We are now on Phase 2 of opening back our churches to the public. The Bishop has now allowed our churches to celebrate Masses with the people in attendance. Beginning May 18, 2020, we will start our public celebrations of the Mass. However, we will be following the strict guidelines and safety protocols to safeguard everyone, especially the most vulnerable members of our parish. Always keep in mind that the threat of infection by the COVID 19 is still current and ongoing. We should never let our guards down. To implement the safety environment in our churches, the Diocese adapted the following precautionary measures:
1. Only 25% of the general population of our parish can be inside the church during the weekend Masses. We do not have a lot of people at our daily Mass. 25% of our parish population means there can be only 200 people at each of our weekend Masses. To implement this, we need to sign up to any of the Masses we choose on a weekend (Saturday, 4 pm English, 7 pm Spanish; Sunday, 8 am English, 10:30 am English). Sign-up sheets will be provided beginning tomorrow (May 17) after the 11:30 am Communion. Besides, each family will also receive a copy of the Book of Hymns. You will keep this
Hymnal with you for safekeeping and bring that with you every time you come for Mass. This is to ensure that only you will touch this hymnal.
2. The pews have been marked by blue tapes. Sit only on those marked pews. Couples, families can sit together. To make sure that nobody sits right behind or in front of you, some pews have been made unavailable for sitting.
3. During Communion time, maintaining safe distancing, we will only have a single file on the middle aisle (stay on the blue tape marks on the floor). There will be 3 stations for Communion in the Main Sanctuary, 2 stations at the Wing side. Our ushers will help us. Communion will be distributed in the hand ONLY.
4. After the Mass, all those who are on the side pews must use the side doors, and those in the middle aisle will use the Main Doors. If the side doors seem free, those in the middle pews an also use them. Avoid crowding in the exit doors.
5. At all times, while in the church, keep your face mask on. Bring your own hand sanitizers.
6. If you are uncomfortable returning to Mass, please do not feel any pressure to attend. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass is still in effect until June 28, 2020. We will continue to do Live Stream Masses for our daily 8 am Masses (Monday-Friday), and the 10:30 am Mass on Sunday.
7. If you are not feeling well or you are living with someone who feels unwell, please do not attend Mass.
8. By entering the church, you are acknowledging the potential risk when entering a public location and accepting that you will not hold responsible Our Lady of Grace Church or the Diocese of Venice for any illness that may befall you.
9. There will be no Offertory processions, no collections by the ushers, but donation baskets will be available as you come inside the sanctuary.
10. Confessions will be at 3:30 pm English, 6:30 pm Spanish on Saturday under the canopy at our Main Entrance.
We are in unprecedented and difficult times. Let us bear with one another always remembering we are doing all these sacrifices for the sake of our fellow brothers and sisters. Our love and concern for one another will surely make lighter what seems to be a burden brought to us by this pandemic. Let us continue praying for one another, our country, and the whole world.
OUR LADY OF GRACE. PRAY FOR US.
Fr. Ronnie B. Sison