New Guidelines from Bishop (May 23-24, 2020) Beginning this weekend, May 23-24, 2020, weekend liturgies may be celebrated in parishes in our diocese. However, there are some very specific guidelines and restrictions. Before I begin, I would like to reassure you that we will continue to live-stream our Sunday morning liturgy. Also, for the past two months, the church has remained open from 10-3 P.M. for you to stop by to pray, drop off food for OASIS, or drop off your church envelopes. That will continue, but with one change. The church will remain open Monday through Saturday from 10-3 P.M. It will not be open on Sunday. In light of the new guidelines established by the Bishop, 1.We will celebrate liturgy on Sunday morning at 8:00 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. Please notice the change in times. a. Why the change? The guidelines insist that there be at least 3 hours between the beginning of one liturgy and the beginning of another so that there is adequate time to clean and sanitize the church. b. In order to make this possible, only the front restrooms, the Commons, and the Worship Space will be accessible. -That means that the Social Hall, kitchen, ambulatory, and the offices or restrooms in the back are off limits until further notice. c. The guidelines specifically state that only one person can be in the restroom at a time, so please try to use the restroom at home before you come to liturgy. 2. The capacity may not exceed 50 % and we must maintain the social distance of 6 feet. Two experts in our parish spent Sunday afternoon here and measured the seating capacity. Their recommendation is to limit the number to 75. a. Why so low? Because there are so many variables: one person or a family of four. We will try this out and make adjustments as we go along, week by week. Please be patient. This is a new learning experience for all of us and I want to be as cautious as possible. b. Click this link to sign up online. c. To ensure that everyone has a chance, we are asking everyone who signs up for this weekend not to sign up immediately for next weekend. Please wait until noon on Saturday and, if there is still room left, then please sign up. This will give more people a chance to participate. 3. There are several significant requirements for those who intend to come to liturgy. a. Everyone (three years of age and above) who comes MUST wear a face covering during the entire liturgy. You must bring your own face covering. b. When you arrive, the usher will check you off the list of those who have signed up. If people show up who have not signed up, they will be allowed in only if we haven’t reached our limit. Otherwise, they will be asked to sign up for a different liturgy. c. The usher will then ask you three questions: 1st: Have you or anyone in your household had a fever in the past 2 weeks? 2nd: Do you or anyone in your household have a new cough or new shortness of breath? 3rd: Have you come into contact with anyone who is positive with COVID-19 in the past 2 weeks? If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes” or if anyone is not wearing a face covering, they will not be permitted to enter the church. They will be politely told that they are not allowed to enter the building at this time. N.B. In light of all this, we are asking you to arrive 20-30 minutes early. d. After answering the questions, each person will be given a squirt of hand sanitizer and then the usher will seat parishioners according to social distance protocols, starting from the front of the church and moving towards the rear of the church. e. The usher will also direct each pew at a time to come forward and receive Communion. The usher will also direct each pew to exit following liturgy. f. Everyone is expected to maintain the appropriate 6 feet social distancing at all times. g. Unfortunately, no socializing is allowed! 4. Please notice the specific way the liturgy is to be celebrated. a. Since the guidelines strongly discourage singing by the Assembly, we will only sing the refrain to the Psalm and the Alleluia. Accordingly, we will not have song sheets or bulletins. b. To maintain social distancing, the entrance and recessional procession will be from the side, not down the center aisle. c. Furthermore, there will be No cantors, NO altar servers, No proclaimers, and No Eucharistic Ministers. d. There will not be an Offertory collection. Instead, a locked box with a slot for envelopes, cash, or checks (carefully guarded by an usher), will be placed at the entrance of the Worship Space. e. There will not be an Offertory procession of bread, wine, and food. There will be grocery carts in the Commons for anyone who would like to bring food for OASIS. f. Until further notice, we will not be holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer and we will not be shaking hands or hugging during the Sign of Peace. g. There will not be a nursery or Children’s Liturgy of the Word. 5. Notice how Communion will be distributed. a. Only the priest and deacon can distribute the Eucharist. They must wear a face covering and wear non-latex gloves when distributing Communion. To further ensure the safety of everyone, we will be placing a table for the priest and deacon to stand behind during Communion. On this table will be a plexiglass guard/shield between the them and those receiving the Eucharist. b. To maintain social distancing, we will mark the spots for people to stand. c. I am asking everyone to please receive the Eucharist in the hand for the present time. Everyone must wear a face covering. After receiving the Eucharist, the faithful steps aside 6-7 feet (the spot will be marked), lowers their face covering, consumes the Eucharist, lifts their face covering, and then returns to their seat. d. Until further notice, we will be using hosts instead of bread. 6. At the end of liturgy, the usher will direct each pew to exit. Please remember that after liturgy, no social gatherings or reception are permitted. 7. Final Remarks: a. Please be patient. This is new for all of us. Each week, we will have to make adjustments. b. To make this work, we will need about 4 ushers at each liturgy. If you have decided to come here for liturgy and are interested in being an usher, please call the office immediately and leave a message for me. We will train you. c. Please bring your own face covering and hand sanitizer. ***I would like to make it very clear that if you sign up to attend liturgy, you are promising to follow all the guidelines that the Bishop has provided. That means wearing a face covering at all times; following the directions from the ushers with regard to where to sit, when to come up for Communion, and when to leave for home. If these guidelines are not followed, then we will NOT be able to celebrate liturgy! c. Each week, we will continue to live-stream the 11:00 A.M. Sunday morning liturgy. d. The dispensation from the Sunday obligation is still in effect. e. Last but not least, my primary concern is your health and well-being. So please BE SAFE! BE CAREFUL! If you ask me, please STAY HOME!