Our Church During COVID-19
Currently, Mass attendance is limited to about 100 people. Attendance may be increased only when local data and recommendations by health professionals and the Archdiocese clearly indicate that doing so will not increase risk to the community's health and safety.
Mass attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis with no advanced sign-up. We don't anticipate having to turn anyone away. However, if capacity is reached, we trust that we can count on your charitable understanding and cooperation if we aren't able to invite you in and we thank you for your thoughtfulness towards the public health. (NOTE: While the church will have heat in cold weather, in keeping with safety precautions during the pandemic, windows will be kept open as much as possible for ample ventilation. So please dress warmly for outdoors if you come to church.)
SATURDAY - 4 PM; SUNDAY - 7:30 AM, 9 AM (AT ST. LAWRENCE), 11 AM, 5:30 PM
Whether you are healthy or “high risk” (anyone over 60, immunocompromised, with a heart condition or diabetes, or who has any other serious underlying medical conditions), your safety and health during worship is the highest priority. Mass is inherently a high-risk activity, given that it involves many people gathering indoors for a prolonged period of time. We encourage each of you to discern what is best for your own health and the health of your family and your communities, and to consult with your doctor when appropriate. Should you decide that staying at home is safer, we respect and honor your decision. We continue to stream the 11 a.m. Mass so that you can worship and participate at home and watch it live or anytime afterwards.
MASS ATTENDANCE OBLIGATION REMAINS SUSPENDED. Recognizing that the pandemic still persists, the Archdiocese has made the following statement:
“The dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation will continue for the foreseeable future. Cardinal Seán strongly encourages people in vulnerable populations, especially the elderly and those with complicating physical conditions, to continue to watch Mass from their homes, on their parish’s social media or on CatholicTV.”
God draws us together as followers of Christ; yet, in this health crisis, loving our neighbor means keeping our distance, wearing masks when not at home, and staying apart. We pray for wisdom and fortitude in this long period of social distancing, and we pray for the time we can all worship together safely.
How to Prepare for Mass
● If you have any symptoms of illness, or if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, you must stay at home. Parents have the discretion as to whether children should be present at this time, knowing that children must also follow the guidelines set.
● Please bring your own hand sanitizer/wipes. Hand sanitizer will be on hand as it remains available, and pews and commonly touched surfaces will be cleaned between Masses. Bringing your own disinfecting materials is an extra precaution.
● Masks, covering the nose and mouth, must be in place for all, with the exception of young children under two years of age and those with other medical reasons. ALL OTHERS WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ENTER THE CHURCH WITHOUT A MASK. Your mask must be worn throughout the ENTIRE Mass.
● Please use the bathroom before leaving home. For reasons of contagion, we would ideally close all bathrooms. However, we understand it is helpful to have them available. Therefore, as much as possible, plan to avoid or limit use of the bathroom.
What to Expect at Mass
● While waiting outside the church, you should maintain at least a 6 feet radius from other people not in your household. Seating will begin 15 minutes before Mass starts. All will enter the church through the central double doors on Linden St. with masks in place. You will be checked in at the door before being shown to your seat.
● Ushers and signage/markers throughout the church will guide you for seating and distancing. Please follow their directions.
● Social distancing of 6 feet or more is required at all times between persons/households. Persons/households who are self-quarantining together may sit close to each other, with a maximum capacity of 4 individuals per row. Ushers will assign you to your seats as you enter; therefore, your entire group should enter at the same time to be seated together. If your group enters at separate times, you may most likely be seated apart.
● As much as possible, we ask that you please remain in your pew for the duration of the Mass.
● For reasons of contagion, we would ideally close all bathrooms. However, we understand it is helpful to have them available. Therefore, as much as possible, please plan to avoid or limit use of the bathroom. If you must use the bathroom during Mass, use the most direct route possible. If someone is already in the restroom, there are markers on the floor to indicate proper spacing while waiting.
● There will be no congregational singing at church. The guidelines allow for a cantor. Please enjoy the music worship without singing along.
● There will be no formal offertory collection. Parishioners are encouraged to give through Online Giving (available on our webpage here). We depend on and thank you for your generosity!
● Communion will be offered after the consecration as usual, but rather than having people leave their pews to line up in the aisle the minister will come and give congregants the Eucharist at the entrance of their pew. Please keep a few things in mind:
- Remain standing at your seat and wait until the minister comes to your pew.
- Communion must be received in the hand. Leave your face covering in place until after the minister steps away, at which point you may lower your mask and consume the Blessed Sacrament.
- Once you have received Holy Communion, please kneel and pray. It is never appropriate to leave Mass before the final blessing and dismissal.
- Please do not leave your pew to exit the church until one of the volunteers invites you to do so. If you would prefer to remain in church and pray after Mass, please do so. (Please note that we are not allowed to congregate inside church before or after Mass.)
● After Mass, receiving communion, and private prayer, please head home. Do not linger or congregate with others by the church.
If you or anyone in your party develops any symptoms of, or tests positive for, COVID-19 within 14 days of attendance at Mass, you must immediately contact the parish at 617-734-0444 ext. 2 or
[email protected] so that we can alert everyone who attended Mass at the same time (of course, identities will be kept anonymous). If we are notified of a diagnosis of a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, in the interest of public health we will make an announcement on our website, Facebook page, bulletin, and in Fr. Jonathan's parish-wide email to parishioners (if you would like to receive parish email notifications, please use this Contact Us form to let us know).
We are so grateful for all our parishioners and thank you for your understanding and adherence to these instructions. We pray for the health, safety, and well-being of our faith community and communities beyond. Peace and God bless.