Mass re- opening procedures
Holy Infant Catholic Church
Hello All and Greetings in Christ,
I have some news to report for Holy Infant. The good news is: that we have been approved by the Diocese of Richmond to resume Masses this weekend June 20th and 21st.
The bad news is that the second compressor for the Air Conditioner failed last week, and needs to be replaced. This was the second of two compressors, of which the first one failed last year, a year after its warranty expired. This one, at least ,lasted an extra year. As a result of running on one compressor the AC has difficulty regulating the temperature when the heat rises. A new compressor has been ordered and we are awaiting its availability for installation.
Depending on the what the weather does this weekend will affect the temperature during Mass, if its warm outside it will likely be warm in the church. As in the past, we will attempt to use methods to increase ventilation, and reduce discomfort.
As for mass itself, we will be planning to have both a Vigil Mass Saturday evening at 5:00 PM and then on Sunday morning at 11:00 AM which will also be livestreamed for those who cannot attend.
For those who are attending mass there are several things that will be new and different:
First plan on arriving 30 minutes early. This will allow us to make the necessary check-in and special seating preparations.
All attendees, when they arrive, will be asked three questions.
o Have you or anyone in your household had a fever in the past two (2) weeks?
o Do you or anyone in your household have a new cough or new shortness of breath?
o Have you come into contact with anyone who is positive with COVID-19 in the past two (2) weeks?
A yes answer to any of these would present a risk for everyone else in attendance, so the attendee would be gently advised to refrain from attendance.
Also all attendees, over the age of 10, must wear a face covering the entire time in the church, accept at the time of consuming the host. For those that report they have a medical condition that would preclude them from wearing a mask will be advised that the medical condition puts them and others at risk for exposure.
The check-in process also involves recording each attendees name and contact details, either a phone number or email address. This is to be used in the case that if someone who attendeds mass while other did, and contracts COVID-19, we can notify all others of their possible exposure. If we don’t have this detail we can’t warn anyone of their possible exposure.
Once the checkin process is completed the attendees will be seated in order as they arrive, starting form the front and working to the rear attempting to minimize violation social distancing.
Those that attend will notice some changes were made in the church to block off certain pews to create social distancing. For single attendees we will only be seating in the first seat of the pew (adjacent to the center isle) and the separate seat at the end of the pew. Families who domicile together can fill the open pews and the seat on the end. Then if we overflow into the Hall, for singles only one can sit in each of the clusters of chairs, or families can fill a cluster. Some other changes are the hymnals and bench cushions have been removed. These items would be too difficult to disinfect between Masses so they have been removed. For following the Mass, we recommend bringing your own missal or use your smart phone or tablet. This website has the Mass readings and prayers on the "Prayers" tab and throughout the church a QR code scan is available to bring up the Prayer page..
We ask that everyone refrain from using the restroom, but for urgent occasions the restroom in the Hall will be available (the upstairs restroom will be closed for use). After use please use available wipes to wipe down all contacted surfaces, including commode.
During Mass all movement will be guided by the ushers. Please remain seated until directed by the ushers. When standing in lines follow the blue tape marking to maintain proper social distancing.
For consumption of Eucharist, after receiving the host, step aside to the labeled section (paper sign on the floor), remove the face covering, consume the Eucharist, and replace the face covering. It is also requested that everyone receive the host by the hand. However, if someone still prefers to receive by the tongue, they can be accommodated by setting them aside so they can receive after everyone else.
At the end of Mass the ushers will dismiss everyone in an order that minimizes compromised social distancing; starting for the rear and proceeding to the front.
These do seem like a lot of inconveniences to resume our Mass worship, but they are rather minimal in comparison to what we as Catholics have experienced over the years and throughout the world with religious persecution. Perhaps these sacrifices can be can be seen as redemptive suffering in our love of God. Personally I don’t like these changes myself, but is does seem to be what we need to do to help protect everyone, and avoid the near occasion to infect someone or be infected.
Another thing to note is the Bishop and the Diocese are still recommending that all who feel they are in the high risk category should refrain form attending Mass until there are more assurances we are past at the risk, or at least mitigations, like vaccines are available. In support of this recommendation the Bishop has granted a dispensation for all who cannot attend due to the risk. We will continue to offer livestreaming of the Sunday Mass for those who cannot attend.
I’d like to extend a WELCOME back to all who can attend.
May the Lord Bless you, protect you from all evil, and bring you to everlasting lie.