Reopening our Churches for Sunday Holy Mass beginning May 30/31
05-20-2020Weekly ReflectionDeacon Ed Wendt
PENDING APPROVAL BY THE DIOCESE OF LA CROSSE
We are about to embark in possibly dangerous seas. The Covid-19 continues to threaten the lives of many people and we are faced with a challenge to reopen our churches for public worship. We cannot allow fear to dictate an abandonment of our churches, but must rely on faith in the divine physician to walk with us, to protect us, and if need to, heal us. Our faith in Christ Jesus is the life preserver in this pandemic ocean. That being said we must also take precautionary measures to insure our well-being.
The bishops have developed a strategic plan for all parishes to implement before we can even consider opening our churches for public worship. There are many restrictions and procedures that must be followed and I am sure there will be many questions and comments in regards to the legalities and the logic behind them. This is the time we humble ourselves and follow and trust our leadership.
I would like to mention that there are some ministries such as; Music, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, Readers, and Altar Servers that have been put on hold for pastoral reasons and will be reintroduced as we move forward or under new leadership. We thank you for your patience in this decision.
The Church has issued the decree that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains dispensed until further notice. It also states that
"all those as defined by the health department as more vulnerable (i.e., 60+ years of age, those with compromised immune systems, those with underlying health conditions, those who are especially anxious about being in a large group, etc.) should be encouraged to stay at home."
"It is highly encouraged that those in at-risk populations should continue to participate in the Mass via television and social media. Sunday Masses continue to be televised and live streamed on the Diocese of La Crosse Website, Facebook and YouTube accounts."
Those of you who are considering attending Public Holy Mass will need to be aware that there will be restrictions and policy you will need to follow and endure. These guidelines are decreed by the Bishops of Wisconsin.
Public Mass will be celebrated on Sunday only. This includes Saturday Mass of anticipation at St. Boniface 4:30pm.
Occupancy is limited - please attend your parish church.
Parishioners will be required to sign-in on a pre-numbered form as they enter Mass. Not allowing entrance after reached capacity (our Policy).
Sanitize your hands before entering and leaving.
Parishioners are strongly encourage to wear a mask.
Social distancing of a minimum of 6 feet between people not living in the same household must be followed.
Communicants should be reminded that there will be only one, single-file Communion line permitted to approach the minister, rather than two parallel lines.
Communion will not be distributed throughout the church. Those unable to stand or walk should sit in the front pews (our Policy).
Directions for dismissal after Mass, the Ushers will release the faithful pew-by-pew.
Attendees should be advised to wash their clothes following the service.
There is no pre-determined timeline for how long restrictions will be in place; further developments may allow for the loosening of restrictions or call for the tightening of restrictions.
Cry rooms and Choir Lofts will not be available in parishes
All churches will be sanitizing pews, entrances and all other facilities used before each service
Every other row of pews should remain empty, every third pew is preferred
Side Pews will not be used at Immaculate Conception in Fountain City
We are in this together. We will get through this. We will move forward.