Gospel JN 15:18-21
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.”
Q & A with Fr. Ron
Q: Fr. Ron, what can parishioners expect as the church doors open for public Masses on Pentecost weekend, May 30 & 31?
A: At this point, we’re planning to have public Masses at Sacred Heart Church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Holy Rosary Chapel starting on Pentecost. Each Mass can only accommodate ten parishioners under current state and diocesan guidelines. We hope that changes in the coming weeks and if it does, we’ll let you know right away. Also, the two weekends before Pentecost we will celebrate a limited Mass at Sacred Heart Church so we can practice the use of the procedures we’ll be using on Pentecost and thereafter. We are doing everything possible to make sure our churches are fully disinfected and safe for the public. I ask all of our parishioners to be patient with us during this time.
Q: Will we have to call or email for a reservation to come to Mass?
A: Yes, the number of people allowed to attend each Mass is limited so you must make a reservation by calling or emailing the Parish Office beginning on May 26. This will allow us to keep track of how many people will attend each Mass.
Q: Are you requiring parishioners to wear a mask while in church at Mass?
A: Yes. Every parishioner will have to bring and wear a mask while at Mass. This includes children two years and older. We have to keep a safe distance between people, at least six feet, and each person needs to be safe and cooperative.
Q: I hear we can’t sing at Mass. Is that true?
A: There will be no singing because it dramatically increases the potential for spreading the virus if someone is infected. Also, the hymnals will be removed from the pews. We cannot share paper products from one Mass to another. This includes weekly bulletins.
Q: Also, what about cleaning the church after each Mass?
A: This is a must. The interior of the church will have to be disinfected after every Mass. This will require parishioners to be more careful not to leave trash, tissues and personal items in the pews.
Q: Oh, my, Fr. Ron, please tell me that you will have restrooms available during Mass. Will they be open for our use?
A: The small restroom at Sacred Heart Church may or may not be open upon our return. This needs more research. We will let you know at a later date. The Parish Center will definitely be closed when Masses resume. The restrooms in the Parish Center will not be available.
Q: What about us who are over 65? Can we come to Mass?
A: If you are over the age of 65, we suggest that you not attend Mass at this time. Please keep yourself safe during this unprecedented time. We are currently pursuing the ability to have live stream or recorded Masses on our website for those who are not able to attend Mass.
Q: Will Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Holy Rosary open for public Masses for Pentecost?
A: Yes! Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Holy Rosary Chapel will both be open for public Mass with ten people per Mass. Parishioners of these two communities will also need to make reservations to attend by calling or emailing the Parish Office.
Q: Why are you having public Mass on Pentecost while so many other churches are offering public Mass this weekend?
A: We are having public Masses starting on Pentecost because that is when we will be ready to open in a safe manner to the public. There have been so many inconsistencies and changes with guidelines; we wanted to wait a couple of weeks to sort through the issues. However, we will begin this weekend and next with a limited Mass at Sacred Heart Church to work out all of the details and then offer Mass to the public at all three of our churches on Pentecost weekend.
Q: What about confessions? Will we have an opportunity to come to Sacred Heart?
A: At this point, confessions are by appointment only. Call the Parish Office to make an appointment.
Q: When will other things resume, such as faith formation, meetings, and our food pantry?
A: We will let you know about each of those things when we get more information. Hold tight, be patient.
Q: How are the three churches doing financially, Fr. Ron? How can we help?
A: I realize this is an incredibly difficult time for all people financially. Many of our parishioners have lost their jobs. Others wait in hope that they can remain employed. I get it. I know the difficulties to pay rent, to sustain our families. I understand. I am also facing the fiscal reality at all three of our churches that we may have to make deep cuts. We have to put together next year’s budget now. It is a guessing game at best. Please, if you can, help sustain all three of our churches by giving online or mailing in your offertory to the parish office. We need your help. Thank you for your generosity.
Q: How can we pray for you and the church?
A: I ask your prayers for the continuation of all three of our communities and the welfare of our people. I ask you to pray for our staff as well. I ask you to pray for me, for my ability to lead us through the unknown in this time. We are all facing the anxiety of trying to make ends meet and to work for the benefit of our parish. Please ask for the intercession of Saint André Bessette, to beg God for healing. May Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!