THE CELEBRATION OF MASS IN THE CHURCH
As we prepare to reopen our beloved St. Joseph’s Church please remember that COVID-19 virus is still alive, active and lethal. Our primary mission is to care for your safety, good health and well-being. The Archbishop has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass in person. We encourage you to be safe and stay home. This is a beautiful way for you to continue to care for yourself and others. This is especially important for the elderly, vulnerable and those with underlying health conditions. To accommodate many of you who choose to stay home we will continue to upload our Sunday Mass every Saturday evening at 4:00 PM. You do not have to attend Mass. As we follow Archdiocesan, state, county and current health directives, please note that only 100 people can be present for any given Mass. Once 100 people have entered the Church, the doors will be closed. Our reopening plans were submitted to our regional Bishop and he approved them. The “old normal” Mass is going to look very different. We all know how everything has changed and the summary of the current directives below underly our primary mission of keeping you safe and caring for your well-being and good health.
- The Archbishop has encouraged us to move slowly and carefully in reopening.
- Our Reopening Plans and instructions will be posted on our three social media sites: Parish webpage, Constant Contact and the Parish Facebook page.
- Health direction signage from the Archdiocese, LA county and the CDC is posted on the outside doors and inside the church and our social media sites.
- The Archbishop has dispensed all Catholics from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass. You do not have to attend Mass on Sunday.
- We will continue to record the Sunday Mass and you will receive the link on Saturday at 4:00. If you have not signed up for Constant Contact – almost 700 families receive our parish e-mails, my messages and links, you can sign up on the home page of our parish website: stjosephlb.org
- We encourage the most vulnerable, elderly and those with underlying health conditions to remain at home and watch the Mass online. If you don’t feel safe, please stay home.
- If you feel sick, or show symptoms of Covid-19, please do not come to Church.
- The church doors will only open 20 minutes before Mass begins. A cleaning crew will be in the church sanitizing the church before the next Mass.
- Social distancing begins in the parking lot. Only the main lot is open and the courtyard parking lot is closed. Cars should occupy every other space in the parking lot. Upon exiting your car, please put on a mask or face covering. You must wear a mask in Church for the duration of the Mass and it can only be removed for the reception of Holy Communion.
- There is only one entrance to the Church – the east side door leading to the parking lot.
- Blue tape lines are marked six feet apart on the pavement outside the Church for people to line up.
- Outside the entrance door trained staff will welcome you, ask if you are sick, or have any symptoms of illness today. Parishioners will then make use of the hand sanitizing station. A staff member will make sure that each person is wearing a mask as they enter the church.
- Each person will be counted when they enter the church. When we reach 92 people (+8 ministers) the church doors will be closed. This will be difficult. People will be invited to wait for the next Mass and we’re working on other options. If there are too many people we may have to implement on-line reservations. County and Archdiocesan guidelines do not allow for any other gathering or overflow in the gym, etc. Only 100 people will be allowed on the campus at any one time. Our pastoral team will evaluate our options week by week.
- Inside the church a staff member will direct people where to be seated. Our seating chart outline respects a three foot radius and six feet for social distancing. Every other row of pews will be closed. A blue taped cross signifies where you can sit in the pew and please respect social distancing in the pew. Families with children should sit together. There will be no passing of baskets. A basket will be at the exit door for people to leave their envelopes or gift.
- All hymnals and worship aids have been removed from the church. Singing will be kept to a minimum.
- For the time being, the sign of Peace will be eliminated.
- The procession for Communion has markings on the floor, so you will maintain social distancing in line and from the pews.
- According to Archdiocesan guidelines, you may only receive Holy Communion in the hand. Communion on the tongue is not permitted at this time. The Priest and Deacon will sanitize their hands and wear masks while distributing Holy Communion. For the time being, The Chalice of the Lord’s Blood will not be offered. When you come forward to receive Holy Communion, as you approach the minister, please remove or pull your mask down below your chin and stretch out your cupped hands to receive the Holy Body of Christ.
- At the end of Mass, please do not linger, so attendants can sanitize the church after each Mass. There will be one exit, the right door by the music ministry section, and you will be dismissed pew by pew.
- Near the exit will be a Basket for you to place your envelope or offering. Thanks for supporting your parish community with your generous gift!
- Upon exiting the Church, please return to your cars, and respect those coming to the next Mass. Small gatherings, socializing, food and drink are not permitted at this time. I will miss Simone’s donuts – only for a while!
- Ongoing ventilation with our new air conditioning system will be working!!!
I will hear confessions on Saturdays at 4:00 in one of the school classrooms. Please enter through the school glass doors located to the left of the church. Signs will be posted. Blue tape in the hallway will respect social distancing. When you enter the classroom blue tape on the carpet will show you where to stand as you make your confession and celebrate reconciliation. When you finish, please exit through the school doors as the church will not open until 4:40 PM.
On Monday, June 8, we will commence weekday Mass Monday thru Wed. at 8 AM. We do not want our retired priests who are vulnerable to help out yet, so on Thursday and Friday at 8 AM, Sr. Eva, Deacon Shane and Deacon Tom will rotate and conduct a Holy Communion Service. All of the guidelines listed above are to be followed for Weekday Mass. If you do not want to come on Sunday, you may want to come to a weekday service.
I know this is a lot, however, for now this is our way of caring for you and for all of us to take good care and protect one another. This is new for all of us and we will all try to do the best we can under this “new normal” and for however long this takes until we fully reopen. Thank you for your care, patience and collaboration as we take these precautions to keep everyone safe and well. The Lord is with us!
Blessings and Peace, Msgr. Kevin