Mass has resumed! Here's what you need to know:
Welcome back to church! Please follow all the guidelines sent to us by the Ohio Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as all public health guidelines. We are practicing social distancing so your participation is urgent. If you do not feel comfortable returning to church just yet, then you have no obligation to do so, as Bishop Murry has removed that obligation during this Covid-19, which means if you miss Mass there is no sin involved. Furthermore we are streaming the 4:30 Mass on WFMJ.com, which you can also watch live on our Facebook page or later on our website. Please use common sense.
Let us pray for one another.
Fr. Terry Hazel
Should I attend?
While we are resuming our regular schedule this weekend, please know that the obligation to attend Mass continues to be suspended. If you are in a high risk category, if you care for someone at home who has risk factors, if you are feeling unwell, or if you are simply uncomfortable about returning to Mass right now, you do not need to attend. We will continue to livestream the Saturday 4:30 PM Mass, which will be available on wfmj.com and on our parish facebook page.
We highly encourage everyone to wear a mask; it’s one very easy thing we can do to keep each other safe.
Please follow the directions of the ushers as they will be helping us to maintain our social distance in the communion procession. When you approach the Eucharistic Minister, please pull your mask below your chin and hold out your hands as you usually do. The Eucharistic Ministers have been instructed to hold the host above your hands and to drop it into your hands without touching you. Because it is so hard to avoid touching when receiving on the tongue, we are asking that you refrain from receiving on the tongue for the time being.
Many of your duties have been temporarily changed, so please arrive early when you are scheduled so we can go over the new guidelines. You should have received a letter in the new liturgical ministers’ schedule with some updates.
When you arrive
Things may look a little different when you arrive for our first weekend back. Please know that we will be adhering to strict social distancing guidelines, so seating will be limited. We will be doing our best to keep all of us safe and healthy; please bear with us as we adjust to our new (temporary) normal.
Where are the books?
Because of the difficulty of sanitizing paperback books, all missalettes and hymnals have been removed from the pews.
No handshaking, no holding hands
As we are sure you’re aware, we will not be holding hands for the Lord’s Prayer, or shaking hands for the Sign of Peace (or for any other reason). Deacon Tom will be asking us to bow to each other for the Sign of Peace.
Sanitizing the church—help needed!
We will be sanitizing all high-touch surfaces in the church before and after each Mass, and we could really use some help! If you are able to arrive 30 minutes before Mass begins, or stay 30 minutes after Mass, we would greatly appreciate it. Please call the parish office.
In order to maintain social distancing, we will be leaving every other pew empty, and limiting seating in the other pews to between 3 – 5 people, depending on the length of the pews. Please pay attention to the signs at the end of each pew, and follow the directions of the ushers. Once you are in a pew, please spread out so that everyone is 6 ft. apart.
What about singing?
Singing spreads more droplets, and spreads them further, so the risk for infection is very high. Because of that, there will be no congregational singing for the present. Please do not sing, even if you know the words by heart and are wearing a mask.
Social distancing everywhere!
In addition to keep a social distance in the pews, we also need to be aware of maintain distance when we enter and leave the church, in restrooms, and when receiving communion. Please don’t crowd the doors when you arrive or when you leave, and please do not congregate in the aisles. If possible, only one or two people should be in the restroom at any given time. And please maintain a 6 ft, distance as you process up to receive communion.
All of these protocols are temporary until we get further instructions from the Diocese of Youngstown.
It will be so good to see you all again. I have really missed you.
Fr. Terry Hazel