Changes to Masses in the Days and Weeks Ahead

May 27, 2021

Dear SJN Parishioner:

Bishop Burbidge has adjusted diocesan guidelines concerning the conduct of Mass in the age of COVID-19. The diocese has made these changes using the best available scientific data and guidance from both the Governor’s office and the Centers for Disease Control. Please note that at the present time, the dispensation from the Sunday Obligation remains in effect out of concern for the particularly vulnerable. When this dispensation is lifted, we will notify you.

When you arrive for Mass on the weekend of May 29-30 this is what will be different:

1. Fully vaccinated individuals* are no longer required to wear masks. If you are not yet vaccinated but five years of age or older, you are encouraged to continue wearing a mask.
2. Holy Water fonts will be uncovered.
3. The Presentation of the Gifts by laity will return.
4. We ask all who are receiving Holy Communion to consider doing so in the hand at this time. If you wish to receive Communion on the tongue, please receive from the priest as he will be the
only minister to distribute either in the hand or on the tongue. All others distributing Communion will do so in the hand only.
5. The porters will no longer guide the dismissal process. When the Recessional hymn concludes, you are free to depart on your own accord.

Daily Mass will return to the Chapel starting on Monday, May 31.

Starting next weekend, June 5-6, we will add these changes:

1. You no longer need to sign-up for Mass attendance. You will be free to come to the Mass of your choice.
2. Spacers will be removed and all pews will be reopened. You will be welcome to sit wherever you wish and the Cry Room will be available.
3. Hymnals will be returned to the pews.
4. The Collection will be taken in the pews.
5. The Sign of Peace will be permitted, though those who do not share the same household are asked, for the time being, to exchange the Sign of Peace with a wave or a bow rather than a
handshake or a hug.
6. Communion will be distributed in one species only (the Body of Christ). Distribution to the faithful of the Blood of Christ will not yet be reinstituted. Communion will be distributed from
four locations. Please follow the usher’s directions during Mass.

Please also note the following:
1. Rest assured, we will continue to sanitize high-touch surfaces.
2. We will continue to live stream the 5:00pm Saturday Vigil Mass and the 2:00pm Sunday Spanish Mass.
3. Over time, we anticipate more and more of our parishioners returning to Mass. We will continue to offer the current schedule of Masses until the weekend of July 10-11, when we will add the
7:30am and 5:00pm Sunday Masses, while we move the 9:00am Mass back to its traditional 9:30am time.

Also, as we move forward, we will need additional ministers at the Sunday Masses. Please prayerfully consider donating your time to a ministry.

These changes are significant – when compared to where we have been – and are a considerable step towards the resumption of “normalcy.” Some will be ready to make all of these changes; others may not yet be ready – we will work together in a spirit of charity, community, and love to make these changes easy for everyone. Be kind, be sensible, and be safe during this season of transition. Let us give thanks to God for guiding us and giving us this season of renewal.

Blessings,
Fr. Joe

*SJN will not require proof of vaccination, nor will we inquire about your vaccination status. If you are fully vaccinated and would like to continue wearing a mask, please do so. We understand that not everyone feels comfortable being maskless in public, and not everyone is eligible to be, or desire to be, vaccinated. However, if you are not fully vaccinated please keep wearing a mask and practice protective behavior.