well as we all deal with Covid-19. Last summer I spent some time on the church patio recruiting catechists, making myself available at several Masses, trying to meet people and see if they’d be interested in helping out with our youth ministry efforts here at St. Pat’s. Right now, it’s not possible to be meeting people in person and shaking hands.
As such, Ms. Jocelyn and I have created a video invitation for you to consider if you’d be interested in helping us out during the 2020/2021 school year. Please check out the video, it’s less than 5 minutes long. Make sure to stay for the pictures at the end as I believe that shows the beautiful community that we have in youth ministry here at the parish.
Two thoughts as you watch this: Youth ministry isn’t for everyone and that’s alright. If you show interest, we’ll have an interview session to see if your gifts are a match for our needs. My second thought is, over the years when I ask adults if they can be a catechist, often times their response is, I’m too busy. Believe me when I tell you, I get it. It’s not that adults don’t care. They truly do have a lot going on and we are a busy culture.
Something that I invite all of us to consider, not as a guilt trip, but as a reality: Our young people are super busy too! Some are so busy, they don’t have time to develop a relationship with Christ. We know from research that fewer and fewer young people are continuing on with their faith. It’s my sincere belief that one of the reasons for this is that well-meaning adults, who do care about their faith, haven’t stopped to share that faith with our young people. As such, many young people have no basis for which to say, “Yeah, my faith is important and I need to spend time with it.” My experience is, that when our young people have genuine experiences of faith, intimate experiences of prayer, and adult role models they more often than not become enthusiastic about participating in our Church. That is where you come in.
So, please watch the video. We invite you to consider our invitation and thank you for your time.
Director of Youth Ministry
I realize that some of you are experiencing budget problems of your own at this time and I am not asking to cut yourself short. But please keep in mind the needs of our parish during these uncertain times.
Those of you who use weekly offertory envelopes, please enclose your giving into the special mailing envelope that comes in your packet
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The church is open for private prayer every day from 7:00am - 11:00am, however the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe is closed, masks please
Our parish offices are open once again, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.
During this time of inactivity, we will use our parish email system to communicate with parishioners to offer spiritual reflections and make announcements.
In case of an emergency, you can always reach us by phone. We will be checking regularly for messages and respond as soon as possible. If need be, the answering service can get in touch with one of our priests quickly.
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