5 February 2021
Dear Parishioners of St. Paul Parish:
May the Peace of Christ be with you!
We are quickly approaching the one year anniversary, March 16, 2020, of when Archbishop Blair initially dispensed Catholics from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation because of the COVID 19 virus. While the distribution of the vaccine has helped and overall statistics are showing improvement, the Archbishop has decided to extend the dispensation from attending Mass through Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2021.
On a positive note, as of February 1st, Governor Lamont has increased the capacity for Houses of Worship to 50% of capacity while maintaining the social distancing requirements. This replaces the current 25% limit or 100 people which ever is least, which for us was 100 people. Given that our seating capacity is 744 we estimate that we will be able to maintain the appropriate social distancing at about 33% of capacity or about 250 people. This is not an exact number given that family members can be seated together while others not living under the same roof should be six feet apart.
Given the larger number who usually attend Mass on Ash Wednesday, February 17 this year, you will need to sign up to attend Mass on Ash Wednesday. To sign up, click here or call the Parish Center (860-828-0331) Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (The sign up form is also posted on the home page of our parish website.) There will be four parish Masses on Ash Wednesday at 7:00 a.m., 12 Noon, 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. There will also be two school Masses at 8:45 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. At each of the two school Masses, about 75 adults will be able to attend, but you will have to be seated in the back of the new wing ONLY.
At the same time with the increase in capacity described above, we will suspend the requirement to sign up to attend Mass on weekends. We will keep the church hall available for overflow, but I do not anticipate its use with the increased capacity. We have been using it pretty regularly for the 10:30 Mass.
If you are not comfortable coming to Mass, I certainly understand, but I encourage you to watch Mass online and make other opportunities for prayer in your life. With Lent upon us in just two weeks, this might be a good time to seek more opportunities for prayer. Lent is a time to shake off any spiritual rust that might have developed and to grow in our relationship with God.
I pray for your spiritual and physical well being and that soon we will all be able to join together around the altar of the Lord.
Peace and All Good,
Fr. Joe