This is a special issue of our e-newsletter. It is entirely devoted to the reopening of the church for Mass. This is a happy occasion for us and we want to do it right. But, as they say, the devil is in the details.
That is why I have tried to spell out as much as I can about our return to our church building. Undoubtedly, it will take time to make the adjustment. Most things will be “back to normal,” but a few things will take more time. I ask for your patience and understanding if everything is not just the way you would like it.
This newsletter began in the first days of the shutdown. At first, it was published twice a week. Its purpose was to keep us connected and informed. It certainly has achieved that goal. In addition, it has become a vehicle for continued growth in faith, a place for announcements about parish life, and an instrument for keeping people informed about our changes.
Based on that success, we plan to continue to publish the newsletter every Friday as we go forward. As Fr. Bill said to me, “It is too good to not continue.” There are two things I ask of you: first, please read it faithfully. Frequently people ask me a question that was already answered in the newsletter. Secondly, share the newsletter with a fellow parishioner who doesn’t receive it. Invite your friends to give me their email address. In the coming months, I hope to expand our mailing list so that we can reach more parishioners.
In the process of opening up, we cannot forget that this pandemic is not over. It still poses a major threat in many places in the world, even in some other states. Our greatest weapon in the battle against this disease is vaccination. If you have not been vaccinated and are eligible, I strongly urge you to get vaccinated – not only for your sake but also for the rest of us.
Although nearly all of our parish Masses will be celebrated in the church, the only exception is the 9:00 am Mass on Sundays. That Mass will continue to be celebrated on the covered court of the school until the end of July.
I realize that there are people in our parish who prefer to have Mass outside. Some simply enjoy the fresh air. Some feel safer in that environment. They feel more comfortable out there.
At the end of July, I will poll those who are attending and make a decision then if it will continue for a while longer.
The Obligation to Celebrate Mass Together
Bishop McElroy has decided that it is no longer necessary to have a general dispensation from the obligation to participate in the Mass each weekend. Like many other dioceses in the country, the Diocese of San Diego will end the dispensation on July 1. Read the bishop’s letter in which he explains his decision and the exceptions.
I remind you that last month we upgraded the air circulation in the church to provide better air quality. We added MERV13 air filters on the three smaller units and bipolar ionization was added to the two larger a/c units. They were also reprogrammed to run continuously to provide increased filtration of the air in the church. I hope this will help you feel safer in the church.
Distribution of Holy Communion
Those who wish to receive Holy Communion will come forward in a line, beginning with the first pew and continuing row by row at the direction of the Minister of Hospitality. After receiving Communion, people return to their seat by another aisle. This is referred to as the Communion Procession. That is why we are invited to sing as we process to receive Christ in the Eucharist.
Communicants have the option of receiving the Body of Christ in their hand or on their tongue. I need to stress that it is your choice. I also need to stress that there is nothing inherently more reverent about receiving on the tongue than receiving in your hand. Your tongue is not a holier place than your hand. Receiving on the tongue does not make you holier. Some authors and websites have tried to argue the superiority of receiving on the tongue rather than in the hand. It is simply not true.
For those who choose to receive Communion in their hand, I remind you that you should receive with an open hand, ideally with one hand placed on top of the other. As St. Cyril of Jerusalem said in the 4th century: “When you approach, take care not to do so with your hand stretched out and your fingers open or apart, but rather place your left hand as a throne beneath your right, as befits one who is about to receive the King.” The host should be immediately consumed before you walk back to your seat.
For those who choose to receive Communion on your tongue, please open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue. It is very difficult to give you Communion if your tongue is only slightly exposed between closed lips. In the interest of hygiene, wait for the minister to place the host on your tongue before you close your mouth or move away. I remember being told these things by Sister Fidelma when I was in elementary school. Sometimes it seems that we have forgotten them.
Ministers of the Eucharist should be fully vaccinated and will continue to wear masks while they are distributing Holy Communion. At this time, we will not resume giving the Precious Blood of Christ from the cup.
Thank you for faithfully following these directions.
The use of face masks is at the discretion of the individual. The CDC recommends that those persons over 2 years of age who have not been vaccinated, should wear a mask. We will not be asking for your vaccination card or enforcing any protocol regarding masks.
Those who wish to wear masks should do so without judgment or comment from any other person. All Ministers of the Eucharist will continue to wear masks during the distribution of Holy Communion.
One of the mandates that was recently lifted in California regards “social distancing” (that new term in our vocabulary since early last year). Since we do not need to leave space around us, we will no longer block off rows in the church. You can sit in any row that you wish. Please be sensitive to those who may feel the need for some space. I am sure that we will not need to be crowded in the pews for some time to come.
At the 9:00 am Mass outside on Sundays, you may continue to move the chairs wherever you wish.
