TIDINGS OF GOOD NEWS | COVID – 19 UPDATE
I have no doubt one of the most difficult sacrifices for us during this time of pandemic has been our inability to gather together as a faith community to offer prayer and receive Holy Eucharist. While we long for the freedom to worship together, we also recognize that Christ is still present among and within us as we seek to serve his holy people through acts of kindness and charity.
To that end, I am happy to report that we have just received direction from Cardinal Tobin that advises pastors as to the process for the gradual opening of our Churches and the resuming of our communal life of faith. The reopening will happen carefully and in three phases. While we are eager to reopen and invite you to return, the process must be executed in a safe and prudent way for the protection of all.
The directives from Cardinal Tobin are expected to be followed without exception. I share them in the spirit of obedience to him, my superior, and with anticipated cooperation and understanding from you, our dear parishioners. In these times of challenge let us continue to build on the good and creative practices we have initiated, while at the same time, caring for and protecting one another in Christian charity.
1. The date for the commencement of Phase One is Sunday, May 17, 2020. Consideration will be given to the policies of state and local authorities.
2. Cardinal Tobin continues to dispense the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday as well as from “Easter duty” (the obligation to receive Holy Communion during the season of Easter).
3. Churches may be opened solely for personal prayer during limited and designated hours. Individuals and families may enter the church for quiet prayer only. During opening hours, a parish staff member must be physically present in the church to ensure social distancing and sanitizing. No gatherings are permitted.
a. Sundays: Starting May 17, 2020, Queen of Peace Church (QPC) will be open for private prayer from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. This will occur every Sunday thereafter until the commencement of Phase Three.
b. QPC will be open for private prayer Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and Saturday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. This will occur every week until the commencement of Phase Two.
4. In accord with national, state and local health directives, those who show symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed to an infected person are not permitted to enter the church for 14 days.
5. Holy water fonts will remain empty until further notice.
6. Eight hand sanitizers have been installed by the four entrances of the church and should be used by all those who enter.
7. Public celebrations of liturgies, devotions, or other group prayer are not permitted at this time for any reason.
8. Masks must be worn by all individuals while in the church.
9. Individuals and families must maintain social distancing (six feet) between each person while in the church. Every other row of pews has been taped off and people may only sit or kneel in designated sections of those pews reserved for private prayer.
10. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered at specified and limited times.
a. The enclosed confessionals will not to be used. The place for Reconciliation will be behind the ambo in front of the statue of the Blessed Mother.
b. Social distancing must be maintained by those waiting for the sacrament and careful attention be given to maintaining the seal of confession.
c. Masks must be worn by confessor and penitent.
d. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered on Sunday May 17, 2020 and every Sunday until the commencement of phase three from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm.
e. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered every Saturday thereafter from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm until the commencement of Phase Three.
While the specific date for the commencement of Phase Two has not yet been announced, it will include the directives for the celebration of public Masses on weekdays as well as funerals, with particular restrictions.
While the specific date for the commencement of Phase Three has not yet been announced, it will include the directives for the celebration of public Masses on Sundays, as well as Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, Weddings, and RCIA ceremonies, each with their own particular restrictions.
As we receive the clear directives for phases two and three, we will immediately share them with you. Again, many thanks for your patience and your prayers in these challenging days. Be sure to let us know if you have any particular concerns.
Blessings and let us celebrate our faith openly and safely!
Father Mike, Pastor