June 10, 2020 Update
Opening up for Weekend Masses
At Holy Sepulcher and Saint Kilian Parishes
Weekend Masses begin on June 13th at both Holy Sepulcher and Saint Kilian Churches. We will follow the normal Mass schedule and are implementing safety precautions during this time.
Where we are now (as of June 10, 2020)
Our churches are open daily for private prayer, weddings, baptisms and funerals (provided all the restrictions and directives are followed, including social distancing and 25% capacity). Daily Mass is also celebrated according to the schedule as it was before the pandemic. The Bishop has given permission for the celebration of weekend Masses at 25% of capacity. Use of this permission is a decision of each pastor. He must make the decision based on his commitment that the parish is prepared to open observing all the current restrictions of the Federal, State and local authorities.
We have read all the relevant documents from the CDC, the Governor, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health and the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
We have a small Corvid 19 work group to address the issues of the documents cited above
We have designated sections of the churches and individual pews that may be used and not used. This is to facilitate social distancing at all times.
We have provided the means by which those entering the church have access to hand sanitation.
We have set in place a regular schedule of sanitizing the church including following each group gathering.
We have placed signage indicating direction of the flow of traffic in and out of the church as well as indicating that restrooms may be used in emergency but must not be crowded.
We have held an information/training session for those who will lead those assisting those attending Mass.
In view of the above, we have begun to celebrate daily Masses as of June 8, 2020
What we as parishes have done to prepare?
Is it possible for our Parish to Celebrate Weekend Masses?
What should you do Before you come to Mass?
- The guidelines insist that social distancing must always be observed (six foot between individuals or family groups). Fulfilling that directive means that likely we will not be able to accommodate more than 25% of capacity at any Mass
- Considering all the relevant factors, we feel able to begin the celebration of weekend Masses on the Weekend of June 13-14.
- We do so assuming that parishioners and others will use common sense and observe all the restrictions and guidelines provided.
What should you do as you enter the church?
- The bishop has continued until further notice his dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holydays. That means you are NOT required to attend Mass on weekends during this pandemic.
- If for whatever reason you are uncomfortable attending Mass at this time, please do not feel obligated to do so. If you feel uncomfortable attending a weekend Mass, please consider attending a weekday Mass (where there will likely be less in attendance).
- All the guidelines direct you to stay home if you are sick for whatever reason. Christian charity directs you to care about others as you care for yourself. Do not risk spreading disease in this challenging time.
- Even if you are ill because of a common cold or affected by allergies, the symptoms of coughing and sneezing are dangerous and people hearing and seeing this will be understandably anxious if you are seated near them. Please use prudence and charity.
What to expect as you come to Mass
- Please make yourself aware of the directions and restrictions
- Please follow the directions of the greeters and ushers
- Pleases use hand sanitizer as you enter the body of the church. It is helpful if you bring your own personal supply, but it will also be provided.
- If this is going to work, patience and common sense will be needed. There should be assistance in seating people. But you should not expect to sit on the end of a pew and “claim it” so that no one else can enter. The pews are long enough for more than one person to be seated at an appropriate distance. Please think of others.
- If you choose to attend Mass, you are directed to wear a face covering and remain at least six feet apart from others (or other family groupings).
- We also ask that you enter by the center doors and leave by the side doors of the church to minimize contact.
- Means of hand sanitizing are available and we ask you to make use of them on entering church.
- Only certain pews (as indicated) will now be in use to facilitate social distancing.
- The clergy will not be greeting people after Mass as a precaution
- People are asked not to gather in groups after Mass or at least to maintain social distancing.
- Be careful not to crowd restrooms.
- Directives indicate that we are to remove all printed material from the pews during the pandemic.
- Music will not be provided at Masses so that the length of Mass will be shorter to reduce time spent in a large group and to facilitate sanitizing between Masses.
- The Eucharist will be distributed in the hand. While you have a right to receive on the tongue, those who are distributing the Eucharist have a right to life. And placing their fingers at your mouth may endanger their life and those they love. This is a temporary measure enacted in prudence during a worldwide pandemic.
- The priest or deacon will not be asking that you share the sign of peace.
- There will not be any opportunity to provide reception of Holy Communion from the cup.
- The Diocese has instructed that the distribution of Holy Communion take place AFTER the Mass is ended to facilitate an orderly and safe departure from Mass. You will be directed by the ushers as to how this take place. Social distancing must be observed as you line up.
What happens if the church is at capacity when I arrive?You are asked to leave and not remain for private prayer.
Leave by side doors
The Church will be sanitized between Masses
The church reaches capacity when people are no longer able to be socially distant from one another. Depending of the group (single or family) that generally means 25% of the capacity.
If that occurs, you will be asked to return to your car. You may remain there and pray. As you see people leave Mass, assume that Mass is concluded, and Holy Communion has begun. As people leave, feel free to enter and get in line to receive Holy Communion.
Why don’t we have some system of “signing up” for weekend Masses?
We are afraid that such a system would not be practical. Many people are not familiar or comfortable with “sign up” systems. Some do not have computer access or familiarity. Many are just used to showing up for Mass. Some who sign up experience personal events and are unable to attend and their “reserved” seats are empty because others assumed the church was full.
What if I want to pray after Mass?
What if I am unable to attend weekend or daily Mass because I am at high risk or just do not feel comfortable doing so? How can I receive the Eucharist?
During the pandemic, we hope to have a Communion Service each weekday (Monday-Friday) at noon in each Church. This will involve a very brief prayer and the distribution of Holy Communion.
Will the You Tube video Mass still be available on weekends?
Yes, we are aware that many people have found it helpful. We will continue to provide this option during the pandemic.