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Guidelines For Public Mass During Pandemic

Posted on May 13, 2020 in: General News

Guidelines For Public Mass During Pandemic

As you probably know, Archbishop Carlson has given us permission to resume public Masses. Weekday Masses will begin on Monday, May 18th, and our first Sunday Masses will be the evening of Saturday, May 23rd and the morning of Sunday, May 24th. We are far from being back to “the way it was,” so please pay attention to the following special policies and precautions that the Archdiocese of St. Louis has enacted for the safety of all in our parish family. Also, please note that Archbishop Carlson has indefinitely extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. Use your best judgment about whether or not to come to church. It is very important for you to let us know if you are coming to Sunday Mass by signing up at the link included below.

Should I come to Mass?

Anyone who is ill, symptomatic, or has been exposed to someone else with the coronavirus within 14 days cannot enter the church. This is in accord with national, state, and local health directives. We also ask everyone to check their temperature at home before deciding if you are coming to Mass. You can find the current symptoms of the coronavirus at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website www.cdc.gov.

Those who are at risk because of an underlying health issue or who are over 60 are strongly encouraged, for their own health, to avoid the risk of attending public celebrations of the Mass.

When will Mass be celebrated?

We will maintain our regular weekday Mass schedule – Monday through Friday at 6:30am & 8:00am; Saturday at 9am.

In order to allow for cleaning of the church, we are adopting a new Sunday Mass schedule: Saturday at 5:00pm; Sunday at 7:00am, 9:00am, and 11:00am. If these Masses fill up, we will add Mass times or make provisions for overflow.

What should I do if want to come to Mass?

Based on government and archdiocesan guidelines, we must restrict attendance to 150 people at each Mass. In order to do this, anyone desiring to attend Sunday Mass must sign up at:

        SGM Sunday Mass Signup

        SGM Sunday Mass Signup Instructions

For now, signups are not required for weekday Masses.

What should I do if I cannot come to Mass?

We will continue to livestream our Masses. Monday through Friday Mass will be at 8:00am. Saturday and Sunday Masses will be at 9:00am. (Please note this change in livestreamed Mass times on Saturday and Sunday. These new times will begin on Saturday, May 23rd.)

Parishioners who would like to have Holy Communion brought to their homes should contact Janet Wittenauer, Pastoral Care Coordinator, at nurse@sgmparish.org or (314) 965-3985 ext. 2815. The frequency of our visits for Holy Communion will depend upon the number of requests.

How will we be kept safe when we come to Mass?

Archbishop Carlson has instructed parishes to ensure all pews are wiped down with disinfectant; that all hymnals and missalettes are removed; and that all surfaces used frequently (restroom facilities, door handles, etc.) are sanitized before each service.

Everyone attending Mass is obligated to wear a mask or other facial covering. The only exception during Mass is when we are seated in the pew and when receiving Holy Communion.

You’ll be asked to observe social distancing – staying at least six feet from people not in your household. Only certain pews are available for seating. When you arrive, please use your good judgment about where to sit. Be respectful and accommodating towards others as they arrive and look for seating.

You’ll find the holy water fonts are empty and that there is hand sanitizer available. Hymnals have been removed from the pews, and we will not be using song sheets.

You’ll notice there will be no offertory procession, no sign of peace, and no passing of the collection basket.

You can drop your donation in a stationary basket, or continue to use the online or ACH opportunities provided by your parish.

Can we receive Holy Communion?

Yes, but only the Most Precious Body and only by hand. This is in keeping with the advice of state health officials to avoid any possible contact with another person’s saliva or particles exhaled from the communicants’ mouth onto the ministers’ fingers.

Holy Communion will be distributed at the conclusion of Mass, rather than at the usual time in the middle of Mass. This will allow for gradual dismissal of the congregation. After receiving Holy Communion, you are welcome to return to your pew for a moment of prayer before you leave church.

For the distribution of Holy Communion, ushers or other volunteers who are masked and gloved will ensure six-foot distancing in the Communion line. Floor markings shall be placed six feet apart in the aisles in which the congregation approaches the sanctuary for Holy Communion to facilitate proper social distancing.

Communion ministers must be masked, sanitize their hands immediately before and after distributing Holy Communion, and when at all possible, should utilize a disinfectant wipe or purificator dipped in a sanitizing solution (at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol) to sanitize their fingers when incidental contact is made with the communicant.

When approaching the Communion minister, the communicant is to pull their mask or other facial covering below their chin and present one hand resting on the palm of the other. After responding “Amen,” the communicant reverently places the Eucharist in his or her mouth and immediately replaces their mask or other facial covering.

What do we need to keep in mind as we leave Mass?

Please leave Mass together as a household, wearing your masks or other facial covering and observing six feet of distance from others. The clergy and others will not be able to greet you after Mass, and bulletins or other materials should not be distributed after Mass. You will not be permitted to congregate in the narthex, and no receptions or social gathering following Mass can be held.

I’m in the choir or a lector. What should we do?

Choirs are not allowed to assemble; cantors are acceptable to lead music at mass.

Lectors and all lay ministers are obligated to wear masks and maintain the social distance of six feet as much as possible.

What about servers?

At this time, we will not be maintaining the usual server schedule. Servers are welcome to check in at the sacristy before Mass to see if the priest needs a server.

When should children wear masks?

Parents should determine when a child is old enough to attend Mass and can abide by the safety guidelines.

What about other parish meetings and social gatherings?

We can begin to allow meetings, as long as the requirements of six-foot social distancing and the wearing of masks can be observed. We encourage groups to conference by telephone or internet instead of meeting in person. Groups that are interested in the possibility of scheduling a meeting should contact the parish office to see if this will be possible.

Social gatherings will be allowed as soon as possible. Currently social gatherings are still forbidden to help ensure the health and safety of all parishioners.

What about other celebrations, such as First Communions, Confirmations, weddings, funerals, etc.?

We have been given the authority to schedule these and will be communicating plans in the near future. These celebrations will be subject to the same policies as other public Masses.

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