Thank you for being so patient these past two months as we have had to stay away from Mass and the sacraments and normal parish life for the sake of protecting one another from the Coronavirus. This pandemic has taken its toll on all of us. I want to thank the many of you who have reached out and thanked us—Father Roth, the Sisters, Mike Davis, myself—for livestreaming our Masses and devotions and classes and making them available online. So many of you have told us it brought you comfort during this time. I want you to know that as we move from our Saint Lucy Chapel to the church, we will continue to livestream our 9:00 am daily Mass and 9:30 am Sunday Mass from the church. I truly believe that is a new evangelization tool and also a way to bring the parish to the sick and shut-in. We will be moving back into the church the weekend of June 6 & 7. This is the Feast of the Holy Trinity. What better way to celebrate our return than to give praise and worship to God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Check Yourself Before Attending Mass
Just a reminder that we are in Level Yellow of our re-opening and there are restrictions as we move forward. We are depending on individuals to self-monitor to make sure that they are able to attend Mass. That means you should not come to Mass if:
You have tested positive for Covid-19.
You have symptoms of Covid-19 or are feeling unwell.
You have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19.
You have a suppressed immune system.
You are more susceptible to Covid-19 because of underlying conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, high blood pressure, etc. Please discuss with your personal physician if you have questions.
If you think you should not be coming to Mass, please remember that Bishop Gainer has dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass until further notice. Make the best decision for yourself and for others!
Let's Begin with the Mass Schedule
Once again, public Mass will begin on the weekend of June 6 & 7. We will keep the Sunday Mass schedule. We will continue to have Mass at 5:00 pm on Saturday evening; Sunday morning Masses at 7:30 am, 9:30 am, and 11:30 am; and Sunday evening Mass at 5:00 pm. The Sunday morning masses will be celebrated in the church, as usual.
But please note: The 5:00 pm Masses on Saturday and Sunday evening will be celebrated at our new school on 1531 Sandhill Road. These Masses will be celebrated OUTSIDE when the weather is nice. Otherwise, these Masses will be celebrated in the gymnasium. If we anticipate celebrating Mass in the gym because of inclement weather, we will post a sign at the entrance of the school by 4:30 pm.
We encourage as many people as possible to attend the evening Masses because we have much more space available outside. During the Yellow Phase, we must maintain social distancing (at least six feet) and wear masks.
The directions from the Bishop’s Office is that we only allow 1/3 capacity of our churches for Masses to be filled and that we maintain the social distancing required by the state. We have measured off the church and we can allow approximately 135 parishioners at each Mass. The gymnasium at the new school can hold approximately 300 parishioners standing. Outdoors we can accommodate many more! We want as many of our parishioners as possible to come to Mass for worship. In order to avoid large crowds at the church on Sunday morning, please consider coming to the outdoor Mass on Sandhill Road.
Note: Outdoor Masses will be celebrated at our new school location, 1531 Sand Hill Road, Hummelstown PA 17036. If weather doesn't permit for outdoor Mass, it will be held in the gym.
Now let’s talk about what will happen at Mass.
Masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed at all Masses. Please provide your own masks. Gloves should not be worn!
Mass will have music only at the 9:30 am Mass on Sunday morning. This Mass will be livestreamed. Mike Davis will play and cantor that Mass. There will be no choir at this time. At the other Masses, we will recite the Mass parts or they may be sung “acapella” as we have been doing at daily Mass.
As you enter the church, you will be directed to designated seats marked with blue tape. At the outdoor Masses, we ask that you find an area for yourself and/or for your family that maintains social distancing.
Distribution of Holy Communion will take place after Mass is finished. This is to avoid everyone gathering at the doors of the church as they leave. If you are not receiving Holy Communion, you may leave. If you are receiving Holy Communion, you will maintain social distancing as you come forward. In the church, there will be decals on the floor to tell you where to stand. Hand sanitizers will be in the aisles for you to use before you come up to receive. Please maintain social distancing as you leave the church/gymnasium/outdoors.
During these first few weeks, we will monitor the number of people coming for Mass. If we see that there is a need for overflow seating/standing, we will use the Parish cafeteria/social hall. Mass will be livestreamed there and Holy Communion will be distributed in the social hall.
Baskets will be provided at the entrances for your Sunday offering.
At outdoor Masses, you are welcome to bring chairs, umbrellas for the heat or blankets to sit on. Of course, since Mass will be shorter without music and Holy Communion will be distributed at the end of Mass, you are welcome to stand. (By the way, for the first 1,500 years of Mass there were no pews!)
Daily Mass will be celebrated Monday through Saturday at 9:00 am. At this time there will no 6:45 am Mass. The reason for this is that we need to disinfect the church before and after each Mass. We need at least a half hour to disinfect the church. Our maintenance staff will disinfect at 8:00 am and again after Mass between 9:30 am and 10:00 am. Plan on coming to daily Mass after 8:30 am.
For daily Mass Monday through Friday at 9:00 am, you may enter through the doors on Glen Avenue or the side entrance on Areba Avenue. Sit in the pews that are marked. Mass will proceed as on Sunday.
We will not at this time begin to schedule liturgical ministers for Mass. The clergy, sisters, music minister and seminarian will serve in this capacity.
Finally, we will distribute Holy Communion in your cars to those who have participated at Mass via livestreaming from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm each Sunday under the covering in front of the Areba Avenue school (not across from the Blessed Mother Shrine but where the buses drop off the kids for school). Simply drive through from Valley Road and exit onto Areba Avenue. I encourage you to park your car in a safe place somewhere for time of private prayer and thanksgiving.
Okay, let’s move onto making private visits to the Blessed Sacrament in the church
If you choose to come to the church and pray during the week, please use the Glen and Areba Avenue entrances. There will be sections of the church which will be available for your use. Please restrict yourself to these areas. We will provide disinfectant wipes for you to clean the area where you have been praying. We cannot monitor all the visits to the church and our maintenance staff will not be available to clean after each visit. Thanks for your cooperation
Now for confessions
Confession Times: Wednesday 5:00-5:30 pm and Saturdays 3:00-4:00 pm It is preferable that air is circulating in areas where parishioners will gather as a parish. (Speaking of which, we will be leaving the doors to the church open during the day to keep air flowing.) Confessions will be heard under the arcade in front of the school. The priests will be seated with a screen between him and the penitent. In order to avoid disinfecting after each confession, we ask that you stand. No chairs or kneelers will be provided. Stand at the proper distance and confess your sins. This sacrament is not the place for prolonged spiritual counseling but especially at this time, please simply confess your sins and celebrate the Sacrament as devoutly as possible in this situation. Cloth-covered partitions will be set up to absorb sound so that your confession is not heard
Parish Office Hours
Our parish office will open at its regular hours starting on Monday, June 8. Please use the ramp entrance in order to maintain social distancing. Masks must be worn while doing office business. We will evaluate the resumption of using parish meeting spaces for our ministries and organizations in the next few weeks. We will communicate those decisions at that time.
Thanks so much for listening. I know if we all work together this will be a smooth transition. Looking forward to seeing all of you again soon! God bless!