Dear St. Francis of Assisi Parishioners,
The first publicly celebrated Mass is Monday, May 25 at 9:00am. The first weekend of Masses is May 30/31, when we celebrate Pentecost.
This Sunday is the Ascension of the Lord. Jesus ascends to the Father and entrusts His ministry to the Church. He gives us the great commission. “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
We are going to cover a lot of information today for the return to public worship. I plan to give the information that everyone must know before coming to Mass, and links to more information for people who want to know the reasoning behind the decisions and best practices.
We are making decisions with the best information we have at the time. We all know that information changes as we go. I fully expect our response at St. Francis of Assisi Parish to develop as we move forward. We will learn from our daily Mass experience this week, and communicate with you again before next weekend.
The following is published in this week’s digital bulletin and on the pillars outside of the church. I ask that everyone read it before entering the church.
Summary of Liturgical Guidelines for St. Francis of Assisi Parish
For more information visit https://www.dioceseofcleveland.org/forward-with-christ/worship-guidelines
- Wash your hands.
- Wear a mask or other face covering upon entering the church and during the celebrationof Mass, except for the brief moment of receiving Holy Communion.
- Bring your own hand sanitizer that can be used before receiving Holy Communion.
- Do not bring items that contain bleach into the Church as this will damage the pews.
- Stay home if you feel ill or are experiencing any symptoms.
- Upon arrival to the Church enter through the main doors only. The Sacristy door will belocked and used for an emergency exit only. Refrain from socializing in the parking lot orvestibule. Go directly to pews for private prayer.
- Maintain silence in church. People are coming to pray.
- There will be no holy water.
- Please fill pews from front to back as best as possible. Pews will be marked off to ensuresocial distancing, do not tamper with the ropes. Sit only in designated pews.
- Multiple households may share a pew, with a 6 foot distance between households at alltime.
- The Church will only be open for 50% occupancy at a maximum during Masses.
- Do not arrive more than 15 minutes early for the 10:00am and noon Masses on Sunday. We need time between Masses for sanitizing the pews.
- Please keep your face mask on for the duration of Mass.
- There will be limited music, but congregational singing is strongly discouraged for thetime-being. Mass parts will be spoken.
- Baskets will not be passed during the offertory. You will be able to place your weekly giftin the vestibule as you exit the church, but we strongly encourage online giving throughFaithDirect.
- There is no sign of peace and physical contact.
- The Precious Blood will not be offered to the congregation.
- Use of personal hand sanitizer before communion is strongly encouraged.
- Sections will be invited one at a time to Holy Communion. Please keep 6 feet distancebetween the household in front of you while in line. All Eucharistic ministers will sanitizetheir hands before distributing Holy Communion and wear a mask.
- When approaching the Communion minister, the communicant should present one handresting on the palm of the other. After responding, “Amen,” the communicant moves aside, pulls down their mask, reverently places the Eucharist in his or her mouth, and immediately replaces their mask.
- Gloves should not to be worn during the reception of Holy Communion.
- For the health and safety of all, reception of Holy Communion is strongly encouraged inthe hand to avoid contact with individual's saliva. Holy Communion on the tongue isstrongly discouraged for the duration of the pandemic.
- Be patient with the reception of Holy Communion as we want to ensure that all cansafely receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament.
Households should depart the church in an organized manner wearing masks and observing six feet of distance between other households.
Please refrain from long personal prayer after Mass in order that the pews can be sanitized for the next Mass.
Refrain from congregating after Mass in order to allow for all to exit the Church in an efficient manner.You are reminded to follow CDC recommendations regarding your own health. If you fall into an “at risk” category, please stay home and join us by Live Stream at 10:00 am.Updated 5/22/20 12:00pm
Mass will look, sound, and feel different. One of the hardest changes for people to understand has been the elimination of congregational singing. The best information we have directs us to not have everyone sing because it can increase the potential spread of the coronavirus. Max will continue to lead us in instrumental music and will sing the entrance and communion antiphons. A best practice is to have 20 feet of space if someone is singing instead of the usual 6 feet of social distancing. Do not join in any singing or humming.
I know this goes against us always inviting everyone into full, conscious, and active participation at Mass, but we are moving forward exercising an abundance of caution for your safety and the safety of all at Mass.
