Reopening Our Church During COVID-19
With the recent downward trend indicated by local data, we have moved to Stage 2 of our reopening and increased the Mass attendance limit to 98 people. We will continue to increase attendance when local data and recommendations by health professionals and the Archdiocese clearly indicate that doing so does not increase risk to the community’s health and safety.
SATURDAY - 4 PM; SUNDAY - 7:30 AM, 9 AM (AT ST. LAWRENCE), 11 AM
Mass attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis with no advanced sign-up. With our increased capacity and the attendance numbers since we reopened, we don't anticipate having to turn anyone away. However, if capacity is reached, we trust that we can count on your understanding and cooperation if we aren't able to invite you in and we thank you for your thoughtfulness towards the public health.
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 will continue to stream the 11 a.m. Mass so that you can worship and participate at home and watch it live or anytime afterwards.
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 for reopening.
● 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/face coverings 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 must enter at the same time to be seated together. If your group enters at separate times, you will 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 not be offered after the consecration, but will be offered after Mass outside in front of the church so as to minimize the amount of time spent indoors. At the conclusion of Mass, ushers will guide a procession out of the church where you will have the opportunity to receive communion outside. Communion must be received in the hand and the Host consumed immediately upon reaching a safe distance from the Eucharistic minister.
● After Mass and receiving communion, please head home. Do not linger or congregate 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. Peace and God bless.