Public Masses will resume the weekend of May 30th and 31st.
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The Coronavirus

Diocesan and Parish Efforts to Combat Its Spread

 

Guidelines for the Reopening for Masses at St. Paul’s

 

Blessed Easter Season Everyone,

I am happy to announce on May 30th and 31st we will be able to reopen the church for Mass, which is very appropriate since we will be celebrating the birthday of the Church on the feast of Pentecost.  In order to create a safe environment to return to Mass, the Diocese and the parish have implemented the following guidelines:

Pre-Mass Preparation:

  1. Dispensation from Obligation—First and foremost, the Bishop continues the dispensation from attending Sunday Mass, so Mass is not an obligation to attend.
    1. If you are sick in any way, DO NOT ATTEND MASS. 
    2. If you are vulnerable or compromised in any way, you do not have to attend Mass.  Take comfort in staying home and remain safe to have peace of mind.  We will continue to live-stream Mass for you to watch.
    3. If you are nervous about returning to Mass at this time, you can stay home as well.  I want everyone to come when they are ready.
    4. If you disagree or do not like any of the guidelines, you should stay home because everyone who attends Mass must follow all the guidelines.
  2. Sign up for Mass—We are asking everyone to sign up for Mass attendance at 4:00pm or 10:30am to ensure everyone who would like to come to Mass is able. Since we must rope off some pews to ensure social distancing, we have less seating than normal. Once you sign up for Mass, you will be required to only attend that Mass until the guidelines change.  ONLY REGISTERED MEMBERS OF ST. PAUL CAN SIGN UP FOR MASS.  There are two ways to sign up:
    1. Follow the link https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040A4AA8AD2FA1FC1-mass
    2. Select whether you want to attend 4:00 or 10:30.  There is an option for the nave (main church) or chapel.  Each Mass has a specific number of slots open for family units.  Families may attend Mass together without social distancing, so family units only need to sign up for only one slot.  This includes parents, grandparents, and children together.  If you are attending by yourself, you would simply sign up for one slot still.  Please only sign up for the chapel if you need it for your family as a cry room.  Sign up with your name and in comments let us know how many people in your family unit.  Do not change the quantity - quantity is 1 for the entire family regardless of size. 
    3. If you have trouble signing up or are not comfortable to signing up online, please call the office between 9am-12pm at 601-636-0140 to speak with Lynne Abraham or call Lorraine Smithhart at 601-415-1505 to sign up.  Please do not email or leave a message.  We ask that you speak directly with us to verify your sign-up slot.

At Mass:

  1. Face Masks—Everyone must wear a mask to attend Mass.  This is both a diocese guideline and recommendation by CDC.  Anyone above the age of 2 must wear a mask.  If there is an issue with wearing a mask, we ask that you stay home.
  2. Arrival at Church and seating—When your family arrives at Church, a member of parish council will check you in and an usher will lead you to your pew.  Half of the pews in the Church will be roped off and inaccessible to help with social distancing.  We ask that you do not make request for where to sit.  These are unusual circumstances and we may not be able to sit where we usually sit.  
  3. Arrive on time—Due to the guidelines we are required to follow, I ask everyone to arrive on time if not a little early.  Once Mass starts, I will not admit anyone - so please be on time.  This helps us get everyone seated while following the social distancing norms. If you do not arrive on time, we cannot ensure that your slot will be available.
  4. Collection—We will have a basket on a table in the back of the Church for your envelopes and donations.  Please drop the donation in the basket as you come into Mass or leave.
  5. Communion—I will review the guidelines for how we will do Communion at each Mass.  The diocese requirement to be aware of is everyone will have to receive Communion in their hands, so we will not be giving Communion on the tongue.  You will have to wear a mask to come up to receive Communion.  I know for some people this may not be the norm, but we must follow the guidelines of the Bishop.  The other guidelines will be announced at Mass.
  6. Leaving Mass—We will be using all the exits in the Church to aid in people leaving Mass.  I ask everyone to leave slowly and with regards social distancing.  Please do not group and socialize with people as you leave.  I know many of us have not seen each other in a while, but please wait until you have departed from the church.  For us to follow the guidelines throughout Mass then socialize once Mass is over defeats the purpose of having guidelines.
  7. Sanitation—We will be cleaning and sanitizing the Church after every Mass.  We will also provide hand sanitizer at the door when you enter and exit.  If you are willing to help with the clean up team, please contact the office.
  8. Ushers—Due to the guidelines, the ushers will be asked to do different things than at a normal Mass.  If you are willing to help as an usher at Mass, I ask that you call the office.  This will be temporary ministry to help with us following the guidelines. We will have a training for the ushers to ensure that the guidelines are understood and followed.

I know these guidelines can be overwhelming in reviewing at first, but we will have people at each Mass helping guide us throughout the process.  As I said in the beginning, if any of these guidelines make you nervous or if you don’t agree with them, please stay home.  These are guidelines required by the Bishop and the diocese, and we must follow them in order to have Mass again.  

And again, if you are anxious, worried, or concerned to come to Mass at this time, please take comfort in the Bishop’s dispensation and be safe by staying home. It is not a sin to miss Mass under these guidelines. We will be here when you are ready.

Finally, after going over two months without public Mass, I am excited to be gathering back together and seeing everyone.  I hope you are excited too.

 

Fr. Rusty Vincent