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Sacred Heart Parish Guidelines for attending Mass during COVID-19
May 21, 2020
Thank you for your patience as we work out all the details of reopening our three churches. We are glad that we will soon be back together, however we are being cautious for your protection. We realize that you may be frustrated with Sacred Heart Parish’s guidelines for attending Mass listed below, however we are closely following the guidelines from the El Paso County Health Department. We are doing our best to accommodate our parishioners and the future of our three communities. In the meantime, maintain hope in the person of Christ Jesus, the true reason for our community.
Starting Pentecost weekend, May 30th & 31st, Sacred Heart Parish will offer public Masses at all three of our churches with the following Mass schedule:
Saturday, May 30th – 5:30 pm Vigil Mass at Sacred Heart Church
Sunday, May 31st – 7:30, 9 & 11:30 am at Sacred Heart Church
Sunday, May 31st – 7:30 am at Holy Rosary Chapel
Sunday, May 31st – 9:30 am at Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Tuesday, June 2nd- *8 am & *5:30 pm at Sacred Heart Church (*Mass for the
celebration of Pentecost)
Thursday, June 4th- *8 am & *5:30 pm at Sacred Heart Church (*Mass for the
celebration of Pentecost)
We ask that parishioners sign up for the above listed Masses, however, only ten people will be allowed per Mass at this time. Sign ups are on a first come, first serve basis. (See Parishioner Responsibilities below for more details on sign ups.) This Mass schedule along with the amount of people allowed at each Mass will be reassessed after Pentecost and any changes will be communicated to the parish.
Although Bishop Sheridan has decreed that public Masses could resume on May 16th & 17th, he has also directed pastors to resume public Masses for the faithful only when they are able to do so safely. Sacred Heart Parish has chosen to resume public Masses on May 30th & 31st because that is when we believe we will be ready to provide a safe environment for all who attend. In the meantime, Sacred Heart Church is offering a limited Mass the two weekends before Pentecost to work out all of the details.
At this time Sacred Heart Parish is offering limited public Masses to ten people at a time in accordance with the Safer at Home Public Health Order 20-28, which states “All public and private gatherings are limited to no more than ten (10) individuals” (Order 1, C).” After consulting with the El Paso County Health Department, these guidelines were affirmed that no more than ten people are allowed to gather at this time. Sacred Heart Parish is committed to providing the highest safety standards possible while accommodating the safest number of people allowed to gather as instructed by county and state guidelines. When there is a change to these guidelines, we will adjust our seating capacity and communicate this information to the parish.
Please note that while our parish is implementing safety protocols for returning to Mass, there is still an increased risk of contracting the Coronavirus. Those 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions are encouraged not to attend Mass at this time.
All attendees should know that they are attending Mass at their own risk. If you are sick, have a cough or fever, please stay home.
For those who wish to stay at home at this time, we encourage you to continue to join in Masses on television and online. We are currently pursuing the option to either livestream Mass or provide a weekly recording on our website. As a reminder, all the faithful are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
The Parish Center will remain closed. There are still no ministry or organization meetings at the parish. The Parish Office is available by phone (719-633-8711) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sunday thru Thursday, 8:30 am- 4:30 pm, however the front doors remain closed to visitors at this time.
As social distancing guidelines are gradually eased, we will observe both the guidelines of our local diocese and those of the state and local government in an effort of charity to not spread the Coronavirus.
When returning to Mass, please remember to practice good hygiene by washing your hands frequently, following social distancing guidelines and wearing a cloth face mask. Below is a list of responsibilities for those attending Mass. Please read the responsibilities. If you or a member of your household are not able or willing to abide by the responsibilities outlined below, we ask that you stay at home at this time.
Responsibilities for those Attending Mass:
- Make a reservation for you and your family. Contact the Parish Office at 719-633-8711 or email email@example.com. The office is available to take reservations Sunday from 8:30 am- 1 pm, Monday – Wednesday from 8:30 am-4:30 pm and Thursday from 8:30 am- noon. Only those with a confirmed reservation will be allowed to enter the churches at this time. Reservations are on a first come, first serve basis. The parish will determine how many seats are available based on the current state and county guidelines and the appropriate amount of spacing in each of the churches. Once seats are filled, there will be no wait-list offered at this time. Reservations will be offered weekly for the following Sunday and weekday Masses. We will not make reservations for future Masses in advance.
When making a reservation, please include the following information:
- Your name and the names of all immediate family members attending with you, including children and infants.
- Phone number and email address.
- Which Mass you would like to attend for the upcoming week.
- Since the number of people who can attend Mass is limited, we ask that your family attend only one Sunday or weekday Mass per month to allow other parishioners the opportunity to attend.
- If anyone is 65 or older. (However, we strongly encourage you to stay home at this time.)
- You will receive a confirmation email that your reservation has been made. If you do not receive this confirmation, your reservation has not been accepted. Leaving a voicemail message or sending an email does not confirm your reservation.
* Please note that this reservation system may change to an online sign up system once Masses are able to accommodate more than ten people. More information will be communicated if there is a change in the reservation system.
