We have been through so much in these last few months. Let us first begin this letter with a profound thank you. I would encourage you to pray for an outpouring of gracious blessing for those who physically helped get us through this unique moment in our parish’s history (Video and stream-line volunteers, website and social media volunteers, etc.) as well as our entire community as a whole. It was an endearing experience to see how many members of our parish family found ways to minister and be present during a time where we had to be physically distant from one another. Thank you for all that you have been and all that you are.
We are glad to announce that we are moving towards reopening. This past week the pastors received emails regarding the process, procedures and current restrictions regarding the reopening of our parish. I am going to list a few DIOCESAN DIRECTIVES that pertain to us here at St. Gertrude’s.
1. Beginning Wednesday, June 10, 2020, you may host all pubic liturgies and Sacraments (Mass, weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc.) in churches / indoor facilities with 25% of your building capacity in attendance. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect…Those who are sick or vulnerable due to age or health conditions are strongly encouraged to remain at home and view the Mass on television or online.
It is recommended that you close / block access to 2 of every 3 pews (one pew open, the next two closed, one pew open, the next two closed). Some suggested methods of closing pews are printed signs placed on the seats of the pews, ropes, and / or blue painter’s tape that will not damage the finish on wooden pews. Do not use other types of tape on wooden pews.
2. Families and those who traveled to the church together may sit together. All others must maintain social distancing (6 feet apart). With one pew open out of every three, plus the social distancing for non-family members, the 25% rule will easily be maintained.
3. Masks (or cloth facial coverings) must be worn by all present. However, the priest celebrant will not wear a mask during the celebration of the Holy Mass.
4. Hymnals / missals should be removed from the pews.
5. The Sign of Peace continues to be omitted until further notice so as to avoid confusion.
6. Collection baskets should not be passed around. It is recommended that collection stations be provided where the faithful can simply drop their collection into a basket or container before or after Mass, or that baskets with poles be used in order to avoid contact.
7. Holy Communion is not to be distributed until further notice. We realize that this is not ideal. Please understand: A. These measures are temporary and made in response to extraordinary circumstances. B. If we do not take certain reasonable precautions, we could not only risk health concerns, but could also put the Church at risk of having more unreasonable limitations imposed upon us. C. This is only a temporary period. D. One’s physical presence at the celebration of Holy Mass, even without the reception of Holy Communion, is immeasurably efficacious. To be physically present to our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament, even if we are temporarily unable to physically consume his Most Sacred Body and Precious Blood, is of tremendous benefit to us. Our plan is to resume distribution of Holy Communion within the next few weeks.
A few notes for us specifically at St. Gertrude’s Catholic Church.
1- PUBLIC SUNDAY MASS WILL START THIS WEEEKEND. June 13 and 14. We will be following our normal schedule (5 PM Saturday, 7:30 AM on Sunday, 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM).
2- Sunday Mass will be held in the Parish Center due to the construction and renovation equipment around the parish as well as health and safety concerns
3- We are to follow the directives from the Diocese as stated above.
4- Daily Mass starts its regular schedule this Friday (June 12 at 8:30 AM). This will be done in the Church until interior renovations start.
5- Please bring your own mask. Masks will be provided but we are limited in our supplies.
On a personal note I would ask that we make a polite effort to comply with the directives of the Diocese for the purpose of health and safety. This is, hopefully, only a brief moment in our family history and we will get through it together.
As stated above we have begun our restoration projects. Aiello Construction has begun professionally working on our roof and building the bathroom-addition. In the upcoming weeks the entire exterior will be completed. Since (1) we have restrictions in the amount of people that can gather and also other restrictions as well as (2) our response to our capital campaign; we have moved towards doing the interior restoration sooner rather than later. This includes the flooring, pews and lighting. My hope is that the weekend we come back to “normalcy” we walk into a bright, clean and beautiful Church which demonstrates the unyielding love of Jesus and the warmth of the people here at St. Gertrude’s.
Please pray for us as we walk through this pilgrimage of faith together. Please pay attention to our facebook page and our website. If you are not on our email list and want updates please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIS WEEKEND I HAVE PURCHASED HOLY WATER BOTTLES FOR OUR PARISH MEMBERS. THEY WILL BE OFFERED AT THE END OF EACH MASS! This is my gift to every family. We love you and miss you.
In the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Rev. Dave Regan (Pastor)