In the church, we have 36 of 101 pews available for seating. Two pews are roped off in between each pew that is available. This allows for our 6 feet of social distancing. Please think about where you will sit and where others around you will sit in order to maximize the number of people we can accommodate at Mass. The center of long pews must be used before a seat close to the aisle. Your usual pew will probably not be available.
It is our hope that the available seating will be enough for those who plan on attending Mass at church. It could happen that we fill up and there will not be room for you at that Mass. If that happens, please return home and pray with the live stream or come to another Mass. You know there is no Sunday obligation to attend Mass.
There is no room in our gathering area for people to congregate and maintain social distancing for those who are walking into or out of church.
This is one of the areas that Mass will feel different. It is a difficult loss.
We will have some printed bulletins. The bulletin is available online. We recommend you read it there. If you choose to take a bulletin please only touch the bulletin you are taking. If you pick up a bulletin, you must take it with you. Please leave nothing in the pews.
When approaching the Communion minister, the communicant should present one hand resting on the palm of the other. After responding, “Amen,” the communicant moves aside, pulls down their mask, reverently places the Eucharist in his or her mouth, and immediately replaces their mask.
Our Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will also lead you by example at Mass. Please watch how they receive communion as a model for you to follow.
We will have four ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion at a maximum. They will be in the usual locations. Communion will only be distributed to one section at a time. Do not leave your pew until your section is invited to come forward. There are markings on the ground 6 feet apart to help you maintain distance between households.
Distributing Holy Communion reverently and safely is going to be difficult and take time. Please be patient, pray, think about the longing you have to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, and pray for those who are not able to come to church and receive Jesus.
We are not asking our usual liturgical ministers for help this first week. Staff will serve first. This will allow us to test and evaluate our practices before retraining our ministers.
Our maintenance staff will handle the cleaning in church during the week at 3:00pm each day. We need assistance from our volunteers on the weekend.
There is an opportunity to help on Pentecost weekend. We need volunteers who can stay after Mass to clean pews. We need 7 volunteers per Mass, each washing one section of pews. A section will have 4, 5 or 6 pews in use. The pew seat, back, kneeler and top of the pew in front will all need to be sanitized. We will supply you with cleaner, rags, gloves and instructions. Maintenance staff will be present to give you supplies and directions. All volunteers must wear a mask and gloves.
To volunteer, please click on this link https://www.signupgenius.com/go/805054aaba72ba1f58-sfaafter
Please do not volunteer if you are ‘At-Risk’. We know that many people will not be returning to Mass and/or ministry at this time. We are working for the safety of everyone.
Feel free to invite other parishioners who may be able to help by sharing the link to sign up.
If you need to change a sign up, follow the prompts on SignUpGenius, or call/email Catharine Zbiegien.
As we have shared, Sr. Maureen has been called to leadership within her community and will no longer be able to minister here at St. Francis. We are sad to see her go, and we will do a more formal goodbye when we are able to gather together.
Please see her video on our Facebook page or stay after the live stream this weekend for a video from her.
Schedule of Masses
The following is our opening schedule. We will evaluate it again after a week of experience. We do hope and plan on adding our 6:30am Mass to the schedule, but we are going to take it slow the first week.
- Monday, May 25 at 9:00am (Also Live Streamed)
- Tuesday, May 26 at 9:00am (Also Live Streamed)
- Wednesday, May 27 at 9:00am (Also Live Streamed)
- Thursday, May 28 at 9:00am (Also Live Streamed)
- Friday, May 29 at 9:00am (Also Live Streamed)
- Saturday, May 30 at 9:00am (Also Live Streamed)
- Saturday, May 30 at 4:30pm
- Sunday, May 31 at 8:00am
- Sunday, May 31 at 10:00am (Also Live Streamed)
- Sunday, May 31 at 12:00pm
- Sunday, May 31 at 6:00pm
I know how much our parishioners long to be at Mass and receive Jesus in the Eucharist. I pray for you, and I pray for those who are choosing to remain at home for their safety or for the safety of a member of their household.
For our return to public celebration of Mass, we will take it slow. We will exercise an abundance of caution. We will think about how our actions affect the health and safety of others. We will learn from this first week, and we will continue to worship and serve Jesus together.
Peace, Fr. Steve
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