Online Giving Reminder
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We have opened a YouTube channel where we have daily and Sunday Masses as well as Fr. Ron's new Bible Study posted for the parish called St Patrick Church Carlsbad that you can subscribe to.
In the wide-open spaces of our outdoor Masses, many people adopted a casual, informal atmosphere. That is not a bad thing. We want to welcome one another as we gather for the Eucharist.
As we move into the church building, we need to remind ourselves to keep an atmosphere of prayerfulness and respect once inside. We have a nice patio in front of the church which is the appropriate place for conversations. Once inside the church, a simple greeting to those around us is still appropriate, but not distracting conversations. We want an atmosphere of prayerfulness while we prepare ourselves to begin Mass.
Holy Water in the Baptismal
Bishop McElroy left it up to the pastors if they want to fill the holy water fonts again. I have chosen to refill our baptismal font but not the two smaller bowls at the side door. We bless ourselves with holy water from the font as we enter the church using the center doors. (Of course, you can exit by any door you wish.)
What is the meaning of this gesture? It reminds us that it was through the waters of Baptism that we first entered the Church, the community of disciples. As we enter the church building, we remind ourselves of the promises of our Baptism. That is why it is most appropriate to use holy water to bless ourselves as we enter the church to celebrate the Mass.
Presentation of the Gifts
It has been customary for members of the congregation to present the bread and wine for the Eucharist as well as the gifts of the people. This is another one of those customs that we will resume now.
Following the Prayer of the Faithful, 2-3 representatives of the congregation bring the gifts from the entrance of the church to the priest who is in front of the altar. It is the responsibility of the Ministers of Hospitality to arrange for this.
If you would like to present the gifts, arrive early and inform one of the Ministers of Hospitality. If the Mass is being offered for one of your loved ones or it is a special occasion (like an anniversary), you can even call the office during the week prior to the Mass. We will inform the Ministers of Hospitality in advance.
Sign of Peace
With the lifting of restrictions, those who wish may once again extend the sign of peace to one another at that point during the Mass. It may feel awkward at first after so long in a “no touch” environment. Be aware of the sensitivity of others before you reach out and touch.
Singing Is Encouraged
With the lifting of all of the mandates and restrictions, we are once again able to praise the Lord in song. For Masses in the church, the words to the songs, prayers and readings will be projected on the video monitors.
One of the joys of being together in our church is to be able to sing and pray together without the muffling of our voices through masks. I strongly encourage your full and active participation at Mass. It is a community celebration and it is important that the members of the community participate.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
During the height of the pandemic in California, our Bishop gave us permission to use Form 3 of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka General Confession and General Absolution). We have made generous use of this option at St. Patrick’s. In recent months, we have also reintroduced Individual Confession with Individual Absolution.
Now that most restrictions have been lifted, we will no longer offer General Absolution on weekends and Friday mornings. The last Friday for General Absolution will be July 2. We will continue to offer regular confessions every Wednesday at 8:30 am and 6:00 pm. However, individual confessions will take place in open spaces of the church. We will not open our confessional/reconciliation rooms at this time.
The Return of the Collection
I want to thank our very generous parishioners who have continued to support our parish throughout the shutdown and the succeeding months of restrictions. Our parish is in good shape financially thanks to your ongoing generosity.
Many people have switched to Online Giving. I encourage them to continue doing that and I invite others who may want to contribute in that way to contact the parish office. Many people have been mailing their donations or dropping them off at the office. You may continue to do that as well.
During our “no touch” policy of the last 15 months, we have had a basket at the entrance of the field or church. Thank you to all who have faithfully put their donations into that basket.
Now that restrictions have been lifted, we will resume our normal procedure of taking up a collection during the Preparation of the Gifts. A basket will be passed from person to person as we have done in the past. (This applies to Masses in the church. At the 9:00 am Mass on Sunday, we will continue to have a basket at the entrance.)
In whatever way you wish to support the work of our parish, I thank you most sincerely.
The children’s chapel (also referred to as the cry room) will remain closed for the time being.
The holy water fonts at the side doors will remain empty for the time being. As mentioned above, the Baptismal Font will be full.
We will not resume coffee and doughnuts after Mass at the present time.
Reflections on the Spirituality of the Sacred Heart
A Presentation on the Sacred Heart of Jesus
This is just a reminder that our own Fr. Ricardo Chinchilla will do a presentation this Thursday, June 24 on the Spirituality of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (according to St. John Eudes). It will be offered twice: in the morning at St. James in Solana Beach and in the evening here at St. Patrick at 7:00 pm. See the flyer below for details.
Our parish offices are now open, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 12:30pm and 1:30 to 4:30pm
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- 760-729-2866.
If you know someone who does not receive our emails, please forward this to them, or have them reply to this message.
To email a priest at St. Patrick Church click the link below: