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ST. MARY PARISH WORSHIP PROCEDURES as of May 30, 2020
These rules comply with State regulations, Archdiocesan Requirements and our Church’s physical plan allowing for the safe and reverent celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
PLANNING/PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP CELEBRATIONS
1. Edgar Escobar Cleaning Co, a professional cleaning company, disinfected and cleaned the Church. (May 20-21, 2020)
2. The previous Mass schedule has been adjusted to comply with occupancy requirements (400 people maximum occupancy). The Mass at 11:00 AM normally exceeds 400 people, so we are adding a Mass in Spanish on Sunday evenings at 6:00 PM. Average attendance at all other Masses is normally substantially below 400 people. Masses at St. Charles chapel remain suspended until a later date.
3. The lower church hall is now ready to be used as an overflow church when the upper church reaches its seating capacity. A priest is ready to celebrate this overflow Mass when necessary.
4. Our custodian has changed his weekday hours to work on Sundays. He will lead a team cleaning church and bathrooms between Masses.
5. A team of volunteers has been trained to provide assistance and direction at all Masses.
6. Rehearsals to test procedures have taken place from May 18-May 22.
7. Traffic patterns and designated seating areas have been created with rope, caution tape and floor markers to ensure physical distancing.
8. Signs and markers posted; holy water fonts emptied (3/20); hymnals removed (3/20); suspended communal chalice (3/20); upper and lower level windows opened; doors set ajar where possible; new stations and procedures designated for hand sanitizing, offertory baskets and Holy Communion have been put in place.
9. Lectors, sacristan and priests have been trained for new procedures regarding Mass preparation and clean-up. One lector, instead of two, will read at Mass.
10. Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, altar servers and choir members have been notified that their schedules are suspended until further notice.
11. Access for disabled and handicapped worshippers has been included in all planning.
12. One accessible entrance (the front center door) is designated for all worshippers. An usher will use a counter to monitor number of worshippers. Side doors have been designated as exits.
13. Created comprehensive procedures for seating, physical movement, mask wearing, distancing and worship response requirements, reception of Holy Communion, and exiting church and property that will be explained before and during services.
14. Fulfilled requirements of both the state and the Archdiocesan checklists for opening.
15. Received permission of Regional Bishop, Bishop Robert Reed, to begin public worship on May 23.
16. Planned staff meeting on Monday to review weekend procedures/policies.
17. Alternative confessionals have been established
WORSHIPPERS’ PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES/OBLIGATIONS
1. Worshippers who are ill, have a cold or are recovering from sickness must not attend worship services.
2. Must wear a mask and follow directions. The Archdiocesan guidelines say that those with medical or breathing issues can decide not to wear them though they must be worn when moving around the Church.
3. Avoid touching surfaces when possible.
4. We recommend each person carry sanitizing wipes for personal use.
5. Maintain distance of 6 feet from one another.
6. Be on time for Mass; remain until end of Mass to maintain social distancing when exiting Church and in parking lot.
7. Maintain the Eucharistic Fast of at least one hour before Mass. This diminishes the need to use restrooms during Mass.
8. Use your own bathroom before leaving your home; require children to do the same.(1)
We ask that worshippers who require extra time to depart the Church at the end of Mass to wait until all others have departed the building. You can either exit the side doors or exit by using the front center doors with the ramp. Anyone needing assistance to find a seat can ask the usher to lead you to a suitable seat for your needs.
ST. CHARLES CHAPEL
Reopening of St. Charles will begin gradually as soon as possible. The small size and occupancy capacity make it more difficult to implement the changes. The average age of the worshipping population makes everyone more vulnerable. We have concerns for the usual celebrant, Fr. Regan, and the Jesuit Community of Campion Center. We need to open one physical plant and make sure that it is working safely before we open a second site.
(1) NOTE REGARDING THE BATHROOM
The bathroom is only for emergencies. Worshippers must exit the church and go to the bathroom in lower hall, then re-enter the church through front center door. People with disabilities and needing extra help can ask the usher at side door for Church bathroom access.