- Arrive 15-30 minutes early to Mass. When you arrive for your scheduled Mass, please park and wait in your car. The church will open 30 minutes before the scheduled Mass timeand Hospitality Ministers will be outside to welcome you and check you in. Observe social distancing between households by using the markers on the sidewalks and abiding by the markers on the pews in the church. Parishioners must bring and wear a face mask at all times on the property, including in the parking lot, and during Mass.
- Follow the check-in procedure. After being checked in, all parishioners will enter the church through the side door entrance. The check in process will include confirmation that all parishioners have brought and are wearing their face mask and have sanitized their hands prior to entry. Once all parishioners with reservations have been checked in, the doors will be closed and locked on the outside to prevent exceeding a safe capacity inside the church. Only those who have made a reservation for the Mass will be admitted to Mass at this time. (A similar check in process will occur at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Holy Rosary Chapel.)
- Practice good hygiene and wash your hands well before coming to the church. There will be hand sanitizer stations outside the church entrance. All are asked to sanitize their hands before entering the church.
The restroom in Sacred Heart Church will be available, however it can not be properly disinfected after each use. It will be sanitized after each Mass. Parishioners will use the restroom at their own risk. The restrooms in the Parish Center will not be available at this time.
- All are required to bring and wear a cloth face mask while on the property and during Mass, removing it only when receiving Holy Communion. This includes children two years and older.
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.
- Please keep a safe social distancewhen:
- a.Seated in the pews. Our Hospitality Ministers will seat each household according to distancing guidelines in the order that they arrive. Households will sit together in pews as they normally do, side by side. Maintain 6 feet between your household and the next one in a pew.
- b.When going to Communion we ask all to leave the pew, as indicated by Hospitality Ministers, and come forward observing the taped markings on the floor to keep the 6 feet distance while standing in line. Families belonging to the same household are encouraged to stand together. We strongly encourage all to come forward so no one must climb over someone and violate social distancing rules.
- c.Parishioners are encouraged to place their donation in the central collection basket as they leave the church. We will not pass the collection baskets. All parishioners are still encouraged to contribute to the financial needs of the parish through online giving even if you are not able to be physically present at Sunday Mass.
- When leaving Church and going to your car, please maintain social distancing. Do not gather outside of the church to visit or socialize. Paper bulletins will not be passed out. Weekly bulletins are available on our website www.sacredheartcos.org.
- Holy Communion SHOULD BE RECEIVED IN THE HAND ONLYto safeguard the recipient and the priest. We realize this will be difficult for some, but we ask that we humble ourselves in obedience and gratefully receive our Lord in this manner to practice charity towards our neighbor. The distribution of the Precious Blood to the people remains suspended at this time.
Hospitality Ministers will encourage the orderly process towards Holy Communion. The Eucharist will be distributed by sections of seating to allow for social distancing when in line to receive and when returning to your pew. The recipient should keep their mask on in the communion line, receive the Eucharist in their hand, step a few feet away from the priest, remove their face mask to consume the Eucharist, and promptly put their face mask back on before returning to their seat.
- Leaving Church:Be mindful of proper social distancing as you leave. The Hospitality Ministers will dismiss rows one by one. We ask that you wait to leave until you are instructed to ensure proper social distancing. Once the Mass concludes, we ask that you promptly leave the church so that we may adequately sanitize the church before the next Mass attendees arrive. Please do not stay behind to pray or socialize.
- If you become sick with COVID-19 symptoms and/ or test positive after attending Mass at Sacred Heart Parish, as a courtesy we ask that you please contact the parish office to disclose which Mass you attended. You do not need to disclose your name and that information won’t be shared with other parishioners. However, in the event that someone who attends a Mass becomes ill with the virus, we would like the opportunity to contact other attendees to let them know that they have been potentially exposed to prevent the spread of the virus in the community.
We need your help: We need Hospitality Ministers at EACH Mass to assist with the check in process, seat attendees, direct parishioners in the communion line and at dismissal. If we do not have enough volunteers, we may not be able to gather for Mass in the future when the number of attendees is allowed to increase. The majority of our Hospitality Ministers who currently serve in this ministry are 65 years and older. We strongly suggest that they stay home at this time. We need volunteers who are between the ages of 18-64 to volunteer to help during this unique time. No previous experience necessary. Training will be provided! If you are able to volunteer, email Sue Gerlach at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other ways to help: Pray for the welfare of our three churches and our parish. Please be patient with us as we maneuver through the sign up process and the new procedures for attending Mass. If you are able to contribute financially to support our three churches, we welcome you to do this through our online giving portal or mail your contribution to Sacred Heart Parish, 2021 W. Pikes Peak Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80904.
Let us thank God for his loving protection and our Blessed Mother Mary for her prayerful intercession as we open our three churches for public Masses! Thank you for your patience with us as we navigate through this unprecedented time. Please know of our prayer for you and your loved ones.
Sacred Heart Parish COVID-19 Task Force