Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Please read this information carefully!!
We are now actively preparing for the reopening of our church and the resumption of our sacramental celebrations starting the weekend of July 4/5. There will be challenges along the way and we should not think that our church life will return as it was before March 14, 2020. It will be a very different experience as we move into the future. While the truths of our faith and the sacraments will remain the same, our worship will necessarily be different. Our Pandemic Task Force continues to fine tune procedures based on guidance from the State of Maryland, Anne Arundel County and the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
You might find some of these procedures difficult to accept but they are developed for the assurance of public health and the safety of all. In recognition that some folks may have legitimate reasons for not returning to church immediately and we may not be able to provide for all who come, Archbishop Lori continues the dispensation from the obligation of Sunday Mass attendance during Phase II for all who have legitimate health concerns, fears, or cannot attend mass. We will also continue live-streaming our 9:30 am Sunday Mass and Daily Masses.
Social distancing will be required and we have already removed a large number of seats and marked off chairs to accommodate this. Since the chairs are covered with cloth and difficult to sanitize, I am asking that you wear long pants/jeans or bring a beach towel with you to place on the chair to sit on.
Everyone will be required to wear a mask. Put it on before you get out of the car, leave it on throughout Mass and take it off once you get back to your car. I am asking everyone to bring their own mask, but we will have some available for those who may forget theirs.
When we reopen the church for Masses on July 4/5, everyone will enter through the Main Entrance only. The Food Pantry door will be locked.
I am asking everyone to take their temperature before leaving home. If your temperature is over 100 degrees or you feel sick, please stay home that day. We need to take all possible steps to prevent the spread or the return of covid-19. We will need patience as we reopen our church. It is not as simple as flipping a switch and returning to the way it was. The writer of the First Letter of Peter tells us that the church is constructed of “living stones”. People of every age, including us, are those living stones.
We invite you to please come say goodbye to Sr. Katherine THIS SUNDAY, June 28 from 11:30am—1pm. She’s retiring on June 30th after 19 years of service to Seton Parish!
Sr. Katherine will be set up in the parking lot waiting for you to stop by and say your good-bye to her. You may bring any cards or gifts to present to her at this time. Please follow the signs for directing you to greet her.Since we can’t have a public reception at this time, this is our way of letting you greet her at a safe distance and offer her your well wishes.
I have earlier announced that the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be held on Saturdays, 3:00pm-4:00pm (note extended time) in the Conference Room in the Parish Center. (The Reconciliation Room in the church does not allow social distance and sufficient air flow for disinfecting furniture.)
We will also open our church for Daily Mass and private prayer and Eucharistic Adoration on Tuesdays after the Task Force evaluates the experience of weekend Masses. Stay tuned!
We have also begun doing baptisms one child at a time, as well as celebrate weddings and funerals with the observance of the above-mentioned procedures and Archdiocesan-mandated numbers for occupancy.
In consultation with the Parish Staff, I modified the mass schedule until September. Masses will be held on Saturday, 4:30pm and Sunday, 9:30am (live-streamed) and 5:30pm. You will need to sign up to attend Mass by utilizing Eventbrite, a self-service ticketing platform. A link to sign up for Masses will be available on our Facebook and Website after this Sunday’s service. Simply choose the Mass you wish to attend and state the number of tickets. When you finish, print your tickets and bring them with you to give to the Ushers. The capacity of seats is 106. You may not be able to attend the mass you were normally accustomed to attending. You will most likely not sit in a seat that’s you’ve been accustomed to sitting. You will need to plan to arrive 20 MINUTES BEFORE mass because when mass begins, or capacity is reached, the church doors will be locked. Those who do not have a ticket will be directed to a “standby line” and if able, the Ushers will seat them.
While there will be music at mass, there will not be any congregational or choir singing. This is a matter of public health and safety. Mass parts will be recited and we will not be exchanging the Sign of Peace. You will notice that all the hymnals have been removed. I encourage you to download the Worship Aid on your smart phone or download “MyParish” App on iOS and Google Play! Check out the video on how to use the app here
Please pay attention to the signage posted at the Main Entrance and in the Narthex. Be aware that the restrooms are for emergency use only. Mass will be shorter than usual, so please go to the bathroom and wash your hands prior to coming to Mass.
The distribution of Holy Communion will take place at end of Mass instead at its proper place. The Priest and two Eucharistic Ministers will be stationed at the Baptism Font. Please follow the directions of the Ushers. We ask that you take what you brought with you in the procession. You will not be returning to your seats. You are strongly encouraged to receive Communion in the hand until further notice. As you approach the Priest, please bow and extend your hand as flat as possible. He will place the Eucharist in your hand. You respond Amen and close your hand. Then move a couple steps away from him, towards one of the Eucharistic Ministers, lower your mask, open your hand, consume the host and place the mask back into position. The Eucharistic Minister is there to assist you and point you in the direction to exit the Church. If you are not receiving Holy Communion, approach the Priest, place your arms across your chest to receive a blessing and exit the Church.
Although we haven't seen one another in a long time, please do not congregate outside the church or in the parking lot. We cannot allow anyone to stay for private prayer. The Church will need to be sanitized. The Clergy will not be able to greet you or shake hands during this time. Please proceed to your cars while keeping your masks on.
For now, become familiar with these procedures. We must follow them to provide for the safety and health of one another.
Remember we are the living stones of the church. We face significant challenges to protect the common good and to guard everyone’s health as we return to church and the sacraments. We can do this together and along the way, we will discover the Lord walking with us.
Have a good week!
Here is this Sunday’s Worship Aid
As usual, we will continue to live-stream Mass on the parish Facebook (link) and uploaded on YouTube (link), and our parish website, https://www.seaseton.org/Resources/Media. If you do not have Facebook but wish to watch our livestream, click here for instructions.