Parish and Diocesan Updates
As it pertains to the continuing Covid 19 outbreak
Read the recent letter from Bishop Robert J. McClory on the continuing dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation due to the Covid-19 virus.
Our Parishes are now open for Sunday worship. Please read the following important information regarding safety instructions.
Please take the time to read the full content of the following...
(Posted May 15, 2020)
All of us look forward to joining with each other for Holy Mass. Our bishop likes to say that we do not want to rush, but to do things right. This is an act of love in our keeping vigilant for the health of each other.
The major issue for me has been that most of our parishioners are over the age of 65, and many of our parishioners have significant and ongoing health challenges. Any kind of flu worsens those already present health challenges.
1) Please recall that our Indiana bishops have suspended the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until November 1, 2020. There are two important principles to balance: a) the weekly attendance at Mass in obedience to our Lord's Last Supper command, "Do this in memory of me" is a first order duty of every Catholic, and b) no one is obliged to do the impossible when and where such conditions exist as to threaten life and health.
2) People over the age of 65 with regular health challenges are particularly warned to avoid public gatherings where Covid-19 might more easily be contracted and spread.
3) At Ss. Peter and Paul, St. Andrew and St. Joan of Arc parishes, we are going to take responsible precautions to fight the spread of a contagious virus. MASKS -Everyone coming for Mass must wear a mask, employ some mouth covering scarf, or use the masks we will provide at the door for wearing throughout the time we are in our churches together. HAND SANITIZER - We will ask you to use hand sanitizer lotions that we will have in the narthexes of the churches. The side doors to Ss. Peter and Paul will not be opened; all must use the main entrances of our churches. The offertory baskets for donations will be present there for you to drop in your contributions. HYMNALS have been removed. There is some evidence that virus germs remain on hard surfaces. Therefore, we are removing the hymnals to avoid touch/spread, and after Masses, we are disinfecting seats which people have used. SOCIAL DISTANCING - Half of the pews will be closed off, while only a limited number of people will be permitted in open pews. This predetermined number will allow for six feet between persons or households.
4) Our Masses will be short, and I know you will regret that!
Our parishes are small congregations of senior citizens. You may have heard that some parishes have attempted to contact parishioners in an effort to see how they could accommodate the fraction of the amount of usual attendees. Normally, our Masses look something like: 150 persons at Ss. Peter and Paul (4 p.m.) and another 150 at the 10 a.m. Mass. There are 80-90 persons at St. Joan of Arc's 8:30 a.m. Mass and 70 at its 11:30 Mass. At St. Andrew, it is 85 persons at the 5 p.m. Mass, another 85 at the 8:30 a.m. Mass and 110 participants at the 10:30 a.m. I point this out as it is a good discussion point for other issues we may be facing someday.
Following the social distancing guidelines from the State of Indiana, Ss. Peter and Paul could receive 100 persons when we resume Masses. St. Andrew could receive some 70 persons, and St. Joan of Arc also some 70 persons. When we had Mass on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, prior to the complete suspension of Masses, half the number of the usual attendees came, and this was consistent for our three parishes. In fact, they were all punctual!
Because a significant half of our parishioners will correctly conclude that they ought not to risk contagion, I suggest that you, who will attend, come to your usual weekend Mass, but come early to find your safe seat.
I ask for your patience and understanding that our churches can only admit the number of people we can accommodate under our state's social distancing guidelines.
We are likely to learn things with every passing week. We all can see that such precautions and warnings that we are employing are motivated from love and a sense of safety. I really wish I knew more about how to confront this situation. I am glad, however, that I am facing this with all of you who so support our parishes and each other.
Whether we can see each other at Mass now or later, we will always be praying to God for one another!
We are now live streaming two of our weekend Masses. For the links, go to the Mass Times page listed above.
DAILY WEEKDAY MASSES
8 a.m. at St. Joan of Arc on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
6:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 8 a.m. on Thursday at St. Andrew
CONFESSIONS at 1 p.m. on Wednesday at Ss. Peter and Paul; 5:45 -6:15 p.m. on Wednesday at St. Andrew