RE-OPENING CHURCH FOR MASS
We have been given permission to re-open our church for public worship for weekday Masses beginning on Monday, June 8th - (Capacity seating for no more than 25 people), both churches at Incarnation and St. James will resume the usual weekday schedule. Sunday Mass will begin on the weekend of June 13-14th , the Solemnity of the Body and the Blood of Christ - (Capacity seating is 1/3 of the churches capacity: St. James Church seating capacity is 638 so we are allowed 217 parishioners per Mass; at Incarnation Church seating capacity is 350+ so we are allowed 117 parishioners per Mass). Therefore, the present Mass schedule will accommodate our parishioners need to attend Mass. The Mass schedule is Saturday at 5:30 pm and Sunday at 7:30, 9:30 and 11:00 am. A letter and a copy of the Liturgical-Pastoral Directives in a Time of Pandemic: Limited Public Celebration of the Mass and Sacraments in Church, has been sent to all registered/active parishioners. These are the guidelines we are obliged to follow for one another’s protection and will be followed to the best of our abilities. There is a lot of directives, so please read them carefully and understand that no one is being forced to attend services if there is any hesitancy of being in crowds during this pandemic. However, if you choose to attend church services you must follow the mandatory directives.
Some highlights are to be noted:
1. The normal Mass schedule remains the same.
2. Masks are to be worn, alcohol-based sanitizers are to be brought from home to be used wherever or whenever there is a need, social distancing of 6 feet is to be maintained (Main aisles are marked accordingly and pews are marked for your convenience).
3. There will be no Offertory Gifts presented or the Sign of Peace.
4. Communion is restricted to the Sacred Host only and receiving the Sacred Host in the hand is strongly preferred.
5. For the reception of the Holy Eucharist, the priest will invite one side of the church to receive at a time, pew by pew. Once you receive communion you can leave your contribution in the basket provided and then return to your pew.
6. You will only be able to enter the church by the Front Doors and or the Elevator entrance. St. James handicapped entrance will also be available.
7. Collection baskets will be in the front of the church. As you proceed to the altar to receive Holy Communion you may deposit your contribution at the same time. Ushers should be posted by the collection baskets to insure security and at the conclusion of the distribution of Holy Communion the baskets will be taken to the sacristy and put into the collection bags and placed in the safe. If you will not be attending Mass in Church your contribution may be mailed and or dropped off at the rectory as has been done for the past couple of months.
8. Devotional observances, Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Parish Social Gatherings are suspended until further notice.
9. Public gatherings, greetings before or after Mass at church entrances/exits or in the parking lots are not permitted. The Priests will enter the sanctuary by the side door of the church or from the sacristy and return the same way.
10. All missals, hymnals, missalettes, printed materials, pamphlets, and bulletins are to be removed.
11. Holy Water fonts will remain empty.
12. Public restrooms will be open for use.
13. Choirs are not to be used; however, there may be an Organist and Cantor.
14. The Sacrament of Reconciliation has been and will continue to be available in the Rectory only because the present rooms for confession in the church are not ventilated well enough for your protection. Since the pandemic parishioners have been coming to the rectory for confession and it has worked out rather well. You can stop by or call to make an appointment.
15. The Sacrament of Baptism is allowed one family at a time. All restrictions to be followed.
16. The Sacrament of Marriage ceremonies maybe celebrated with no Mass. All restrictions to be followed.
17. Funeral Vigil Services and Masses are permitted. All restrictions to be followed.
18. The Sacrament of the Sick (The Anointing) is available; however, Priests are not allowed to enter health care facilities (nursing homes and hospitals), but, where possible, they are directed to where they may be able to provide the need with a virtual anointing with words and gestures. In regards to In-Home care of the sick, it is the Priests good pastoral judgment or common sense to enter someone’s personal home to provide this Sacrament maintaining all restrictions and directives.
These directives are temporary and remain in effect until His Excellency, Bishop David O’Connell rescinds them.