IMPORTANT!! PLEASE READ!!!
Dear Parish Family,
“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
OK – today’s the day you get the information you have been waiting for. First, here is a link to the Bishop’s message regarding the protocols for opening the churches in the Diocese:
Next – one piece of “extra” – Our Knights of Columbus Family of the Month for May is the family of Dustin and Amy Pittman. Congratulations to the Pittman crew.
AND NOW —
The following are protocols that Father Kevin and I have been working on and which will be in place for our parish. They are in accord with, and in compliance with, the Diocesan Directives. Remember, Mass begins on Sunday, MAY 31. I ask that you please read these protocols carefully so you will be familiar with the procedures. Read them several times if you can. And, PLEASE, share them with fellow parishioners who may still not be receiving these emails. I will also be posting them on my personal Facebook page and would encourage you to share them through Facebook as well. We would like to get the word out to as many folks as possible. I will continue to share these protocols throughout the next week so that everyone has a chance to read them without having to look back at previous emails.
Also, if you have any questions, thoughts, comments, feel free to contact me directly – email@example.com; 601-573-2053. We will also be resuming regular office hours next Tuesday so you can reach me at the office 601-856-2054.
PROTOCOLS FOR THE RETURN TO MASS AT ST. JOSEPH, GLUCKSTADT:
As we anticipate the return to Mass beginning Sunday, May 31, so that everyone can be prepared, please review and familiarize yourselves with our “new” protocols and procedures. Read them, re-read them, and share them with your fellow parishioners who may not be receiving my daily emails.
Attendance at Mass:
~Those who are sick or symptomatic should stay home!! Even if you don’t suspect COVID, please err on the side of caution and don’t come to Mass!
~The bishop continues to dispense all the faithful from the Sunday Obligation until further notice. In addition, he has encouraged vulnerable individuals, those 65 and older or with underlying health condition, to continue to shelter in place. Families with vulnerable individuals are encouraged to continue to take special precautions. If you aren’t comfortable being in crowds yet or would like to stay home for other reasons, it is perfectly ok not to come to Mass at this time.
~The bishop also states, “We would like for our parents to consider the vulnerability of infants, toddlers and small children during this time, considering not bringing them to Mass or to perhaps bring them to a Mass during the week that is less attended rather than one of the busier weekend Masses.
~Our bishop has mandated the wearing of face masks for all in attendance over the age of two. Please be prepared for this and bring a mask with you. If you forget yours, we will have some extras available.
~Hand sanitizer will be provided for you to use before you enter the church.
~Only the doors on the north side of the church, under the porte cochere, will be open to enter the church. As you leave Mass, you will be allowed to leave through all doors.
~We are estimating our social distancing church capacity to be approx. 150 persons. Families living in the same residence will be allowed to sit together, but there MUST be a distance of 6 ft. between family groups or individuals.
~Due to the limited seating capacity, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO CALL TO MAKE A RESERVATION and let us know which Mass you are planning to attend! You can call the Parish Office beginning Tuesday, May 26, through Thursday, May 28, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to let us know which Mass you would like to attend on May 31, and how many family members will be with you. You need to call only for yourself and your immediate family, please. No calling for other people! When a particular Mass is full, you will be offered space at one of the other Masses. The office number to call is 601-856-2054. No emails, no calls/texts to parish staffs’ cell phones or home phones or before/after hours will be taken. If you call or text a staff member, you will be instructed to call the parish office number. We are doing our very best to be fair to everyone and are praying for your patience and understanding during these difficult times!
~Offertory baskets will not be passed. There will be a large basket on the table in the foyer for you to place your envelopes, checks, or cash.
~Missalettes and prayer cards have been removed from the pews. We will have disposable worship sheets available as you enter the sanctuary if you would like to use one. You will be asked to bring them out of church with you at the end of Mass and dispose of them in a trash can which will be provided.
~The cry room will be closed until further notice.
~Masses will be celebrated on Sunday mornings at 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., and 12:00 noon. After Pentecost we will also have Wednesday Mass at 5:30 p.m. These are all “new, temporary” times, and the times may be adjusted as we go forward.
~One of the Sunday Masses, probably the 8:00 a.m. Mass, will be recorded and posted on YouTube. The link will be included in the Sunday email so that, if you are not able to attend Mass in person, you can watch the recorded Mass later in the day if you would like.
AS YOU ARRIVE AT MASS:
~You will not be sitting in your “usual” pew!!
~Ushers will be seating parishioners as they arrive, and the church will be filled from front to back in an orderly, organized manner. Again, due to the limited number of seats available, we want to be as efficient as possible in order to allow as many people to attend Mass at one time. Again, we ask for your patience and understanding, and hey, you may just make a new friend in your new “spot”!
