WHO SHOULD GO TO A LIMITED PUBLIC MASS?
A dispensation from the Sunday and Holy Day obligation to participate in the Mass remains in place for all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati until further notice. Anyone who is in an at-risk health group or does not feel comfortable attending a public gathering should stay home. Even with the best health practices and increased efforts to clean the Church, there is a risk of infection anytime a person enters a public space. Anyone who is sick or has recently been exposed to the coronavirus should refrain from attending a public Mass as it is an act of Christian charity to safeguard the health of others.
WHEN CAN I GO TO A LIMITED PUBLIC MASS?
Attendance at Masses will be restricted to adhere to the public health orders. Because the Sunday obligation has been dispensed, people are encouraged to take advantage of weekday Masses. Our parish has determined its scheduling and attendance procedures to try and create a fair opportunity for every parishioner to attend Mass. It is important that you stay connected to your parish via our parish website, email, Facebook page, etc. Catholics should continue to keep the Sabbath holy with intentional time in prayer including engagement in the readings for the day, which may be enhanced through watching a pre-recorded or live stream Mass and making spiritual communion. The Archbishop will continue to offer live stream Mass each Sunday, and parishes are encouraged to do so as well. Our parish livestreams the 10:30 am Sunday Mass.
St. Mary’s Schedule: Mass on Tuesday at 5:30 pm, Wednesday at 8:00 am and Thursday at 11:30 am.
Weekend Masses are Saturdays at 5:30 pm and Sunday at 10:30 am.
WHAT RESTRICTIONS WILL THERE BE?
6-foot social distancing will be practiced at all public Masses. Parishioners should follow the guidance of any usher or posted sign and can expect for rows/pews to be roped off. Families who live together can sit together, but should be spaced more than 6-feet from other families.
Everyone is required to wear a mask (except children 3 and under). We have a limited number of masks for adults and children, so if you have one, please bring it. Parishioners are encouraged to use hand sanitizer and/or sanitizing wipes.
There will also be TEMPORARY liturgical changes similar to those implemented during the early stages of this pandemic back in February and March. For those receiving Holy Communion, please follow the instructions of Father White/ Deacon Graber and our ushers for lining up and receiving in a safe manner.
HOW ELSE CAN I HELP?
St. Mary’s Church has a limited amount of space. Parishioners are asked to avoid congregating in entry ways and should be mindful of social distancing in the vestibule, narrow aisles, the bathroom entrance, etc. This will allow the maximum number of people to be able to attend a public Mass. There will be seating available upstairs in the balcony. On Sunday mornings, once the church is full, people will be asked to go over to the school and watch the Mass on the livestream. You can then come over to the church for communion.
We all long for the day when we can gather as a full parish family, hug our friends, and praise the Lord together, but until that time comes, let’s continue to act out of love and charity towards each other, and do our part to keep our communities as safe and healthy as possible.
Please be patient as your pastor and parish staff and volunteers do their best to implement this guidance, especially if you have to wait a little longer to attend a public Mass. There are available Masses during the week at differing times to help with attendance issues.
We have all made many sacrifices over the last several weeks to benefit the common good, let’s not have those efforts be in vain if we rush this process or look for ways around the regulations.
Let’s keep our trust in the Lord, to see this through until we can gather again in full.