Updated Yet Again: The Resumption of Public Masses without Reservations, With Precautions, and In Line with Public Health Authorities
There is an old saying that any successful home repair requires three trips to the hardware store. Apparently the same is true for announcing the resumption of public Masses.
My first communication was the bulletin, written on Wednesday and perhaps still on your kitchen counter. This was outdated by the statement from the Minnesota Bishops allowing the resumption of public Masses while negotiations continued with Governor Walz.
Now, on Saturday afternoon, I can share with you the news from Bishop Kettler that a resolution has been reached. Governor Walz will issue an executive order that permits our parishes to resume public Masses on Wednesday, May 27 with up to one-fourth the capacity of each church (as determined by the fire marshal) or up to 250 persons, whichever is less.
So there are two very minor changes from what was shared on Friday: first, that the date has been delayed one day, until May 27; second, that the number permitted is changed to a quarter of the site’s capacity.
Again, since we are no longer limited to ten persons, you do not need to call for a reservation at this time. If the resumption of larger public celebrations proves problematic, we will adapt as necessary.
– The dispensation from the Sunday obligation remains in effect for all Catholics. That is, attendance at public Masses, weekday or weekend, is completely optional. There is no obligation or expectation for anyone to attend. Those who are feeling ill are not to come. Those who have concerns about health or safety, especially those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions, are encouraged to stay at home. We will continue our daily livestreaming of Mass, as noted below.
– The public celebration of Masses with these limited numbers begins on Wednesday, May 27. Again, you do not need to call to reserve a space. The Mass schedule is on page 5 in the bulletin. Please check each week because this schedule may vary. Generally:
Weekdays: 7:00 a.m. at St. John Cantius (M, T, W, Th)
7:15 a.m. at St. Anthony’s (T, W, Th, F)
10:00 a.m. at Holy Spirit (livestreamed) (M, W, Th, F)
Saturdays: 4:00 p.m. at Holy Spirit
4:30 p.m. at St. Anthony’s
Sundays: 7:30 a.m. at St. John Cantius
8:45 a.m. – Mass in Latin at St. John Cantius
9:15 a.m. at St. Anthony’s
9:30 a.m. at Holy Spirit (livestreamed)
10:30 a.m. at St. John Cantius
Precautions We Will Take
The precautions outlined earlier must be observed. In most cases, they are already more strict than the State is requiring. Our plan has been specifically approved by the Diocese, and we ask most seriously your cooperation with these precautions. These include:
– social distancing of six feet will be required. Members of the same household may sit more closely to one another if they choose.
– total attendance at Masses is not to exceed one-fourth of each church’s seating capacity as determined by the fire marshal. Practically, this means: 80 at St. John Cantius; 185 at St. Anthony (with balconies); 125 at Holy Spirit (overflow of an additional 30 is possible). Please follow the directions of ushers and the signs, ropes, or tape marks provided to keep appropriate space, including in the Communion procession.
– we ask your cooperation to minimize restroom use as well.
– funerals, Baptisms, and weddings with Mass may resume within these limitations. However, we will not be able to offer funeral dinners or host receptions.
– more generally, in line with diocesan guidance and social distancing, we will not be having any meals, receptions, sale of items, sign-ups for events, or social gatherings at the churches at this time.
– face coverings are strongly encouraged; gloves may be worn by those who choose. They need to be removed in order to receive Communion, of course. Reception in the hand is preferred at this time. However, the celebrant, deacon, music ministers, and lector will not wear these items due to the nature of their role in the liturgy.
– we will not be using Mass servers or choirs/ensembles at the present time. Music will be limited to an accompanist and cantor at most, or the entire Mass with antiphons will simply be spoken, which is foreseen in the Rite.
– Communion will be offered only under the form of bread.
– when weekend Masses resume, the collection will be taken up with long-handled baskets or dropped into baskets as you leave; please follow the celebrant’s directions. Those who wish may continue to mail in their contribution or use electronic giving. Thank you for your ongoing support!
– the Sign of Peace and the procession with the gifts will be omitted.
– the Holy Water fonts will remain empty, and the hymnals and missalettes are removed from the church and placed in storage for now. Bulletins will be placed on tables for you to take rather than handed out; they are also online if you prefer not to have a paper copy.
– the pews, door handles, musical and technical equipment, and other surfaces and objects used will be sanitized between each Mass.
Additional Information on Parish Life
The parish offices will remain closed to public business; as before, please email or call for assistance from our office staff.
Confessions remain by appointment only; please call your parish office to reserve a time for either Thursday afternoon or Saturday afternoon.
Public prayer and Adoration will continue at St. Anthony’s as we have done since May 4, with slight changes for the weekend:
Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Plans for Baccalaureate, First Communions, Confirmation, and other parish events still remain pending. We apologize for the many inconveniences.
Please continue to pray for an end to this pandemic, for peace in our communities and world, for those who are suffering in manifold ways from the consequences of this worldwide crisis, and for the coming of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide.
Thank you for your understanding and your cooperation.