~You will see a LOT of blue tape decorating the church! This is to help ushers and you with appropriate social distancing.
~As we begin this “new, and we hope temporary” way of celebrating Mass, we will begin by having congregational singing with one verse of a familiar Opening Hymn and one verse of a familiar Recessional Hymn. We anticipate that singing while wearing masks will be difficult and uncomfortable, and the diocese has advised that scientists contend that saliva may spread as far as 26 feet when we sing. We will re-evaluate as we experience the reality of singing while masked.
~For Communion, the floor will be taped off at 6 ft. intervals. Father Kevin and I will be distributing the Holy Eucharist while wearing masks and standing 6 ft. apart. The center aisle will be taped off at 6 ft. intervals as well. You will approach for Communion, Father or I will place the host in your hand (Communion on the tongue has been suspended by our bishop), you will step to another mark on the floor (either 6 ft. or 12 ft. away), raise your mask, consume the host, and then proceed back to your pew. Father Kevin and I are planning to “demonstrate” the best way to do this before each Mass.
~At the end of Mass, the congregation will be dismissed by row. You are asked to proceed toward the back of the church and then outside, without stopping, and while maintaining the appropriate social distance. Again, ushers will be present to assist.
There are many, many other details which we are attending to in order to make our return to the celebration of the Eucharist as safe and prayerful as we possibly can. We have tried to anticipate as many things as we can, but, of course, every detail cannot possibly be anticipated. Please know that all of these protocols will be “tweaked” as we begin the process and see how everything is working. Even our “old” normal wasn’t perfect, we were just used to the imperfections. Helpful comments are always welcome – just call, text or email me, please! firstname.lastname@example.org; 601-573-2053
As one of my favorite priests, Father Mike Schmitz, says: “We are going to learn to ‘boldly advance into the shadows of uncertainty!’”
Again, we ask for your patience, your understanding, and your prayers. This is as “new” for us as it is for you and we are prayerfully doing everything in our power to make worship as normal as we can during this time.
The Mass readings and Father Kevin’s homily for tomorrow follow.
I look forward to seeing you all very, very soon!
Saturday of the Sixth Week
May 23, 2020
First Reading: Acts 18:23-28
After staying in Antioch some time, Paul left and traveled in orderly sequence through the Galatian country and Phrygia, bringing strength to all the disciples. A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus. He was an authority on the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and, with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately. And when he wanted to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. After his arrival he gave great assistance to those who had come to believe through grace. He vigorously refuted the Jews in public, establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 47:2-3, 8-9, 10
R. God is king of all the earth.
All you peoples, clap your hands;
shout to God with cries of gladness.
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God is king of all the earth.
For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God is king of all the earth.
The princes of the peoples are gathered together
with the people of the God of Abraham.
For God’s are the guardians of the earth;
he is supreme.
R. God is king of all the earth.
Gospel: Jn 16: 23-28
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. “I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father. On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you. For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
“The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but will tell you clearly about the Father.” John 16:23b-28
The “hour” comes when the prodigal son becomes our own daughter or son.
The “hour” comes when the we’re called to cross the street to be the Good Samaritan to someone left broken in the ditch.
The “hour” comes when we have to be the agent of the forgiveness we have received from others.
When that “hour” comes, Jesus says, when God is no longer the Omnipotent Judge to be feared, when God ceases to be some mystery at the edge of eternity. When that “hour” comes, we realize that God is in our midst in every experience of love. When that “hour” comes, we will feel God’s shoulder against our own as we take up whatever cross is laid on our shoulder. When that “hour” comes, we will act because we have finally embraced God’s vision of love for his creation.
When those “hours” come, we will see clearly what Jesus speaks of in stories and images; we will no longer just know about God, we will know God.
May the words of your Gospel, O Lord, lead us to realize your love in the midst of our days. Help us to see our lives and world through the light of Easter grace: that we may take up our crosses with hope that they can be a means for healing; that our grief and mourning may help us to bring consolation to others; that our taking on your work of mercy and reconciliation may bring your peace and joy to our homes and hearts.
My Jesus, I believe that You are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
I ask You to come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You, trusting that you are already there and I unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Saturday after the Ascension Thursday
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created,
And You shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of Your faithful, grant that by that same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
As our Lady and the disciples waited and prayed so we pray:
Holy Spirit, what do you want of me today? Give me eyes that can see, ears that can hear and a heart that can love. Our Father . . . Hail Mary . . .Glory Be . . .