Public Masses Resume at the Parish

June 4, 2020

Dear Friends,

We are filled with joy that public Masses will resume at St. Christopher Parish on Saturday, June 6th. This is an occasion of deep gratitude to Almighty God! Being separated from the Holy Mass has brought a profound sense of loss and sadness to many of us. These feelings reveal the love of God and the Sacraments that we hold in our hearts.

Even though it is a tremendous gift to be back in Mass, there will be several changes that will be in place for the time being. While we wish things could be 'normal', our parish will follow all diocesan directives for reintroducing public Mass. At the same time, we will uphold and strengthen the reverence and sacredness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is our entrance into the heavenly sanctuary and the Holy of Holies.

Please read through this entire document, especially the instructions for Mass. It is lengthy but it helps ensure a peaceful return. As always, if you have questions please contact our office.

Schedule Beginning June 6, 2020

Mass
Saturday Vigil - 4:00 pm
Sunday - 8:00 am and 10:00 am
Vietnamese Mass - 3:00 pm ** Beginning June 14th
Monday through Thursday - 8:00 am ** We will have daily Mass at this time through Labor Day Weekend

Confessions
Monday through Thursday - Following Mass, approx. 8:30 am
Saturday - 3:00-3:30 pm

Eucharistic Adoration
Wednesday - 8:30-9:30 am
First Fridays - 1:00-3:00 pm

Instructions

- The Sabbath obligation to attend Mass remains suspended.

- We are able to fill our church to 40% capacity, which is approximately 160 congregants but might be lower with distancing efforts.

- Please enter church through the front doors only. Parishioners with mobility restrictions can use the side door.

- A basket will be available for offertory donations. We will not take up the collection during Mass.

- Ushers will assist individuals and families to sit in the pews, maintaining an approximate 6 foot distance between groups. Please be flexible in where you will sit.

- Our hope is that we will reduce usher assistance as we get comfortable with new seating habits.

- In the event we reach capacity and additional worshippers arrive, we will invite them to participate in Mass by staying outside the doors or trying to attend a different Mass time.

- Approximate 6-foot distancing will be maintained in the Holy Communion line and while entering and exiting the church.

- Facial coverings will be required for persons 2 years of age and older, unless a breathing difficulty prevents wearing one.

- Both the front doors and the side doors can be used for exiting.

- We will be disinfecting pews after all Masses. After Mass ends, you may stay in the pews for a brief Prayer of Thanksgiving but we will otherwise ask congregants to exit promptly so we can begin cleaning.

- To help expedite pew cleaning, congregants should leave the kneeler down where they sat.

- We will have musical accompaniment but parishioners should refrain from joining in singing the hymns at this time.

- Missalettes are available in the Side Vestibule for you to take and keep. You may also bring your own books of the Mass readings, such as Magnificats. Phones or tablets are not permitted during Mass.

- We will continue to livestream the Sunday 10:00 am Mass on our website and Facebook page.

** People with COVID-19 symptoms, recent virus exposure, or recent international travel must remain at home.

A Pastoral Note about Returning to Holy Mass

Reading news of infection rates and death tolls throughout the world has been a sorrowful experience. We have learned to be prudent in taking many precautions to protect our health and the health of others. However, we also want to guard ourselves from panic which steals our peace, erodes our trust in God, and scares us into making unreasonable choices.

Our parish is taking every reasonable precaution to make our Eucharistic gathering as safe as possible. We must also not forget that Mass is in the house of Almighty God whose providential grace is ever present. We have entrusted our parish to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, and we beseech St. Michael's protection at every Mass. There are parishioners with serious underlying health issues, or who live with others who have them, which might warrant their continued absence from Mass and other public gatherings. Yet for most of us, we must not let pure fear keep us away from the grace of the sacraments. We proceed with great care, but we shouldn't postpone our spiritual life to some future day when 'everything is back to normal', since such a day might not exist.

Mass orients our lives towards eternity and gives us the grace to get there. This pandemic has taught us that life is fragile and uncertain. Mass is where we fill our souls with the life that the world can't offer - the life of Jesus Christ our Lord, which never diminishes or fades away!

God Bless,
Fr. David