Good news, Sunday Masses begin this week!
As of yesterday afternoon at 5pm, Cardinal Dolan gave permission to offer the Mass on Sundays (and Saturday evening) in the upper counties, beginning this weekend, June 13 and 14. We will continue with the normal weekend Mass schedule. However, there are strict guidelines all of us must follow.
- Our church can seat 500 people, and we are allowed 25% of that capacity to participate at each Mass. Therefore, a strict count of 125 people (not including ministers) will be permitted to enter. The directives from the Archdiocese of New York stipulate that entrance to the church will be through one door, only. Therefore, the center door will be opened prior to the beginning of Mass. After 125 people have entered the church the door will be closed until communion time. No one else can be permitted to enter. Please understand that you may not be permitted to attend Mass even though you came to the church. These rules are strict, and may be inconvenient, but they are in accord with New York State directives. They are also temporary. We do not have the capability to broadcast the Mass to other areas in our facility and to live stream, at this time.
- Baptisms, funeral Masses and weddings can be celebrated, but rules for masks and social distancing must be observed. The number of people permitted to attend these ceremonies is also limited to 125 people. Please call the rectory office to reschedule the Baptisms and weddings you may have postponed.
- Bottles of hand sanitizer are on the tables at the entrance of our church.
- Face masks must be worn by all people (children 2 years old and older) while attending Mass. At the present time we do not have masks to offer you. We are waiting for the shipment of masks to arrive. As you come to the front of the church for Holy Communion, please adjust your mask just prior to facing the minister.
- A 6 foot distance between persons must be maintained while in the church. Families, of course, may sit together and do not need to keep 6 feet apart, but masks must be worn. Please follow the placards and blue indicators on the floors. You will notice that every other pew is cordoned off with blue tape. Please do not sit in these pews.
- The public restrooms in church are closed, at this time. Please prepare before coming to church.
- The St Francis Coffee and Bagel Hour, and Jesus Time are suspended until further notice.
- If you are either 65 and older, if you have a compromised immune system, or if you have any other serious underlying health conditions (heart condition, COPD, diabetes, etc.), you are not obliged to come to Mass. If you are ill with a fever, a cold, or if you have a cough, please stay home, for your safety and the safety of others. Attendance at church is NOT obligatory at this time and still available online at several websites.
- You will notice some temporary changes to the celebration of the Mass.
- The holy water founts at the church entrance are empty.
- The priest (and deacon) will process from the sacristy and go directly to the altar. Altar servers will not be employed, at this time. A music minister and cantor will be at the usual Masses, when available. A choir is not permitted in order to maintain social distancing of 6 feet. No hymnals and no missalettes are in the pews, at this time. Bulletins will not be distributed, but they will be located at the entrance of the church after Mass for you to take home. The usual exchange of the Sign of Peace is discontinued. Holy Communion will be in the hand, only. At communion time the priest, and ministers, will wear masks during the distribution of Holy Communion. After Mass the ministers are directed to go directly to the sacristy.
Confessions will be heard in the chapel on Saturdays from 4-5pm, but the priest will be in the front of the church and not in the confessional, at this time. Please wear a face mask.
Additionally, the parish office and cemetery office are open at the rectory. Other gatherings of prayer groups and education classes will begin at a later date. Registration for next year’s Religious Education classes has already begun. First Communion and Confirmation are already rescheduled. Please call Mrs. Jill Carelli at 666-3161 for more information.
There will be no public gatherings in the Msgr. Donovan Hall at this time.
I want to thank everyone for your patience and understanding. Thank you very much for your support, too. We are looking forward to seeing you soon.
Peace and God’s blessings to all!