GUARDIAN ANGELS CHURCH PASTOR’S STATEMENT ON THE REOPENING OF OUR CHURCH AND THE RESUMPTION OF MASSES
May 23, 2020
Several weeks ago, our California bishops entered into dialogue with Governor Newsom for the purpose of requesting the removal of legal impediments to the resumption of public worship. They assured the governor that as our churches reopen the necessary state health measures would be undertaken. Our local ordinary, Bishop Robert McElroy, believes that Governor Newsom will issue guidelines next week that will legally support our dioceses’ ability to resume Masses consistent with liturgical norms. In addition, the County’s director of Public Health has given her support for our plan to reopen. Furthermore, Bishop McElroy met with pastors last week and again more recently with deans this week. Resumption of Masses and reopening of our places of worship were the important topics.
To cut to the chase, in his diocesan leadership and the support of the deans and presbyterial council, Bishop McElroy has given permission to Guardian Angels and other parishes in our diocese to have the weekend of June, particularly June 14th, for the first weekend Celebration of the Eucharist after this time of pandemic. How appropriate that we will resume our Sunday Masses in celebration of Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord! Please note that our first weekend Mass will be in celebration of Corpus Christi. But our bishop has given us permission to start weekday Masses on Monday, June 8th.
Thus, the privilege of celebrating Masses will be ours again but under necessary measures to make sure our acts of worship are safe. As long as the threat of Covid-19 is not fully eradicated, we have to protect ourselves and others from infection, illness and even death.
The state will publish definite guidelines to ensure safety. I will inform you further of those measures. But we must commit to cooperate with the rules. To begin with, face masks will be required. Hand sanitizers should be used. Physical distancing will be compulsory. Contact points will be mitigated. Hymns will be restricted. Following the general guidelines made by the bishops, the Masses will need to be shorter, essential liturgical parts shall be retained and some can be omitted and a few others are outright forbidden.
For your information, our weekend Masses will be done outdoors on an altar on a stage behind the church. I believe we can accommodate as many as 300-500 in that parking area. Individuals or a couple or a family will have to occupy a marked spot that is six feet away from the next. We will aim for a shorter celebration of the Mass. To lessen coronavirus exposure and cross contamination please bring your own chairs. Holy Communion will be distributed after Mass; for which we ask that you leave once you receive the Eucharist.
Our weekday Masses will be in the church but because of social distancing the number of attendees will be limited. Only 54 spaces are configured inside our church but couples or people living in the same household may occupy together any of the spaces. For those who cannot be accommodated we will turn on the speakers in the parking area between the church and the Cunnane Hall. They can participate there and receive Communion at Mass’s end by entering the front double door of the church.
When the weather is not good, such as during a storm, weekend Masses will be held in the church. Those unaccommodated in the church will be in the Cunnane Hall where Mass will be attended with livestreaming. About 125 spots are available there for a person or people living in the same household to occupy.
Note the following also: 1) The general dispensation from attending Mass remains in force. 2) The precept of Sunday or holy days of obligation is transferable and may be fulfilled during the week or any other day. 3) We ask those considered vulnerable to stay home instead of coming to Mass. 3) Those with flu-like symptoms must not attend any Mass or enter the church. 4) Online Masses will continue. 5) Communion to a sick and homebound family member can be given by someone residing in the same household.
Baptisms, weddings and funeral Masses will be allowed beginning on the second week of June. However, distancing and other measures must be complied with.
We thank you for your continued support of our parish. For outdoor Masses, please insert your donations in the wooden offertory box near the altar or in cardboard boxes located in the premises. For indoor Masses, these boxes will be at the church entrance or the vestibule. You may also drop your envelopes through the slot at the parish office. The best and safest way to send us your parish contribution is by online giving or through our website (guardianangelssantee.org).
Finally, “Let us go to the house of the Lord,” is a most well-known command in the Old Testament. With those words, God’s people were instructed to go up to Jerusalem, to the Temple where the Holy of Holies dwelt. I join you all in a common excitement as we anticipate with great joy the reopening of our church and the resumption of our acts of worshipping our Risen Lord.
Truly yours in the service of our parish,